For only the first time in the past 8 seasons, there were no upsets in the matchup between No. 5 and No. 12 seeds in the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament. That in turn helped set up round of 32 matchups between No. 4 seeds and No. 5 seeds for the opportunity to play in next week’s Sweet 16 to the winner.
For the first time in the past 8 seasons, Louisville seeded No. 4 will be an underdog during the round of 32. The Cardinals face Northern Iowa the No. 5 seed in Seattle on Sunday in the West Region. The Panthers were 1-point favorites to open according to Bovada and betonline. However, they were bet up and currently are 2.5-point favorites to beat Louisville, which was nearly upset in the round of 64 by UC Irvine the No. 13 seed as 8.5-point chalk on Friday.
Over its past 21 games played Northern Iowa is 20-1 straight up and 14-4-3 against the spread. In the round of 64, the Panthers routed Wyoming the No. 12 seed 71-54 as 6.5-point favorites.
Louisville has covered just 2 of its past 9 games overall and have performed well the past three weeks.
Another big game will take place in the Midwest Region, when Kansas No. 2 in the region will play Wichita State the No. 7 seed. The Jayhawks are currently a favorite by 1.5 points after it opened at -2 and was bet up at one point to -2.5.
Kansas has struggled the last part of the season before routing New Mexico State by 19 points to cover it 9.5-point favorites line.
Wichita State had won 9 straight before losing to Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference semifinals, but returned to win in the round of 64 over Indiana on Friday.
Another great matchup and possibly the most intriguing of all is Virginia the No. 2 seed play Michigan State the No. 7 seed. Last season the two met in the Sweet 16 in which the Spartans, seeded No. 4 defeated the No. 1 seeded Cavaliers.
Virginia currently is favored by 5 points. The Cavaliers defeated a valiant Belmont team 79-67 in its first game as 16-point chalk, while Michigan State beat Georgia 70-63 to cover as a 6-point favorite.
According to basketball odds makers at topbet and sportsbook.com, neither team played that well in their round of 64 games, but that is hard to go by as teams find ways to survive bad games and turn things around the next game. Those who can overcome bad shooting, foul trouble and turnovers to still win often times turn out to be the national champion.