We started with 68 teams, and now we have 16 remaining. This weekend, we we see Sweet 16 action, with 8 games being played on Thursday and Friday. The Elite 8 will be played Saturday and Sunday. Let’s take a look at the Sweet 16 Games for the 2018 NCAA Tournament:
South Region – Atlanta Georgia
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas State Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats did not like their draw to start the NCAA Tournament, and now they are on the verge of going to the Elite 8 without playing a team in the upper half of the South Region. The Wildcats are the top seed remaining in the South. Their offense is going to be put to the test against a very solid Kansas State defense.
Loyola Ramblers vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Two cinderella teams will get together in the South bracket. One of these teams will move to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. Loyola has beat Miami and Tennessee in back to back games, while the Wolf Pack are coming off a thrilling come from behind win over the Cincinnati Bearcats. This is going to be quite a battle of wills with both teams battling it out.
East Region – Boston, Massachusetts
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Purdue Boilermakers
What a game this should be in Boston. Matt Painter and his Boilermakers escaped state rival Butler on Sunday and have moved to the Sweet 16. The runner up in the Big Ten will face a tough, athletic, and very good defensive team in Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have the athletes, while the Boilermakers have the experience, and a great ability to shoot the basketball.
Villanova Wildcats vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
The pressure defense of the West Virginia Mountaineers will take on the top remaining team in the tournament, The Villanova Wildcats have been brilliant in the postseason, and are the favorites in the East. Jalen Brunson is awfully tough to guard, but the leadership of West Virginia may be second to none.
West Region – Los Angeles, California
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Florida State Seminoles
Interesting battle between Gonzaga, who is looking to get back to the title game, after losing a season ago to North Carolina. Now, they get an upstart Florida State team out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles came storming back to pick up the win. Florida State finished 8th during the regular season as part of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now, they are seeking their 23rd win of the season.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Texas A+M Aggies
The 3 seed against the 7 seed with the winner heading to the Elite 8. Michigan came away with a miracle win on Saturday over Houston, while the Aggies dismantled North Carolina in Charlotte. The Wolverines can be a streak shooting team, and the Aggies were on the verge of not making the tournament in January. It should be a great battle in Los Angeles.
Midwest Region – Omaha, Nebraska
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Clemson Tigers
There may not be a hotter team in the tournament than the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers absolutely smacked Auburn in the second round, and now get a shot at the Jayhawks. This is a Clemson team that finished in a tie for third in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind Virginia and Duke. The Tigers will look to make the Elite 8 game an all ACC affair if they can upset the Jayhawks and get a shot at Duke.
Syracuse Orange vs. Duke Blue Devils
We have a battle of two legendary coaches, and we have a pair of ACC teams getting together. The Syracuse Orange have won three games this postseason as one of the play-in teams. The Orange are coming off back to back upsets over TCU and Duke. The Orange are a defensive team that will force the athletic Blue Devils to make shots. Duke is probably the best talented team in the nation, so we will see if that plays out in Omaha.
Best of luck with all your NCAA Betting. We hope you enjoy the Sweet 16 games, and get your bets in for all the games.
Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone. There were some great games in Day 1, and we are pumped for the action in Day 2. But, with the Day 1 games over, we now have half of the match-ups set for Round 2. Let’s recap the Day 1 winners from Thursday and the Round 2 match-ups on Saturday:
The Kentucky Wildcats were tested big time. Davidson stayed in the game all the way through, but in the end, Coach Calipari and his team came away with a first round win. The Wildcats used 19 from Shai Gilgeous Alexander, along with 7 assists as well. The Wildcats were awaiting their second round opponent and thought it would be the Arizona Wildcats, but instead Buffalo ran all over Arizona. The Bulls outscored Arizona 49-30 in the second half of the upset. In the bottom of the bracket, Donte Ingram had a shot at the buzzer to move the 11th seed Loyola Ramblers into the second round as they downed Miami. The Ramblers get a shot at Tennessee on Saturday. The Volunteers made quick and easy work of Wright State.
The West on Thursday was straight chalk. While it was straight chalk, it was tight straight chalk. The 3,4,5 and 6 seeds in the West won by just 7 points per game. The Gonzaga Bulldogs had all sorts of problems putting North Carolina Greensboro away, but a few mistakes late costs the underdog. The Bulldogs will get a shot at the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes came away with an 81-73 win over South Dakota State. The bottom of the bracket featured a wild game between Houston and San Diego State. The Cougars saw Rob Gray score a tournament high 39 points in the win. Houston won the game despite being outscored 36-28 in the second half. The Cougars will get Michigan, who won 61-47 late over Montana on Thursday night.
