March Madness West Region Predictions & Picks

John Arlia
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2024

If you’re looking for chaos in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, the West Region feels like the place to be.

Underseeded teams like Michigan State, New Mexico, and Nevada provide the potential for plenty of upsets in a region that has 10 teams with 25-1 or better odds of reaching the Final Four.

Let’s look at the latest West Region odds, examine the bracket, and pick out some best bets.

March Madness West Region Odds

College basketball odds used for this West Region preview are from Monday, March 18, and courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Arizona (+210)
  • North Carolina (+375)
  • Alabama (+600)
  • Baylor (+700)
  • Saint Mary’s (+950)
  • Michigan State (+1400)
  • New Mexico (+1400)
  • Mississippi State (+2200)
  • Nevada (+2500)
  • Clemson (+2500)
  • Dayton (+3000)
  • Grand Canyon (+5500)
  • Charleston (+15000)
  • Colgate (+25000)
  • Long Beach State (+35000)
  • Howard (+50000)
  • Wagner (+50000)

March Madness West Region No. 1 Seed

North Carolina

Despite falling to NC State in the ACC Championship Game, the tournament committee awarded the Tar Heels the fourth and final No. 1 seed for their larger body of work.

UNC (27-7, 17-3) won the conference’s regular-season title by sweeping its season series with arch-rival Duke and owns an impressive non-conference victory over two-seed Tennessee.

Hubert Davis’ squad has plenty of experience and talent in its starting lineup, including standout senior guard R.J. Davis (21.4 PPG), fifth-year forward Armando Bacot (14.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG), and grad transfer/sharpshooter Cormac Ryan (66 made threes this season).

Carolina has the tools to make a run, but a lack of depth could play a role down the road as those three and forward Harrison Ingram each average over 30 minutes per game.

March Madness West Region Cinderella Team

New Mexico

The Lobos won four games in four days to win the Mountain West Tournament, but that seemingly didn’t impress the committee when it came to determining their seed.

New Mexico is on the 11 line despite being the No. 22 team in the country, per KenPom’s rankings. That would generally fall more in line with being a six-seed.

Instead, UNM will tip off its tournament as a slight betting favorite against No. 6 Clemson, which lost three of its last four games and comes in at No. 36 in KenPom.

I like the Lobos to get past that matchup, especially since the two teams appear to be trending in different directions, and they could very well make a trip to the second weekend.

March Madness West Region Prediction

Arizona to Win the West (+210)

Despite being the two-seed in the region, Arizona is the betting favorite to reach the Final Four from the West.

The Wildcats fell in the first round to Princeton last year as a two-seed, but this group has too much talent to meet a similar fate.

UNC transfer Caleb Love is a dynamic scorer who can take over the game in crunch time if needed, and 7-footer Oumar Ballo gives Arizona an interior force on both ends of the floor.

Tommy Lloyd’s team ranks eighth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom, exuding the balance needed to contend for a National Championship.

The Wildcats also have a reasonably favorable draw, which could help them to their first Final Four since 2001.

[pick id="178810"]

March Madness West Region Best Bet

North Carolina: First No. 1 Seed Eliminated (+150)

While Purdue (+280) is probably a popular choice for this category, I’m going with UNC to be the first No. 1 seed eliminated from the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

I have concerns about the Tar Heels’ lack of depth, especially on offense. If Davis or Bacot get into early foul trouble, does UNC have enough bench scoring to survive a lengthy stretch?

Probably not.

The Tar Heels could also potentially face one of the tougher second-round matchups should Michigan State knock off Mississippi State in its opener.

Tom Izzo’s squad sits 19th in KenPom’s rankings and has a knack for playing above its head in March, reaching the Sweet 16 as a seven-seed last year.

Michigan State to match that feat this year (+300) might also be worth a wager, but this option has more outs should the Spartans fall in the Round of 64.

[pick id="178812"]

March Madness West Region Locations & Schedule

Round 1

Thursday, March 21

Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

No. 8 Mississippi State vs No. 9 Michigan State, 12:15 p.m., CBS

No. 1 North Carolina vs No. 16 Howard/Wagner, 2:45 p.m., CBS

Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT

No. 2 Arizona vs No. 15 Long Beach State, 2 p.m., TBS

No. 7 Dayton vs No. 10 Nevada, 4:30 p.m., TBS

Friday, March 22

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

No. 3 Baylor vs No. 14 Colgate, 12:40 p.m., truTV

No. 6 Clemson vs No. 11 New Mexico, 3:10 p.m., truTV

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA

No. 4 Alabama vs No. 13 Charleston, 7:35 p.m., truTV

No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs No. 12 Grand Canyon, 10:05 p.m., truTV

Round 2

Saturday, March 23

Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

North Carolina/Howard/Wagner vs Mississippi State/Michigan State, Time & TV TBA

Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT

Arizona/Long Beach State vs Dayton/Nevada, Time & TV TBA

Sunday, March 24

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

Baylor/Colgate vs Clemson/New Mexico, Time & TV TBA

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA

Alabama/Charleston vs Saint Mary’s/Grand Canyon, Time & TV TBA

Sweet 16

Thursday, March 28 Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Regional Semifinal No. 1, Time & TV TBA

Regional Semifinal No. 2, Time & TV TBA

Elite 8

Saturday, March 30 Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Regional Final Time & TV TBA


John Arlia

Before joining The Game Day, John served as the National Writer for the United Soccer League, where he primarily covered the USL Championship out of the league’s headquarters in Tampa, FL. A devout soccer fan, John attended the men’s World Cups in Brazil and Russia and can’t wait for the 2026 edition to come to North America. Having also written for Sporting News Canada since getting his master’s from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, John has acquired a diverse sporting background, but considers football, golf, and soccer his three strong suits.

Related articles