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2021 March Madness Predictions: Sweet 16

The global 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.

Lightly 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.

But those 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.

Later on 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.

Monday’s 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.

Sweet 16 Predictions

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.

Without further ado, let’s lay out Saturday’s and Sunday’s schedule accompanied by the prevailing odds on each game and make a prediction.

Saturday, March 27th

2:40 PM #12 Oregon State vs. #8 Loyola Chicago (-6 ½)

While the 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 ignore.

March Madness Prediction: Oregon State +6 ½

5:15 PM #5 Villanova vs. #1 Baylor (-6 ½)

Baylor will 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 manifest.

March Madness Prediction: Villanova +6 ½

7:25 PM #15 Oral Roberts vs. #3 Arkansas (-11)

It’s been 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.

March Madness Prediction: Arkansas -11

9:55 PM #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.

March Madness Prediction: Houston -6

Sunday, March 28th

2:10 PM #5 Creighton vs. #1 Gonzaga (-13 ½)

The 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.

March Madness Prediction: Creighton +13 ½

5:00 PM #4 Florida State vs. #1 Michigan (-3)

The 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 wire.

March Madness Prediction: Florida State +3

7:15 PM #11 UCLA vs. #2 Alabama (-5 ½)

The Bruins 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.

March Madness Prediction: Alabama -5 ½

9:45 PM #7 Oregon vs. #6 USC (-1)

This should 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.

March Madness Prediction: Oregon +1

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