Despite a scare against UCF in the Round of 32, Zion Williamson and Duke heads into the Sweet 16 as the odds favorite to win 2019 March Madness.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, Duke is +140 to win the national championship. North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Virginia are 7/2 odds to win the title. All four #1 seeds are still alive in a chalk-heavy March Madness dominated by three squads from the ACC.
Duke, the #1 seed in the East Regional, easily won their opening-round match up against #16 North Dakota State. However, Duke almost lost the highly-anticipated battle between Zion and 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall. UCF had an opportunity to win the game on the final possession, but failed to upset Duke. Zion scored 32 points and the Blue Devils held on for a 2-point win.
March Madness Sweet 16 Odds
North Carolina 7/2
Michigan State 10/1
Florida State 30/1
Texas Tech 30/1
Virginia Tech 30/1
Oregon, this year’s “Cinderella”, is the only double-digit seed and the lone #12 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. The Ducks are 40/1 odds to win the title.
The top three seeds in all four regions advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. With the exception of a couple of games (LSU vs. Maryland and UCF vs. Duke), this year’s March Madness was somewhat boring.
Virginia, the #1 seed in the South, made sure they were not going to succumb to another opening-round loss to a #16 seed. The Cavs were stunned last year by UMBC, who made history as the first #16 seed to knock off a top seed. This year, Virginia put away #16 Gardner-Webb to avoid another embarrassing upset.
Gonzaga is cruising. The top seed in the West crushed #16 FDU in the opening round by 38 points. The Bulldogs picked off Baylor by 12 points in the Round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16.
North Carolina, the #1 seed in the Midwest, looked strong with a 25-point win over #16 Iona and a 22-point win over #9 Washington.
LSU Long Shot
The LSU Tigers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. The Tigers are playing in March Madness without head coach Will Wade after the school suspended him for refusing to discuss the specifics of a recruitment scandal. Interim coach Tony Benford led LSU to wins over #14 Yale and #6 Maryland.
In a battle of the Big Ten vs. the SEC, LSU played one of the most exciting games of the tournament against Maryland. After a sizable first-half deficit, the Terrapins stormed back. The two teams were ensconced in a back-and-forth battle in the last couple minutes of the game. LSU’s Tremont Waters sealed the win for LSU with a game-winning layup. Despite all the controversy, LSU’s team rallied to a 69-67 victory.
LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 where they meet #2 Michigan State. In that match up, LSU is a consensus 6-point dog against Tom Izzo’s squad. Michigan State is 10/1 to win March Madness, while LSU is the biggest long shot on the board at 50/1.