NCAA Tournament 2012: Odds and Predictions for Opening Round

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels gestures on court against the Florida State Seminoles during the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament has finally arrived. It's one of the most exciting events of the year for sports fans. There aren't many things better than a chance to illustrate your vast college basketball knowledge by filling out a better bracket than anybody else in the office.

After the play-in games, which take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the tournament begins in full force on Thursday. Let's take a quick looking at each of the opening round games. All odds courtesy of


South Region

KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 14: Anthony Davis #23 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate at the end of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena on January 14, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Kentucky defeated
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after Mississippi Valley State. vs. Western Kentucky)

Winner: Kentucky. The Wildcats will make easy work of the 16 seed.


(8) Iowa State vs. (9) Connecticut (-2.5)

Winner: Iowa State. Huskies are living off last year's reputation and won't be able to match that run.


(5) Wichita State (-6) vs. (12) VCU

Winner: Wichita State. In a terrific mid-major battle, the Shockers will sneak into the next round.


(4) Indiana (-6.5) vs. (13) New Mexico State

Winner: Indiana. It will be closer than most people are expecting, but the Hoosiers advance.


(6) UNLV (-5) vs. (11) Colorado

Winner: Colorado. Runnin' Rebels have struggled after a quick start, and the Buffaloes will take advantage.


(3) Baylor (-7.5) vs. (14) South Dakota State

Winner: Baylor. Nate Wolters is a terrific player, but won't be enough to upset the Bears.


(7) Notre Dame (-2.5) vs. (10) Xavier

Winner: Xavier. The Musketeers' Tu Holloway will spark an upset of the Fighting Irish.


(2) Duke (-12.5) vs. (15) Lehigh

Winner: Duke. Blue Devils are too strong for their mid-major counterparts.


West Region

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans brings the ball up court against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 1
Andy Lyons/Getty Images


(1) Michigan State (-20) vs. (16) LIU Brooklyn

Winner: Michigan State. Top seeds are undefeated in the opening round. That won't change in 2012.


(8) Memphis (-3) vs. (9) Saint Louis

Winner: Memphis. Unlucky draw for the Billikens as the red-hot Tigers advance.

(5) New Mexico (-4) vs. (12) Long Beach State

Winner: New Mexico. Watch out for the Lobos. They have enough talent to make a run.


(4) Louisville (-7.5) vs. (13) Davidson

Winner: Louisville. Coming off a Big East Tournament victory, the Cardinals roll over Davidson.


(6) Murray State (-3.5) vs. (11) Colorado State

Winner: Murray State. The Racers are no fluke with two wins over ranked opponents.


(3) Marquette vs. (14) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after BYU vs. Iona)

Winner: Marquette. A lot of hype pointing toward Iona being this season's VCU. Don't buy it.


(7) Florida (-3.5) vs. (10) Virginia

Winner: Virginia. The Cavaliers pull off a minor upset with their elite defense leading the way.


(2) Missouri (-22) vs. (15) Norfolk State

Winner: Missouri. The Tigers have too much talent for the MEAC champions.


East Region

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 11:  (L-R) Kris Joseph #32 and Fab Melo #51 of the Syracuse Orange talk as they walk on the court against the Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center on January 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chamb
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

(1) Syracuse (-17) vs. (16) UNC Asheville

Winner: Syracuse. Loss in conference tournament is nothing to worry about for Orange.


(8) Kansas State (-6) vs. (9) Southern Miss

Winner: Kansas State. Both teams have struggled with consistency, making this one of the toughest games to predict. Wildcats have more depth, so they'll find a way to win.


(5) Vanderbilt (-6) vs. (12) Harvard

Winner: Harvard. Jeremy Lin might be gone, but the Crimson will change their inner Linsanity to pull off the upset.


(4) Wisconsin (-9.5) vs. (13) Montana

Winner: Wisconsin. The Badgers will lull Montana to sleep with their slow tempo.


(6) Cincinnati (-1.5) vs. (11) Texas

Winner: Cincinnati. Late charge will give Bearcats enough momentum to survive tight clash.


(3) Florida State (-6.5) vs. (14) St. Bonaventure

Winner: Florida State. Andrew Nicholson will finally get to showcase his tremendous talent on a national stage. The Seminoles will advance.


(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) West Virginia (-1)

Winner: West Virginia. It will be an upset by seeding standards, but oddsmakers like the Mountaineers.


(2) Ohio State (-17.5) vs. (15) Loyola (Md.)

Winner: Ohio State. Buckeyes are a Final Four threat even though they are flying under the radar.


Midwest Region

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09:  Thomas Robinson #0 and Tyshawn Taylor #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks react in the first half against the Baylor Bears during the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2012 in Kansas
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

(1) North Carolina vs. (16) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after Lamar vs. Vermont)

Winner: North Carolina. The region is favorable for UNC, at least until a potential Kansas clash.


(8) Creighton vs. (9) Alabama (-1.5)

Winner: Creighton. Doug McDermott has a great chance to be the tournament's breakout star.


(5) Temple vs. (12) Play-in Game Winner (Odds TBA after California vs. South Florida)

Winner: Temple. Owls won't succumb to the dreadful matchup with a 12 seed.


(4) Michigan (-6) vs. (13) Ohio

Winner: Michigan. It won't be easy, but Trey Burke will push the Wolverines past Ohio.


(6) San Diego State vs. (11) NC State (-1.5)

Winner: NC State. Wolfpack were lucky the committee chose them. Those teams are always dangerous.


(3) Georgetown (-3.5) vs. (14) Belmont

Winner: Georgetown. Past tournament failures won't stop Hoyas from surviving a tough matchup.


(7) St. Mary's vs. (10) Purdue (-2)

Winner: Purdue. Another instance where the bracket makers and oddsmakers disagree. Boilermakers will survive and advance.


(2) Kansas (-14.5) vs. (15) Detroit

Winner: Kansas. The Jayhawks appear to be on a collision course with UNC for a Final Four spot.



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