2024 March Madness bracket: What to know about every team in the East region

[Regional Breakdowns: East | South | Midwest | West]

With the field for the 2024 men’s NCAA tournament now official, we’re breaking down each team in the bracket in the lead-up to March Madness. Here’s what you need to know about the East region.

1. UConn (+400 to win national title)

  • 31-3, Big East champion

The defending national champions were even better during the 2023-24 regular season than they were a season ago. UConn was a No. 4 seed on the way to the national title last year. This year, the Huskies are the No. 1 overall seed.

UConn shoots nearly 50% from the field and holds opponents to fewer than 65 points per game. Five different players average over 10 points per game as Tristen Newton has developed into one of the best all-around players in college basketball. Newton leads the Huskies with 15 points per game, is second on the team with seven rebounds a game and averages a team-leading six assists per contest.

UConn is the favorite to win a second straight national title and is looking to be the first team since Florida in 2006 and 2007 to win back-to-back titles.

2. Iowa State (+1800)

  • 27-7, Big 12 champion

The Cyclones absolutely dominated Houston on Saturday to win the Big 12 title and make it clear they’re national title contenders. Iowa State would have probably preferred to avoid being in UConn’s region, however.

Iowa State is one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Cyclones give up 61 points per game as opponents shoot just 40% from the field and turn the ball over 17.5 times per game. Only UTEP averages more steals per game than the Cyclones.

Keshon Gilbert leads the team with 13.8 points per game as the Cyclones have used the same starting lineup in 31 of 34 games so far this season.

3. Illinois (+3000)

  • 26-8, Big Ten champion

The Big Ten tournament champions can put up points in bunches. Terrence Shannon Jr. had 34 points in the Big Ten title game win over Wisconsin after he had 40 against Nebraska the night before.

Shannon is the third-leading scorer in the country and missed games earlier this season because of a school suspension. Illinois suspended Shannon in December after he was arrested by Lawrence, Kansas, police and charged with rape after an alleged sexual assault in September. He rejoined the team in January after a judge granted a temporary restraining order against the school’s suspension.

Illinois wouldn’t be a No. 3 seed without Shannon’s on-court contributions. If Shannon keeps scoring like he did in the Big Ten tournament — he averaged 34 points per game over three games — the Illini can make a Final Four run.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MARCH 17: Terrence Shannon Jr. #0 of the Illinois Fighting Illini shoots a free throw against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half at Target Center during the Championship game of the Big Ten Tournament on March 17, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Fighting Illini defeated the Badgers 93-87 to advance to March Madness. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 34 in Illinois' win over Wisconsin to get the Big Ten's automatic March Madness bid. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) (David Berding via Getty Images)

4. Auburn (+1800)

  • 27-7, SEC champion

The Tigers beat Florida to win the SEC tournament on Sunday and enter the NCAA tournament on a six-game win streak. Oddsmakers clearly think the Tigers are underseeded in this region; Auburn has better national title odds than all but six of the tournament’s 68 teams. That has a lot to do with the Tigers’ KenPom ranking. The advanced analytics site has Auburn at No. 4 in the country behind Houston, UConn and Purdue.

Auburn is led by star forward Johni Broome as he averages over 16 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Tigers make nearly 55% of their 2-point shots are seventh in the country with 18 assists a game.

5. San Diego State (+8000)

  • 24-10, at-large

Can the Aztecs make another run to the national title game? A year after losing to UConn in the national championship, we could get a rematch in the Sweet 16.

Once again, San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the country under coach Brian Dutcher. Opponents hardly shoot above 30% from behind the 3-point line, though the Aztecs aren’t much better themselves. SDSU shoots just 31% from deep as a team and averages over 22 attempts per game. Forward Jaedon Ledee was a key reserve for the Aztecs a season ago and has exploded into a go-to scorer this season. After averaging eight points a game last season, Ledee is putting up 21 points per game in 2023-24.

6. BYU (+6600)

  • 23-10, at-large

The Cougars more than held their own in their first season in the Big 12. BYU finished fifth in the conference — and beat Kansas in the standings via tiebreakers — before losing to Texas Tech in the second round of the conference tournament.

BYU averages 82 points per game and is the most frequent 3-point shooting team in the country. The Cougars’ 1,063 attempts from behind the arc are the most of any team. BYU hits 35% of those shots — just above average — and seven players average at least nine points per game.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 15: Myles Rice #2 of the Washington State Cougars calls a play as he brings the ball up court against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first half of a semifinal game during the the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 15, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Buffaloes defeated the Cougars 58-52. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Myles Rice and Washington State are in the NCAA tournament. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) (David Becker via Getty Images)

7. Washington State (+15000)

  • 24-9, at-large

The Cougars fell short in their quest to win the final Pac-12 tournament title but easily made the tournament as an at-large thanks to a 14-6 regular season record in conference play.

