Underdogs not only upset the NCAA basketball odds, they destroy a lot of brackets, some of them very early on. Who are the remaining bracket busters at the Big Dance?
If last week's picks for the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament had been split up like an SAT test, I'd have scored very high picking the teams who fill out the Sweet 16 in the South and West Regions, but flunked in the East and Midwest.
Seven of my eight picks remaining in the South and West made it, the only miss there being No. 11 seed and play-in Wichita State upsetting No. 3 Miami (FL) in the Round of 32. It took a little luck, and the tourney's biggest comeback ever by Texas A&M to get seven of the eight right, but it worked.
My only three picks on the other side of the bracket to get here were No. 1 North Carolina in the East Region plus No. 1 Virginia and No. 11 Gonzaga in the Midwest. And as some of you will recall, I had a rematch of the Big Ten Tournament Final for the Midwest Championship between No. 2 Michigan State and No. 5 Purdue, those plans wrecked by No. 15 Middle Tennessee and No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock.
No. 4 Kentucky was another selection to reach this point in the East, letting me down a little bit. It was No. 3 West Virginia and No. 10 Pittsburgh who dirtied my original East Sweet 16 the most, however, not to mention No. 11 Michigan, the Wolverines blowing a 12-point lead to fall to No. 6 Notre Dame in the opening round.
Still Seeing 1-2 Advancing In West Region
But, that's the beauty of college basketball betting, even if your bracket has pretty much turned to crapola, there are still more chances to pick up the pieces and make a little money with wagers on the Elite Eight. For consistency, I'm going to stick with my earlier picks in both the South and West regions.
That would mean just one upset according to the NCAA Tournament Odds in the four games that get underway March 24 in Louisville with a 7:10 PM (ET) tip between Villanova and Miami. The Wildcats are -4 favorites at BetOnline where Kansas is -6½ against Maryland in the nightcap. I've still got 'Nova and the Terrapins advancing.
Out West, Oklahoma is drawing a bucket's worth of chalk over Texas A&M for the early game (7:37 PM ET) in Anaheim. Oregon is -3 vs. Duke in the second Honda Center matchup. I was on a 1-2 matchup a week ago, and still like both the Ducks and Sooners to collide Saturday in the finals.
ACC Could Rule Both East & Midwest
It's practically a reboot in the other two regions, both of which could produce All-ACC Finals, and we'll start in the Midwest where Virginia and No. 4 Iowa State get Saturday's action rolling with a 7:10 PM (ET) battle at Chicago's United Center. The Cavaliers are 5 point favorites against the Cyclones, that matchup followed by Gonzaga giving up 4½ against Syracuse.
I'm a huge Tony Bennett fan and will let my heart dictate the former with Virginia getting past Iowa State. Both the Bulldogs and Orange played well in the first two rounds, and I see the game closer than the spread. Give me the 'Zags for my free NCAA Tournament Pick.
Notre Dame is favored by just 1 in the first East Region semifinal at Philadelphia on Friday (7:27 PM ET). I'll take the mild upset here with the Badgers, my heart once again winning out plus the fact the Fighting Irish didn't impress me much last week. In the second game, North Carolina is 6 point chalk vs. Indiana, and I'll ride the Tar Heels to dispatch the Hoosiers.
My NCAA Tournament Picks: SOUTH (Villanova, Maryland); WEST (Oregon, Oklahoma); MIDWEST (Virginia, Gonzaga); EAST (North Carolina, Wisconsin)