Sweet 16 Odds

Sweet 16 Odds

The first week of the 2015 NCAA Tournament is in the books. Three number one seeds remain with only perennial March Madness flop Villanova bowing out early. Kansas and Virginia were also sent packing, the latter having been beaten by Michigan State for the second consecutive year. UCLA proved they do indeed belong in the Field after taking down SMU and UAB, and Oklahoma and West Virginia are the lone Big 12 survivors after the conference received a dubious seven invites. Meanwhile, the ACC is sitting pretty with five contenders still alive. And then there’s Kentucky, who only needed quarter speed to dispose of Hampton and Cincinnati. Which of the Sweet 16 improved their odds to cut down the nets the most? Here’s a look.

Kentucky 1/1 – No reason not to change the Wildcats’ status. They should be even money to win it all and probably won’t be really tested until they face the West Regional champ. An all Wildcats half of the Final Four would be something to see.

Arizona 13/2 – Speaking of those other Wildcats, Arizona is looking sharp after two ho-hum blowouts. They are athletic and experienced, and appear to be playing with a chip on their shoulders, which can’t hurt if they get a shot at undefeated Kentucky.

Duke 8/1 – The young Devils eased some concerns by hammering Robert Morris and San Diego State. Freshmen phenoms Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow will be handful for the efficient and defensive-minded Utes. If any team can ruin Kentucky’s dream of perfection, it’s mighty Duke.

Wisconsin 8/1 – Frank Kaminsky is good enough to carry the Badgers to the title. Getting senior Traevon Jackson back from injury would only improve their chances of reaching thev Final Four two years in a row.

Gonzaga 12/1 – Mark Few’s Kryptonite is the Sweet 16. They haven’t advanced past the round since 2009. They won at UCLA in December 87-74.

Michigan State 14/1 – Never underestimate Tom Izzo and his guys. They play solid defense, can shoot threes, and are savvy tourney veterans. At this number, they make for a shrewd investment.

North Carolina 33/1 – As long as they don’t have to play defense, the Tar Heels are dangerous. Harvard slowed the pace and almost upset them. Wisconsin will make them win in the half court, which will be problematic for Roy Williams.

Wichita State 33/1 – Knock off two historic Tournament programs in Indiana and Kansas and the oddsmakers will take notice. Guards Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are the types of scorers who get things done this time of year.

N.C. State 50/1 – Giant killers have a tendency of running out of steam in the Sweet 16. Then again, Kentucky parlayed a #8 slot into a trip to the Championship game a season ago. They won at Louisville on Valentine’s Day 74-65.

UCLA 100/1 – Five players average in double-digits. Like Duke, they have no bench and aren’t particularly enamored about defense.

Xavier 100/1 – The Musketeers are easily the least talked about team remaining and for good reason. Beating Butler and Georgetown is one thing. Beating Arizona is a completely different animal.