Highlights and Takeaways from the 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament bracket

Highlights and Takeaways from the 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament bracket
from Adam Gretz with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

The 2024 NCAA Men’s Tournament bracket is officially set with the 68-team field. Some of the teams and seedings followed the expectation, while a few bubble teams that missed out might have some pretty strong beefs. Let’s take a look at 10 takeaways from this year’s field.

Iowa State not even the top No. 2 seed. Going into championship week Iowa State seemed to have a great shot at one of the four No. 1 seeds. It not only did not get one, it is not even the top No. 2 seed. Or the second No. 2 seed.

Iowa State is officially the No. 8 overall seed in the tournament, making it the third No, 2 seed. The biggest reason for the fall — a weak out of conference schedule that is a big factor for the committee.

Stetson’s first NCAA tournament bid is a brutal matchup. This is a big season for Stetson as it gets its first ever bid into the tournament. Its reward? A first-round matchup against the No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion UConn. It could not have been any tougher.

The East region looks brutal. Speaking of which, UConn is also in for a shockingly tough run for a defending champion and No. 1 overall seed as its region — the East region — is looking like an absolute gauntlet to have to get through.

Three of last year’s Final Four teams reside in it (UConn, Florida Atlantic and San Diego State) reside in that region, along with Illinois, Auburn and a very tough BYU team.

Wisconsin and Gonzaga could be primed for a No. 5 seed upsets. Almost every year there is at least one No. 5 seed that gets eliminated by a 12 seed, and there are two prime candidates for that this seasaon — Wisconsin and Gonzaga.

Both have drawn extremely tough 12 seeds against James Madison (vs. Wisconsin) and McNeese State (vs. Gonzaga). There were only four teams in the country to win at least 30 games this season. JMU and McNeese State were two of them.

South region looks top heavy. The South Region has four powerhouse seeds at the top in Houston, Marquette, Kentucky and Duke, but there is a pretty big drop-off after you get down into the No. 5 spot and below. Duke even seems like a step below the top-three seeds.

It would be a pretty big upset if Houston, Marquette or Kentucky do not come out of that region.

Pressure is on Purdue. After becoming just the second No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed a year ago, the Boilermakers have a chance to redeem themselves with a second straight No. 1 seed. The bracket also seems to have fallen favorably for them, especially when it comes to potential second-and third-round matchups.

Their bracket has an injured Kansas team short on players, a Gonzaga team that has taken a step backwards and a very winnable pair of teams (Utah State and TCU) as potential second-round fits. Failure to reach at least the Elite 8 here would be a massive disappointment.

Pitt should be livid. Pitt thought it did enough with its late season surge, but the committee did not agree. What has to be frustrating for Pitt is that a TCU team with a similar resume and worse out-of-conference schedule got in, as did a Virginia team that Pitt beat (in Virginia) a couple of weeks ago and has worse overall ratings and metrics across the board.

As should Indiana State. Speaking of bubble teams with a beef, Indiana State had the highest NET rating ever for a team to be left out.

Michigan State gets lucky. If there is one tournament team that should infuriate the programs on the wrong side of the bubble, it is probably the inclusion of a 14-loss Michigan State team that only won three road games all season.

Not only are the Spartans in, they are in as a No. 9 seed that did not even have to play a play-in game.

Tough day for the Big East. The Big East was, statistically speaking, one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA this season but managed to only get three teams — UConn, Creighton and Marquette — into the tournament.

Seton Hall and St. John’s, both bubble teams with extremely impressive resumes, were left out.