- Two #1 seeds are out, two #11 seeds remain, and the bracket is generally chaos.
- Which teams are now favored to cut down the nets in San Antonio?
- Should any of the ousted coaches be worried about their job security?
Before the madness of the last four days, back when the #16 seeds were still winless and no one knew the name “Sister Jean,” the odds for March Madness looked like this.
My how things have changed.
Note: as usual, the odds-lists below do not necessarily include only the top candidates. Odds for additional teams, players, coaches, and outcomes are available upon request.
2018 NCAA Tournament Title Odds
- Duke Blue Devils: 5/1
- Villanova Wildcats: 5/1
- Kentucky Wildcats: 8/1
- Kansas Jayhawks: 9/1
- Gonzaga Bulldogs: 11/1
- Michigan Wolverines: 11/1
- Purdue Boilermakers: 16/1
- West Virginia Mountaineers: 16/1
- Texas Tech Red Raiders: 24/1
- Texas A&M Aggies: 25/1
- Clemson Tigers: 45/1
- Nevada Wolfpack: 50/1
- Florida State Seminoles: 60/1
- Kansas State Wildcats: 65/1
- Loyola-Chicago Ramblers: 85/1
- Syracuse Orange: 95/1
Duke and Nova are the co-favorites despite being on the same side of the bracket, and that’s why you see Kansas — one of only two remaining #1 seeds — at pretty long odds. They’ll have to get by a suddenly red-hot Clemson in the Sweet 16, then (likely) Duke in the Elite Eight, and then potentially Nova in the Final Four. Devonte’ Graham and the Jayhawks have the toughest draw at this stage.
On the other side of the bracket, John Calipari’s Kentucky team is playing its best ball of the season and has a dream draw in the South, with the #1-4 seeds all falling in the first two rounds. They can’t look past a potential Elite Eight matchup with resilient Nevada, though, which must be feeling like the team of destiny after coming back from 14 down against #10 Texas and 21 down against #2 Cincinnati.
2018 Most Outstanding Player Odds
- Marvin Bagley (Duke): 11/1
- Mikal Bridges (Villanova): 13/1
- Jalen Brunson (Villanova): 13/1
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky): 15/1
- Devonte’ Graham (Kansas): 15/1
- Jevon Carter (West Virginia): 20/1
- Mo Wagner (Michigan): 25/1
- Grayson Allen (Duke): 29/1
- Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke): 29/1
- Charles Matthews (Michigan): 36/1
- Keenan Evans (Texas Tech): 40/1
- Carsen Edwards (Purdue): 42/1
- Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga): 49/1
- Malik Newman (Kansas): 49/1
- Jonathan Williams (Gonzaga): 49/1
- Vince Edwards (Purdue): 56/1
- Zach Norvell (Gonzaga): 59/1
- Tyler Davis (Texas A&M): 64/1
The most plausible narrative of a Duke championship is that Marvin Bagley feasts against overmatched Kansas and Villanova frontcourts. For Nova, on the other hand, there’s basically an equal shot that Brunson or Bridges is their best player on the way to a title.
Gilgeous-Alexander (23.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 7.0 RPG, 3.5 SPG in two tournament games) has been the biggest key to UK’s late-season surge, generating both open looks for his teammates and his own shot. They don’t make the title game without him maintaining his current level of play, easy draw or otherwise. Same goes for West Virginia and Jevon Carter (25.4 PPG, 6.5 AGP, 5.5 SPG in two tournament games); the often offensively challenged Mountaineers are getting Carter’s best at both ends right now. If he cools off, they’re toast (but, like, day-old cold toast).
Next Tournament Coach Fired
- Sean Miller (Arizona): 2/1
- Bruce Pearl (Auburn): 6/1
- Tom Izzo (Michigan State): 16/1
- John Calipari (Kentucky): 49/1
- Mike Krzyzewski (Duke): 49/1
- Roy Williams (UNC): 54/1
- Steve Alford (UCLA): 54/1
- Bruce Weber (Kansas State): 54/1
- Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): 70/1
- Billy Kennedy (Texas A&M): 70/1
- Tony Bennett (Virginia): 99/1
Cry for Tony Bennett, certainly, but don’t fear for his job security. The powers-that-be at UVA know how valuable he is to that program. He took a cast of relative nobodies to one of the best seasons in ACC history. The Cavaliers weren’t even a top-25 team entering the season. Yes, the loss to #16 UMBC is embarrassing, and something that will follow him his entire career. It’s not going to lead to a coaching change, though.
It’s callous to say, but Tom Izzo’s recent lack of success in the tournament makes it more likely that he’ll be fired for, ostensibly, non-performance reasons. Same goes for Bruce Pearl at Auburn, whose Tigers no-showed in the Round of 32.
At the top of the list, Sean Miller jumps up largely because both Billy Kennedy and Bruce Weber fell. Kennedy and Weber are through to the Sweet 16, meaning their once hot seats are now frigid (in a good way).
Sweet 16 & Elite 8 Over/Unders
- ACC teams in the Elite Eight: 1.5
- Big 12 teams in the Elite Eight: 1.5
- Mid-majors in the Final Four (Gonzaga, Nevada, Loyola-Chicago): 0.5
- Seed of the 2018 NCAA Tournament champion: 2.0
- Highest seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament final: 5.0
- Highest single-player point total in the Sweet 16: 33.5
- Biggest margin of victory in the Sweet 16: 17.5