6 days and 52 games later, the Las Vegas odds on March Madness 2014 reveal the carnage that lays in the wake of the incredible upsets we have seen so far this year. The #11 Dayton Flyers continue to soar, and after knocking off #6 Ohio State in the first round, they probably would’ve been content if they lost to powerful #3 Syracuse. However, after a one point victory over OSU, they scored a two point win over the Orangemen. And as luck would have it, or destiny, #10 Stanford edged #2 Kansas in another huge upset, which puts Stanford and Dayton head-to-head in what will probably be a great game. In another upset that delivered a Sweet Sixteen spot, #8 Kentucky edged #1 Wichita State 78 – 76 to send the previously undefeated Shockers home in shocking fashion. UK gets #4 Louisville Friday, March 28 in Sweet 16 action.
Tennessee Goes From Play-In Game to Sweet Sixteen
In our last post we pointed out that “if any one of the four play-in teams can advance, it is probably going to be #11 Tennessee, taking on #6 Massachusetts Friday afternoon (March 21).” That indeed did happen, as the Vols slaughtered the Minutemen by 19, then beat an out-manned Mercer squad by 20 to earn a sweet 16 berth. They get #2 Michigan Friday, who has also won easily so far. #7 seed UCONN upset #2 Villanova, and they play #3 Iowa State, who just edged #6 NC by 2. Other Sweet Sixteen action shows #4 Michigan State playing #1 Virginia in the East, an improving #1 Florida taking on a high-scoring #4 UCLA Bruins squad in the South, and #1 Arizona contesting #4 San Diego State in the West. Also in the West, #6 Baylor, who upset and crushed #3 Creighton by 30, earns the right to play a #2 Wisconsin team who is averaging 80 points a game.
Overtime Tourney Record, Duke Heading Home Early, SEC Representing
With 5 overtimes in the round of 64 (a tourney record) , #3 Duke getting bedeviled and upset by mid-major and #14 seed Mercer, as well as #10 Stanford and #11 Dayton overcoming a combined 24 seed spot disadvantage to advance, the madness of March has been memorable. Stanford and Dayton play head-to-head in their Sweet 16 matchup, guaranteeing that either a 10 or 11 seed will advance to the Elite Eight in the South, for the right to play either Florida or UCLA. And to continue the craziness, the often called “football only” SEC has placed 3 teams in the Sweet Sixteen in UF, Kentucky and Tennessee. I am pretty certain the Tennessee Vols fans that were begging for Coach Cuonzo Martin’s beheading a few weeks ago are probably just happy they did not get their wish.
March Madness Upset Every Four Games
There have been a full 13 upsets so far, meaning a lower seed beats a higher seed, sometimes much higher, once every 4 games in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney. And in the bottom half of the South region, The Cardinal and the Flyers have wrecked that portion of the bracket. Showing no regard for the NCAA Selection Committee, both teams have won with stout defense, ball control and a set-up offense (old school ball, in other words). And the Vegas odds on NCAAB teams left in the tourney have to show The Gators in the South, Michigan State in the East and Arizona in the West as the odds on favorites to win the whole tournament. Whoever prevails in the Florida UCLA matchup this coming Friday will be rewarded with either Stanford or Dayton. While those last two teams seem to be on a course with destiny, not every March Madness Cinderella ends up like the Wolfpack in 1983. This bodes well for the Gators and the Bruins.
Louisville, Wisconsin Getting Favorable Match-ups?
Considering the remainder of the teams playing in the Sweet 16, Louisville in the Midwest as a #4 seed bears a closer look. They are getting a Kentucky squad which only scored 56 in its first round victory against Kansas State. And while Kentucky did beat Wichita State by two points and scored 78, many felt the Shockers were an overrated team. The Cardinals can punch their ticket to the Elite Eight with a victory over the Blue Devils Friday. Their reward would be either a #11 Tennessee team, or the more probable team, #2 Michigan. You know Louisville will be rooting for the Volunteers to get just one more upset in the tournament. And if Wisconsin can get past Baylor Friday, the Badgers are scoring 80 points a game. They would get either an Arizona (77 points per game) or San Diego State (68 PPG) team that has played inferior competition so far, and that could mean a Wisconsin Final Four appearance.