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March Madness 2017: Updated Bracket, Championship Odds Ahead of Sweet 16

Derrick Walton Jr. has Michigan as one of the top teams to watch in the Sweet 16.
Derrick Walton Jr. has Michigan as one of the top teams to watch in the Sweet 16.Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2017

Madness works on its own schedule. 

The 2017 NCAA tournament didn't feature much in the way of notable upsets until the weekend. There, No. 1 Villanova took a dive, as did No. 2 Duke, No. 2 Louisville and No. 3 Florida State, with top-seeded North Carolina and second-seeded Kentucky getting all they could handle.

Ahead of the Sweet 16, the madness has gripped the bracket and won't let go.

Better late than never, with the smattering of upsets and down-to-the-wire affairs giving fans something to look forward to while powering through a short break.

Below, let's take a look at the bracket and how Las Vegas feels about each team's title chances.

      

March Madness 2017 Bracket and Updated Championship Odds

TeamOdds
Kansas19-4
UNC5-1
Arizona13-2
Gonzaga13-2
UCLA9-1
Kentucky10-1
Florida12-1
Baylor16-1
Michigan16-1
West Virginia18-1
Oregon18-1
Wisconsin18-1
Purdue20-1
Butler40-1
South Carolina50-1
Xavier75-1
OddsShark

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.

        

Teams to Watch 

West Virginia

It was easy to feel weary about the West Virginia Mountaineers after the round of 64. 

Head coach Bob Huggins looked irate at times on the sidelines as his team slipped past 13th-seeded Bucknell, 86-80. His Mountaineers needed a team-high 16 points from Tarik Phillip and 15 from freshman Lamont West, both of whom came off the bench.

Not exactly a strong performance from a team ranked 24th in RPI, per ESPN.com.

Alas, West Virginia seemed to shake off the rust in the next round and looked like the team that led the nation in forced turnovers, earning the nickname Press Virginia.

In a 83-71 throttling of fifth-seeded Notre Dame, the Mountaineers forced 14 turnovers and flustered a normally composed Fighting Irish team. Best of all, Jevon Carter dropped 24 points while the Mountaineers shot 50 percent from the field (27-of-54) and 57.1 percent from deep (8-of-14).

NCAA March Madness captured a bit of what makes West Virginia so dangerous:

The Mountaineers next clash with No. 1 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. The Bulldogs will be a tough matchup, but with the way Huggins' side can force teams into mistakes, another top seed might take a dive if his guards keep shooting so well.

      

Michigan

Seventh-seeded Michigan is why the aforementioned No. 2 Louisville Cardinals made an earlier-than-expected exit from March Madness. 

It wasn't hard to see coming, either.

The Wolverines (RPI 30) escaped 10th-seeded Oklahoma State, 92-91 in the round of 64, fueled by a game-high 26 points from Derrick Walton Jr. on 7-of-13 shooting and 6-of-9 from deep.

The senior wasn't done there, as he hit late clutch shots to down the Cardinals, 73-69, in the round of 32:

Walton didn't have to do it on his own against Louisville, though. Moe Wagner poured in a game-high 26 points, and the team as a whole shot 17-of-27 in the second half.

Michigan now takes its offensive potency into a Sweet 16 duel against third-seeded Oregon, a team which also boasts one of the nation's best backcourts in Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey.

Walton looks like this year's can't-miss bracket player. If he keeps pushing toward tournament-legend status, the Wolverines aren't a team to ignore, even if they sit in the Midwest Regional with Kansas.

 

Wisconsin

Few expected this sort of outburst from the Wisconsin Badgers. 

Wisconsin (RPI 32) had gone 6-6 over its last 12 and only 3-4 against the RPI Top 25, with two of those wins coming against the same team, Minnesota.

So no, the Badgers taking down top-seeded Villanova wasn't easy to see coming.

After moving past No. 9 Virginia Tech, 84-74, the Badgers got 19 points from Nigel Hayes while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor (26-of-49) against the defending national champions, winning the battle on the glass (34-30) and blocking five shots. A few late conversions from deep by Bronson Koenig gave the Badgers the 65-62 decision.

"Seeds don't matter," Badgers head coach Greg Gard told reporters after the game. "I told these guys I don't care where we're seeded. We have to win six games. Let's start with these two this weekend."

The team ranked eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency at KenPom.com just shut down a No. 1 seed and presents a major problem for the rest of the bracket. Next is a date with fourth-seeded Florida, and looking beyond in the East Regional, the Badgers don't have to worry about the eliminated Duke Blue Devils in a potential Elite Eight matchup.

With the door to a Final Four ajar, the Badgers can lean on senior leadership and nagging defense to push through.

     

Advanced metrics courtesy of ESPN.com.

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