Let's first get the obvious stuff out of the way first. My Final Four - UNC, Georgetown, Texas and UCLA. I think UNC is going to win the NC over UCLA.
Sleepers for the Sweet Sixteen:
#11 seed St. Joe's
St. Joe's beat Xavier twice in the past two weeks. They play very good defense and they are a good road team. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is limping into the tournament. While they have a good frontcourt, their backcourt struggles -- and guard play is key in the tourney. In the second round, St Joe's will likely meet Louisville which is a very good team. However, Louisville has struggled against defensive minded teams losing its last two to Pitt and GTown. Additionally, Louisville has the 4th lowest FT% at 65%, while St. Joe's shoots 75% from the charity stripe.
#5 seed Notre Dame (not a huge upset, but they should beat #4 Wash St in Rd 2)
I really like Notre Dame's inside/outside game with Harangody and McAlarney. They are a very quiet 24-7 in the extremely tough Big East. While Washington St was solid against the weaker teams in the Pac 10. They are 0-5 against UCLA and Stanford and they lost twice to an average Arizona team. Just a gut feel here but I think Notre Dame is the better team.
Now for some more fun stuff. All of these lines and odds come from BetUS.com and obvious are subject to change from the time of writing this. BetUS is also offering a 50% deposit bonus if you join now, click here.
First off lets look at some of the odds to win it all (shown under the Future/props section)
Both of these seem like pretty good values to me. Often favorites are no more than 3:1, but because so many teams are capable of winning it all the odds are a bit better this year. In reality, UNC and UCLA seem heads and shoulders above the other top teams that I like these odds.
Both of these seem like real interesting speculations in my mind. I really think either of these teams could win it all. While Kansas, Memphis and Tennessee all have major flaws that I would not want to wager a futures bet on, I think Duke and GTown are a legitimate speculation that may payoff.
Now for some straight line and over/under picks. Again these lines are based on the lines at BetUS.com
Xavier over Georgia giving 8.5 points
Kudos to Georgia getting in and playing their hearts out over 4 days. However, we have seen these play-in conference tourney runs lead to complete letdowns in the tourney (remember Syracuse and McNamara a couple years ago). While they did have a nice run, I don't think Georgia is a real good team and yet they are meeting a very good Xavier team. I would give the 8.5 points here and grab Xavier for a big win.
St. Joe's getting 1 against Oklahoma
I have already said that I really like St. Joe's to reach the Sweet Sixteen and I definitely look for them to win this first round. See my analysis above for why I like them.
Purdue over Baylor giving 3 points
I know everyone says the Big 10 is down but I have seen Purdue a couple times this year and they are a very talented team. They were the best 3 point shooting team in the Big 10 and hit 11 per game. They also play very hard-nosed defense and will slow Baylor's uptempo pace (so I also like the under 140 in this one too). I think the early exit from the B10 Tourney will be a motivating factor and they will be ready to play.