With March Madness taken literally, which team wins NCAA Tournament? Odds still back Gonzaga, Baylor
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So, this is what they mean by March Madness.
Which team is going to lift the NCAA Men’s Basketball national championship trophy on April 5? Even with the field cut down by 75 percent, from 64 to 16, heading into the Sweet 16 Saturday and Sunday, it is still a tough call to say which team is going to be champion.
I can tell you which ones will not be winning: top seed Illinois, second seeds Ohio State and Iowa, and every other team from the Big 10 bar Michigan.
All anyone heard about this season (outside of Gonzaga and Baylor) was how good the greatest league ever was. The Big 10 was going to have all four Final Four places, and one of the teams was going to win the title.
Maybe the league should be called the Big Fraud. Since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985 (35 years), the Big 10 has won three titles, and two of them were in 1987 and 1989. Michigan State won the last national title for the conference in 2000. Including that title year, the Big 10 has placed 16 teams in the Final Four (of 80 spots), with Michigan State accounting for seven of those appearances.
But I digress: right now, it is looking like a possible Texas two-step on one side of the bracket, with top seed Baylor (South) and second seed Houston (Midwest) on a Final Four collision course.
Interestingly, those are two of the three current favorites in the futures betting odds. Baylor is second choice at odds of around +400 with most New Jersey sportsbooks, while Houston is the third choice at odds of around +700 betting odds.
Of course, top overall seed Gonzaga (West) is the first choice at +200 (based on William Hill NJ predictions), and looking very much like the favorite heading into the Sweet 16.
Are you still looking for a long shot play?
There are plenty in the MidwestRegion, with three seeds eighth or lower heading to the Sweet 16. Twelveth seed Oregon State has continued its late season form, stunning both Tennessee and Oklahoma State last weekend. The Beavers get tournament darlings Loyola-Chicago, looking to go to its second Final Four in three tournaments. Houston gets 11th seed Syracuse in the bottom half of the Midwest Region.
What about 15th seed Oral Roberts? The Golden Eagles have beaten Ohio State and Florida, and get Arkansas next.
Right now, though, I still have to stick with my original pick to win the tournament, Gonzaga. While two of my four Final Four picks are out, the Zags are still in it (as is Florida State), and you can double your money backing them to win the title.
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