Updated March Madness Betting Odds (Mar 20th)
What a wild weekend the first two rounds of the 2017 NCAA tournament gave us! Defending national champion — and top overall seed this year — Villanova is gone, swept away by Wisconsin. Tournament darling Duke is gone, upset by a South Carolina squad that had an awful second half of their SEC slate. Florida State survived Florida Gulf Coast University but got taken down by 11-seed Xavier. Thirty-win SMU fell in the first round in the last minute to USC. Michigan continues their magical run, having beaten Oklahoma State and Louisville to reach the Sweet 16. Let’s take a look at the updated March Madness odds to win it all — and some predictions for the next few weeks.
Updated March Madness Odds and Championship Predictions
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 20, 2017
Here are the newest odds for each of the Sweet 16 to make the Final Four:
North Carolina, Florida, Baylor 9-5
West Virginia 7-2
South Carolina 7-1
Butler, Xavier 8-1
Xavier’s presence makes them a true Cinderella story. Between February 5 and March 8, the only team the Musketeers beat was DePaul — one of the doormats of the Big East. But then they woke up in the Big East tournament, knocking off Butler. Then they took down Maryland by 11 points and Florida State by 25, thanks to the tremendous scoring of Trevor Bluiett. But what about Sean O’Mara? He’s been the seventh man all year, but he combined to score 29 points and pull down a dozen boards in the two tournament wins. Xavier needs to keep dominating the glass if they want to make it to Phoenix.
I’m kind of surprised by these odds for Baylor. They lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament, and they had a hard time with New Mexico State. They built a huge lead against USC in the first half but let it evaporate — before coming back to win by four. They can score in bunches, but their defense is highly suspicious. The fact that they get to play South Carolina instead of Duke could be seen as helpful — but it could also be seen as trouble for a team that doesn’t defend well. The Gamecocks have played lights-out offense in their first two games in the tournament and could send Baylor home just like they did Duke.
Did you know that no team that fell in its conference tournament opener has gone on to win the national title? Well, Kansas was missing Josh Jackson in their Big 12 opener and lost to TCU. But they demolished UC-Davis in their round of 64 game and then dismantled Michigan State by 20 in the second round. They have a bad habit of falling behind and having to claw back from the depths of a hole. Jackson and Frank Mason III need to start games with more energy instead of waiting for a deficit to spur them. If they can cure those problems, they might take home the big trophy from Phoenix.