The Sweet 16 is upon us and look for the next Cinderella to not only thrill us but add to our bankroll as we peruse the college basketball odds while looking to strike in our NCAA basketball picks.
West Virginia vs. Kentucky
This Midwest region clash features the top ranked Wildcats taking on the number five seeded Mountaineers. As we review the NCAA Tournament odds in this one the heavy favorite is Kentucky harnessed with a 13-point handicap. While it is conceivable WVU could hang around long enough to cover they certainly won’t be derailing the freight train that is Kentucky.
Wichita State vs. Notre Dame
Seventh seeded Wichita State is actually a 1 ½ point favorite over number three seeded Notre Dame. The Shockers came into last year’s NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record but were ousted by the Wildcats in the Round of 32. This season the Shockers were shocked in the Missouri Valley Conference semi-final by Illinois State but have rebounded in the Big Dance with wins over Indiana and most recently second-seeded Kansas. Regardless which team wins neither outcome would be considered an upset as the college basketball odds makers have installed Wichita State as 1 ½ point favorites as of this writing. My money is on the Shockers.
NC State vs. Louisville
Here we have the savvy, wily and uber successful college basketball tactician Rick Pitino as he guides his Cardinals through the tumultuous waters of the NCAA tournament. They will meet a Wolfpack from NC State that recently stunned number one seed Villanova as 9 ½ point underdogs in college basketball odds. The Cards are only 2 ½ point favorites here but I believe they will catch an NC State team that will still be reveling in what will be their shining moment of the tourney. Louisville continues while eighth-seeded NC State sees their dream end here.
Michigan State vs. Oklahoma
As long as Tom Izzo is roaming the sidelines don’t ever count out MSU. And it is exactly that reason why the 7th seeded Spartans are actually two-point favorites over the Sooners here. This one is too close to call but whichever team advances it won’t be an upset.
UNC vs. Wisconsin
The Tar Heels have a legendary pedigree in college basketball lore but they will be walking into a buzz-saw when they tip off against the Wisconsin Badgers. However, this is one game that I could see the Heels winning outright despite their six-point underdog status. The West’s top seed Wisonsin was not dominant against Oregon in their last game and failed to cover the all-important number though they did win 72-65. I think we could see a Cinderella bedecked in blue and white hailing from Chapel Hill.
Xavier vs. Arizona
The Wildcats of Arizona have been money this season for their backers in their NCAA tournament picks and the 10 ½ point impost in their upcoming tilt with Xavier reflects that. While covering the number in this one may prove difficult, winning outright will not.
Utah vs. Duke
It’s hard for me to be unbiased here as I have the Blue Devils winning the National Championship but Utah is a game group that could give them a few issues here. However, the number one seed in the South should move on and cover the five-point impost over 5th seeded Utah.
UCLA vs. Gonzaga
The Bruins appear to be channeling the ghost of John Wooden as they advance to the Sweet 16 but truth be told they only narrowly edged sixth-seeded SMU in the tournament’s opening round and then got a gift from above when 14th seeded UAB shocked three-seed Iowa State. The Bruins had no problems whatsoever with the Blazers as they steamrolled their way to a 92-75 whitewashing. However, now they are pitted against the second-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs and the 8 ½ point spread appears to be right on the money. While I wouldn’t bet this game I would say that it appears the end of the road is nigh for the Bruins.