Men’s 2021 NCAA Tournament bracket: Power ranking all 68 teams in March Madness

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After a long year of uncertainty and waiting, March Madness is finally back! The 2021 men’s NCAA tournament tips off on Thursday, March 18 with a field of 68 ready to battle it out for the title in Indiana. Our team at NBC Sports Edge put together a list of March Madness power rankings for all 68 teams to help you fill out your bracket.

RELATED: Click here to bet on every March Madness game and more with PointsBet

It’s no surprise that Gonzaga, the only undefeated team in the nation holds the No.1 spot. Baylor sits at No. 3 and still has Final Four potential despite two losses in their last six games. Michigan is fifth on the list, ranking sixth and seventh in offensive and defensive efficiency–a testament to head coach Juwan Howard. 

RELATED: Check out the full March Madness 2021 schedule here with TV channels, tip times, dates and more

The Arkansas Razorbacks sit at No. 11 after winning 12 of the last 14 games entering the tournament. Kansas, which won eight of the last nine games and suffered all eight of their losses to No. 5 seeds or higher, is 13th on the list. North Carolina sits at No. 19. The Tar Heels, currently the third-tallest team in the tournament, are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, with a 41.3% rebounding percentage. Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas are at No. 33, despite ranking 309th and 313th in offensive and defensive turnover percentage.

RELATED: Ranking The Top 25 Players in March Madness

Liberty sits at No. 54. The Flames won 12 straight games to end the season but are 0-2 versus tournament teams. Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels are 61st on the power rankings. The Gaels own the 327th offensive turnover percentage and the 18th-ranked effective field goal percentage.

Check out the full list of March Madness power rankings here and find out which NCAA teams have the potential to be this year’s Cinderella.

RELATED: March Madness Hot or Not? 3 Hot, 3 Not

How to bet on the 2021 NCAA Tournament

According to PointsBet, Gonzaga leads the way as the clear favorite to win it all:

  1. Gonzaga (+210)
  2. Baylor (+625)
  3. Illinois (+625)
  4. Michigan (+825)
  5. Iowa (+1800)
  6. Ohio State (+2200)

Click here to bet on every March Madness game and more with PointsBet.

2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Bracket

Click here for the full, printable PDF version of the 2021 men’s March Madness bracket.

              RELATED: 2021 NCAA women’s tournament bracket – TV schedule, tip times, dates

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NIL and NCAA: What to know about the new policy and how NBC Sports can help

NCAA College World Series
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As of July 1, 2021, a new NCAA policy has been in effect allowing student-athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image, and likeness (often referred to as NIL). As long as the activities are “consistent with the law of the state where the school is located,” athletes now have the opportunity to accept endorsements from brands, monetize their social media presences, and work with professional firms to coordinate deals.

Click here for additional information and guidelines regarding NCAA NIL policies and keep reading to find answers to questions such as how NIL works as well as how NBC Sports can help.

What is NIL and NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct is coming to a school near you. The program enables college student-athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) through a unique marketplace that connects athletes with advertisers. NBC Sports Athlete Direct will work to provide equal opportunities to all student-athletes, regardless of which team you play on or any statistical performance.

How will the NIL Marketplace work?

Advertisers will use NBC Sports Athlete Direct to make NIL offers available to college student-athletes. College student-athletes will then have the option to participate in the NIL offer. Those who decide to participate and complete the advertiser’s campaign requirements will be compensated based on a predetermined rate.

How much money can athletes make participating in NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Compensation will vary by advertiser campaign.

When will NBC Sports Athlete Direct launch and how can I sign up?

NBC Sports Athlete Direct will officially launch in the Fall of 2022 but prior to that, we will be launching a pilot program soon, exclusively for Temple and Vanderbilt student-athletes.

In the meantime, click here to fill out a student-athlete interest form and once it is available at your school, we will notify you and provide you with additional information on how to sign up.

If I participate in NIL offers from NBC Sports Athlete Direct, do I still have the freedom to do other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct?

Yes, this program is non-exclusive so our student-athletes will have the freedom to participate in other NIL deals that are not related to NBC Sports Athlete Direct.

What are the rules or restrictions for participating in this program?

Unfortunately, international students and students under the age of 18 are not eligible to participate in the pilot program at this time.

Kentucky to allow college athletes to earn off likeness

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday allowing the state’s college athletes – including players on the nationally renowned Kentucky and Louisville men’s basketball teams – to make money through the use of their name, image or likeness.

The Democratic governor said he took the action as a matter of fairness for college athletes. It will spare Kentucky’s colleges from being at a competitive disadvantage with rivals in other states that will have laws enabling athletes to profit off their name, image or likeness, he said.

“This is important to our student-athletes, who for decades, others – whether it’s companies or institutions – have profited on,” Beshear told reporters. “These athletes deserve to be a part of that.”

Beshear said his executive order takes effect July 1, when similar legislation passed in several other states will become law. His office said he was the first governor to make the change by executive order.

The governor’s action won praise from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. UK plays in the Southeastern Conference and UofL competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“Bringing the state of Kentucky into competitive balance with other states across the country and, more specifically, the Atlantic Coast Conference is critical,” Vince Tyra, U of L’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a release issued by the governor’s office.

UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said the governor’s action “provides us the flexibility we need at this time to further develop policies around name, image and likeness.”

“We are appreciative of that support, as it is a bridge until such time as state and/or federal laws are enacted,” Barnhart said in the same release from Beshear’s office. “The landscape of college sports is now in the midst of dramatic and historic change – perhaps the biggest set of shifts and changes since scholarships were first awarded decades ago.”

In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas, laws go into effect July 1 that make it impermissible for the NCAA and members schools to prevent athletes from being paid by third parties for things like sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances.

The NCAA had hoped for a national law from Congress that has not come, and its own rule-making has been bogged down for months. College sports leaders are instead moving toward the type of patchwork regulation they have been warning against for months.