NCAA Tournament 2014 Bracket: Tournament Odds and Smart Underdog Picks

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NCAA Tournament 2014 Bracket: Tournament Odds and Smart Underdog Picks
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The NCAA tournament is something of a sports gambler’s dream. 

The bracket is easy to follow and entertaining to fill out, the format for almost every office pool across the country is the same and underdogs shake up the field every season. It’s no wonder the sports books in Las Vegas are so crowded in late March.

 

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With that in mind, here is a look at the overall tournament odds for every team in the field.

Odds to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament (as of 3/18)
Team Odds
Florida 5-1
Michigan State 11-2
Arizona 8-1
Louisville 8-1
Kansas 10-1
Wichita State 15-1
Syracuse 18-1
Duke 18-1
Virginia 18-1
Wisconsin 20-1
Michigan 30-1
Creighton 35-1
Villanova 35-1
Iowa State 40-1
UCLA 45-1
North Carolina 50-1
Kentucky 50-1
Oklahoma State 60-1
San Diego State 65-1
Ohio State 65-1
Oklahoma 75-1
Baylor 75-1
Connecticut 80-1
VCU 90-1
Cincinnati 90-1
Pittsburgh 95-1
Oregon 100-1
Tennessee 115-1
New Mexico 115-1
Massachusetts 125-1
Iowa 125-1
Memphis 125-1
Gonzaga 125-1
Texas 125-1
Saint Louis 125-1
Providence 225-1
Stanford 225-1
Kansas State 300-1
Saint Joseph's 350-1
Nebraska 450-1
Dayton 500-1
BYU 500-1
Colorado 500-1
Xavier 500-1
Arizona State 500-1
George Washington 500-1
North Carolina State 900-1
Harvard 1,000-1
North Dakota State 1,000-1
Field 100-1

Las Vegas Insiders

While chances are one of the favorites will take home the national championship, who’s to say this isn’t the year that a middle-of-the-road underdog wins it all? Let’s go over some smart underdog picks.

 

Kentucky

Feel free to joke about the inclusion of Kentucky all you want, but aren’t you even a little tempted to look at the Wildcats with 50-1 odds?

After all, we are talking about the team that many pegged for an undefeated finish heading into the season. All that talent simply didn't vanish.

On paper, the combination of Julius Randle, James Young, the Harrison brothers and Willie Cauley-Stein is a formidable lineup for any foe.

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What’s more, the Wildcats are feeling more confident after nearly upsetting No. 1 Florida in the SEC championship game, as Cauley-Stein said, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

It's definitely a big confidence booster. Coming in here, we were a brand new team.

The freshmen have a year of experience under their collective belt, more confidence heading into the tournament and plenty of raw talent. A magical run in the NCAA tournament may just be awaiting John Calipari’s team.

 

New Mexico

New Mexico checks in with 115-1 odds, which is the exact type of long shot that could shake up a bracket in the NCAA tournament.

The Lobos showed just how talented they are by knocking off San Diego State twice, including in a thriller in the Mountain West championship game.

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The trio of Cameron Bairstow, Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk may be the most underrated in the country. The threesome combine to average more than 50 points and nearly 20 rebounds a game on the offensive end. On defense, Williams averages nearly two steals a game, while Bairstow and Kirk swatted 4.2 shots a night combined (Kirk blocked 2.7 a game by himself).

It is a “big three” in every sense of the phrase for the Lobos, and that size, length and athleticism could give Kansas issues in the hypothetical round of 32 matchup without Joel Embiid

If the Lobos can escape a date with the Jayhawks, the only thing standing in their way from a trip to the Elite Eight would likely be a reeling Syracuse squad or an offensively challenged Ohio State team. Once we start talking Elite Eight and beyond, anything can happen.

 

Cincinnati

In all honesty, the thought here is that the No. 12 seed Harvard pulls the upset in the round of 64 over the No. 5 seed Cincinnati, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had in the Bearcats at 90-1.

Cincinnati brings the ninth-best pace-adjusted defense in the country to the Big Dance (per Ken Pomeroy’s rankings), and the phrase "defense wins championships" exists for a reason. In the postseason, games often come down to half-court sets, which is exactly where Cincinnati thrives.

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While the Bearcats do struggle on the offensive end, Sean Kilpatrick is one of the best players in the country and can put the team on his back if necessary.

What’s more, Cincinnati went into Louisville and walked out with a victory. Considering how much love the Cardinals are receiving in so many projected brackets, that win should not be taken lightly. 

The Bearcats will be in every game they play because of their swarming defense, and Kilpatrick can make the big plays when necessary down the stretch.

 

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