It’s been a very interesting NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the Michigan Wolverines. They were given the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, one of the last at-large March Madness berths awarded to the Big Ten, but the Wolverines have made it into the Sweet Sixteen – and they’re 1.5-point favorites at press time to beat the No. 3 Oregon Ducks Thursday night (7:09 PM ET, CBS).

The Wolverines definitely have the betting public behind them, although Michigan’s First-Round tilt with the No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys (+3.5) ended in heartbreak when Jawun Evans connected from long range with just two seconds left, giving OSU the matador cover in a 92-91 loss. But the Wolverines more than made up for it in the Second Round by upsetting the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals, 73-69 as 3.5-point underdogs on the closing lines. Now Michigan has a chance to take advantage of a wounded Ducks team. They haven’t been the same since 6-foot-10 senior forward Chris Boucher (20.0 points, 10.3 rebounds per 40 minutes) tore his ACL during the Pacific-12 Tournament.


Money Ball

There’s another Sweet Sixteen matchup that will have everyone glued to their screens Friday night (9:39 PM ET, CBS), and it features the No. 3 UCLA Bruins taking on the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats in the South Region. UCLA is led by freshman guard Lonzo Ball (16.8 points, 8.7 assists, 7.0 rebounds per 40 minutes), arguably the best player in college basketball. And much like Michigan, the popular Bruins are 1-point favorites over their better-seeded opponents, although Kentucky is at full health in this case.

The South was the only region to get all four of its top seeds into the Sweet Sixteen. It’s also the home of the only remaining ACC program at the Big Dance, the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels. All the other eight ACC teams have been eliminated, including the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils in the East Region. Duke and North Carolina opened as +650 co-favorites on the March Madness odds list, but the Blue Devils only made it to the Second Round before losing 88-81 to the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (+7).

Also on the sidelines: the defending champions. The Villanova Wildcats, No. 1 in both the East Region and the entire Tournament, got turfed 65-62 by the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (+6.5) in the Second Round. Losing both Villanova and Duke leaves the East wide-open for anyone to make the Final Four, but life looks pretty good for the underappreciated No. 4 Florida Gators, who will face Wisconsin Friday night (9:59 PM ET, TBS) as 2-point favorites at Madison Square Garden.


*Odds as of March 22, 2017