2021 March Madness Predictions: Sweet
pandemic has seen the world turned upside down over the last year so it is not
surprising that this year’s iteration
of March Madness
mirrors much of that upheaval. We have seen stunning upsets over the first two
rounds starting with No, 15 Oral Roberts shocking No. 2 seed Ohio State. But
the fickle gods of college basketball were just getting started as there was
plenty more to come.
heralded North Texas entered as the No. 13 seed in the South and engineered a
78-69 overtime win over No. 4 Purdue. No. 12 Oregon State dispatched No. 5
Tennessee before No. 10 Rutgers gave No. 7 Clemson the boot.
were just Friday’s Round 1 upsets as Saturday had its share of twists and turns
as well. No. 14 Abilene Christian bid adieu to No. 3 Texas while No. 13 in the
East Region, Ohio, gave No. 4, Virginia, its walking papers. Tenth-ranked
Maryland defeated No. 7 UConn while No. 11 UCLA sent No. 6 BYU packing on
Saturday as well.
It was an
uproarious first round but there was more to come in the second round after the
field was whittled to 32 teams. The first domino to fall was No. 1 seed in the
Midwest, Illinois, as No. 8, Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago, proved too much in
a 71-58 stunner.
that day, the Orange of Syracuse would prove they belonged as the No. 11 seed
after beating No. 3 West Virginia. Oral Roberts summoned even more divine intervention
when they edged No. 7 Florida. Sunday’s second-round festivities ended with
another underdog notching a big win when No. 12 Oregon State cruised to a
10-point victory over No. 4 Oklahoma State.
action began with yet another upset when No. 7 Oregon clipped No. 2 Iowa. And
that upset was bookended by the last game of the day when No. 6 USC destroyed
No. 3 Kansas, 85-51.
The odds are
already out for the Sweet 16 and although many of us have already seen our
brackets obliterated, there are still games to be played. Those who like to put
their money where their mouth is and have a carefully formulated strategy for their NCAAB picks will
be eagerly awaiting
the following eight games this weekend.
further ado, let’s lay out Saturday’s and Sunday’s schedule accompanied by the prevailing odds on each game and make a prediction.
#12 Oregon State vs. #8 Loyola Chicago (-6 ½)
Ramblers will get loads of public money due to the whole Cinderella story,
giant slayer redux from 2018, not to mention the adorable 101-year-old
spiritual mentor, Sister Jean, rooting them on, the oddsmakers are giving us a
world of value on the sharp-shooting Beavers of Oregon State averaging 75
points per game in their two victories while defeating their higher-ranked
opponents by an average of 12 points. Although the stingy defense of Loyola
Chicago may ultimately win the day, the 6 ½ point head start is too tempting to
Madness Prediction: Oregon State +6 ½
#5 Villanova vs. #1 Baylor (-6 ½)
be another public favorite that the masses will devour at the betting windows
but Villanova is a legitimate dark horse in this tournament and will give the
Bears all they can handle. If Nova does win, it won’t be as big an upset as
many believe because the Bears have underlying issues that will eventually
Madness Prediction: Villanova +6 ½
#15 Oral Roberts vs. #3 Arkansas (-11)
fun to watch the evangelical team from Tulsa stun the big boys but all good
things must come to an end and it appears as though the Razorbacks are just the
team to rain on the Golden Eagles’ parade. Not only will Arkansas win but they
will do it going away as Oral Roberts is simply outclassed here.
Madness Prediction: Arkansas -11
#11 Syracuse vs. #2 Houston (-6)
The end will
come swiftly for the Orange as they will not be able to hang with the Cougars,
a team whose offense took a pause but still got by a gritty Rutgers team in
their last performance. Houston rolls here.
Madness Prediction: Houston -6
#5 Creighton vs. #1 Gonzaga (-13 ½)
oddsmakers are making it difficult to bet either side here as the Zags will
likely win by double-digits but there is a big difference, in terms of
gambling, between a 10-point and a 14-point win. Creighton is a tough team that
should be able to keep this one within the margins.
Madness Prediction: Creighton +13 ½
#4 Florida State vs. #1 Michigan (-3)
Seminoles’ defense is clicking on all cylinders entering this matchup and it
will unravel top-seeded Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Let’s look for an
outright upset here but grab the three points just in case it comes down to the
Madness Prediction: Florida State +3
#11 UCLA vs. #2 Alabama (-5 ½)
will have their hands full on Sunday as Alabama could be the most dangerous
team left standing in the tournament after flexing their way to a 96-77 win
over Maryland on Monday. UCLA does not have the requisite defenders to stop
this Bama juggernaut and the Tide will roll into the Elite Eight.
Madness Prediction: Alabama -5 ½
#7 Oregon vs. #6 USC (-1)
be a hotly contested matchup from start to finish but when the final buzzer
sounds expect to see the Ducks sailing through to the next round.
Madness Prediction: Oregon +1