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NCAA Sweet 16 - Preview and Odds of the Wild Week AheadPublished March 19, 2018 by Sol FH
The tournament that has been an underdogs' dream is down to the Sweet 16, and you can catch all the action this Friday and Saturday.
The first two rounds of the NCAA March Madness tournament was a complete bracket-buster. No one saw this coming, and there are no longer any perfect brackets out there. Who would've thought that Virginia (1) would be knocked out in the first round? And then, the drama got even weirder as Arizona (4), North Carolina (2), Cincinnati (2), MI State (3), and so many other top-ranked basketball programs would be out of the tournament prior to the Sweet 16? But that is the joy of NCAA March Madness basketball, and like it or not, it is a punters' dream.
It's an Underdog's Dream
Okay, so we have covered the nation's best teams to be knocked out of the tournament, but what about those that have made their way into the Sweet 16, and, what are their chances of moving on? There are six teams that have made it to this round that would be bracket-busters on any day of the week.
Syracuse Orange, No.11 Seed
The Orange made it from out of the First Four round, all the way to the Sweet 16. They shocked the world when they beat Arizona State and Dayton, but things really got interesting on Sunday when they beat Michigan State. One of the issues that teams are having against the Orange is Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense, which was the nail in the Spartans' coffin. Now, the Orange face Duke on Saturday at 2:37 GMT and the odds are still not in their favor as Betfair Sports has posted a 5.50 for Syracuse, and 1.14 for Duke.
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, No.11 Seed
The Ramblers have made it through to this round by the skin on their teeth and needed last-second shots to get them here. The last-minute shots were not at all through luck, as Donte Ingram knocked in a well-thought-out basket from the top of the key against Miami, and then against Tennessee, Clayton Custer got the game winner. The Ramblers' next game comes against Nevada on Friday, at 23:07 GMT and the odds are quite tight. For Loyola, Betfair Sports has posted at 2.20, while for Nevada the odds are 1.66.
Florida State Seminoles, No.9 Seed
The Seminoles were not expected to get past Missouri, whom many thought would actually beat Xavier in the Second Round. Instead, Florida State took out both teams, and in the game against Xavier, the Seminoles actually won quite easily 75-70. Now, Florida State needs to get through its next challenge in the match against Gonzaga in Los Angeles on Friday at 3:00 GMT. 888 Sport has Gonzaga as outright favorites to win at 1.40, while the Seminoles are at 2.95.
Kansas State Wildcats, No.9 Seed
The cards sort of fell into place for the Wildcats after UMBC's huge upset of Virginia. They beat Creighton in the First Round and followed up with a big win against UMBC. It would seem though that the Wildcats roar will be no more as they face Kentucky in the Sweet 16, and 888 Sport agrees and posted lopsided odds of 1.38 for Kentucky, and, 3.05 for Kansas State.
Nevada Wolf Pack, No.7 Seed
Already dubbed the comeback kings of the tournament, the Wolf Pack has needed two, come-from-behind wins against Texas (14-points), and Cincinnati (22-points) in rounds 1 and 2 respectively. As mentioned earlier, Nevada will face-off against fellow underdogs, Loyola in the Sweet 16.
Texas A&M Aggies, No.7 Seed
It may have taken all season long to find their stride, but, the Aggies look like they could do some damage in the tournament. They took out defending champions North Carolina by over 20-points, and now look like Final Four contenders. Of course, to make it to the next round, the Aggies will need to get past Michigan. Texas' front line of DJ Hogg, Robert Williams, and Tyler Davis is looking good enough to compete with any team on any given night. In the game against Michigan on Friday night at 23:37 GMT, Betfair Sports has sided with the Wolverines at 1.61, and for the Aggies at 2.25.
These are the biggest underdogs to make the Sweet 16 but don't forget to check out the games including Kansas vs Clemson, Villanova vs West Virginia, and Purdue vs Texas Tech.