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We started with 68 teams, and now 16 remain. After this week, only four will remain. But before we examine the games on Thursday and Friday, let’s look back at the previous March Madness round and see how the 16 surviving teams made it through, along with their betting odds to win the championship.


Where are the Upsets?

The NCAA Tournament has been entertaining, but there hasn’t been as much madness as previous seasons. As it stands now, three of the four regions still have three of their four top seeds. Of the 16 teams that survived, all but two were in the Top 25 of the final Associated Press poll. Through 48 games so far (not counting the First Four), underdogs have won 10 times, with four of those upsets coming from spreads bigger than +3.5. As a result, we should have some even matchups in the Sweet 16. Four of the matchups have a betting line of –3 or less as we go to press.


Sweet 16 Futures

The Kansas Jayhawks (+500 to win the championship) lead the way in the futures market. They’ve been impressive throughout the NCAA Tournament, winning their first two contests by at least 20 points and now they have a mini home-court advantage for the next two games. They’ll play in Kansas City, which is about 45 minutes away from their home campus in Lawrence.

Next in line are the North Carolina Tar Heels (+500), Gonzaga Bulldogs (+650) and Arizona Wildcats (+650). The Tar Heels and Bulldogs looked shaky in their latest outing, benefitting from some officiating calls. Even though both are No. 1 seeds, they’ll have to improve for the next round if they hope to continue in the Tournament. As for No. 2 Arizona, they’ll have a reunion of sorts on Thursday when they host the No. 11 Xavier Musketeers – the lowest remaining seed. Arizona’s head coach Sean Miller left Xavier in 2009 for his current job. Xavier is the longest shot on the board at +7500.

The UCLA Bruins (+800) and Kentucky Wildcats (+1000) are both in the top six on the odds board, but one of the two won’t make it beyond the next round. They’re going to face each other on Friday at 9:39 PM ET.

The only other team inside of 15/1 are the No. 4 Florida Gators (+1200). Their odds to win the championship increased significantly when Villanova, the No. 1 seed in their region, was bounced in the Round of 32. They’re a 2-point favourite over the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers.

On Thursday, the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines are 1.5-point favourites to beat the No. 3 Oregon Ducks. Oregon has been vulnerable since losing star forward Chris Boucher to a season-ending injury. He averaged 11.8 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, and Oregon hasn’t looked the same without him. The Oregon-Michigan matchup is scheduled for 7:09 PM ET and will kick off the Sweet 16 round.


*Odds as of March 22, 2017