Sweet 16 Predictions: Updated Title Odds and Regional Semifinal Picks

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2014

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 22:  Scottie Wilbekin #5 and Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators celebrate after Wilbekin makes a three-pointer to end the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Amway Center on March 22, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NCAA tournament favorites Florida, Louisville, Arizona and Michigan State all survived a wild opening weekend of March Madness, but double-digit seeds Dayton and Tennessee have suddenly seen their odds increase. 

With the Sweet 16 set to get underway on Thursday, let's take a look at the updated championship odds for each remaining team and predict who will be marching on to the Elite Eight. 


All Your Bracket Essentials:

Credit: Bleacher Report


Updated Championship Odds

2014 NCAA Tournament Title Odds - Sweet 16
(Seed) TeamOdds
(1) Florida7-2
(4) Louisville7-2
(1) Arizona9-2
(4) Michigan State9-2
(1) Virginia10-1
(2) Wisconsin16-1
(2) Michigan16-1
(8) Kentucky20-1
(6) Baylor20-1
(3) Iowa State25-1
(4) UCLA25-1
(7) Connecticut28-1
(11) Tennessee30-1
(4) San Diego State38-1
(10) Stanford65-1
(11) Dayton85-1
Source: VegasInsider.com


Sweet 16 Schedule 

2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Schedule
DateMatchupTime (ET)TVLive Stream
Thu, March 27(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford7:15 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin7:47 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida9:45 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Thu, March 27(4) San Diego State vs. (1) Arizona10:17 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan7:15 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State7:27 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville9:45 p.m.CBSMarch Madness Live
Fri, March 28(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia9:57 p.m.TBSMarch Madness Live


Sweet 16 Predictions

Sweet 16 Picks
(10) Stanford (-3)(11) Dayton
(6) Baylor (+2.5)(2) Wisconsin
(1) Florida (-4.5)(4) UCLA
(1) Arizona (-6.5)(4) San Diego State
(2) Michigan (-1.5)(11) Tennessee
(3) Iowa State (-1)(7) Connecticut
(4) Louisville (-5)(8) Kentucky
(4) Michigan State (-1)(1) Virginia
Source: Covers.com


South Region: No. 10 Stanford (-3) Over No. 11 Dayton

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Josh Huestis #24 of the Stanford Cardinal fights a rebound against Perry Ellis #34 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis, Miss
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The very first Sweet 16 matchup this March will pit two surprising squads against one another when 11th-seeded Dayton takes on 10th-seeded Stanford in Memphis, Tenn. 

Vegas has made the Cardinal a slight favorite in this matchup, and it's certainly difficult to disagree. 

Although neither team has surrendered more than 59 points in a game since the tournament began, Stanford's defense has been remarkable, holding the nation's 22nd-best scoring offense in Kansas to just 57 points on 32.8 percent shooting from the field. Stanford also held an explosive New Mexico team to just 53 points in the second round. 

On the offensive end, the Cardinal don't rely on three-pointers to survive. After all, they went 0-of-9 from beyond the arc against Kansas and still came out on top. Head coach Johnny Dawkins explains per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), saying, "We can make 3s but that's not what we rely on. I didn't even notice it because that's not what we've been."

Therefore, in a defensive battle, watch for the Cardinal to prevail. 

If you're looking for another reason to bet against the Flyers, consider the fact that each of the last five double-digit seeds to win each of their first two opening-round games by two points or fewer were eliminated in the Sweet 16.


West Region: No. 1 Arizona (-6) Over No. 4 San Diego State

The biggest Sweet 16 favorite of all is the No. 1-seeded Arizona Wildcats, who will take on the fourth-seeded San Diego State Aztecs in Anaheim, Calif. on Thursday night. Sean Miller's defensive-minded squad are six-point favorites over Steve Fisher's Mountain West regular-season champions. 

But good luck finding someone who likes the Aztecs to cover the spread, let alone win this game.

In addition to the fact Arizona scored 84 points, shot 49.2 percent from the field and hit seven three-pointers in a 23-point win over No. 8 Gonzaga in the third round on Sunday, the Wildcats play some of the best defense in the country, ranking fifth nationally in points per game allowed. 

ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf admits he would make Arizona the top overall seed heading into the Sweet 16:

Arizona toyed with Weber State in the round of 64. That was expected. But Gonzaga was a legitimate opponent as a No. 8 seed that appeared to possess the tools to give Arizona a fight. That didn't happen. The Wildcats topped the Zags by 23 points in a lopsided win that allowed them to showcase their championship potential. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Aaron Gordon each finished with 18 points. Nick Johnson, a shooting guard, had four blocks. Arizona is athletic and versatile and ranked No. 1 in adjusted defensive efficiency, per Ken Pomeroy. The Wildcats played better than any team in the field this weekend.

Surrendering just 58.3 points per game this season and 60 per game through two tournament games, it's no wonder Arizona have the third-best odds to cut down the nets next month.


Midwest Region: No. 4 Louisville (-5) Over No. 8 Kentucky

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 22:  The Louisville Cardinals huddle before taking on the Saint Louis Billikens during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Amway Center on March 22, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Im
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In arguably the most anticipated Sweet 16 showdown of all, Rick Pitino's defending national champion Louisville Cardinals will face off against in-state rival Kentucky.

After knocking off No. 1 Wichita State in the third round, the Wildcats have seen their championship odds increase dramatically. Unsurprisingly, John Calipari's preseason No. 1 is all of a sudden a popular pick to reach the Final Four in the Midwest Region.

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Wichita State Shockers 78 to 76 during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis, Miss
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

But before you go jumping on the Kentucky bandwagon, remember, the biggest concern with the Wildcats is their inconsistency. Kentucky hasn't had a winning streak of more than two games since early February and is unlikely to get another 39 combined points from the Harrison brothers, who combined to hit five three-pointers against the Shockers.

With Pitino's squad boasting invaluable championship experience, having won eight straight NCAA tournament games, and sure to give Kentucky problems with their relentless full-court press, watch for Russ Smith, Luke Hancock and the defending champions to survive and advance to the Elite Eight in Indianapolis. 


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