The top seeded Villanova Wildcats ran away and hid from Radford in the blowout win on Thursday. That was no surprise. The Wildcats will get a tough Alabama squad in the second round. The Jalen Brunson against Collin Sexton battle should be a really good basketball game on Saturday. Sexton scored 24 in the win over Virginia Tech. The bottom of the bracket in the East saw Florida and Texas Tech both win, and will now get together on Saturday. The Red Raiders needed all 40 minutes, as they needed a 43-30 second half to finish the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks team. Keenan Evans finished the game with 23 points.
In the Midwest, the Kansas Jayhawks started slow, but came away with a win over the 16th seeded Penn Quakers. The Jayhawks will get a second round battle against the Seton Hall Pirates. Seton Hall and North Carolina State played a highly entertaining basketball game, with 177 total points put on the board. The Jayhawks and Pirates will play Saturday evening. The bottom of the Midwest Bracket sees Rhode Island and Duke getting together. This could be the most entertaining game on Saturday. The Rhode Island Rams are talented, and can really shoot the basketball. Duke, of course is highly athletic.
There is a look at the NCAA Day 1 Winners on Thursday and the match-ups that are set for Saturday, which will lead to the Sweet 16. Enjoy the NCAA Tournament action, and best of luck with all your tournament pools and bets!
The 2018 NCAA Tournament brackets have been announced, and now it’s time to rock and roll. Play-in games will run Tuesday and Wednesday, with first round matchups Thursday and Friday, and second round battles Saturday and Sunday. That will reach the Sweet 16 – and more games roll along next week. Vegas has updated their odds to win the 2018 NCAA Tournament, let’s take a look at a few of the favorites:
Villanova Wildcats +400
The top seed in the East Region will have either Virginia Tech or Alabama to reach the Sweet 16. The Wildcats should not have an issue. A scenario of West Virginia or Wichita State then either Purdue or Texas Tech awaits the Wildcats in Boston. Villanova appears to be the safest #1 seed in all of the NCAA Tournament.
Duke Blue Devils +550
Coach K and the Blue Devils are the #2 seed in the Midwest, and would likely take on Kansas in Omaha. The Blue Devils are a great athletic team, but they cannot look too far ahead. No matter what you think of Oklahoma – the Sooners have some incredible wins this season. That could be a possible second round game – then Tom Izzo and the Spartans would likely be waiting in the Sweet 16.
Virginia Cavaliers +600
The top overall seed in the tournament would get Creighton or Kansas State. Creighton would turn the ball over too much, and Kansas State would have a tough time scoring on the Cavaliers. A battle against Kentucky or Arizona has many wondering if the Cavaliers have the toughest Sweet 16 battle. Miami or Tennessee, along with Nevada/Texas or Cincinnati would round out the group going to Atlanta to see the Cavaliers.
Michigan State Spartans +750
The Spartans are the third seed in the Midwest Region. Michigan State has a bad taste in their mouth from the loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament. The problem will be – will they be a bit rusty when they take on Bucknell? The Bison are talented. If they can avoid the upset, Arizona State/Syracuse or TCU await. It won’t be easy, because then likely matchups against Duke and Kansas await Izzo’s squad.
Michigan Wolverines +1000
The Wolverines are the three seed in the West Region and one of three teams in the Top 6 from the Big Ten according to odds. The Wolverines are another team hoping to avoid being rusty. Houston or San Diego State await the second round, and a likely battle in Los Angeles against North Carolina makes things interesting for the Wolverines.
Purdue Boilermakers +1250
The Boilermakers are sitting quietly at the bottom of the East Region. To get to Pittsburgh for the Sweet 16 they will have to win in Detroit against Cal State Fullerton and either Arkansas or Butler. To get a chance to take down Villanova, it’s likely Keenan Evans and Texas Tech. The Big Ten against the Big 12. That will be an interesting battle if it comes to fruition.
Arizona Wildcats +1300
There is no one hotter than the Arizona Wildcats right now. Sean Miller seems to have his guys over the distractions and ready to play basketball. The Wildcats will not have it easy as they will likely see Kentucky and Virginia in back to back games to even get to the Elite 8. If Arizona plays up to their talent – there is no one better.
Kansas Jayhawks +1700
Bill Self and his Jayhawks are the top seed in a loaded region. The good news – the Jayhawks would only face one of the two either Michigan State or Duke. Second round battles against either Seton Hall or North Carolina State seem favorable, with Auburn or Clemson waiting in the Sweet 16. This is set up for an Elite 8 opportunity at the worst for the Jayhawks.
