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March Madness Predictions: Who are the Favorites and Underdogs?

The ides of March are nearly upon us and as the chaos of March Madness is set to take off, we should dive into the potential bracket. Sure, there’s some of the usual suspects like Gonzaga. However, as always with March Madness, it is entirely possible we get underdogs dancing to the Final Four with all of the craziness of this season. We’ve had South Carolina, Texas Tech and Loyola-Chicago make the Final Four in recent years. And of course Syracuse has made a pair of Cinderella runs to the final weekend of the NCAA Tourney recently.

If it were easier to predict March Madness, you can be sure Warren Buffet would not be offering upwards of $1 billion to anyone who can fill out a perfect bracket. Unlike the NFL or NBA playoffs, it’s nearly impossible to predict the entire field. It’s hard to even get the Final Four right. The sharps are always a good place to start looking at what may transpire. Here’s the teams book makers are keeping their eyes on.

The changes for this year’s tourney

This year’s March Madness tournament will be unique in that it will be held in one location. All of the games will take place in Indiana and the Final Four will be held at the Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3rd and 5th. The schedule will also be adjusted in order to allow teams to play one after the other. The change in venue and schedule will actually benefit most fans because we should be able to watch more games with a more condensed schedule. In previous years the TV schedule was spread out with four different time zones.

The favorites

The top four powerhouses are Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, and Ohio State at the moment. Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan are the top three teams listed in the AP Poll and are also the top three teams in the NET rankings. Gonzaga is still carrying an undefeated record. Michigan, Illinois and Ohio State have a chance to bring multiple #1 seeds from the Big Ten in the same NCAA Tournament.

The underdogs and potential dark horse teams

As every sports fan and gambler knows, every March Madness point scored, dunk made, and loss incurred can be (and is) bet on. The dark horses are the most exciting for gamblers, book makers, and spectators as well. It makes the tournament what it is. UMBC’s upset of Virginia lives forever.

So, which underdog teams are book makers keeping their eyes on? Iowa, Alabama, and Oklahoma are three underdog teams which bookmakers are keeping close tabs on. Iowa is very strong offensively and can score with anyone, but their defense is lacking. Alabama’s turnaround has been staggering under Nate Oates, but they struggle with efficient shooting. Oklahoma has one of the strongest players in the country right now, Austin Reaves, as its centerpiece.

You can get in on the fun and place your own bets while following the action with World Sports Network’s March Madness betting guide. WSN has all of the information you need to learn about the teams, strategize your bets, and potentially win big.

The most recent National Champions

Over the last ten years, North Carolina and Duke have combined to win three National Championships. North Carolina also lost in the title game in 2016, so together the two appear in 40% of the championship games since 2010. UNC has recovered after a brutal season last year, but Duke may not even make the tourney.

Blue blood Kentucky has been a disaster this year, causing some in the Blue Grass State to call for John Calipari’s head. He won the title in 2012 and lost in 2014. Michigan State has gotten to the tournament every year since 1998 (longer than some of the players have even been alive) and this year’s team is likely to be another tough out. Michigan State is also the last Big Ten team to have won the National Championship back in 2000, but with so many powerhouse teams in the Midwest that drought could come to an end next month.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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