Another year, another run of chaos in the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. We have a 15-seed in the Sweet 16, as Princeton used a measured pace to take down Arizona and Missouri. We almost had a 16-seed in the Sweet 16, as Fairleigh Dickinson followed up their upset of Purdue by hanging with Florida Atlantic until the last minutes of regulation. Michigan State has their worst defense in several years, but Tom Izzo has the Spartans in the Sweet 16 once again. Kansas, another 1-seed, didn’t make it to the second weekend. How should you plan your sports betting now? We have the updated March Madnes odds for each of the remaining teams to cut down the nets as national champions in Houston, along with thoughts about some of the contenders.
NCAA News: Updated Odds to Win March Madness (Sweet 16 Edition)
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+350|
|UCLA Bruins, Connecticut Huskies||+900|
|Texas Longhorns, Creighton Bluejays||+1000|
|Gonzaga Bulldogs, Tennessee Volunteers||+1100|
|Michigan State Spartans, Arkansas Razorbacks||+3000|
|San Diego State Aztecs, Xavier Musketeers||+3500|
|Florida Atlantic Owls, Miami Hurricanes||+4500|
Princetonis the darkest horse, and for good reason. This season, they lost to Brown, Delaware and Dartmouth, who are ranked 173rd, 234th and 260th according to KenPom, respectively. How did the Tigers knock off two elite programs? Tempo control. Arizona was up by double digits fairly late in the second half, but they couldn’t build their lead, and the Tigers used their anxiety to chip away. Missouri was down by double digits and just couldn’t get the possessions they needed to come back. Ball security is also a plus – the team only turns the ball over 8.8 times per game.
Miamiis the only ACC team left in the tournament. That’s right – no Duke, no North Carolina (the Tar Heels didn’t make it at all). No Virgina. No Louisville. The return of Norchad Omier has been huge for the Hurricanes, as he has 19 points and 31 boards combined in the two tournament games. Isaiah Wong dropped 27 on Indiana in the second round, giving the Hurricanes their fifth Sweet 16 berth ever. The defense has been an issue this season, but it has been stout in the tournament. If that could continue, the Hurricanes could scare Houston, and perhaps push an injury-plagued Cougars team out the door.
San Diego Stateis another dark horse that could prove dangerous. Their defense limited Furman to 52 points in a 23-point shellacking in the second round. The Aztecs have won six in a row; over that stretch, they have permitted just 85 points per 100 possessions. They also shoot 60.5% as a team from inside the arc. We’ll see how that defense holds against a high-flying Alabama team on Friday.
Arkansashas now made it to three Sweet 16 rounds in three seasons, which seemed unlikely this year on March 4. The Razorbacks had just finished a stretch of going 8-11. However, during that time, Arkansas opponents only made 46% of their shots inside the arc. Davonte Davis dropped 21 on Kansas in the second half, and with Ricky Council IV, Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr all likely headed to the NBA draft, this is a team waking up at just the right time.
Texasdidn’t seem like a team headed far in the tournament with Rodney Terry leading the team in an interim role. In the Longhorns’ win over Penn State on Saturday, we saw how Timmy Allen shut down Jalen Pickett, holding him to just 11 points. Dylan Disu had a monster 28-10 game. The Longhorns have won eight of their last ten, including a pair of wins over Kansas. It’s been 20 years since Texas has appeared in a Final Four, and they have a relatively friendly matchup against Xavier on Friday that should see them move to the Elite Eight.
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