NCAA Bracket 2012: Odds for Every Team in the Sweet 16
The field of 68 has been cut to the Sweet 16, and these are the updated odds for each team to win it all. Both Lehigh and Norfolk State were eliminated, so we will not see a No. 15 seed in the Sweet 16, but a Kentucky-Indiana rematch headlines the round.
The Sweet 16 may be the best round in the entire tournament, and this year it features three teams seeded in double digits.
All four No. 1 seeds still remain, but we are about to see a few of them go down. Syracuse and North Carolina are both on upset alert, as Fab Melo (eligibility) and Kendall Marshall (wrist) will both probably miss the Sweet 16.
These are how my original odds for each team looked, but this is how they look now.
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After upsetting Michigan 65-60 in the Round of 64 and edging South Florida 62-56 in the Round of 32, Ohio is on to the Sweet 16.
Ohio has relied on its guards to this point and has won despite being out-rebounded in both games. D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt are combining for 36.0 points per game, which is the reason they have been winning.
This team is smaller than the others left in the field, and once the Bobcats play against a team with good perimeter defense that can disrupt their shots, they are in trouble.
In their next game they will play a North Carolina team that is without point guard Kendall Marshall. While Ohio will have superior guards, it won't stand a chance inside, and I don't think that it will even advance to the Elite Eight, let alone win it all.
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Xavier beat No. 15 Lehigh in the Round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16 on the backs of Tu Holloway and Kenny Frease.
The team is led by the best scoring point guard in the country in Holloway, who averages 17.0 points per game. However, they also have a great shooting guard in Mark Lyons and a seven-footer inside in Frease.
Xavier has a good team, but it is not great. This team does not have the skill to go much further. The Musketeers have a tough matchup against Baylor next, which will likely be the game that knocks them out of the tournament.
I give this team very low odds.
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Louisville squeaked by New Mexico, winning 59-56 and advancing to the Sweet 16.
The Cardinals are a good team led by coach Rick Pitino and point guard Peyton Siva, but they do not have what it takes to win it all or even to get past Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
Louisville is very vulnerable to big men, being out-rebounded by New Mexico 34-23 and giving up double-digit offensive rebounds in both games so far. The Cardinals have also given up double-doubles to good forwards in each game, surrendering 24 points and 10 rebounds to Jake Cohen of Davidson and 21 points and 14 rebounds to Drew Gordon of New Mexico.
In their next game they will be facing Draymond Green, who is one of the best forwards in the country. He is versatile, can score inside or out, rebounds well and can take over a game.
If you can't stop elite big men, you can't win it all, and because of that Louisville is in trouble.
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Florida came out strong and ended No. 15 Norfolk State's magic en route to the Sweet 16, winning by 34 points with a final score of 84-50.
The team does not have great size, as its second-leading rebounder is shooting guard Bradley Beal, who is only 6'4". However, it has arguably the best backcourt in the nation with Beal, Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erving Walker.
The Gators have one of the best offenses in the country, and they can beat any team on any given night because of it. However, they are very streaky and can also lose to some of the worst teams in the country.
The team needs Patric Young to hold down the fort in the frontcourt and give the guards the chance to win them the game. So far he hasn't had to face any elite big men unless you count Mike Scott of Virginia, but that will change very soon.
You can't win without big men, and despite having one of the best backcourts in the country, this team won't go much farther.
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Marquette came back against Murray State, winning 62-53. The team ended Murray State's season at 31-2.
Marquette is led by its two-headed attack of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. Both scored 17 points against Murray State, with Crowder also grabbing 13 rebounds.
Crowder is leading the team right now, averaging 21.0 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in the tourney, while DJO averages 18.5 points per game.
These two are doing well right now, but they will not be enough to lead this team past the Elite Eight.
With Missouri being eliminated by Norfolk State, this team can now make it to the Elite Eight. Once the Golden Eagles run into a No. 1 seed, they are in trouble, as they are not spread out enough to beat one of the best teams in the country.
The odds of Marquette winning it all are very low.
North Carolina State 75-1
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North Carolina State advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating Georgetown in a thriller, 66-63.
The Wolfpack are hot right now, and they clearly believe in themselves. They have been showing all the signs of wanting it more than their opponents, making all the hustle plays and fighting for the ball on both ends of the court.
This team is led by sophomore C.J. Leslie, who is averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the Big Dance. He was key for the team in its upset of Virginia in the ACC tournament, and he is the reason it is in the field of 68 to begin with.
Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown have also been key, combining for 30.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in the NCAA tournament.
