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March Madness Analysis: ACC Heads Sweet 16 Teams

The closest thing to a mid-major left in the 2024 March Madness bracket is 2023 national runner-up San Diego State as four ACC teams, three squads from the Big East and two each from the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC are among the final 16 teams.

All the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are still alive and the college basketball odds have each of them favored to reach the regional finals.

March Madness Analysis: ACC Heads Sweet 16 Teams
Stephon Castle #5, Jaylin Stewart #3, Samson Johnson #35, and Solomon Ball #1 of the Connecticut Huskies | Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

The last time the No. 1 and 2 seeds played in a regional final was in 2019, when No. 2 Michigan State topped No. 1 Duke 68-67. It has been eight years since each of the top seeds made it to the regional finals.

Things get underway when Arizona faces Clemson on Thursday at 7:09 p.m. in the West Regional semifinal followed by San Diego State-UConn, Alabama-North Carolina and Illinois-Iowa State. Friday’s schedule has North Carolina State meeting Marquette, Gonzaga playing Purdue, Houston going up against Duke and Tennessee playing Creighton.

The best odds are for two No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four as that pays out at +140. The moneyline is set at +1400 for all four top-seeded teams to reach the Final Four.

Here’s some more information and betting odds heading into the Sweet 16 in the men’s Division I basketball tournament. The regional winners head to Glendale, Ariz., for the Final Four on April 6 and 8.

UConn Surging to the Top

At the end of January, there were 17 teams with odds of winning March Madness between +850 and +3500 and 13 of them are still playing.

The team with the best championship odds back then who will need to buy a ticket to get into the Final Four games is Kentucky. The Wildcats were priced at +1200 to win it all followed by Auburn at +1400 and Kansas at +1800.

Purdue led the way at +850 to win it all followed by UConn and Houston at +900, North Carolina at +1200.

 

UConn is now at +220 to win the national title with the Huskies looking to become the first team since the 2006 and 2007 Florida Gators to win back-to-back men’s Division I basketball titles. Houston (+500), Purdue (+650), and Arizona (+850) are the other teams with the best college basketball championship odds.

 

 

Portal Paying Off

While the Power-5 conferences might have flexed their muscles, it wasn’t without help from players who began their careers playing in less established basketball conferences.

UConn’s top two scorers, Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer, began their careers at East Carolina and Loyola (MD).

All-American guard Mark Sears played at Ohio for two seasons before transferring to Alabama while teammate Aaron Estrada spent time at Saint Peter’s and Hofstra.

Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht is averaging more points per game for the Volunteers than he did in either of his two seasons at Northern Colorado.


Iowa State’s top scorer, Keshon Gilbert, started 33 games in the previous two seasons at UNLV.

Marcus Domask was a four-year starter at Southern Illinois before landing at Illinois and putting up 16 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. Purdue‘s Lance Jones also played at Southern Illinois before giving the Boilermakers another scoring threat.

San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson has been a key player for Arizona.

North Carolina State’s DJ Horne began his collegiate career at Illinois State. DJ Burns, who is averaging 20 points in the NCAA Tournament, began his career at Wingate.

A Look At the Numbers

Connecticut is 24-11 against the Las Vegas odds as a favorite this season. Iowa State is 19-8, Arizona is 20-13, Marquette is 17-10 and North Carolina 19-14. Houston is a mediocre 17-17-2 ATS as the favorite while Purdue is just 16-15-2 and Tennessee is 15-13-2.

Clemson is 8-1 against the spread as the underdog. Illinois has been an underdog just six times and failed to cover only once. NC State is 10-6-1 ATS as the underdog while Alabama, Duke, Creighton, Gonzaga and San Diego State are a combined 9-23 ATS as the underdog this season.

Illinois leads all the regional semifinalists with 26 games going over the total while 25 of Alabama’s contests landed over the total during a season when the Crimson Tide hit the 100-point mark on 10 occasions.

 

 

Questions of the Day

Which team is the biggest underdog heading into the Sweet 16 games?


San Diego State is listed by the college basketball betting lines as the 11-point underdog against UConn. Clemson is a seven-point underdog with North Carolina State a 6½-point underdog.

Which college basketball team remaining in the March Madness bracket has the best record in the nation against the spread?


Iowa State is 25-10-1 ATS and UConn is 25-12 against the spread. No. 1 seeds UConn, Purdue, Houston, and North Carolina are a combined 24-7-2 against the Las Vegas odds when facing ranked opponents.

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