Is your bracket busted? No worries, because you’re not alone. Out of the five major online games: Bracket Challenge Game, ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and Sports Illustrated, not a single bracket had the current Sweet 16. So don’t beat yourself up for having a bunch of red marks and X’s on your bracket because you’re not the only one.
And yes even though your bracket might be busted, there’s still basketball to be played and money to be made. So before we jump into our predictions, let’s check out the latest odds, via Sports Betting Dime’s nccab odds.
West Region: Will Gonzaga Prevail?
Sunday, March 28th, 2:10 PM EST #5 Creighton vs. #1 Gonzaga:
The Gonzaga Bulldogs quest for a National Championship and undefeated season still seems very promising as no one has even tested the Zags yet in Indianapolis. Though some believe that Creighton, because of their offense, could give the Zags some trouble. However, I just don’t see it. While Creighton was able to get into the 70’s against an underrated, Ohio defense, this Zags team is just complete.
Prediction: Gonzaga -13, Over 158.
Sunday, March 28th, 9:45 PM EST #7 Oregon vs. #6 USC:
This will be the game of the weekend. A PAC-12 battle that most East Coast viewers don’t get the privilege of seeing due to their tip-off times during the regular season. But this game will make up for all of those missed games as we’re in for a treat.
Despite Oregon’s impressive upset victory over Iowa, 95-80, this matchup against USC will be a lot harder. Not to discredit Iowa’s season, but USC is a completely different team. The Mobley brothers for starters are a tandem that’s nearly impossible to control, combined with the experienced backcourt this Trojan team will be a tough out and the team that I believe knocks out Gonzaga.
Prediction: USC ML
East Region: Roll Tide?
Sunday, March 28th, 5:00 PM EST #4 Florida State vs. #1 Michigan:
The biggest criticism that Michigan faced this year was “that they couldn’t play well away from home.” Making it to the Sweet 16 and being the only team left from the “best conference this year,” I’d have to go ahead and say that narrative is false.
I will, however, believe the narrative that the Big 10 is overrated and that the ACC, this year is underrated. With that being said, I think Florida State handles Michigan as the Seminoles have one of the best offenses left in this Tournament and can rebound and defend the ball extremely well. Especially with no Isaiah Livers, this game could get ugly quickly.
Prediction: Florida State +2.5
Sunday, March 28th, 7:15 PM EST #11 UCLA vs. #Alabama:
I’ll keep this one short and sweet because that’s exactly what it’s going to be for Alabama fans. I’ll also say, what an accomplishment it was for UCLA to even make it to the Sweet 16 and it just goes to show you how talented the PAC-12 really was this season.
I know when we think of Alabama, we think of football, championships, and Nick Saban. But with SEC player of the year and defensive player of the year, Herbert Jones this Alabama team will steal the “football school” spotlight for March and even longer if they’re able to cut down the nets.
Prediction: Alabama -6.5
South Region: SEC Dominance?
Saturday, March 27th, 5:15 PM EST #5 Villanova vs. #1 Baylor:
I know what everyone is thinking. How did Villanova get this far without Collin Gillespie? Did they finally figure out a way to win without him? And the answers would be, they faced the talent of two 16 seeds in my opinion, and no they didn’t figure out how to win without him, they just didn’t need him.
But come Saturday, they’ll need Gillespie and more. Gillespie, of course, won’t be playing as he’s out for the year. But this Wildcats team made it further than most would’ve anticipated after losing their best player. Baylor rolls in this one and shows the rest of the tournament that they’re back to their dominant form.
Prediction: Baylor -7.5
Saturday, March 27th, 7:25 PM EST #15 Oral Roberts vs. #3 Arkansas:
This year’s Cinderella is looking to be remembered much more as they have their eyes set on a National Championship. After upsetting Ohio State, which started their Cinderalla run, the Golden Eagles, said they expected to beat Ohio State.
Now matched up with a firey offense with the Arkansas Razorbacks, Oral Roberts will cretainly have their hands full on Saturday night. But if they’re able to continue their hot shooting and force turnovers, then they might see themsevles moving on to an Elite 8 matchup with the winner of Villanova/Baylor.
Prediction: Oral Roberts +11
Midwest Region: Orange you ready?
Saturday, March 27th, 2:40 PM EST #12 Oregon St. vs. #8 Loyola Chicago
Many wrote this Oregon State team off and claimed their PAC-12 title was a “fluke.” But they’re still dancing. As for Loyola Chicago, Sister Jean and the power of prayer are still marching on. Though, I think their Cinderella season comes to an end on Saturday as the Beavers will advance to the Elite 8.
What Oregon State has been able to do this month and completely turn around their season by running the table in the PAC-12 to make the tournament is too impressive to see it end now. It will be a close one, but the Beavers prevail.
Prediction: Oregon State +7
Saturday, March 27th, 9:55 PM EST #11 Syracuse vs. #2 Houston:
This Houston team is so underrated that it’s not even fair. Despite cutting it close to Rutgers, the Cougars are one of the most offensive and defensive efficiency teams in College Basketball. But the Orange’s unique 2-3 zone defense can cause major problems for opposing teams, especially during the tournament as it’s very hard to prepare for.
Whoever can control the boards will be the team to prevail in this one. Both teams can score the ball very easily and as for Houston, very efficiently.
Prediction: Syracuse +6, Over 140.5