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2024 March Madness predictions: Expert picks, Elite Eight odds for UConn vs. Illinois, Alabama vs. Clemson

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2024 March Madness predictions: Expert picks, Elite Eight odds for UConn vs. Illinois, Alabama vs. Clemson

The 2024 NCAA Tournament’s second week of action comes down to four games in the Elite Eight that will decide the teams advancing to Final Four in Glendale, Arizona. What was once a 68-team field at the start of the Big Dance is down to eight regional finalists, which will again be sliced in half by the time the weekend is out.

Action begins Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET with No. 1 seed UConn facing No. 3 seed Illinois in its toughest test of March Madness by a significant margin. The reigning champion Huskies have run through their opponents to this point, but the Illini should pose a tougher challenge as UConn seeks to become the first team to go back-to-back in the NCAA Tournament since Florida in 2006-07.

The second game of the night features a matchup one would expect to see in the College Football Playoff as No. 4 seed Alabama meets No. 6 seed Clemson. Both teams are playing in their second-ever Elite Eights with the winner advancing to the Final Four for the first time in program history.

Not only should you continue to follow your bracket, you could enhance your viewing experience across Saturday night’s games. How? Our CBS Sports experts convened to provide you further insight into the Elite Eight with picks straight up and against the spread. Our expert brackets may offer some help, too, especially if you’re considering seed-line upsets.

The NCAA Tournament is all about surviving and advancing, but for those plunking down on their coach or pulling up to their desk to consume as much March Madness content as possible, which teams cover their spreads will be quite important as well. The CBS Sports team has been covering the sport extensively all season, and they are not shy with their picks for these games.

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports for the rest of the month as NCAA Tournament coverage continues through the end of the Final Four. Let’s take a look at our expert picks as the Elite Eight begins Saturday.

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern

2024 NCAA Tournament: Elite Eight picks

(1) UConn vs. (3) Illinois

Saturday, 6:09 p.m. | TBS, March Madness Live:�UConn is in machine mode. The Huskies have won nine straight NCAA Tournament games by double digits and are thriving on both ends of the floor. Illinois will pose a significant challenge with its dynamic duo of scoring wings in Marcus Damask and Terrence Shannon Jr., but the Huskies can counter with numerous sources of offense against an Illinois defense that has been spotty all season. It will take a herculean 3-point shooting effort for the Illini to get this done. Look for UConn to keep it rolling and secure its spot in the Final Four with another convincing victory. The dynamic nature of the Huskies’ offense will simply be too much for Illinois to handle over 40 minutes. Pick: UConn -8.5 — David Cobb

(4) Alabama vs. (6) Clemson

Saturday, 8:49 p.m. | TBS, March Madness Live:�Clemson beat Alabama 85-77 on the road in November as the Crimson Tide struggled to a 6-5 start marked by a series of losses against quality teams. Now, they are squaring off on a neutral court with Alabama favored. While the Crimson Tide have certainly improved since the first meeting, they are up against a Clemson team playing its best basketball of the season. The Tigers are getting it done at both ends of the floor and just showed the ability to slow down a high-powered offense as they took down Arizona in the Sweet 16. The Crimson Tide also like to run and score a ton, but the Tigers can dictate the pace with their physicality and toughness and win this game straight up. Pick: Clemson +3 — David Cobb

Who will win every college basketball game, and which favorites should be on upset alert?�Visit SportsLine now to get picks and predictions for every college basketball game, all from a model that simulates every game 10,000 times.

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