No. 1 seeds Alabama and Houston advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament without much trouble. No. 2 seeds Texas and UCLA are also looking to make their own noise during the third round.
Alabama looked the part of a definitive No. 1 overall seed during the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Crimson Tide rolled through two opponents in dominating fashion, winning by an average of 21.5 points. The favorites to win the national title advanced to the Sweet 16 in a manner and style that stated they’re a team on a mission.
Houston, the No.1 seed for the Midwest Region, also advanced to the Sweet 16 and performed well enough for others to take notice that they too mean business this March. The same couldn’t be said about Purdue, the No. 1 seed for the East Region, and Kansas, the No. 1 seed for the West Region. Both teams suffered defeats, but it’s the Boilermakers losing 63-58 to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson in an opening-round contest that will be remembered the most about the first week of this year’s NCAA tournament. Only the University of Virginia in 2018 had suffered an opening-round loss as a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament dating back to the field of 64 teams.
The sportsbooks continue to like Alabama as the favorite team to win the national championship, although the odds have changed to some degree since the start of the tournament. Barstool has odds of +350 on Alabama winning it all while DraftKings’ odds for the Crimson Tide to finish No. 1 moved slightly from +500 prior to the start of the tournament to +340 after the first two rounds. FanDuel has odds of +400 on Houston while DraftKings and Barstool have odds of +360 and +350, respectively, on the Cougars advancing to the Final Four in Houston to cut down the nets.
Alabama and Houston aren’t the only teams that played really well on their way to advancing to the Sweet 16. UCLA, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and Gonzaga also looked good through the first two rounds and figure to be a difficult group to deal with during the next round.
San Diego State, Creighton, Princeton and Florida Atlantic University are Sweet 16 surprises and long shots to win the title. The Aztecs find themselves taking on Alabama, which DraftKings lists as an 8-point favorite for a third round matchup. A Creighton-Princeton matchup makes up the other South Region contest.
Drew Timme, listed at 67th in On3.com’s Top 100 NIL listings with an NIL Valuation of $626K, has Gonzaga back in the Sweet 16. Gonzaga taking on UCLA in a West Region game is one of the more intriguing third round contests. The meeting between UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez and Timme makes this game worth watching.
Arkansas facing Connecticut in the other West Region game is a notable contest that DraftKings and FanDuel have UConn as 3.5-point favorites.
Besides Fairleigh Dickinson upsetting Purdue, Tom Izzo’s Spartans have also been a surprise to some in the East Region after advancing to the Sweet 16. Michigan State is paired with a tough Kansas State team led by crafty 5-foot-8 guard Markquis Nowell, who has made 43 percent of his shots from 3-point range during tournament play.
Houston and Texas, the Midwest’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, could potentially meet in an Elite Eight contest where the winner would move on to Houston to play in the Final Four.
Houston must get by Miami and Texas must defeat Xavier in order for a potential clash to take place between the two Texas powers.