The field is down to Virginia, Michigan State, Texas Tech, and Auburn. Virginia starts the week as the favorite for March Madness betting.
Virginia are relatively heavy favorites for NCAA championship betting, but they’re followed closely by Michigan State. It’s a jump to the third favorite in Texas Tech. Auburn sits at the longest odds of the remaining teams, so let’s jump into why the teams are where they are.
The lone #1 seed left, and the one that holds the dubious honor of being the first #1 seed ever knocked out in the first round. Nobody really trusts Virginia, but they’ve made the Final Four for the first time since 1984, so head coach Tony Bennett is onto something this season.
It took a lot of effort for Virginia to take out Purdue, and they only managed to take it to overtime with a buzzer beater to tie the game. It looks like this is the year that Virginia finally got over the hump after years of getting knocked out in the earlier rounds.
Always supremely talented and coached, the Cavaliers haven’t been able to capitalize on their ability until this season. Now that they’ve excised the demons of UMBC, they’re the best team going into the final weekend of play.
Michigan State +185
Did Michigan State beat Duke by a hair? Yes, but they still did it. This was after a dominant 17-point win over LSU, and double digit victories in the earlier rounds.
It’s your typical Tom Izzo team: smart and disciplined. Cassius Winston just happens to also be a supreme talent, and that’s the key that’s pushing Michigan State to the verge of a national title. Izzo has always had some of the best coached teams in the nation, but now he’s got the star player to push over the hump.
At +185, Michigan State is rightfully a favorite to win it all. Ignoring the #2 by their name, they simply are an excellent team. After all, there’s a reason they won a very competitive Big Ten.
Texas Tech +450
It’s time to take the Red Raiders seriously. Most of us didn’t, and the Red Raiders surprised everyone by waltzing into the Sweet 16 and demolishing a good Michigan team. For an encore, they beat Gonzaga by 6.
Texas Tech plays some of the staunchest defense you’ll see in the tournament. Michigan, this year, averaged 69.9 points per game, and Tech held them to 44. Given how well the Red Raiders have been playing, +450 odds might seem a bit high for them, but they play a Michigan State team that took out Duke.
The SEC usually has a representative in the Final Four. It’s just usually Kentucky.
Auburn enters the Final Four for the first time in program history, riding a hot streak that started back on February 27 at Georgia. They’ve looked like the team of destiny so far, and might have had higher odds than Texas Tech if it wasn’t for one thing: losing sophomore forward Chuma Okeke to an ACL.
Auburn sits at +700, and they face the favorites Virginia, so the loss of their leading rebounder is going to be a blow. Can Auburn simply shoot the lights out to beat Virginia? Possibly. They did drop 97 on UNC.