West Region Bracket Preview: Teams, Prediction and Odds (North Carolina, Arizona Headline Crowded Region)

Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard RJ Davis (4) shoots the ball
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard RJ Davis (4) shoots the ball / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NCAA Tournament field is set!

North Carolina was the fourth No. 1 seed in the West Region, one that is crowded with offensive firepower, including Arizona, Baylor and Alabama. The Tar Heels have an All-American candidate in RJ Davis as well as a big man in Armando Bacot and will look to return to the Final Four for the second time in three season.

However, with a crowded group of conteners, will UNC be able to realize its upside and navigate the region?

Let's break it all down:

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2024 National Championship Odds

2024 West Region Odds

2024 West Region Bracket

2024 West Region Schedule

2024 West Region Things to Know

Favorite: North Carolina

The Tar Heels secured the final No. 1 seed, a veteran squad that is elite on the glass with Bacot down low and potent on offense, 24th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, behind Davis' excellent play as the lead ball handler with sharp shooting Harrison Ingram and Cormac Ryan roaming the perimeter.

However, the team's defense is even better, top 10 in the country with the 17th lowest effective field goal percentage allowed in the country.

Dark Horse: New Mexico

Looking at betting markets, New Mexico is favored by a possession against Clemson despite being the No. 11 seed against a No. 6 seed in the first round. That's notable as the team was clearly underseeded and may be ripe to outperform its double digit seed number.

The Lobos have a trio of guards in Jaelen House, Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Donovan Dent that play at a top 10 pace in the country while also dominating down low with a rim running offense. UNM just ran through the Mountain West Conference Tournament to secure a bid and have been looked at favorably in the analytics community all season.

A second round date with likely Baylor is on the horizon, a team that struggles on defense and can be exposed against New Mexico's up-tempo scheme and the ability to match Yves Missi's size down low with the likes of Jacob Toppin.

Team to Fade: Alabama

Alabama is playing its worst basketball of the season to end the regular season, losing three of its last four games, mainly due to an ineffective defense that is outside the top 100 in adjusted defensive efficiency on the year.

The Crimson Tide are a volatile bunch. Nate Oats is 19th in three-point rate with a 20-plus point scorer in Mark Sears who can go off on a whim, so the offense has been able to score 100 regularly due to its potency on that side of the floor. However, the team will get bounced due to a defense that fouls way too much and can't stop teams from scoring.

Cinderella? Grand Canyon

Can the Antelopes make a surprising run? The team draws a formidable St. Mary's team in the first round, but GCU is one of the best mid-major teams in the country, led by a physical defense and a relentless offense.

Grand Canyon is top 30 in offensive rebounding rate while also getting to the free throw line at a top five clip while shooting the three at a national average level (34%). However, this defense is the engine behind its offense, the team turns opponents over at a top 40 clip this season.

A tough first round matchup against the Gales should be a game playing in the low 60's, but the team's balance on both sides make this team a tough out in the first round and beyond.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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