March Madness Predictions 2014: Betting Odds And Projections For Some Of The Tough Office Pool Picks

Marcus Smart Oklahoma St
Marcus Smart is one of the best players in college basketball.

Filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket for an office pool can be very frustrating, especially when trying to pick winners in the Round of 64. Matchups involving the top few seeds can be easy to predict, but others are much more difficult to call.

The No.7-No.10 and No.8-No.9 matchups are often major tossups. The teams that are given these seeds usually are not among the favorites to win the national championship, but they are also capable of winning a few games during March Madness. While that is largely the case in 2014, there are a few exceptions.

Kentucky and Oklahoma State are not typical No.8 and No.9 seeds. According to many experts, they have as good of a chance to win the title as any team that is seeded lower than No.4.

The Wildcats have had their struggles this year, but they were ranked atop the polls in the preseason, and are among the most talented teams in the tournament. Kentucky entered the season as the No. 1 team in the nation. John Calipari's squad is loaded with talented freshman such as Julius Randle and the Harrison Twins, Andrew and Aaron.

The Cowboys could have a few more wins, if it weren’t for Marcus Smart’s suspension. The sophomore remains one of the best players in college basketball, while averaging 17.8 points per game. Experts have praised Smart's play since he returned on Feb. 22. Senior Markel Brown has also been a valuable contributor to Oklahoma State.

None of the No.7 through No.10 seeds are heavy favorites. Oregon and Pittsburgh are expected to have the easiest victories, playing in games with a point spread of 5.5 points. The Ducks are one of the hottest teams in the nation, having lost once in the last five weeks. The Panthers were very competitive in the ACC, which produced six tournament teams. They are favored, even though they are the lower seed.

South

10 Stanford (+3.5) 7 New Mexico

9 Pittsburgh (-5.5) 8 Colorado

Winners: New Mexico, Pittsburgh

East

9 George Washington (+3) 8 Memphis

10 Saint Joseph’s (+4.5) 7 Connecticut

Winners: George Washington, Connecticut

West

10 BYU (+5.5) 7 Oregon

9 Oklahoma St. (-2) 8 Gonzaga

Winners: Oregon, Oklahoma State

Midwest

10 Arizona St. (+1.5) 7 Texas

9 Kansas St. (+5) 8 Kentucky

Winners: Kentucky, Arizona St. 

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