Both senior F Isaac Jones and freshman G Myles Rice average 15 points per game and Jones leads the team in rebounding. Washington State is a global team; the Cougars get contributions from players from North Macedonia (Andrej Jakimovski), Australia (Oscar Cliff), Nigeria (Rueben Chinvelu) and France (Kymany Houinsou).

8. Florida Atlantic (+10000)

  • 25-8, at-large

Last season’s surprise Final Four participants are again poised to play spoiler after they opened the season in the Top 25. This year didn’t live up to those expectations; FAU played a lofty non-conference schedule and went 14-4 in its first year in the AAC. But the Owls have the ingredients to make a deep tournament run once again.

Johnell Davis leads the team with 18 points per game and Vladislav Golden averages nearly 16 points and 7 rebounds a game. They both played massive roles in last year’s tournament along with Alijah Martin (13 points per game).

9. Northwestern (+20000)

  • 21-11, at-large

The Wildcats ended the season losing three of their last four games, though two of those defeats were to teams that made the tournament in Michigan State and Wisconsin.

As it has for years under Chris Collins, Northwestern plays at a glacial pace. It ranks 342nd in KenPom’s adjusted tempo rankings. The team’s offensive strength is its 3-point shooting. Northwestern is fifth in the country at over 39% from behind the arc. Leading scorer Boo Buie averages 19 points per game on 44% shooting from behind the line.

10. Drake (+25000)

  • 28-6, Missouri Valley champion

The Bulldogs ended Indiana State’s NCAA tournament hopes with a win in the Missouri Valley title game a week ago. Drake went 16-4 in conference play and beat the Sycamores twice in their three meetings.

Drake is led by Tucker DeVries; he averages over 21 points per game on 16 shots a contest. The Bulldogs are also exceptional at taking care of the ball. Drake averages fewer than 10 turnovers per game and is one of the better free-throw shooting teams at 76%.

11. Duquesne (+50000)

  • 24-11, Atlantic-10 champion

The Dukes are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1977 after beating VCU to win the Atlantic-10 tournament title on Sunday. Duquesne was a member of the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League the last time it made the tournament. That league no longer exists.

This season’s team is coached by Keith Dembrot, LeBron James’ high school basketball coach. The Dukes are led by senior guards Dae Dae Grant (17 points per game) and Jimmy Clark (15 PPG).

BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 17:  The Duquesne Dukes celebrate with the Trophy and their ticket for the NCAA Basketball Tournament after winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams on March 17, 2024 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Duquesne is heading to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1977. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

12. UAB (+50000)

  • 22-11, AAC champion

The Blazers got their second NCAA tournament berth in the past three seasons by beating Temple for the AAC title on Sunday. UAB is looking to win its first NCAA tournament game since 2015 when it upset Iowa State as a No. 14 seed before losing to UCLA.

UAB is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country as Yaxel Lendeborg averages 13.8 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. He also shoots 52% from the field.

13. Yale (+50000)

  • 21-9, Ivy League champion

Matt Knowling hit a buzzer-beater on Sunday for a 62-61 victory over Brown and the Bulldogs’ second NCAA tournament berth in three seasons. Knowling is one of five players who average at least 10 points per game.

Yale is led by sophomore forward Danny Wolf, who averages 14.5 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game.

14. Morehead State (+100000)

  • 26-8, Ohio Valley champion

Morehead State beat Little Rock for the OVC title and has won six straight games since a three-game losing streak in February. The Eagles lost to Indiana by just one point in December and won 12 of 13 games between that loss to the Hoosiers and their three-game losing streak.

Riley Minix leads the team with 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, while Drew Thelwell averages over six assists a game. Just seven teams give up fewer than the 62.8 points per game Morehead State allows.

15. South Dakota State (+200000)

  • 22-12, Summit champion

The Jackrabbits beat Denver to win the Summit League title on March 12. South Dakota State was 9-9 after losing to Denver on Jan. 13. Since then, the Jackrabbits have gone 13-3 and are on an eight-game win streak.

Zeke Mayo leads the team with 18.8 points per game and shoots 47% from the field while averaging nearly seven 3-point attempts per game.

16. Stetson (+200000)

  • 22-12, Atlantic Sun champion

It’s the first NCAA tournament appearance ever for the Hatters since they started playing basketball at the top level of Division I in 1972. The 2023-24 season also marks the second 20-win campaign in program history; the first came back in 1974-75.

Jalen Blackmon averages 21.5 points per game and shoots 39% from the 3-point line. As a team, the Hatters make 37% of their 3-point attempts and rank 27th in the country.