clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

March Madness predictions 2022: Instant picks after NCAA bracket unveiling

We give our instant picks for the 2022 NCAA tournament as matchups are announced on Selection Sunday.

Ever heard “think long, think wrong?” Well, we’re firing from the hip and providing instant picks for the field of 68 right as the bracket is announced.

No deep pondering about this at all. Here’s out initial, gut feeling for how the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will go down with our first round picks followed by thoughts on bracket winners and potential Cinderellas.

East region

#1 Baylor vs. #16 Norfolk State
#8 North Carolina vs. #9 Marquette
#5 Saint Mary’s vs. #12 Wyoming/Indiana
#4 UCLA vs. #13 Akron

#6 Texas vs. #11 Virginia Tech
#3 Purdue vs. #14 Yale
#7 Murray State vs. #10 San Francisco
#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Saint Peter’s

The East region has a good mix of blue bloods and potential surprise teams. Virginia Tech went on a magical run in last week’s ACC Tournament to get into the big dance and we have them taking out Texas in the first round. Another team that could make a little bit of noise here is Saint Mary’s, who owns the lone West Coast Conference win over Gonzaga.

Ultimately, Kentucky managed to slide onto the two-line despite falling flat in the SEC Tournament semifinal. With the potential player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe dominating in the paint, the Wildcats should be able to find their way to New Orleans.

South region

#1 Arizona vs. #16 Wright State/Bryant
#8 Seton Hall vs. #9 TCU
#5 Houston vs. #12 UAB
#4 Illinois vs. #13 Chattanooga

#6 Colorado State vs. #11 Michigan
#3 Tennessee vs. #14 Longwood
#7 Ohio State vs. #10 Loyola Chicago
#2 Villanova vs. #15 Delaware

Not too many major upsets coming out of the South region here as we have most of the higher-ranked seeds advancing. Michigan notably sneaks in off the bubble based on its strength of schedule in the Big Ten, but Colorado State should ultimately send the Wolverines home packing in round one.

The Elite Eight will come down to Arizona and Tennessee, a rematch of their non-conference battle back in December. This time around, the Wildcats should emerge victorious and punch their ticket to New Orleans.

Midwest region

#1 Kansas vs. #16 Texas Southern/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
#8 San Diego State vs. #9 Creighton
#5 Iowa vs. #12 Richmond
#4 Providence vs. #13 South Dakota State

#6 LSU vs. #11 Iowa State
#3 Wisconsin vs. #14 Colgate
#7 USC vs. #10 Miami (FL)
#2 Auburn vs. #15 Jacksonville State

The Midwest region is pretty chalky except for one major 13 over four upset. We have the Summit League champ South Dakota State stunning the Big East regular season champ Providence right out the gate.

The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight is where things will get interesting and ultimately, the Big Ten Tournament Champion Iowa Hawkeyes will come out on top.

West region

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Georgia State
#8 Boise State vs. #9 Memphis
#5 UConn vs. #12 New Mexico State
#4 Arkansas vs. #13 Vermont

#6 Alabama vs. #11 Rutgers/Notre Dame
#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 Montana State
#7 Michigan State vs. #10 Davidson
#2 Duke vs. #15 Cal State Fullerton

This is an interesting corner of the bracket ripe for potential upsets. Notably, we have Ron Harper Jr. and Rutgers not only triumphing in one of the First Four games, but taking out Alabama as well.

Ultimately, you have to go chalk here and stick with Gonzaga to go back to the Final Four, triumphing over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

Final Four

Our Final Four prediction is Kentucky, Iowa, Arizona, and Gonzaga with Kentucky cutting down the nets at the Super Dome.