Welcome to the second weekend of the 2021 NCAA men’s tournament, which continues its unique schedule after the first round started a day later than normal. Instead of Sweet 16 hinting at its traditional start date on Thursday, the games will begin on Saturday. Both Saturday and Sunday will have four games staggered with each other, while there will be two Elite Eight games each on Monday night and Tuesday night.
Below is our ranking of the eight Sweet 16 games from highest to lowest visibility. All times are Eastern and all betting odds are provided by BetMGM.
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Florida State (East)
Sunday, 5 pm, CBS
Michigan -2.5, O / U 143.5
The Wolverines are the last team standing in the Big Ten despite not having Isaiah Livers for the tournament. Eli Brooks is 8-of-15 from three in the Wolverines’ first two games of the tournament and will be counted on to keep that winning streak going. FSU has won both of their tournament games by 28 points combined, as Anthony Polite scored 22 in the Seminoles’ second-round win over Colorado.
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 5 Villanova (South)
Saturday, 5:15 pm, CBS
Baylor -7, O / U 140.5
Baylor bombed Wisconsin in the second round when three players had at least 16 points and the Bears turned the ball over only four times. Villanova easily beat Winthrop in the first round and beat North Texas 23 in the second round despite the absence of point guard Collin Gillespie. Both teams are extremely efficient on offense and Baylor leads the nation in 3-point percentage. The ending may not be a bad move here.
No. 6 USC vs. No. 7 Oregon (West)
Sunday, 9:45 pm, TBS
USC -2, O / U 139
Well, we are guaranteed a Pac-12 team to lose at Sweet 16. The conference’s undefeated streak will end no matter what, as these two meet. USC won the regular season matchup 72-58 on February 22 and is favored by two here after each team had an insanely impressive second-round victory over an opponent from the Midwest. The Ducks have five capable scorers in their starting lineup, while USC’s offensive focus is on Evan and Isaiah Mobley.
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 11 UCLA (East)
Sunday, 7:15 pm, TBS
Alabama -6.5, O / U 145.5
UCLA is seeking its fourth tournament win since being selected for an inning game on Draft Sunday and would be the ninth No. 11 seed to reach the Elite Eight with a win. Alabama beat Maryland 19 in the second round by shooting an overwhelming 16 of 33 from three. Crimson Tide shoots the fourth-most triples in the country at 30 per game, while UCLA gives up more than 20 attempts per game. The Bruins will have a hard time if Alabama can replicate their second-round shooting performance.
No. 8 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 12 Oregon State (Midwest)
Saturday, 2:40 pm, CBS
Loyola Chicago -6.5, O / U 125.5
Loyola shut out Illinois in the second round to make Illini the only No. 1 seed not to advance to Sweet 16. The Ramblers defense is the best in the country and has a remarkable run since a 76-71 loss to Indiana. . State on January 10. Loyola has given up 60 points or less in 19 of his 20 games since that loss. Oregon State would tie an NCAA record for the lowest seeded to reach the Elite Eight with a win and have won each of its last four games by nine points or more.
No. 2 Houston vs. No. 11 Syracuse (Midwest)
Saturday, 9:55 pm, TBS
Houston -6, O / U 140
Will Houston be the first team in the tournament to have an answer for the Syracuse area and a way to combat the Orange’s hot shots from three? The key to success may lie in the offensive glass. Houston is the second-best offensive rebounding team in the country according to KenPom.com, while Syracuse is ranked 340 in the country in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage. Orange point guard Buddy Boeheim has scored at least 25 points in each of the team’s last four games and Syracuse is 9-2 when going for 20 or more.
No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 15. Oral Roberts (South)
Saturday, 7:25 pm, TBS
Arkansas -11, O / U 159
Can Oral Roberts afford to participate in a shooting with Arkansas? The Razorbacks are the fastest and most powerful offensive team the Eagles have faced in the tournament, and ORU has given up nearly 76 points per game in 2020-21. The Eagles have also faced star players Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor in every minute of the tournament thus far. Arkansas’ 68-66 victory over Texas Tech in the second round was the first time the Razorbacks failed to reach 70 points since their Feb. 2 victory over Mississippi State.
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Creighton (West)
Sunday, 1:10 pm, CBS
Gonzaga -13, O / U 158
Will this be another easy win for the presumed favorite of the tournament? Gonzaga never felt threatened against Oklahoma in the second round despite a good start from the Sooners. If Creighton wants to get upset, he will have to shoot well from the field and from the free throw line. The Blue Jays are one of the worst free throw teams in the country at 65%.
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