The NCAA Tournament has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and the field is set. After this upcoming weekend, we’ll know who the winners of each region are to represent the Final Four.
Here, we’ll look at the updated odds of winning the tournament and make some picks for our favorite games on the slate.
All odds are courtesy of WynnBET.
Updated Odds to Win NCAA Tournament
Kansas State: +2500
Michigan State: +3000
Florida Atlantic: +4000
Miami FL: +4000
San Diego State: +4000
Sweet Sixteen: Expert Picks for March 23
Creighton vs. Princeton
This year’s Cinderella Story has been the Princeton Tigers, a No. 15 seed knocked off No. 2 Arizona and No. 7 Missouri. However, they’ll face a Creighton team that ranks 12th in the KenPom rankings and is one of the better offenses in the country. They dropped 85 points on Baylor in the Round of 32. They got scoring from multiple sources—everyone in their starting five averages double-digit points. For Creighton, Ryan Nembhard put up 30 against Baylor, and the big man, Ryan Kalkbrenner, added 10 and seven rebounds.
Princeton has played well, too, of course. Ryan Langborg put up 22 against Missouri.
Creighton is a solid defensive team, though, allowing just 93.3 points per 100 possessions. They’re known exactly known for defending three-point shots well, but Princeton ranks 184th in three-point percentage.
If Princeton wants a chance at winning this game, they’ll need to find their groove from deep, which I’m not sure they can do—they did shoot over 36% against Missouri, but they’re a terrible defense compared to Creighton.
Prediction: Creighton wins, 85-77 (the odds are currently unavailable).
Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic
If we had to pick one lock of the week, it’s Tennessee over Florida Atlantic.
FAU has had a great run as a No. 9 seed, but their trek here has been, well, interesting. They beat a higher-seed Memphis (No. 8) team in the opening round, but they drew Fairleigh Dickinson in the Round of 32 after they knocked off Purdue. Now, they’ll face a stout Tennessee defense.
KenPom ranks Tennessee as the No. 6 team in the country and No. 1 in defensive efficiency, allowing just 87 points per 100 possessions. On a per-game average, Tennessee holds teams to 57.8 points per game.
FAU has the upper hand in offensive efficiency, as they average 113.9 points per 100 possession compared to Tennessees’ 111.7. Still, their defense allows close to 13 points more per 100 possessions.
Tennessee is a dangerous team as this tournament advances.
Best Bet: Tennessee -5 (-112)
Texas vs. Xavier
A battle of two top-three seeds, Texas and Xavier, is a classic matchup of two high-powered offenses going at one another. However, Texas has a clear advantage defensively, as Texas allows 91.7 points per 100 possessions while Xavier is up at 99.
Xavier is typically one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, but they’ve fallen well short of their 39%+ average in both games.
We also can’t overlook Texas putting up 71 points against a tough Penn State team while making just 1 of 13 three-point shots.
Look for Texas to squeak this game out in a high-scoring affair.
Best Bet: Xavier +4 (-108), but Texas wins.
Sweet Sixteen: Upset Pick for March 23
Upset Pick: No. 5 SDSU covers against Alabama
Looking at the slate, it’s hard to pick an upset based on seeding, so we’ll look at this in betting terms—SDSU will cover against Alabama and has the most realistic chance from this day of games to upset the higher seed.
SDSU is a team of experienced players, including seven seniors and two juniors. However, they don’t have Brandon Miller.
Both teams score more than 110 points per 100 possessions and allow less than 91 points per 100 possessions.
The problem for SDSU, at least on paper, is explosiveness. They score less than 10 points per game on fast breaks and average more than four possessions less than Alabama.
SDSU keeps it close; however, as we mentioned, an upset is possible here.