March Madness Update; 68-16

Just like that we went from 68 teams to 16. After the nonstop action for 4 days, things will settle down for a few days, and then the next round starts up again Thursday. There are not too many underdogs left this year. For the first time, all 16 favorites won their games in the second round, although that almost didn't happen when UCF nearly knocked off Duke. The Knights missed a layup and a tip in at the buzzer, eiether one would have given them the lead and the win.

Even before that, at the other end of the court, when Duke was down by 3 and Zion made a basket and got an and-1, he missed the free throw. If the Knights get the board, they probably win the game as well. But they didn't, and that leaves Oregon as the lone Cinderella this year. But the Ducks won't have it as easy as their last game against #13 UCI who they handled easily. Next time around, they get the Virginia Cavaliers. The Cavs almost lost to a #16 two years in a row. They ended up beating Gardner-Webb by 15 points, but they were trailing at half time by 6. Virginia is an 8.5 point favorite, and that is the biggest spread margin of the 8 games coming up.

The closest game looks to be Tennessee Vs. Purdue, where the Volunteers are just a one point favorite. For that Oregon game, they only have a 7% chance of winning according to ESPN. They are +350 with the money line while Virginia is -450. After losing 3 in a row, including losses to USC and UCLA, Oregon closed the season on an 8 game winning streak, and with their two tourney wins that is ten in a row.

They did beat #5 Wisconsin pretty badly, but then had it easy with UCI, so I think this will be just a stepping stone game for Virginia who will move on to the Elite 8 with no problem. Oregon may keep it close for a half, but I think the Cavs pull away and cover that 8.5 point spread. That game will be at 6:50 pm PT on Thursday, and will be in Louisville KY, which should also make it packed with more Virginia fans. Too bad for the Ducks the game won't be in Anaheim.