Best Odds To Win The 2014 NCAA Tournament From The South RegionNoah Williams
Sweet Sixteen has arrived in the 2014 March Madness and this year’s tournament has been the most exciting in years.
The South Region is one of the strangest mixes of teams I’ve seen in a while, and while this group still have the team with the best odds to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament, you basically have three upstarts trying to crash the party. And they all have a ton of surreal value. Is there any team worth betting on besides Florida in the South?
Sweet 16 Odds In The South To Win The 2014 NCAA Tournament
Odds that No. 1 Florida Gators can win the 2014 NCAA Tournament +400
The Gators have seemingly survived two close games against Albany and Pittsburgh, and while I want to give them a lot of credit for beating the Panthers I can’t exactly do that. Pittsburgh abandoned all hope instead of grinding out tough points, choosing to air out the three ball early on in the second half which is pretty much a white flag wave if there ever was one.
But that’s what the Gators do – they break your sprits and their timing in this regard is unreasonably good. A block by Patric Young late in the first, followed by an insane put-back sent Pittsburgh in to a morale low that they never recovered from. Florida’s confidence is unreal when battling in a close game. They don’t sweat the small stuff, they just keep doing what they’re doing and their ability to play perfect ball helps them maintain a level of trust in one another that few teams have. Simply put, Florida knows that their opponents are going to make mistakes. All they’re concerned about is mitigating their own.
To put this in perspective, Florida entered the NCAA Tournament with the best odds to win and are still the owners of the lowest number on the board. Sure, the value has gone down a little from where it opened at around 5-to-1, but if you don’t see “value” on a the “best team” having a 4-to-1 payout then I’m not sure what to tell you. The Gators are as solid of a play as there is in March Madness.
Odds that No. 4 UCLA Bruins can win the 2014 NCAA Tournament +2200
In their last five tournament games, which includes the Pac-12 Tourney, the Bruins are a delicious 5-0 SU and ATS, winning their last two games in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament by +17.0 points on average. I think we can stop calling their Pac-12 title a fluke. These odds to win the 2014 NCAA title aren’t exactly disrespectful, but they’re not exactly a compliment either. Iowa State is +2500 while Baylor is ahead of the Bruins at +2000. Of course, some of it has to do with the fact that UCLA is dealing with the seemingly unbeatable Florida Gators this weekend.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that the Bruins were fortunate enough to face Saint-Francis Austin, a team I pegged as an upset specialist in the second round. So what if they haven’t faced an elite team like so many others? You know what I do know? UCLA clobbered Stanford 84-59, and then outlasted Arizona 75-71 just two weeks ago. This team can beat anyone and whatever magic they found in the Pac-12 Tourney seems to be paying off huge dividends in this one. Problem is, I just can’t see them getting past Florida.
Odds that No. 10 Stanford Cardinal can win the 2014 NCAA Tournament +6500
I can’t get enough of this Dwight Powell kid, another native of Toronto, Canada who was apparently tired of all this “Andrew Wiggins is the future” talk. Powell dominated the late stages of the upset over Kansas and proved that he can go toe-to-toe with one of the most talented players in the country. He now has the steely resolve to go up against anyone and that gives Stanford – which is a pretty complete team overall – a leg up. Again, the issue here is that they will probably have to deal with Florida playing at their best or UCLA exploding past their preconceived ceiling if they get past Dayton. And to their credit, I love Stanford over Dayton this weekend.
Odds that No. 11 Dayton Flyers can win the 2014 NCAA Tournament +8500
The Cinderella of the tournament has been none other than these Dayton Flyers, who upset two of the biggest programs in college basketball to get to their first Sweet Sixteen. It’s incredible and I love it, but nothing about the Flyers’ run makes a lick of sense. Isn’t that kind of the point of a Cinderella?
I know I’ve been kind of elbowing UCLA and Stanford by suggesting that they’re not going to get past Florida, but the thing with Dayton is that they have the longest odds to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament for a reason: Cinderella’s haven’t won the national title in thirty years. The pumpkin always bursts with these teams sooner or later, so while I do like them as dogs against Stanford on a certain level, I don’t totally trust them to get all the way to the championship stage at the end of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.