There were plenty of upsets in the first two rounds of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, but that trend isn’t likely to continue when play resumes on Thursday. Most of the higher seeds should advance to the Elite Eight.
Even though there might not be many upsets, that doesn’t mean the Sweet 16 won’t feature several competitive games. All four No.1 seeds are favored by at least three points, but at least one could have a difficult time covering the point spread. Three No.1 seeds reached the Sweet 16 last year, and all of them made it to the Final Four. It’s been four years since every No.1 seed survived the first weekend, and three of them reached the Elite Eight.
Kansas entered the tournament as the No.1 seed, and they’ve shown why they are the favorite to win the national championship with easy victories over Austin Peay and Connecticut. The Jayhawks haven’t lost since they were defeated by Iowa State two months ago. They are No.1 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, and Michigan State is the only team ranked in the top seven that is no longer alive in the tournament.
Texas A&M and Gonzaga might be the two teams with the best chance to defeat a higher seed. The Aggies have just one loss in their last 11 games, though they won’t have an easy time slowing down Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield. Gonzaga is actually favored over a higher seeded Syracuse team that has won their two tournament games by a combined 44 points.
The toughest game to predict might be the matchup between Notre Dame and Wisconsin. The Badgers are seeded right behind the Fighting Irish in the East region, and the betting line is just one point at Las Vegas sportsbooks. Notre Dame’s record is one game better than Wisconsin’s.
Wisconsin is the only team that has reached the Sweet 16 in each of the last three years. Duke, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Gonzaga and North Carolina made it past the first weekend in 2015, as well.
Below are predicted winners and final scores for every Sweet 16 game, as well as updated betting odds.
No.2 Villanova over No.3 Miami, 78-72 (Villanova-4, 140.5)
No.3 Texas A&M over No.2 Oklahoma, 84-82 (Oklahoma-2.5, 146)
No.1 Kansas over No.5 Maryland, 85-70 (Kansas-6.5, 143.5)
No.1 Oregon over No.4 Duke, 90-80 (Oregon-3, 157)
No.1 Virginia over No.4 Iowa State, 68-66 (Virginia-5, 141)
No.6 Notre Dame over No.7 Wisconsin, 64-56 (Notre Dame-1, 131.5)
No.10 Syracuse over No.11 Gonzaga, 75-74 (Gonzaga-4.5, 135)
No.1 North Carolina over No.5 Indiana, 88-74 (North Carolina-5.5, 158.5)