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Handicapping 2014 March Madness Third Round Predictions & Odds

Betting College March Madness Futures

The book is closed on the first and second rounds of NCAA Tournament play after some characteristic upsets: #14 seed Mercer over #3 Duke; #12 Stephen F. Austin over #5 Virginia Commonwealth; #12 Harvard over #5 Cincinnati; #12 North Dakota State beating #5 Oklahoma. Some bracket-busters to be sure.[ad-4468020]

The following are five teams that look well-poised – now the first-and-second round dust has cleared – to make a deep run in the tourney… and maybe even snip some nets down in the near future.

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Florida Gators – Odds To Win March Madness

Next round’s opponent: #9 Pittsburgh

Though my interest in this top seed lacks originality, I think the Gators had the perfect kind of win in the opening round (if such a thing exists). Florida beat #16-seed Albany, one of the minnows to emerge from the play-in games at the beginning.

The Gators won 67-55, with Albany giving them just enough of a game to keep them on their toes. There were a couple of points in that game where it looked like maybe, just maybe, Albany was about to do the unthinkable and slay a top seed; that should have raised pulses just enough for Billy Donovan’s team to remain humble and stave off complacency.

We haven’t yet mentioned that Florida’s also pretty damn good, having an easy go of it in the SEC this season, even regularly beating the college hoops aristocrats Kentucky.

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The Gators should be on their game against the Pitt Panthers today and after that have either #4 UCLA or the aforementioned Cinderella S.F. Austin to handle before an Elite Eight appearance.

I believe Florida can handle either of those teams without issue.

Wisconsin Badgers – Odds To Win March Madness

Next round opponent: #7 Oregon

The Badgers looked really surgical in their dismantling of American University in the first round. It wasn’t close for an instant as Wisconsin dominated with a 40-point victory. American perhaps kept it civilized in the first half, but in the second half the Badgers out-scored their opponent 43-13 and the rout was on.

With the game being played in Milwaukee, it was ostensibly a home game for the boys from Madison, WI. Traevon Jackson and Ben Brust paced the #2-seed Badgers with 18 and 17 points, respectively; Wisconsin’s balanced scoring should be a valuable key to a deep run.

Oregon has been pretty hot since the middle of February, so the Badgers must bring their A-1 game for this next match-up, but if they beat the Ducks I think Wisconsin can beat a next-round opponent of either #6 Baylor or #3 Creighton. Bottom line, the Badgers looked really on their game in the first round; if they keep their foot on the gas pedal in such a way, they should be able to advance to the Elite Eight and perhaps beyond.

Michigan Wolverines – Odds To Win March Madness 

Next round opponent: #7 Texas

I feel a bit strange picking a second Big Ten team with some ACC and AAC (basically the Big East, if you’re behind on the times) powerhouses left, but I like Michigan’s chances given their relatively pedestrian paths on the way to the latter rounds.
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The Wolverines and their high-tempo, lights-out shooting can beat Texas and then after that, the Maize and Blue would face either #11 Tennessee or #14 darling Mercer. Of course, brackets and seedings are made to be broken, but I like those odds.

I’ve liked Michigan’s Nick Stauskas from the word go, he’s deadly accurate and really stretches a defense. The Wolverines no longer have NBAer Tim Hardaway Jr., but they still have some cagey college vets that should help guide Michigan to a nice Tournament campaign.

North Carolina Tar Heels – Odds To Win March Madness

Next round opponent: #3 Iowa State

Earlier in the year, in the famed “Tobacco Road” rivalry of Carolina-Duke, the Tar Heels looked like the underdogs to make noise this season. But with Mercer doing, um, pretty well everyone a favor by turfing the Dookies, Carolina blue is still being worn with pride.

This is an interesting case because UNC is a #6 seed and the Cyclones are a #3, but ISU lost one of its leading scorers in sophomore Georges Niang in its opening-round win over the North Carolina Central Eagles. Iowa State’s leading scorer is Toronto native Melvin Ejim, but the Cyclones still lose one of their key contributors (almost 17 PPG for Niang) and that will surely make an impact.

Let’s also not forget that when the Tar Heels are motivated, they are one of the nation’s elite college hoops squadrons. It’s true that the Heels only just squeaked by Providence in the first round, but I have a feeling that North Carolina will use the Iowa State match-up to get hot at just the right time.

If hobbled Iowa State is dealt with, then UNC must face either #7 Connecticut or #2 Villanova in the Sweet 16, and that could be interesting.

Odds To Win March Madness for the Teams Remaining in the 2014 NCAA Tournament:

  • FLORIDA 5/1 
  • MICHIGAN STATE 6/1 
  • LOUISVILLE 13/2 
  • ARIZONA 9/1 
  • VIRGINIA 10/1 
  • WICHITA STATE 12/1 
  • KANSAS 14/1 
  • WISCONSIN 20/1 
  • VILLANOVA 20/1 
  • MICHIGAN 22/1 
  • CREIGHTON 22/1 
  • SYRACUSE 22/1 
  • IOWA STATE 25/1 
  • KENTUCKY 33/1 
  • UCLA 40/1 
  • NORTH CAROLINA 40/1 
  • SAN DIEGO STATE 50/1 
  • UCONN 66/1 
  • PITTSBURGH 66/1 
  • TENNESSEE 75/1 
  • TEXAS 100/1 
  • SAINT LOUIS 100/1 
  • GONZAGA 100/1 
  • OREGON 100/1 
  • BAYLOR 100/1 
  • MEMPHIS 100/1 
  • STANFORD 250/1

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James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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