Things are about to get a lot tougher for the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (30–4), North Carolina Tar Heels (29–7) and Gonzaga Bulldogs (34–1) this week in the Midwest, South and West Regions, respectively.
The Sweet 16 is upon us, and the Jayhawks, Tar Heels and Bulldogs remain favorites atop the odds to win the NCAA tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Jayhawks may have the easiest road of any team left in the field, and they are listed as five-point favorites against the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (27–7) on Thursday.
The Boilermakers have represented the Big Ten well in the Midwest along with the seventh-seeded Michigan Wolverines (26–11), which won the conference tournament and then upset the second-seeded Louisville Cardinals (25–9) as three-point underdogs 73–69 on Sunday.
Without the Cardinals around, Kansas just needs to get by Purdue and then either Michigan or the third-seeded Oregon Ducks (31–5) to get to the Final Four. The Jayhawks are +475 favorites (bet $100 to win $475) to win it all.
The Wolverines are 1.5-point favorites versus the Ducks despite being the lower seed, and they have dropped from +3300 to +1600 to win the national title. Oregon has stayed the same at +1800 while the Boilermakers are the longshot of that group at +2000.
North Carolina is the +500 second choice to win its sixth NCAA championship, something the team fell one win short of accomplishing a year ago.
The Tar Heels do not have an easy path considering they meet the fourth-seeded Butler Bulldogs (25–8) as 7.5-point favorites on Friday and then would take on either the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (31–5) or third-seeded UCLA Bruins (31–4) in the South Regional Final on Sunday with a victory. Kentucky-UCLA is essentially a pick’em matchup at the sportsbooks.
Gonzaga’s top competition is expected to come from the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats (32–4). The Bulldogs and Wildcats are tied for the third choice to win it all at +650, and they met earlier this season back on Dec. 3 with Gonzaga winning 69–62 as a 4.5-point favorite.
First, the Bulldogs must face the fourth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (28–8) as three-point favorites on Thursday while the Wildcats will square off against the 11th-seeded Xavier Musketeers (23–13) as 7.5-point favorites.