What an incredible first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament! Buzzer-beaters and big comebacks galore. How could you lose that game Northern Iowa?! Let's break down the four teams left in the Midwest Region and their Betting odds remaining.
Oddsmakers Respect Midwest The Least
The four schools left in the region move on to Chicago for games on Friday: No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Iowa State and No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Syracuse. The Zags and Orange are the only two double-digit seeded teams left in the Big Dance. No. 2 seed Michigan State was the pre-tournament favorite to win the Midwest and would have had a huge fan advantage in Chicago with such a large group of Spartans alums living in that area and the fact it's only about a four-hour drive from campus.
But MSU was absolutely shocked in Round 1 by No.15 Middle Tennessee, 90-81. It wasn't a fluke, either, as the Blue Raiders never trailed once. They were no match in the Round of 32, however, against Syracuse, which rolled 75-50. Remember, a lot of people were heavily complaining that the Orange got into the NCAA Tournament at all. They are one of six ACC teams left, a record for one conference in the Sweet 16. And none of those teams play each other in this round. An all-ACC Final Four is very possible.
Virginia, which had to love that Michigan State was knocked out because the Spartans beat the Cavaliers in the previous two NCAA Tournaments, is now the +100 favorite for the region with odds from BetOnline. That the national champion comes from the Midwest is +325, the longest shot of the four regions. The South (No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Miami, No. 5 Maryland) is +175, with the East at +260 (No. 1 North Carolina, No. 5 Indiana, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Wisconsin) and the West (No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Duke) at +300. The Midwest winner plays the East winner in the Final Four. That could mean a third meeting this season between Virginia and North Carolina. The Wahoos beat visiting UNC 79-74 on Feb. 27 but lost to the Tar Heels 61-57 in the ACC Tournament title game. Virginia is now the third-favorite to win it all at +550, behind only Kansas and UNC (both +375).
That all four seeds make the Final Four is +1500 on NCAA basketball picks and no is -5000 on the NCAA basketball odds. That has happened just once, in 2008. That at least one No. 1 makes the Final Four is -1400 and no +700.
Iowa State is +2500 to win it all and +400 to take the Midwest Region. The Cyclones have not been challenged much yet in winning their two games by 30 points. But that was against No. 13 Iona and No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock. Bit of a step up in competition against UVA on Friday. I will preview that game here at SBR. To think, many Cyclones backers were disappointed when the school hired Murray State's Steve Prohm to replace Fred Hoiberg as the team's head coach. ISU is in its fifth Sweet 16 and second in three seasons.
Gonzaga is +2000 to win it all and +250 in the Midwest Region. The Zags likely would have been NIT-bound had they not beaten Saint Mary's in the West Coast Tournament title game. The Gaels had won both regular-season games and are in the NIT quarterfinals Tuesday. Gonzaga has won its two games by 39 points.
Finally, Syracuse is a +4000 long shot to win the national title and +650 in this region in the NCAA basketball futures market . The Orange have won their two games by 44 points. That patented 2-3 zone has been devastating thus far. Both Dayton and Middle Tennessee scored season lows in points in those losses to the Orange. That Syracuse or one of the other five ACC teams wins the tournament is the +110 favorite. The conference long shot is Gonzaga's West Coast Conference at +2000. I will also be previewing Gonzaga-Syracuse here at SBR.