The Big Dance is underway, and if we want to have any value in our college basketball picks we must look towards the future. Today, we predict our Elite Eight participants.
Beasts Of The East
Villanova has been slated by the college basketball odds makers at 5Dimes as the team to beat in the East Region with a return of +182 to make it to the Final Four. Hot on the Wildcats' heels is Duke at +298 as the second seed. Though I would love to deliver a long shot like 15th seed Troy at +110,000 to win the region, I must come to my senses and back a much more likely winner. That team happens to be the Blue Devils as Coach K has been here many times before and has the horses to edge last season's champs Villanova and reclaim the crown they won in 2015.
NCAAB Free Pick: Duke +182
Best Lines Offered All: 5Dimes
Wild, Wild West
Gonzaga tops the bracket as the chalk in this group, slated as a +172 favorite to make it out of the West. But in order to do so, the Zag will have to get past the Wildcats of Arizona, slated as the second seed with a return of +275 according to 5Dimes. Though the Zags have proven to be a tough out and are battle-tested, we are siding with the Desert Cats. Gonzaga reeled off 29 straight before wilting in their regular-season finale as 20-point favorites against BYU. The competition will be stiffer, and Arizona has the chops to win as underdogs as the Cats did in their final two conference championship games against UCLA and Oregon.
NCAAB Free Pick: Arizona +275
Top-seeded Kansas may be the popular choice to back in your college basketball picks, but we are eschewing the Jayhawks and predicting they will fold to the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers before they even get to the Midwest Final. Purdue's opponents will hail from Louisville as the Cardinals have a clear path to the Elite Eight with only a paper tiger in Oregon standing in their way. When the dust settles, Purdue will win the day.
NCAAB Free Pick: Purdue +705
Perhaps the most widely backed team in the tournament to win the national championship is North Carolina. Yes, this is a wide-open affair and there are no locks this season, with upsets a virtual certainty, yet the Heels are the pundits' choice to win the title. However, they were edged by Kentucky in the middle of the season, and we see it happening all over again as the Wildcats looked dominating in their conference tournament run to win their 30th SEC title. We will back the No. 2 seed in the South and go with the Cats in this one.