NCAA tournament cheat sheet: Bracket tips, upset picks and more coverage

(Illustrations by Artur Galocha/The Washington Post)
9 min

The fields are set for this year’s NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Here’s everything you need to read to get ready for March Madness.

Looking for the brackets? The men’s NCAA tournament bracket can be found here, and the women’s is here.

Bracket tips and analysis

The five best bets to win the 2023 NCAA men’s tournament

Matt Bonesteel uses Ken Pomeroy’s metrics to identify the five teams who have the best shot at winning the national title.

The perfect bracket to win your March Madness men’s pool

Neil Greenberg is back with his guide to filling out a men’s tournament bracket that will give you the most realistic chance of winning your pool.

The most likely first-round upsets in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament

Bonesteel looks at four lower seeds who could be worth picking to win in the first round.

The perfect NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket

Neil Greenberg’s picks to help win a large women’s bracket pool include two familiar names in the Final Four — and two surprises. Think South Carolina is the only option to win it all? Think again.

The lazy person’s guide to picking a men’s NCAA tournament bracket

Greenberg also offers some tips for beginners who don’t want to put too much thought into this.

Why Alabama is a poor pick to win your March Madness men’s bracket

The top overall seed in the men’s tournament is one of the best teams in the country — but a poor pick to win it all due to their robust popularity. Neil Greenberg explains.

The South Carolina women are the favorites. Here’s who could beat them.

If anyone can beat the undefeated Gamcocks this season, it’ll probably be one of the teams picked by Megan Gauer.

Four Cinderellas who could bust NCAA women’s tournament brackets

As parity has increased in women’s basketball, so have mid-major surprises. Adam Vachon looks at four teams that could put a scare into high seeds from major conferences this month.

Final Four sleepers for the NCAA women’s tournament

In the past 20 seasons, just 12 teams seeded outside of the top two lines have made it to the NCAA women’s Final Four. Megan Gauer looks at four teams seeded No. 3 or below that can make it to the final weekend.

Latest NCAA tournament news and commentary

The selection committee points to quadrants, but the math doesn’t add up

Using a formula to masquerade the selection committee’s biases doesn’t make the draw any fairer to smaller programs, John Feinstein writes.

NCAA tournament selection committee rewards Nevada, punishes Oklahoma State

Patrick Stevens examines the decisions made by the men’s selection committee.

Two wins in March can change a coach’s reputation. How mad is that?

Chuck Culpepper talks to coaches who made a Cinderella run in the NCAA tournament and then saw everything change.

Kentucky and North Carolina epitomize a basketball season of confusion

Two of the nation’s bluest bloods had confounding seasons. The Wildcats were able to make the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels, ranked No. 1 to start the season, were left out.

Can Kansas repeat as national champs? Recent history says no.

Chuck Culpepper reminds us that only two programs have repeated in the past 50 years — Duke in 1992 and Florida in 2007.

Five can’t-miss stars in the women’s NCAA tournament

Adam Vachon picks some of the possible standouts in this year’s NCAA women’s tournament.

Feared and loved, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is taking women’s basketball by storm

Ben Golliver goes deep on the Hawkeyes star, who is a generational talent.

The NBA fan’s guide to the NCAA tournament

Golliver is back with his look at the possible lottery picks who will be playing in the men’s NCAA tournament.

A 16 seed got its 15 minutes. Here’s how the next decade played out.

Mark Selig tells the stories of the 2013 JMU Dukes, who captivated their community 10 years ago before scattering across the globe.

Kenny Blakeney dreamed big, and Howard is turning it into reality

Candace Buckner on what just might be the start for the Bison.

31 years later, Howard gets another shot at Kansas in the NCAA tournament

Scott Allen looks back at the last time Howard appeared in the Big Dance, back in 1992.

Local players to watch in March Madness, from Cinderella star to hometown hero

Michael Errigo breaks down the D.C.-area products who reached the tournaments.

Shy Odom, Howard’s sublime freshman, took a winding road to the NCAAs

Adam Kilgore on the Bison’s star guard who seemed destined for a Power Five program before tragedy and injury intervened.

Micah Shrewsberry has Penn State dancing, and all eyes on his next steps

With plenty of options, the Nittany Lions coach meets questions about his future with awkward answers.

First-round women’s matchups



No. 8 South Florida 67, No. 9 Marquette 65 (OT)

No. 7 Arizona 75, No. 10 West Virginia 62

No. 1 South Carolina 72, No. 16 Norfolk State 40

No. 2 Maryland 78, No. 15 Holy Cross 61

No. 3 Notre Dame 82, No. 14 Southern Utah 56

No. 11 Mississippi State 81, No. 6 Creighton 66


9 p.m.: No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 12 Portland (ESPNU)

11:30 p.m.: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Sacramento State (ESPN2)



No. 6 Michigan 71, No. 11 UNLV 59

No. 3 LSU 73, No. 14 Hawaii 50

No. 2 Utah 103, No. 15 Gardner-Webb 77

No. 10 Princeton 64, No. 7 North Carolina State 63


11:30 a.m.: No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 16 Tennessee Tech (ESPN2)

2 p.m.: No. 8 Oklahoma State vs. No. 9 Miami (ESPN)

2:30 p.m.: No. 5 Washington State vs. No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (ESPNU)

5 p.m.: No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 13 Cleveland State (ESPNU)



No. 1 Virginia Tech 58, No. 16 Chattanooga 33

No. 9 South Dakota State 62, No. 8 Southern California 57 (OT)


1 p.m.: No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Saint Louis (ABC)

1:30 p.m.: No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 14 James Madison (ESPN2)

3 p.m.: No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 15 Vermont (ABC)

3:30 p.m.: No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Toledo (ESPN2)

4 p.m.: No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 St. John’s (ESPN)

5:30 p.m.: No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 10 Alabama (ESPN2)



No. 10 Georgia 66, No. 7 Florida State 54

No. 2 Iowa 95, No. 15 Southeast Louisiana 43

No. 1 Stanford 92, No. 16 Sacred Heart 49

No. 8 Mississippi 71, No. 9 Gonzaga 48


7 p.m.: No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee (ESPNews)

7:30 p.m.: No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 12 Drake (ESPN2)

9:30 p.m.: No. 3 Duke vs. No. 14 Iona (ESPN2)

10 p.m.: No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 East Carolina (ESPN)