You can throw away the seeding when it comes to the first betting matchup of the Sweet 16 that tips off this Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
That’s because the seventh-seeded Michigan Wolverines (26-11) are listed as 1.5-point favorites against the third-seeded Oregon Ducks (31-5) after upsetting the second-seeded Louisville Cardinals (25-9) as three-point underdogs 73-69 in the second round of the Midwest Region last Sunday.
Michigan has been nearly unbeatable during March, reeling off seven straight wins and going 6-1 against the spread since losing to the Northwestern Wildcats 67-65 as two-point road chalk on the first day of the month. The Wolverines won the Big Ten tournament title and now face an Oregon team that hopes to turn the tables on them as a dog in this spot.
The Ducks have won 10 of their last 11 games (6-4-1 ATS), with the lone loss taking place in the Pac-12 tournament title game versus the Arizona Wildcats.
The second Midwest Region semifinal features another Big Ten team, as the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (27-7) meet the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (30-4) later on Thursday.
Purdue won the conference’s regular-season championship before suffering a 74-70 overtime loss to Michigan in the tournament quarterfinals. The Boilermakers are 5.5-point underdogs and have lost seven in a row straight up in that role, although they are 5-1 ATS in their last six games against Big 12 opponents.
The two other Thursday games both take place in the West Region, where the top two seeds are looking to square off again in a rematch on Saturday with a Final Four berth on the line. However, the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs (34-1) cannot afford to look past the fourth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (28-8) in the first Sweet 16 game at the SAP Center in San Jose.
The Bulldogs have failed to cover the spread in their first two NCAA tournament games, playing just one good half in each of them. They are also 1-3 ATS in their last four but have won the past three meetings with the Mountaineers.
West Virginia is a three-point underdog and ended a four-game skid ATS with an 83-71 rout of the fifth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish as three-point chalk last Saturday. Despite losing the last meeting with Gonzaga, the Mountaineers are an impressive 11-0 SU and 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 after losing the previous game of a matchup.
The top-seeded Arizona Wildcats (32-4) close out Thursday’s action against the 11th-seeded Xavier Musketeers (23-13) in San Jose. Arizona head coach Sean Miller held the same position at Xavier between 2004 and 2009, leading his former school to the Elite Eight in 2008.
Now Miller will try to get the Wildcats there with a win over the Musketeers as 7.5-point favorites. Arizona is 30-0 SU in its last 30 games as a favorite of seven points or more while Xavier has dropped seven of 10 versus teams over .500.