This is a dangerous team, and with big men that handle the ball well it is exceeding the expectations of being a No. 11 seed.
I don't expect this team to go much further, though, and its Cinderella run will come to an end against Bill Self, Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Kansas in the Sweet 16.
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Wisconsin's stifling defense held one of the best offenses in the country to under 60 points when the Badgers beat Vanderbilt. The team won a thrilling game 60-57 to make it to the Sweet 16.
Defense is Wisconsin's MO, as it loves playing low-scoring games. It held Montana to just 49 points in its first game and has one of the best defenses in the country.
Jordan Taylor is the team's do-everything point guard. He hit big shot after big shot to sink the Commodores in the Round of 32, and he is the team's leading scorer and assist man.
The Badgers have a good team that can all shoot the three. They don't have an intimidating presence down low, but they usually shoot the three well enough to make up for that.
In their next game the team will have to play Syracuse. The Orange play excellent perimeter defense, which will disrupt Wisconsin's offense. The Badgers will try to do the same to the Orange, and this will be a defensive struggle.
I don't think that Wisconsin stands much of a chance against Syracuse because the Orange are not easily flustered and don't turn the ball over much. Even if the Badgers do squeak past them, they would not be able to put together a string of wins against elite teams.
The Badgers can beat teams with glaring weaknesses, but they rarely beat elite teams, and I can't see them winning four in a row.
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Cincinnati beat Florida State 62-56 in a very even game. The two teams both shot 19-of-50 from the floor, but Cincy made seven more free throws. The biggest difference on the stat sheet was in steals, which Cincy had 13 of compared to only five for Florida State.
Cincinnati is a good team, led by Yancy Gates, Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright. This team has excellent guard play, and Gates keeps it competitive in the paint.
This team made a deep run in the Big East tournament because of Gates, and it is now in the Sweet 16 thanks in part to his double-double against Texas and his contributions against the Seminoles.
The Bearcats have the potential to upset No. 2 Ohio State in the next round, and if they do they might win in the Elite Eight too, but they don't stand a chance in the Final Four.
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After beating up on Kansas State in the second half of their game to win 75-59, Syracuse advanced to the Sweet 16.
Syracuse has not been missing Fab Melo just yet. While the team has been out-rebounded in both games of the tournament, it has made up for it by hitting its shots. The anchor of its 2-3 zone is gone, which makes this team much worse, but it is doing well without him.
Unfortunately, that trend can't continue. While the Orange may get by Wisconsin in the Sweet 16, they won't be able to move any further.
Syracuse will have to play Ohio State in the Elite Eight, and that will be too much for it. Jared Sullinger will be able to dominate inside, and Syracuse won't be able to stop him.
Even if the Orange do somehow beat Ohio State, every team they play after that will have an elite big man—whether it's Thomas Robinson of Kansas, North Carolina's incredible frontcourt or Anthony Davis of Kentucky.
Syracuse has very little chance of winning it all.
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Indiana came back to beat Shaka Smart's VCU team in a thriller, winning 63-61 to advance to the Sweet 16.
Indiana is a good team in many ways, and it can play well in high-scoring affairs or defensive struggles. In their game against VCU, the Hoosiers scored 41 points in the first half and only 22 in the second.
Cody Zeller and Christian Watford lead this team, and they both scored 16 points against VCU. Zeller also racked up 13 rebounds for a double-double.
This team has the big men to go far, and its guards are solid. Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey (who hit the game-winning shot against VCU) and Victor Oladipo are all good guards, and the team has depth.
This team plays Kentucky next, and it has already beaten the Wildcats on Watford's buzzer-beating three, 73-72. This game in the Sweet 16 is going to have all eyes on it, and it really could go either way.
I see Kentucky winning the game because Marquis Teague is starting to play to his potential. When Teague plays well the team excels, and as long as Anthony Davis avoids foul trouble, Indiana is in trouble.
While I don't think this team will win it all, I am giving it decent odds.
North Carolina 25-1
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With John Henson back from an injury, North Carolina blew out Creighton, winning 87-73. However, as injuries have plagued the Tar Heels, one star came back and another was injured.
Point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his scaphoid bone in his right wrist, which is his non-dominant hand. While Marshall kept playing and has not been ruled out for the Sweet 16, I don't expect anything from him, and I would not be surprised to see him miss the rest of the tournament. Apparently, recovery can take up to six months.
Assuming that Marshall is done for the season, this team is now short three guards: Leslie McDonald, Dexter Strickland and Marshall. Marshall and Strickland are the team's two leaders in assists, and they no longer have any healthy players averaging 1.5 assists or more per game.
