NCAA Basketball Tournament 2021: Sweet 16, Elite 8 Schedule, Odds and Picks

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

Loyola Chicago center Cameron Krutwig (25) reacts to a basket against the Illinois during the second half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Cinderella just keeps on dancing.

The 2021 men's NCAA basketball tournament is down to the Sweet 16 round, and it's been all about the schools that aren't supposed to be here.

Oral Roberts, Loyola Chicago and Oregon State have busted brackets everywhere, while USC and Syracuse are trying to reclaim old glory.

Illinois was toppled by the Ramblers, but outside of the Fighting Illini, all of the other No. 1 seeds remain: Michigan, Baylor and Gonzaga.

Up to this point, the basketball action has been electric, but it's about to go to another level now that teams want to advance to the Elite Eight and the Final Four.

How many glass slippers will remain? College basketball fans will have to just tune in to see.

Here's the updated bracket and schedule for the Sweet 16, as well as a few odds (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook) and picks.

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Sweet 16 Schedule

Saturday, March 27

No. 8 Loyola Chicago (-7) vs. No. 12 Oregon State, 2:40 p.m. ET (CBS)

No. 1 Baylor (-7.5) vs. No. 5 Villanova, 5:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

No. 3 Arkansas (-11.5) vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts, 7:25 p.m. ET (TBS)

No. 2 Houston (-6.5) vs. No. 11 Syracuse, 9:55 p.m. ET (TBS)


Sunday, March 28

No. 1 Gonzaga (-13) vs. No. 5 Creighton, 2:10 p.m. ET (CBS)

No. 1 Michigan (-2.5) vs. No. 4 Florida State, 5 p.m. ET (CBS)

No. 2 Alabama (-6.5) vs. No. 11 UCLA, 7:15 p.m. ET (TBS)

No. 6 USC (-2) vs. No. 7 Oregon, 9:45 p.m. ET (TBS)


Elite Eight Schedule

Monday, March 29

Game TBD (South or West Regional), 7 p.m. ET (CBS)

Game TBD (South or West Regional), 9:45 p.m. ET (CBS)


Tuesday, March 30

Game TBD (East or Midwest Regional), 7 p.m. ET (TBS)

Game TBD (East or Midwest Regional), 9:45 p.m. ET (TBS)

Tipoff times and TV info via NCAA.com.


Sweet 16 Picks

Get ready for another Sister Jean sighting as Loyola Chicago takes the court against fellow underdog Oregon State.

The Beavers won the Pac-12 tournament and picked up two quality wins on the way to the Sweet 16, but they may not have enough firepower to get past the Ramblers.

Loyola Chicago's big win over Illinois, one of the best teams in the country, is the kind of momentum that usually carries over, and in this case, it most likely will.

Villanova is no pushover, but with Collin Gillespie sidelined with a torn MCL, there's only so far that they can go. Baylor should easily take the win over the Wildcats and keep dancing.

AJ Mast/Associated Press

There's probably no better story in this year's March Madness than Oral Roberts. No one saw the Golden Eagles coming, but they should have because there were signs.

First of all, their leader, Max Abmas, led the nation in scoring during the regular season, putting up 24.2 points per game.

Secondly, they've got another stud in Kevin Obanor, who's stepped up in the tournament to average a team-high 29 points over two games.

Both players have been sensational over Ohio State and Florida. But is it time to say goodbye to this Cinderella?

Arkansas is playing inspired basketball, too, and they've got a trio of great players in Moses Moody, Justin Smith and JD Notae. And while the odds favor the Razorbacks, ORU has a really good shot at winning and moving on.

Buddy Boeheim is shooting lights out for Syracuse in the tournament, and their zone defense has been throwing off their opponents, but they are up against a real challenge in Houston.

The Cougars have a balanced attack led by Quentin Grimes. They are listed as the favorite and should take this one.

Gonzaga is a true No. 1 seed, so it's going to be a long day for Creighton.

Height is an advantage for Florida State in its matchup against Michigan, and that makes them a trendy pick for the upset on Sunday.

The Wolverines are without Isaiah Livers, so they've had to lean on Hunter Dickinson and Franz Wagner to get to this point. They'll need both to step up to beat the Seminoles and move on to their fourth Elite Eight appearance in eight tries.

UCLA has looked great thus far, but the Bruins will have their hands full with Alabama's three-guard attack led by SEC tournament MVP, Jahvon Quinerly. Look for the Crimson Tide to roll and advance.

USC and Oregon appear to be evenly matched for their matchup on Sunday night, so it will come down to who wants it most.

The last time these two played, it was a blowout win for the Trojans. That means the Ducks will be out to settle a score. This will be a close one, but USC should be the team moving on.


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