The NCAA basketball odds are out for the NCAA Tournament, and we're looking at when might be the best time to bet against some of the top eight seeds advancing.
For those of you whose memories only stretch as far back as the latest episode of The Walking Dead, the last time all four No. 1 seeds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament made it to the Final Four is probably long lost inside your noggin muscles.
Those of you who do recall it happening know that the last time was the one and only time, 2008. The Final Four took place in nearby San Antonio, and I ventured down to the Riverwalk to soak in the atmosphere that Saturday when Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA fans heavily engaged in a pregame ritual of liver lubrication.
I bring that up because last Saturday, the subject came up when a few of us at the bar pondered if after this past season of zaniness, maybe chalk would rule during the tournament leading to the second time all four No. 1's went to the final weekend.
How Early Will Top Seeds Be Eliminated?
The consensus was no, we wouldn't see another top-seeded quartet in Houston this time like we saw a few ours west eight years ago, and the NCAA tournament odds on any seed combination were probably going to be something like a 64-ball lottery drawing given what we've experienced on the 2015-16 fixture.
Kansas won the '08 title, and both the Jayhawks and Tar Heels have the highest odds to be eliminated the earliest among the top 8 Nos. 1 and 2 seeds. Both teams are currently listed 50/1 at Ladbrokes to go home after just one game, known absurdly as the second round. Virginia is next at 40/1 followed Oregon (33/1); Michigan State and Villanova are each 20/1.
The two teams riding as chalk for a one-&-done appearance are Xavier (12/1) and Oklahoma (14/1). I expected the Sooners even lower than that since they're playing in Oklahoma City, and I have them advancing into next week, something we'll explore further when we continue with free NCAA tournament picks on the Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final four later this week.
Kansas' struggles the past two seasons as 2-seeds failing to make the Sweet 16 are well documented, but I'm not counting on a repeat this time. My bracket actually has all eight advancing into the Sweet 16, giving away half of that bunch. Perhaps 'Nova, which has also struggled historically in the tourney, is a good 4/1 play to go home after the third round should the Wildcats come up against No. 7 Iowa in the second round...if the Hawkeyes can rediscover the magic they enjoyed back in January. Xavier (2/1) might find it tough getting past No. 10 Pittsburgh at that stage.
Could Hoosiers Or Wildcats End UNC's Run?
Where Kansas may find its way out before reaching the Final Four in Houston two weeks from now is in the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks are 7/2 to halt their play at that point, and No. 5 seed Maryland is certainly a team I could see spoiling it for KU supporters in the South Region semis at Louisville.
Can Buddy Hield carry OU into the Final Four this time around? If so, a play on Oregon to be eliminated at 3/1 in the Elite Eight is an inviting play. My beloved Texas Aggies are also a part of the West Region as the No. 3 seed, and they could give Hield & Co. fits in the Sweet 16 where Oklahoma is 5/2 to be eliminated.
North Carolina's most likely opponents in the Sweet 16 are East Region Nos. 3 and 4 Indiana and Kentucky. The Tar Heels are 2/1 to leave the dance at that stage, and I like that happening assuming the Hoosiers and Wildcats get there.