Top Seed, Defending Champs Ousted
Four of the top six ranked teams in the nation are out of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament after the first two rounds, including the top seed in the West in Xavier.
The defending champions from North Carolina, the No. 2 seed in this region, were also thrown to the sidelines.
All of these upsets have made a mess of the four brackets, with just two No. 1 seeds left standing.
VGB went 34-18 (65.4 per cent) in first- and second-round games and the First Four, including 10 of the Sweet Sixteen teams.
Let’s try to pick a winner in both of these games on Thursday and the Final Four representative from the West from Saturday’s regional final (odds provided by Bovada).
***VGB’s Final Four Pick — Michigan
Unlikely Hero To The Rescue
(3) Michigan vs. (7) Texas A&M — An unlikely hero is the reason the Wolverines (30-7) are still alive. Freshman Jordan Poole made a dramatic three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Michigan past Houston.
Now the Big Ten Champs meet an Aggies’ team from Texas A&M that has never made it past this point of the tournament.
The Aggies (22-12) destroyed the defending champs in North Carolina, winning by 21 points. They are certainly peaking at the right time, since they were 3-4 in their last seven games before all the madness started last week.
The Wolverines will have to play a lot better on offense if they expect to have a chance in this one. The Aggies and their incredible rebounding will have to remain relentless at both ends of the court.
Mo Wagner, who averages 14.2 points per game, hits more than 50 per cent of his shots from the field for the Wolverines. The Aggies have five players who average double digits per game, lead by center Tyler Davis (14.6).
Texas A&M is 2-0 against the spread (ATS) in the tournament. Michigan is 1-1.
VGB’s pick — Michigan
Bulldogs Have Won 16 Straight
(4) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida State — Can the Bulldogs make it back to the national final again this year? They’re off to a great start. They have made it to the Elite Eight three times (1999, 2015, 2017), including last year where they lost the championship to North Carolina.
The Bulldogs (32-4) have won 16 straight, including single-digit tournament victories over North Carolina-Greensboro and Ohio State. The last time Gonzaga tasted defeat was more than two months ago on Jan. 18.
The Bulldogs have five players who average double digits per game, led by Johnathan Williams (13.6). The team ranks 10th in the nation on offense.
The Seminoles (22-11) lost three of their last four games before the main event, but they ousted Missouri and No. 1 seed Xavier in the first two rounds. Brian Cofer, Braian Angolo and Terance Mann fuel the 34th-ranked offense for Florida State, which finished eighth in the ACC this season.
Gonzaga is 1-1 ATS in the championship, while Florida State is 2-0.
VGB’s pick — Gonzaga
VGB’s Top 10 NCAA Basketball Teams
(Current odds to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship listed after team record. Odds provided by Bovada.)
- Villanova (32-4) +450 — Seven straight wins, look strong in East region.
- Michigan (30-7) +800 — Big Ten champs lucky to advance to Sweet 16.
- Kansas (29-7) +850 — 10-1 in last 11, escape with win over Seton Hall.
- Gonzaga (32-4) +700 — 16 consecutive wins, including Ohio State.
- Duke (28-7) +325 — Blue Devils now favored to win championship.
- Purdue (30-6) +1600 — Knock off Butler for 30th victory of the season.
- Texas Tech (26-9) +2200 — Entered tournament 2-5 in last seven games.
- West Virginia (26-10) +1600 — Two double-digit wins, now meet ‘Nova.
- Virginia (31-3) — First top seed to make history for all the wrong reasons.
- Xavier (29-6) — Two losses in last three games to unranked teams.