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March Madness 2019: Full Bracket, Expert Picks and Predictions For NCAA Basketball Tournament

The wait is finally over. The 68 spots on the bracket for the 2019 NCAA Tournament have been filled and March Madness can begin in its earnest.

Duke enters the Big Dance as the number one overall seed, while fellow Atlantic Coast Conference heavy hitters Virginia and North Carolina are also ranked number one in their respective regions.

That makes the ACC the first conference in a decade to get three Number One seeds.

"They earned their right to be there,'' Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, the chair of the selection committee, said Sunday on CBS.

In total, the ACC will have seven representatives in the tournament, as many as the SEC and one fewer than the Big Ten, which leads all conferences with eight teams.

Tennessee, Michigan State, Kentucky and Michigan earned number two seeds, while defending champion Villanova is a number six seed.

Belmont and Temple were the last at-large teams included in the bracket and will face off in the First Four game on Tuesday.

Texas, Indiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were all left out of the tournament altogether, along with UNC Greensboro.

Here’s everything you know ahead of the tournament, which begins in earnest on Thursday.

Top picks

Picking the winner of the NCAA Tournament is a tricky business at the best of times and this year is no different.

OddsShark has Duke as the favorite to clinch a first national title since 2015. The Blue Devils’ are +200 to win the tournament, followed by Gonzaga at +500, while North Carolina and Virginia are both at +700.

On the other hand, Villanova’s chances to retain the title are as long as +5000.

The picture is very similar at VegasInsider, with Duke an 11/5 favorite, followed by Gonzaga at 5/1, North Carolina at 6/1 and Virginia at 12/1. Kentucky, Michigan State and Tennessee follow with odds of 12/1, 15/1 and 16/1 respectively.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight gives Duke a 19 percent title of triumphing, a figure which decreases to 17 percent and 15 percent for Virginia and Gonzaga respectively, while North Carolina’s chances stand at nine percent.

Over at CBS Sports, college basketball insider Gary Parrish backs Duke to beat the Tar Heels in the final, while senior writer Matt Norland has Virginia. Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation also backs Duke to triumph but by beating Kentucky in the final, while Mike DeCourcy at Sporting News thinks the latter will go all the way to the title.

Potential upsets

Among the first round ties that could spark an upset, keep an eye on number five seed Marquette vs number 12 seed Murray State, which will see opposing guards Markus Howard and Ja Morant going head-to-head.

The former is the sixth best scorer in the country, while the latter is just two places below.

Elsewhere, Villanova could have its hands full against St Mary’s. The defending champions are ranked number six but have already lost nine games this season and 11th-seeded St Mary’s could spark an upset.

Likewise, number 10 seed Seton Hall will fancy its chances against number 7 seed Wofford, even though the Terriers won 21 games this season. The Pirates, however, have already beaten Marquette, Kentucky and Maryland this season.

Duke Blue Devils Zion Williamson #1, RJ Barrett #5, and Tre Jones #3 of the Duke Blue Devils react after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 73-63 in the championship game of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Editor's Pick