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March Madness Odds: Conference Tournament Edition by Max
The Big Six Conferences are underway with early round action. Some teams are playing for seeding while others are just trying to make it into March Madness. In general, coaches do not like these tournaments because of the strain its puts on their players. Having to play three games in three days can wear down a team and produce an early exit once March Madness gets underway the following week.
Therefore it is imperative to take into consideration the coach when trying to handicap conference tournament games. Lute Olson of Arizona hates the Pac-10 Tournament and has only reached the finals once in the last three years despite having the most talented team. Three years ago he entered the tournament as a one seed and lost to the number eight seed in the quarterfinals. They turned out to be a blessing as the Wildcats reached the elite eight that season. Sometimes having to extra days to rest at home helps you in the first and second rounds.
The following will offer my predictions on what you can expect in the upcoming conference tournament. (Editor's note: This article was written on Thursday, March 10, 2005.)
March Madness -- ACC Tournament Odds
North Carolina 7/5
Wake Forest 2/1
Georgia Tech 7/1
NC State 20/1
Miami (FL) 150/1
Virginia Tech 30/1
Florida State 200/1
Analysis: Take North Carolina at 7/5. This team should breeze into the finals and then will either hit Duke or Wake Forest. Both of these teams will have to face two tough teams in order to win it all whereas Carolina should have only one competitive game. A sleeper may be Maryland, since this is a home game for them. But having to win four games in four days will be too much to ask and this team is not up to par with Terrapin teams for the past few years.
March Madness -- Big Ten Tournament Odds
Michigan State 3/1
Ohio State 20/1
Penn State 500/1
Analysis: Illinois suffered its first lost of the season last week in Columbus and now I believe this will give them the motivation to go out and win this tournament. They should play Michigan State in the finals and the Spartans do not believe they can beat this team. There is not much value in taking Illinois, but one must by default.
March Madness -- Big XII Tournament Odds
Kansas City, MO
Oklahoma State 9/5
Texas Tech 8/1
Iowa State 10/1
Texas A & M 18/1
Kansas St 50/1
Analysis: The tournament is wide open with no prohibited favorite. The team playing the best in the conference right now is the Oklahoma Sooners. They ended the season with two impressive road wins and are my choice to win the title. The Sooners have already beaten Kansas and Oklahoma State this season.
March Madness -- Big East Tournament Odds
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
Boston College 7/2
West Virginia 18/1
Analysis: I expect the chalk to walk through this tournament on Thursday. UCONN is playing the best basketball of anyone and have been blowing teams out of late. They should have Rashad Anderson back in limited action and that will propel them over the top. BC and Syracuse finished out the season poorly and UCONN has the edge over both of these teams. A sleeper to keep an eye out for is the Villanova/Pittsburgh winner. I believe the winner in this game will take out the number one seed on Friday night.
March Madness -- Pac-10 Tournament Odds
Los Angeles, CA
Arizona State 40/1
Oregon State 50/1
Field (Washington State + Arizona State) 40/1
Analysis: Which Arizona team will show up this weekend? All signs point to an Arizona/Washington final, and I like the Huskies chance if that develops. Washington has beaten Arizona four out of the last five games plays against each other and will get it done yet again.
March Madness -- SEC Tournament Odds
South Carolina 25/1
Mississippi State 6/1
Analysis: This tournament, like the Big XII is wide open and I do not feel Kentucky has enough offensive firepower to win it. My choice would be Alabama at 5/2. They have a pretty solid starting five and will not beat themselves. For a team to beat the Tide, they will have to earn it.