The North Carolina Tar Heels (28-6) are among the favorites to win the 2016 NCAA tournament and the top choice to win the East Regional as the No. 1 seed at plus-160 odds (bet $100 to win $160) at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
However, the No. 1 seed in the East has not advanced to the Final Four since 2008, when the Tar Heels actually accomplished the feat.
North Carolina has arguably the most difficult road to get to Houston of any of the top seeds, with the third-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (+375 to win the East), fourth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (+450) and second-seeded Xavier Musketeers (+500) potentially standing in its way.
With a possible Sweet 16 matchup looming against the Wildcats or the fifth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers (+800), a wager on the Heels to become the first No. 1 seed eliminated at a price of plus-350 on the March Madness props board appears tempting.
However, the Oregon Ducks (28-6) are the minus-120 favorites (bet $120 to win $100) to become the first No. 1 seed eliminated. Their main competition in the West is expected to come from the second-seeded Oklahoma Sooners (25-7), who are favored to win the region at plus-210, compared to plus-275 for Oregon.
The fourth-seeded Duke Blue Devils (+400)—the defending national champions—or fifth-seeded Baylor Bears (+1100) could meet the Ducks in the Sweet 16. The No. 2 seed has won the West more times (six) than the No. 1 seed (five) dating back to 1996.
The Midwest’s Virginia Cavaliers (26-7) are listed at plus-300, and the South’s Kansas Jayhawks (30-4) are at plus-450 to be the first No. 1 seed knocked out, rounding out the remaining two regions.
The Cavaliers look to have a fairly easy path to the Elite Eight, where they might meet the second-seeded Michigan State Spartans (29-5) in the Big Dance for the third straight year. Michigan State has beaten Virginia the last two times.
The Jayhawks are the top overall seed in the entire NCAA tournament, and they were rewarded with what many consider to be the easiest part of the bracket. The second-seeded Villanova Wildcats (29-5) and third-seeded Miami Hurricanes (25-7) are weaker threats than teams in other regions.
The top seed has made it to the Final Four 10 times over the previous 20 years in the South, and Kansas is the biggest favorite to win its region of any No. 1 at plus-130. Villanova (+275), Miami (+700) and the fifth-seeded Maryland Terrapins (+700) all sit behind the Big 12 champions.
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