The Sweet 16 is here, which means it's a good time to take a look at some of the latest predictions and national title odds for the remaining teams in the NCAA tournament.
Through the first three rounds of the Big Dance, there have been a ton of upsets, games sent to overtime and thrilling finishes. Speaking of upsets, three teams are seeded No. 10 or lower in the Sweet 16, while one No. 1 seed and two No. 2 seeds are already out of the tournament.
Now that the Sweet 16 is set, let's take a look at the latest national title odds, followed by picks for all eight games and preview for a couple of games.
|San Diego State||38-1|
Sweet 16 Picks
|(11) Dayton vs. (10) Stanford||Dayton|
|(6) Baylor vs. (2) Wisconsin||Wisconsin|
|(4) UCLA vs. (1) Florida||Florida|
|(4) Arizona State vs. (1) Arizona||Arizona|
|(11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan||Michigan|
|(7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State||UConn|
|(8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville||Louisville|
|(4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia||Michigan State|
No. 7 Connecticut Huskies vs. No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones
Date: Friday, March 28
Time: 7:27 p.m. ET
The Iowa State Cyclones squeezed by the North Carolina Tar Heels thanks to a game-winning shot from DeAndre Kane and a bizarre finish involving the shot clock, but they may have even more trouble in their Sweet 16 matchup against the Connecticut Huskies.
After the Cyclones took down N.C. Central in their first game of the tournament, they learned that Georges Niang, arguably one of their best players, had a foot fracture and would miss the rest of the season, according to the team's Twitter account:
Georges Niang has a foot fracture and will miss the remainder of the season.— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 22, 2014
Despite losing Niang, the Cyclones beat the Tar Heels to advance to the Sweet 16. Junior forward Dustin Hogue had this to say about the win, according to CBS Sports.
"Once Georges got injured people didn't think that we had enough to pull out this win," Hogue said. "This goes to show that we have depth and we have heart. With enough heart you can beat anybody."
While the Cyclones are dealing with losing one of their best players, the Huskies are staying healthy and calling upon Shabazz Napier to continue to lead them through the tournament. He has been a big reason for the Huskies' success, recording 49 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and five steals over the past two games.
But UConn will need Napier to keep it going, because the Cyclones are still a very good team, averaging 82.9 points and 18.5 assists per game. They can put up points from anywhere, and if they can shut down Napier, the Cyclones could be heading to the Elite Eight.
No. 4 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers
Date: Friday, March 28
Time: 9:57 p.m. ET
Despite being a No. 1 seed, the Virginia Cavaliers might not be the favorites to make it to the Final Four out of the East Region. But if they can beat the Michigan State Spartans, who are one of the favorites to win the whole thing, then they might have a legitimate shot to make it to Arlington.
The Cavaliers are having one of their best seasons in school history at 30-6 with the ACC regular-season and tournament titles already under their belt. They have the nation's best defense, allowing just 55.5 points per game and an opponent field-goal percentage of 38.6 percent. According to the Pomeroy rankings, the Cavaliers have the fifth-best adjusted defense in the nation.
Given the way they've been playing in the tournament, ESPN's Andy Katz feels like the Cavaliers deserve some more respect:
Virginia looking every bit like a one seed. If this keeps up may be time to halt handing Michigan State East title. UVA deserves respect.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 24, 2014
Although they've played well, the Cavaliers may struggle against a healthy Spartans team that's won five straight games, including winning the Big Ten tournament title over the Michigan Wolverines.
Who will win this matchup?
The Spartans have talent all over the court. They have some terrific backcourt starters in Keith Appling and Gary Harris and talent down low with Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. With so many scoring options, it makes sense that the Spartans are sixth in the country with 17.1 assists per game.
Michigan State's perimeter offense that shoots 39.3 percent from behind the arc will be put to the test against the Virginia defense, and this game has the potential to be the most exciting matchup of the Sweet 16.