March Madness 2014: Updated Bracket, Picks, Odds Advice After 3rd-Round Day 2

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March Madness 2014: Updated Bracket, Picks, Odds Advice After 3rd-Round Day 2
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

More top seeds came tumbling down on Sunday. The No. 2-seeded Kansas Jayhawks lost, and the previously undefeated Wichita State Shockers became the first No. 1 seed to be sent home.

This has been one of the most memorable first three rounds in years.

If your bracket still has all its Final Four teams alive, consider yourself lucky. Click here to take a look at the most updated bracket after a furious four days if action.

My bracket is blown to bits in the West region, but three of my original Final Four selections are still alive. Here's an updated prediction on the team likely to survive each region.

 

South - Florida Gators

The team has now won 28 straight games and shows no signs of slowing down. After going undefeated in the SEC, winning the conference tournament and surviving the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, the Gators have maximum momentum.

Florida's smothering defense held the Pittsburgh Panthers to just 37 percent shooting in their third-round game and looked dominant in the process.

With Kansas having been upset by Stanford, Florida has one fewer talented team to contend with to make it out of the region.

Picking against the Gators at this point seems ill advised.

 

East - Michigan State Spartans

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

This is Tom Izzo and the Spartans' time of year. Izzo has his team clicking on all cylinders. Before the tournament began, Izzo said this, per Phil Beckner of Weber State:

So far, the Spartans players have been grown men on the floor in the NCAA tournament. In the second round, the team rode Adreian Payne's 41-point performance to a 93-78 win over the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens.

The Spartans survived a little bit of a scare in the third round, but sent the Harvard Crimson packing as well. The most impressive thing about Michigan State's play has been its versatility.

Branden Dawson was the biggest star on Saturday. He had 26 points to help beat the Crimson.

Shooting guard Gary Harris still hasn't had his moment to carry the team. Because the Spartans have at least three players capable of shouldering the offensive load, they are the most dangerous team in the East region.

 

West - Arizona Wildcats

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Wildcats are an athletic, defensive-minded team that rebounds the ball consistently. If they knock down jump shots, they are tough to beat.

After holding off an upstart Weber State team in the second round and controlling the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the third round, the Wildcats are looking worthy of the top seed in the West region.

The engine that makes Arizona go is Nick Johnson.

The 6'3" point guard makes solid decisions, makes 37 percent of his threes and can finish at the rim. The junior is a stabilizing force for a team that doesn't have a senior who plays significant minutes.

Even with tough games ahead against San Diego State and the winner of the Baylor-Wisconsin battle, Arizona is the clear favorite to reach the Final Four from the region.

 

Midwest - Michigan Wolverines

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Balance must be a thing in the state of Michigan. The Wolverines have at least three players capable of having a huge offensive performance on a given night, just like the Spartans. 

Against Texas on Saturday, Michigan had four players with at least 14 points en route to a 79-65 win.

It was a team effort for the win, but sophomore guard Nik Stauskas is the real go-to man for Michigan. He had 17 points to lead the team and dished eight assists against the Longhorns.

Check out this stat from ESPN Stats and Info:

His ability to bomb away from deep and to create for his teammates makes him Michigan's most important player and the star that will lead the Wolverines back to the Final Four.

 

Odds Advice on Three Compelling Sweet 16 Matchups

No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (3) vs. No. 11 Dayton Flyers

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Picking a winner between these two upstarts in going to be difficult. If at all possible, you'd be wise avoiding this matchup all together.

If you're feeling lucky, the smartest decision would be to take Dayton and the points. Stanford may very well win this game on the strength of star guard Chasson Randle, but it's hard to say the Cardinal will win by three points or more.

Both teams are excellent defensively.

Neither has allowed an opponent to score 60 points in the tournament. In a low-scoring battle between two Cinderellas, bet on a close game, and don't bet on the Cardinal to cover.

 

No. 4 Louisville Cardinals (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Fresh off an impressive upset win over the Wichita State Shockers in the third round, the Wildcats are looking like a team that has matured and is on a mission.

The Harrison twins are making the best decisions they have all season, James Young has shown the ability to take and make big shots and Julius Randle is a bull on the block. 

With length, athletes and accountability on defense, Kentucky is dangerous. 

The defending champions aren't going to go out without a fight. Russ Smith has been less ridiculous with his decision-making as well. Montrezl Harrell is also playing at a high level. But Kentucky's size on the inside will prove to be too much for their long-time in-state rivals.

Take Kentucky straight up.

 

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (-2) vs. No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers

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The Vols are playing great behind the beastly Jarnell Stokes, but Michigan has too many shooters and too much versatility on the perimeter. Stokes is a load, but he'll be under a ton of pressure to carry the Vols on the glass and as an offensive presence in the post.

Wolverines senior Jordan Morgan has the bulk to match up with Stokes. Morgan is averaging a double-double in the tournament thus far. On the outside, the Vols have no answer for Michigan's wing players.

Nik Stauskas has emerged as the leader, averaging 16 points and 4.5 assists per game in the tournament, but he's just one of the problems.

Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert are both scoring double figures in the Big Dance.

Michigan will win and cover the spread.

 

Odds information per Vegas Insider.

Statistics per Statsheet unless otherwise noted.

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