It was a disappointing Selection Sunday for Michigan State, who failed to earn an NCAA Tournament top seed despite its current 13-1 straight-up run and its 66-62 win over Purdue in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game.
However, settling for a No. 2 seed in the Midwest region has not dampened the Spartans’ odds to win the NCAA Tournament, which hold steady at 15-2 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
After opening the preseason as a long 20-1 title bet, Michigan State kicked off its campaign with 13 straight wins, quickly climbing both the national championship odds and the AP Top 25, reaching No. 1 by Christmas.
The Spartans lead three top tournament seeds in the national rankings, including the Virginia Cavaliers, who top the Midwest bracket but trail the Spartans on the odds to win the NCAA Tournament at 11-1.
The Cavaliers’ top seed surprised some after they dropped a 61-57 decision to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament championship game, their third SU loss in nine games, and second loss in their past five games against nationally ranked teams.
The Utah Runnin’ Utes had to settle for the Midwest’s No. 3 seed after falling 88-57 to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament title game, ending a nine-game SU win streak and saddling them with distant 66-1 odds of ending a 72-year national championship drought.
No one was surprised when the Kansas Jayhawks were chosen as the No.1 seed in the South region, and they maintain their perch as 13-2 March Madness title favorites.
The Jayhawks soared to the top of the odds and the AP Top 25 on the strength of a 14-game SU win streak, which featured eight wins over nationally ranked squads and seven wins by double-digit margins.
The previously top-ranked Villanova Wildcats drew the South region’s No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament bracket but, they tumbled to 15-1 odds at sportsbooks to win the Big Dance following a 69-67 loss to Seton Hall in the Big East title game.
North Carolina gets the nod as the top seed in the East and closely trails the Jayhawks with 7-1 odds to win the NCAA Tournament, but the Tar Heels will face stiff competition in their section of the bracket, including No. 2 Xavier, who sports 16-1 odds, No. 3 West Virginia at 18-1 and No. 4 Kentucky, who remains a solid 13-1 bet.
In the West region, the Oregon was rewarded for its lopsided Pac-12 Tournament victory with the top seed but trail the betting favorites with 18-1 odds to win the tournament. Conversely, No. 2 Oklahoma is listed at 14-1, while the No. 4 seed and defending national champion Duke Blue Devils are at longer 22-1 odds.
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