Two games. Two spots in the Final Four. Two huge moments for four teams and all their fans and coaches. It’s the most pressure-packed college basketball betting game of the season. No one wants to be the team that loses one stop short of the Final Four.
South Regional Final
Dayton Flyers vs. Florida Gators
Saturday, 6:09 PM ET
NCAA Basketball Odds: Florida -10
The Florida Gators are certainly the big favorites in this game, but will they even win the game outright, let alone cover the spread? This might come as a shock to many, but in five matchups between number 11 seeds and number one seeds in the NCAA tournament, the number 11 seeds have a 3-2 record. In 1986, LSU defeated Kentucky. In 2006, George Mason defeated Connecticut. In 2011, Virginia Commonwealth defeated Kansas. The top seeds that won were Michigan State in 2001 over Temple and UNLV over Loyola Marymount in 1990. Just because of the seedings, one should not assume an easy win for Florida.
The other thing to realize about this game is that Dayton does not depend on one star player. The Flyers spread the wealth around, and they don’t care who gets the stats. They just care about winning. This is a great approach to use against Florida, which is good at taking away specific strengths. Florida will probably win this game because of Scottie Wilbekin’s ability to hit clutch shots, but Dayton will keep the game close. Dayton has played too well against too many good teams to be discounted at this late stage of the NCAA tournament. The Flyers are going to push Florida deep into the second half and cover on the betting lines.
Pick: Dayton +10
West Regional Final
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona Wildcats
Saturday, 8:49 PM ET
NCAA Basketball Odds: Arizona -3
This is a game many people anticipated when the brackets were announced and revealed on March 16. Naturally, a matchup of the top two seeds in a region does not come as much of a surprise. These teams have both made their way through three games and will try to win that fourth one, leading to a Final Four appearance. One of two big-name coaches, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan or Arizona’s Sean Miller, will finally make a first Final Four appearance after many years of trying to get to the big show.
Arizona struggled against San Diego State’s defense and rebounding. The Wildcats didn’t get many open shots, and they also fell into foul trouble, specifically big man Kaleb Tarczewski. Yet, they were able to improve on the glass in the second half, and they were also able to get more defensive stops as the game moved along. Arizona took San Diego State’s best punch… and was able to win. That’s the kind of thing that really makes a team believe it can go all the way.
Wisconsin, though, is playing better. There wasn’t a lot the Badgers did poorly in their win over Baylor in the West Regional semifinals. Passing, rebounding, defense, you name it, Wisconsin did whatever it wanted to do and did not allow Baylor to ever feel comfortable on Thursday. Wisconsin has a lot of options on offense and can shoot the ball better than San Diego State. Wisconsin’s potency on offense is what will make this a very tough matchup for Arizona. The Badgers can find many ways to win, and that has to concern the Wildcats heading into this meeting. Give the Badgers the edge here, although the game feels like a toss-up.
Pick: Wisconsin +3