Four teams remain in the 2019 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, and Virginia, the only #1 seed advancing to the semifinals, is the favorite to win March Madness at +150.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, #2 Michigan State is the second favorite on the board at 2/1 odds. Michigan State picked off Duke by one point in the East Regional finals to deny Zion Williamson a spot in the Final Four.
The 2019 Final Four features one team from the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12. Two SEC teams were fighting to represent the Midwest regional. The exciting Elite 8 match up between #5 Auburn and #2 Kentucky required overtime to determine the winner. Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers came out on top 77-71. Auburn is the long shot on the board at 6/1 odds.
2019 Final Four Championship Odds:
Michigan State 2/1
Texas Tech 7/2
Virginia, the #1 seed out of the South Regional, finally broke through to the Final Four for the first time under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia needed overtime to pick off #3 Purdue in the Elite 8.
In the West regional, Texas Tech outlasted the top-ranked team in the country and picked off #1 Gonzaga. The Raiders are 7/2 odds to win the national championship.
First Timers: Auburn and Texas Tech
Auburn and Texas Tech, mostly-known as football schools, advanced to the Final Four for the first time in history. Texas Tech’s football program is in the news a lot these days because its the alma mater of Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. However, Chris Beards’ basketball team is finally getting the proper attention they deserve.
Texas Tech boasts the third-best defense in the country. Chris Beard, a former Bobby Knight assistant, brought defensive mayhem to opposing teams in the tournament. Tech figured out a way to contain Gonzaga’s efficient offense that cranked out nearly 88 points per game. Tech held the Zags to 69 points. Beard guided the Raiders to an Elite Eight berth last year.
Even during the Charles Barkley days when the Round Mound of Rebound played for the Tigers, they never went to the Final Four. Bruce Pearl pulled off something that seemed impossible, especially after Auburn lost their star player Chuma Okeke to a torn ACL.
Bruce Pearl, Chris Beard, and Tony Bennett are first-time coaches in the Final Four. Virginia’s last Final Four berth occurred in 1984. Bennett, who had a brief NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets in the early 1990s, has been coaching at Virginia since 2009.
Another Final Four for Izzo
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo advanced to his eighth Final Four. His last appearance happened in 2015. Izzo, who has been coaching in East Lansing since 19995, reached three consecutive Final Four appearances between 1999 and 2001. During that run, Michigan State won the championship in 2000.
Izzo also took the Spartans to the Final Four in consecutive years in 2009 and 2010, but he has only won the big one once.
Izzo is the only coach among the four with Final Four experience. Michigan State is only 2/1 odds to win. Heading into the Sweet 16, you could get Michigan State at 10/1 odds to win March Madness.