Updated NCAA basketball futures odds are out for the 16 remaining teams in the Big Dance, and we're looking for which schools have the most value on the board to win it all.
If we didn't already call this time of year March Madness, we surely would now following a crazy first week of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. There wasn't the 16 seed upset of a No.1 that many predicted we might see, but there was a single day in which 13-14-15 seeds all won, we saw several buzzer beaters that counted and one that didn't, plus the largest comeback in the final 60 seconds ever witnessed on a college basketball court.
One look at my bracket reveals just how maddening the weekend was. Seven of the eight teams I had going to the Sweet 16 from the South and East regions made it, while only three of eight from the East and Midwest are still in the hunt for the National Championship. And to think, we still have 15 more games of this year's tourney to go before we call it a wrap and begin thinking about next season.
'Cuse & 'Zags Matched Up As Double-Digit Seeds
Which brings us to the final 16 schools vying for this year's crown and updated NCAA tournament odds for the rest of the tournament. It's a unique collection compared to all previous Sweet 16's with plenty of Blue Bloods on the college hoops circuit still remaining. All four No.1's remain in contention, and the only two teams lower than a No.7 seed will play each other to see which one goes to the Elite Eight.
So which team has the most value with the current odds? We must first remember that only one team, the won that eventually winds up cutting down the next two weeks from now in Houston, has any value. But a good place to start just might be the two 10-11 seeds that will meet in the lower half of the Midwest Region.
Syracuse and Gonzaga each has a long history of solid basketball behind them, though they both entered this year's tourney following somewhat down seasons. Many didn't even think the No.10 Orange should be in the Big Dance, yet here they are heading to Chicago and picked as a 30/1 choice to keep the good times rolling.
Mark Few and the No.11 Bulldogs have a fairly long history of petering out quick in the NCAA tournament to go with their long history of basketball excellence. Gonzaga is a very experienced team that made it look relatively easy in getting by a red-hot Seton Hall teams before routing Utah, and the 'Zags are priced at 20/1 to win their first title.
Will All 4 No.1 Seeds Make It To Houston?
Kansas (+300), North Carolina (+350), Virginia (+350) and Oregon (+1000) are the four No.1 seeds still in the mix. If you're among those who believe the finals will pit two usual suspects, then you're going to want to take a look at putting your money on either the Jayhawks or the Tar Heels. Each will be taking on a Big Ten school in the next round, Kansas taking on Maryland (+2500) and UNC going up against Indiana (+2000). Considering the tough time Big Ten teams have had already, it's easy to imagine both the Jayhawks and Heels advancing to the Elite Eight...and even deeper.
Oregon certainly provides the best return of the No.1 seeds, and the Ducks next get Duke (+1200) after the Blue Devils survived against Yale in the Round of 32. Virginia just might have the easiest road to reach the Final Four; the Cavaliers meet No.4 Iowa State (+2500) before taking on the winner of the Syracuse-Gonzaga matchup.
I don't see any value in either No.6 Notre Dame or No.7 Wisconsin who collide Friday in Philadelphia and both fetching a +3000 price. The winner takes on the UNC-Indiana victor.
The games I'm most keen in seeing are in the lower halves of the South and West regions. No.3 Texas A&M (+1200) pulled off the most stunning comeback in NCAA history with a win over upset-minded Northern Iowa, and now clash with No.2 Oklahoma (+600) to see who meets Oregon-Duke. No.2 Villanova (+1200) next takes on No.3 Miami (+2500), and I'm still in love with the depth and experience on the Wildcats' side, at least enough to make them one of my NCAA tournament picks. I would have to say that my picks this time are Villanova (+1200) and Virginia (+350).