Elite 8 2014: Last-Minute Picks and Updated Odds for March Madness Round 5

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 29, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 28:  Alex Poythress #22 and Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate defeating the Louisville Cardinals 74 to 69 during the regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 28, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Could the 2014 NCAA tournament possibly get any more intense?

Friday featured four thrilling games that each came down to the wire.

Just how close were these contests? The four winners defeated the four losers by a combined total of just 14 points. That's some inspiring basketball all the way around.

Saturday marks the beginning of the Elite Eight as No. 1 Florida squares off against No. 11 Dayton and No. 1 Arizona faces No. 2 Wisconsin.

Get your popcorn ready.

All Your Bracket Essentials:

Last-Minute Picks

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 27: Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators reacts against the UCLA Bruins during a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Gett
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
2014 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Picks
RegionTeam 1Team 2Pick
SouthNo. 1 FloridaNo. 11 DaytonFlorida
WestNo. 1 ArizonaNo. 2 WisconsinWisconsin
EastNo. 4 Michigan StateNo. 7 ConnecticutMichigan State
MidwestNo. 2 MichiganNo. 8 KentuckyKentucky
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions

Dayton has shocked the nation on several occasions now; however, that will end on Saturday. The Flyers have been fantastic, but they have yet to face a team with Florida's strength.

Don't expect Dayton to get blown out in this one though. Even though Florida is the superior team and should take home the win, the Flyers are up for the challenge and will make a game of it.

Arizona is officially on upset alert. After just squeezing past San Diego State in the Sweet 16, the Wildcats don't look invincible.

On the other hand, Wisconsin does. The Badgers defeated a well-rounded Baylor team decisively in the Sweet 16 and will continue riding their hot streak into the Final Four.

Connecticut was fantastic against a high-octane Iowa State team, though the Huskies will have their work cut out for them against a very stout Michigan State defense that held No. 1 Virginia to just 59 points.

The Spartans will be too much for Connecticut to handle here.

Michigan has been playing some great basketball of late; however, Kentucky has been playing better.

The Wildcats continue to mature and grow with each passing game, and that will carry them past a Wolverines team that had their hands full with No. 11 Tennessee in the Sweet 16.

Updated Odds

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28:  Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after hitting a three pointer late in the game against Virginia Cavaliers during the regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

No surprises here.

Florida continues to be the oddsmakers' favorite to take home the title of national champion. After beating Virginia, Michigan State saw its odds change in a very favorable manner as well.

The middle of the pack remains murky at best as plenty of highly contested matchups are about to ensue.

Dayton and Connecticut remain the underdogs to go the distance.

2014 NCAA Tournament Updated Odds
Michigan State18-5
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