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March Madness Survivor Pool Picks: How To Select The Best NCAA Survivor Pool Strategy in 2024

Last Updated on 06/16/2024
Fact checked by: Vicky Winters

Welcome to our guide for making survivor pool picks for March Madness. Perfect for knowing which teams to back in the 2024 NCAA Division I tournament.

Survivor pools are great fun but they can be pretty tricky to get right. This is even more so when it comes to March Madness where there are 68 teams to pick and choose from. Thankfully we’re here to show you all the favorites to include in your 2024 March Madness survivor picks.

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What is a March Madness survivor betting pool?

A March Madness survivor pool is where you compete against other players to make correct predictions about which teams will win in each round of the NCAA Division 1 tournament.

On each round, you will be able to pick one team. If that team wins their game, you will progress to the next round. If that team loses, you will be eliminated from the survivor pool.

The catch is the fact that you won’t be able to pick the same team twice. So if you picked Baylor Bears in the first round, then you won’t be able to pick them for any of the other rounds in the March Madness tournament.

Each survivor pool will have its own rules and quirks. For example, if there is a tie in some survivor pools, then this will count as a loss, but in others, there might be some kind of tiebreaker. So make sure that you know the regulations of how that March Madness survivor pool works before you start playing.

Just so you know, here is the main tournament structure of the 2024 March Madness so that you can get your survivor pool picks in accordingly:

  • First four: March 14 and 15
  • First round: March 16 and 17
  • Second round: March 18 and 19
  • Sweet 16: March 23 and 24
  • Elite Eight: March 25 and 26
  • Final Four: April 1
  • NCAA Championship game: April 3

How to make the best survivor pool picks for March Madness

So you’ve entered into a survivor pool but don’t know which teams to back? Well, the key thing to remember here is that you aren’t necessarily making predictions about which team is going to win the 2024 March Madness overall. Instead, you are just trying to be the last player standing. So with that in mind, here are the key factors to consider when making your picks:

Back the favorites

Obviously, the favorites to win March Madness have a very strong chance of getting through the earlier rounds. This means that if you want to stay in the game, you’ll need to back the teams who are higher up the NCAA rankings. 

Don’t be afraid of risk

While backing the favorites is a good idea, it could also be worth backing some of the outsiders earlier on. This means that you’ll save the favorites for later on when the competition gets even more fierce.

Know the win streak

It’s essential that you know the form of each team that you are considering backing in your survivor pool. This is because morale counts for a lot when it comes to knockout tournaments like March Madness. So if that relative outsider is enjoying a good winning streak, it might be worth backing them in the early rounds. 

The best March Madness survivor picks revealed

We think that there are a handful of teams who are safe bets for picking at any stage of this year’s March Madness. Each of the following teams are among the tournament favorites which means that they should survive the early rounds and give you a decent chance of winning later on in the survivor pool:

  • Houston Cougars: The tournament favorites and with an overall record of 27-2 it means that Houston are a safe bet to win most rounds in the survivor pool.
  • Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama are currently 25-4 and while they’ve had a rough couple of weeks they are still a good choice for anyone nervous about making their survivor pool picks.
  • Kansas Jayhawks: Last year’s winners Kansas are looking good this time around and it would be surprising if the Jayhawks didn’t make the Final Four at least.
  • UCLA Bruins: The Bruins have won more March Madness tournaments than anyone else and they are looking strong in 2024. Another good choice for the later rounds.
  • Purdue Boilermakers: This is an excellent team with a healthy 24-5 playing record. Although Purdue aren’t one of the favorites, they are perfectly suited to any stage of the survivor pool.
  • Arizona Wildcats: Like Purdue, Arizona are a very strong team who could go far in this year’s March Madness. Definitely worth a look regardless of whether it’s the First Round or the Elite Eight.
  • Baylor Bears: The Bears have struggled with consistency but have still emerged with a 22-8 record. Be sure to consider the Bears if they are paired in a bracket with one of the rank outsiders in the early rounds.
  • Tennessee Volunteers: Another intriguing team on 22-8, the Volunteers are a good all-rounder at any stage of March Madness.

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Other March Madness pool picks to consider

We’ve already noted that it might be worth holding off backing the favorites until the later rounds like the Elite Eight and the Final Four. So who should you be picking for those First and Second Rounds? While each bracket is context-dependent, we think that each of the following teams could be worth a look:

  • Texas Longhorns: The Longhorns are definitely worth checking out for the earlier rounds of your March Madness survivor pool. While they might not go the distance, their 22-7 record means that they should make light work of any outsiders.
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs: With a playing record of 25-5, Gonzaga have shown that they can handle most opponents. Even if they don’t win this year’s March Madness, they are well worth backing in the First and Second rounds.
  • Connecticut: This team have won 22 and lost seven in their season and therefore they are expected to make the Sweet 16 at least. So consider backing Connecticut early on and save the favorites for later.
  • Indiana Hoosiers: With a 20-10 record, we’d be surprised to see Indiana making the Final Four. However, we’re pretty sure that the Hoosiers should be able to win their first couple of March Madness games at least.

Of course, there is still plenty of room for backing some of the more riskier teams earlier on. Keep your eye on who the likes of Xavier Muskateers, Marquette Golden Eagles and Arkansas Razorbacks are paired up against earlier on. After all, backing these teams will give you the chance to pick some of the surefire favorites later on.

Conclusion - Your guide to making survivor pool picks for March Madness

We’ve shown you that it’s fun and easy to make your survivor picks for March Madness. While there is always room for a surprise, by backing the favorites, you’ll stand a much better chance of going the distance.

We’ll be updating our resource with each bracket played in the NCAA Division I tournaments so that you can check the progress of your picks. So make sure that you check back here where you’ll always get the information you need to make your survivor pool March Madness picks.

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Survivor pool picks March Madness FAQ

👀 How do you pick a March Madness survivor pool?

Take a look at our guide to see just how easy it is to pick a survivor pool for this year’s March Madness. Not only that, but we will also help you make your March Madness survivor picks to give you a much better chance of winning.

❓ How do survivor pools work for March Madness?

Don’t miss out on our guide that shows you how to make survivor pool picks for March Madness. As well as showing you how these survivor pools work, we can even give you our March Madness finals predictions so that you know which teams to pick.

⚡ Can you pick the same team in a survivor pool?

Be sure to read our guide to see whether you can pick the same team twice your March Madness survivor picks. After all, you might want to choose the same team when making your March Madness Sweet 16 predictions and you’ll need to know what this means for the pool.

💪 How do you win survivor pools?

Check out our survivor pool picks for March Madness that will give you a helping hand in winning this competition. Remember that we’ve got our March Madness Final 4 predictions right here to tell you who the favorites are in this epic college basketball tournament.

🏀 Is March Madness knockout?

Read our guide to see whether you’ll be making your March Madness survivor picks in the form of a knockout tournament. After all, such information will have a big impact on which March Madness Elite 8 picks you decide to follow. 

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