NCAA Tournament Odds and Predictions - Sweet 16
by Dave Schwab - 3/21/2011
The initial field of 68 teams for this year’s NCAA Tournament has been pared down to the Sweet 16 survivors who will continue their quest for a national title this upcoming Thursday and Friday. The following is a brief look at all four matchups and provide some betting predictions for each day along with the NCAA Tournament odds as provided by Sportsbook.com.
Thursday, March 24
West Region - No.2 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No.3 Connecticut Huskies (-1) ‘Over/Under’ 129.5
San Diego State comes in as a slight underdog after surviving a scare from No.7 Temple in a 71-64 OT win as a 5 ½-point favorite. Connecticut looked unstoppable behind Kemba Walker’s 33 points in a 69-58 win over No.6 Cincinnati as a 3 ½-point favorite. Stick with the Huskies to extend their current seven-game winning streak with a victory over the Aztecs.
West Region- No.5 Arizona Wildcats vs. No.1 Duke Blue Devils (-8.5) ‘Over/Under’ 145
Arizona has already had to grind out two wins, including a 70-69 thriller over No. 4 Texas as a 5 ½-point underdog in which Derrick Williams led the way with a team-high 17 points. Duke had some problems of its own in a two-point 73-71 win over Michigan as a 12 ½-point favorite. The Blue Devils get things back in gear in this game behind another huge effort by Nolan Smith and a bigger contribution from Kyrie Irving.
Southeast Region- No.3 BYU Cougars vs. No.2 Florida Gators (2.5) ‘Over/Under’ 149
BYU has yet to really struggle with its leading rebounder Brandon Davies out of the lineup, mainly because of the elevated play of Jimmer Fredette. He put up 34 points in the Cougars’ 89-67 win over Gonzaga in a game they were favored by just one point. The Gators have looked solid in both of their wins, but take BYU and the points in a close one or a two-point game that could go either way.
Southeast Region- No.8 Butler Bulldogs vs. No.4 Wisconsin Badgers (-4) ‘Over/Under ‘124
Butler is up to its old tricks with a one-point 71-70 victory over No. 1 seed Pittsburgh as an eight-point underdog in the third round. Wisconsin is playing better than most people expected, especially in its 70-65 win over Kansas State as a 3 ½-point favorite. Jon Leuer has been a force for the Badgers, but Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack carry the Bulldogs back to the Elite Eight.
Friday, March 25
East Region- No.11 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No.2 North Carolina Tar Heels (-5) ‘Over/Under’ 148
Marquette, along with Connecticut are the only two teams left out of the 11 Big East teams that received bids. The Golden Eagles ousted one of their own in a 66-62 win over Syracuse as a 4 ½-point underdog, while North Carolina rode Tyler Zeller’s game-high 23 points to an 86-83 win over Washington as a four-point favorite. The Tar Heels balance on offense will prove too much for Marquette to overcome in this game.
East Region- No.4 Kentucky Wildcats vs. No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes (-5) ‘Over/Under ‘138.5
The youthful Wildcats continue to play beyond their years by first holding off Princeton, 59-57, as a 12 ½-point favorite and then dumping West Virginia, 84-76, as a 3 ½-point favorite. Ohio State has yet to really break a sweat in wins over UT-San Antonio and George Mason. The Buckeyes will have to work a bit harder in this one, but they win and cover the five points.
Southwest Region- No.12 Richmond Spiders vs. No.1 Kansas Jayhawks (-10.5) ‘Over/Under’ 138
Richmond took-out No.5 seed Vanderbilt, 69-66, as a three-point underdog and then eliminated one of the other upstarts in the bracket, Morehead State, 64-48, as a 4 ½-point favorite. Kansas cruised to victories in its first two games with double-digit wins. The Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, appear to be just warming up which spells bad news for the Spiders.
Southwest Region- No.11 VCU Rams vs. No.10 Florida State Seminoles (-4) ‘Over/Under’ 133
VCU has to feel vindicated from all the criticism about its at-large bid with three wins, including a 94-76 rout over Purdue as a 9 ½-point underdog, but you get the feeling this team wants more. Florida State knocked-out No.2 seed Notre Dame, 71-57, as a 4 ½-point underdog to ensure that a double-digit seed makes it into the Elite Eight. Stick with the Rams for at least one more game as they put an exclamation point on their recent statement.
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