Sweet 16 Bump: The Teams Whose NCAA Title Odds Improved the Most
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
The 2018 NCAA Tournament has certainly lived up to the March Madness moniker, highlighted by Virginia’s loss, as a 20-point favorite, to 16-seed UMBC in the Round of 64. Not only is Virginia, the top overall seed, out of the tournament, but so is fellow 1-seed Xavier.
Two-seeds also had a rough weekend, with Cinncinnati and North Carolina, the defending national champs, also out.
With so much Madness, let’s take a look at updated odds to win the NCAA Tournament, compared to numbers from before the tourney tipped off.
Kentucky (+2300 to +725)
Kentucky really hasn’t beaten anyone yet (wins over 12-seed Davidson and 13-seed Buffalo), but it significantly benefits from UMBC taking out 1-seed Virginia. The Wildcats are -270 to advance past Kansas State in the Sweet 16, then will be favored again over the Loyola Chicago-Nevada winner in the Elite Eight.
Also helping Kentucky is that 1-seed Xavier and 2-seed North Carolina are already out of the West Region, meaning easier potential matchups in the Final Four.
Gonzaga (+2500 to +825)
Similar to Kentucky, Gonzaga’s odds are greatly improved due to the carnage in their region. As mentioned above, the top-two seeds in the West Region are gone, meaning Gonzaga’s path the Final Four requires a win over Florida State, as a -240 favorite, followed by a matchup with the winner of Michigan-Texas A&M.
Texas A&M (+15000 to +3300)
Time for a long shot! Texas A&M did its own dirty work by crushing North Carolina in the Round of 32 and now gets a date with third-seeded Michigan. Texas A&M, a 7-seed, is just a 3-point underdog and could realistically march on to the Elite Eight.
Top Photo: Kentucky Wildcats guard Hamidou Diallo (3) reacts after a shot during the second half against the Buffalo Bulls during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament; credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports