Better Bet: NCAA Cinderellas and Surprises
March Madness is as loved for its Cinderella stories and its outsiders who charm the nation as much as it is for its favorites.
Last year, the collegiate basketball world stood stunned as the UMBC Retrievers became the first ever 16 seed to beat a one seed in Virginia.
The Cavaliers are a one seed again this year. 2018 also saw the latest in a long line of Cinderellas, as Loyola-Chicago captivated the nation, and reached the final four as an 11 seed. The lowest seed to ever win March Madness was an eight seed, way back in 1985.
ResortsCasino.com looks at some of the potential surprise packages in this year’s Big Dance.
Saint Mary’s have just beaten Gonzaga, who are the one seed in the West region, in the WCC tournament, and the Gaels enter March Madness full of confidence. In their first round matchup, against reigning champions Villanova no less, they could make a huge statement. By knocking off the three-time winners, they could alert everybody to their Cinderella status.
Saint Mary’s can score, and score quickly, which can always be dangerous to face against in March – who could forget FCGU’s Dunk City? If opponents aren’t switched on against the Gaels, then they could quickly be out of sight before higher seeds know what’s hit them. A trip to the second weekend wouldn’t be out of the question for Saint Mary’s, and after that…who knows?
Look for: Saint Mary’s to topple the Wildcats
Saint Mary’s moneyline v Villanova: +190
Saint Mary’s NCAA Basketball Tournament winner moneyline: +55000.
The 10th seed Hawkeyes have one of the most efficient offences in the nation, but like many fringe teams the other aspects of their play aren’t as refined. Iowa are a team who like to shoot threes and get to the line. This can be difficult to defend against especially in tournament play when you can’t afford to be in foul trouble.
They face a Cincinnati team who may feel hard-done by getting a seven seed, but Iowa could quickly have them packing their bags. Almost a complete opposite of the Hawkeyes, the Bearcats play a low tempo, defence heavy game plan, and could struggle against an efficient Iowa squad.
Iowa have been inconsistent this season, but have two wins against Conference Champions, and a quality win against Michigan, who were last season’s beaten finalists.
Look for: Hawkeyes to stun Cincinnati
Iowa moneyline v Cincinnati: +135
Iowa NCAA Basketball Tournament winner moneyline: +27500.
Murray State have one of college basketball’s genuine stars in Ja Morant, and the prospective top-5 draft pick will look to sign off his Racers career in style. Averaging over 24.5 points and 10 assists a game, the guard will be a real handful for Marquette, who they face in the first round. If Morant and co. can get past Marquette, then either Florida State or Vermont will await them in the Round of 32.
Being tested against NBA length will be difficult for the Racers, especially as they play in the weaker Ohio Valley Conference, but we’ve seen countless times how having one star can carry a team in march, not least when 10 seed Davidson, led by a certain Steph Curry, made the elite eight. 12 seed.
Murray State could cause a lot of trouble to a lot of brackets in March, and if so it will be Morant’s fault.
Look for: Morant’s Murray State to race to the next round
Murray State moneyline v Marquette: +160.
Murray State NCAA Basketball Tournament winner moneyline: +32500.