The top three leaders in assists on the team are Marshall (out), Strickland (out) and Henson (still dealing with a wrist injury), but there is a significant drop-off after Marshall.
This team still has the best frontcourt in the nation with Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller, and having James Michael McAdoo coming off the bench gives it the best big men in the country. However, with no one to pass to them, the team is in trouble.
The team will probably need Reggie Bullock to play point guard now, and he averages only 1.3 assists per game.
Without its point guard this team is in trouble, and I don't see it going very far in the tournament without him.
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After beating Colorado 80-63, Baylor looks to continue its dominance in the Sweet 16 and beyond. The Bears have won their games by an average of 12.5 points so far in the NCAA tournament.
With one of the best frontcourts in the nation, Baylor has been using its athleticism to average 74.0 points per game so far. Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy are all big, athletic players who get up and down the court quickly to score in transition.
Jones III is the X-factor for this team, and he has not been playing well so far. He is doing very little so far in the tournament, and the team needs to get him going quickly.
The backcourt has been doing most of the heavy lifting for Baylor so far, with Brady Heslip averaging 22.0 points per game in the Big Dance and hitting 14 threes in two games. Pierre Jackson has also been playing well, scoring in the mid-teens in both games.
Baylor's frontcourt needs to improve if it is going to go far in this tournament, but it will also need its backcourt to keep playing well. This team has the potential to go far and possibly even upset No. 1 Kentucky en route to the Final Four.
This team could win it all, and I am giving it slightly higher than average odds.
Michigan State 10-1
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Michigan State held off Saint Louis, winning 65-61 to advance to the Sweet 16. Nothing came easy for the Spartans, but the team looked good as they beat the Billikens.
Senior forward Draymond Green leads the team. In their first game, Green recorded a triple-double, with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Yesterday he went for 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Green is easily the team's leader, but sophomore Keith Appling is the team's best guard, and he went for 19 points against Saint Louis. If Appling is hot, this team is tough to beat.
With Green and Derrick Nix (14.0 points per game in the tourney) inside, this team will beat Louisville in the Sweet 16. The Cardinals struggle to stop good forwards, and these are two of the best in the country.
Tom Izzo's Spartans got lucky when No. 15 Norfolk State upset Missouri, as they now have a relatively clear path to the Final Four. The only team left that can challenge them is No. 3 Marquette, but the Spartans can contain Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom.
The team will then have to face a tough Kentucky team in the Final Four, which is a very difficult game. Without guard Branden Dawson, I don't think the Spartans will win it all, but they certainly have potential because Izzo is a genius who has gone to the Final Four six times in 13 years.
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Kansas may not have led for most of the game, but it was leading when the clock stuck zero, and they beat Purdue 63-60 to advance to the Sweet 16.
Kansas is riding high after that thrilling win over Robbie Hummel and the Boilermakers, and the Jayhawks now look to keep it going against North Carolina State.
This team has the talent, experience, coaching, guards and big men to win it all.
Behind Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, this team will look to make it to the Final Four, and I don't think it will have any problems.
The Jayhawks face No. 11 NC State before playing a depleted North Carolina team that they should beat. They will then be in the Final Four, and I would not be surprised to see Bill Self's crew winning it all when it's all said and done.
Ohio State 5-1
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Ohio State avoided an upset by stopping all of Gonzaga's attempts to come back in their game and won 73-66.
With Jared Sullinger in foul trouble for most of the game and facing seven-footer Robert Sacre, Ohio State managed to win a tough game.
Deshaun Thomas stepped up once against for the Buckeyes, scoring 18 points. He is averaging 24.5 points per game in the tournament and will be important for the Buckeyes down the road.
Aaron Craft had one of the best games of his career, playing spectacular defense while also recording 17 points, 10 assists and three steals. Williams Buford is also peaking at the right time for the team, and he played all 40 minutes in the game.
This team has the rare combination of an excellent game inside and terrific guard-play. The team has the potential to go far, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it win it all.
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The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, Kentucky blew Iowa State out by 16 points en route to the Sweet 16, winning 87-71.
With no less than seven future NBA players, this team brings back three starters from last year's Final Four team and brings in four of the best recruits in the 2011 class, including three of the top eight.
With the National Player of the Year leader Anthony Davis inside, this team has great dominance in the paint. Davis is the best shot-blocker in the country, and he can rebound and score inside.
With one of the most talented teams in history, the Wildcats could have up to three lottery picks in this year's NBA draft and could potentially have the first two picks with Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Kentucky is simply the best team in college basketball, and it is no surprise that it has the best odds to win it all by far.