Our analyst takes a look at the futures odds for winning the NCAA Tournament East Region. Go inside to find out which of the three teams have a chance of beating North Carolina.
We’ve reached the “Sweet 16” portion of the NCAA Tournament, and let’s take a look at the updated NCAA Basketball futures odds to win the East Region. The East Semifinal games take place on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and the Regional Final is slated for Sunday. The regional semifinals will have the feel of an ACC versus Big Ten Challenge. The #7 seed Wisconsin (22-12) will square off with #6 Notre Dame (23-11) at 7:25 PM ET. That contest will be followed by #5 Indiana (27-7) and top seeded North Carolina (30-6) slated for a 9:55 PM ET start.
North Carolina (-150)
North Carolina unequivocally has the most imposing front line of any remaining team in the NCAA Tournament, let alone the East Region. As a matter of fact, according to NCAA Tournament futures odds at TheGreek, they’re currently the co-favorite along with fellow ACC member Virginia at odds of +350 to win it all. Friday’s game against Indiana, for all intents and purposes, will be their toughest obstacle in advancing to the “Final Four”. Neither Notre Dame nor Wisconsin comes close to the combination of size and athleticism that North Carolina’s big men collectively possess. However, at odds of -150 to win two games, I can find far more betting value elsewhere for one of my NCAA Tournament picks. If the Tar Heels are on top of their game, they will be on cruise control to Houston for the “Final Four”.
The Hoosiers have the ability to knock off North Carolina for a couple of fundamental reasons. They’re a solid rebounding team, and their three point shooting prowess is arguably the best in all of college basketball. Indiana’s big men aren’t anywhere near athletic as the Tar Heels, but they have the personnel to at least neutralize North Carolina on the boards. Thomas Bryant is a superbly talented freshmen center for Indiana. The problem with Bryant, he’s been prone to foul trouble, limiting his minutes and overall effectiveness this season. If Bryant can stay on the floor for at least thirty minutes, Indiana will have a realistic chance to beat North Carolina. If he reverts back to being undisciplined defensively, and is forced to sit for prolonged stretches because of foul trouble, Indiana will be hard pressed to be competitive for an entire 40 minutes. They say the great equalizer for a college basketball underdog is an ability to knock down a high percentage of three point shots. Well if that’s the case, Indiana is #2 nationally in that category at 40.2%, and that makes them a dangerous underdog against North Carolina. If they were to be so fortunate and advance, they stack up very well against either Notre Dame or Wisconsin.
Notre Dame (+3000)
Notre Dame was able to overcome a 12 point half time deficit to beat Michigan by 7 in the first round. Then on Sunday, they needed a last second tip in to win by 1 over #14 seed Stephen F. Austin. Even if they get by Wisconsin, they’ll have to face either a North Carolina team that blew them out 78-47 in the ACC Tournament, or Indiana who it fell to 80-73 earlier this season. Mike Brey has done a terrific job at Notre Dame, and his team is on the cusp of reaching the “Elite 8” for the second consecutive year. Brey and his teams should be commended for that accomplishment. Even at these enticing odds offered at top rated sportsbooks, money can be better wagered on another team at an underdog price on the NCAA Basketball odds, and which has a more realistic chance of boarding a flight to Houston.
Wisconsin was down 26-16 at halftime of their first round game versus Pittsburgh. To their credit, they came back and won 47-43. It must be noted, their 16 points was the lowest scored by any team during a first half of a game in NCAA Tournament history. They followed that up with a thrilling buzzer beating win over #2 seed Xavier on Sunday. Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig’s three point shot tied the game with 11 seconds left to play, and Koenig performed an encore by hitting a fade away jumper from the corner at the final horn. If you would’ve asked Badgers head coach Gary Gard when his team was 9-9 earlier this season, about a possibility of reaching the “Sweet 16”, he would’ve advised you to a top notch psychiatrist for mental evaluation. The Badgers have been a nice story this year, overcoming much adversity, and do have a very good chance of even reaching the “Elite 8”. However, Wisconsin will hit a roadblock before they can even make reservations for Houston.