Well, folks. It’s time. March Madness is officially here. Following Selection Sunday, the field of 68 teams is set and the four play-in games will happen on March 14 and 15.
Here, we’ll look at the Midwest Region, which features one play-in game for the No. 11 seed between Mississippi State and Pittsburgh.
For the Midwest Region, we’ll go over the odds, upset prediction, and our top picks to win the region, using odds courtesy of WynnBET.
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Midwest Region Odds to Win Region
Miami FL: +1200
Texas A&M: +1200
Iowa State: +1500
Mississippi State: +6000
Kent State: +10000
Kennesaw State: +100000
Northern Kentucky: +200000
Round of 64 Upset Prediction
Upset Pick: No. 12 Drake over No. 5 Miami FL
Going over the region, we think we’ve found the notorious “12 over 5” upset in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Since 1985, the No. 12 seed has upset the No. 5 seed 51 times, equivalent to 36.4% of the time.
The Drake Bulldogs are 27-7 on the year and rank 32nd in the nation in opponent points per game at 63.9. Offensively, Drake is inside the top 100, averaging 75.3 points per game.
While Miami may have the better offense, they fall far behind the Bulldogs in points allowed per game, allowing 71.7.
The Hurricanes move up and down the court quickly and can create turnovers, but Drake is quite good at handling the ball, ranking 22nd in turnovers with just 10.5 per game.
On the injury front, the Hurricanes may be without Norchad Omier, who injured his ankle on March 10.
Without him, Drake, led by guard Tucker DeVries’ 19 points per game, could do just enough to upset Miami.
Picks to Win Midwest Region
Texas Longhorns: +250
At +250 odds, the Longhorns are a safe bet. Their toughest matchup ahead of Elite Eight, with who could likely be Houston, is the Texas A&M Aggies should they beat Penn State.
The Aggies were snubbed receiving the No. 7 seed, but the Longhorns are one of the best 31 offensive teams in the nation and rank sixth in the KenPom ranking system.
Based on their part of the bracket, the Longhorns have a great chance to represent the Midwest in the Final Four.
Houston Cougars: +110
The Midwest is truly the Cougars part of the bracket to lose, but they’ll need Marcus Sasser on the court. As we saw in the AAC Championship, without him, the Cougars lost to Memphis.
With Sasser on the court, the Cougars offense does just enough, and their defense, which is second-best in the nation, continues to thrive.
Auburn Tigers: +2500
The Committee seemed to overlook something when placing Auburn in this part of the bracket—the location.
During the Midwest portion of the bracket, games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama, effectively giving Auburn numerous home games.
If they can get past an offensive-driven Iowa team, they have a real chance to, at home (effectively), upset the Cougars if their top 70 defense comes through and their offense gets it going—they average 72.7 points per game (156th).
At +2500, they’re worth a dart throw for the home-court advantage alone.