North Carolina Tar Heels +2000
The Tar Heels are looking for their third straight trip to the Final Four. Roy Williams and his Tar Heels lost to Virginia in the conference title game, but appear to be playing solid basketball. The Tar Heels would get Texas A+M or Providence in the second round, then likely Michigan before facing Xavier or whoever wins the top of the West. It looks appealing for the Tar Heels to get to San Antonio.
Xavier Musketeers +2200
Kentucky Wildcats +2300
Cincinnati Bearcats +2500
Gonzaga Bulldogs +2500
West Virginia Mountaineers +3500
Wichita State Shockers +4000
Texas Tech Red Raiders +4500
There is a look at the current Odds to win the 2018 NCAA Tournament. It should be a heck of a tournament. They call it March Madness for a reason. Let’s see who the first big upset is, and when push comes to shove, will the top ranked teams reach San Antonio for the Final Four?
The NCAA Tournament bracket has been announced, and oh boy – are we in for a great tournament. The top seeds in the tournament feature the Virginia Cavaliers, Villanova Wildcats, Xavier Musketeers and Kansas Jayhawks. Let’s take at all four regions in the NCAA Tournament.
The Virginia Cavaliers will take on UMBC to tip off the region. The winner of that game will get the 8/9 game between the Blue Jays of Creighton and the Kansas State Wildcats. What a wild two rounds it will be for Kentucky, who takes on Davidson, along with Arizona battling Buffalo. Those winners would play. The bottom of the bracket features the 2nd seeded Cincinnati Bearcats against Georgia State, with the winner taking on Nevada or Texas. The 3 seed is Tennessee – as they take on Wright State – with Miami or Loyola waiting in the next round. Our first weekend picks include Virginia against Arizona, and Loyola as the underdog getting to the Sweet 16 against Cincinnati.
In the West – the top four seeds are Xavier, North Carolina, Michigan and Gonzaga. Xavier gets the winner of North Carolina Central or Texas Southern. North Carolina gets Lipscomb, then either Texas A+M or Providence. The third seeded Michigan Wolverines get Montana, and the fourth seeded Bulldogs of Gonzaga get UNC Greensboro. The winner of that game gets Ohio State or San Diego State. The four teams that make it through the first weekend out of the West in our predictions are the Xavier Musketeers, Gonzaga Bulldogs, San Diego State Aztecs and North Carolina Tar Heels.
In the East – the top seeded Villanova Wildcats will take on Long Island Brooklyn or Radford. In the 8/9 game – Virginia Tech takes on Alabama. In the 5/12 game – West Virginia will battle Murray State. The 4 seed is Wichita State and they will take on Marshall. The bottom of the bracket features Florida against the winner of St. Bonaventure and UCLA, while Texas Tech will take on Stephen F. Austin. In the 7/10 game – Arkansas takes on Butler, with the winner taking on either Purdue or Cal State Fullerton. In the East – we are taking Villanova to play West Virginia and Texas Tech to battle Purdue.
The top four seeds in the Midwest region are the Kansas Jayhawks, Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State Spartans and Auburn Tigers. Kansas gets Penn, with either Seton Hall or North Carolina State next. Duke gets Iona, with either Rhode Island or Oklahoma next. The third seeded Spartans get Bucknell in the first round, with TCU taking on Arizona State or Syracuse. Finally, the fourth seed – Auburn gets College of Charleston, with the winner getting either Clemson or New Mexico State. When the final four teams in this region get together in Omaha, we have the Kansas Jayhawks taking on the Auburn Tigers, and then at the bottom of the bracket – the Oklahoma Sooners taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils.
There is a look at the 2018 NCAA Tournament. AS we mentioned off the start – we are excited for the big dance – the March Madness coming up this spring. We will have more NCAA Tournament talk as the tournament arrives, and moves on. We hope you enjoyed the look at our picks to reach the Sweet 16. Enjoy the tournament!
The National Player of the Year award in College Basketball is named after the legendary late head coach of the UCLA Bruins John Wooden. Being named a Wooden award candidate is a huge honor for collegiate hoopers, and the winner is even more impressive. A season ago, Frank Mason took down the honors. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Candidates to win the 2018 Wooden Award:
Jalen Brunson, Villanova – 5/2 odds
The Villanova Wildcats are once again back in the mix to win a national title. The Wildcats primary ball handler averages just 1.7 turnovers per game, and the dude handles the ball a bunch. He is scoring nearly 20 points per game, and dishing out just shy of 5 assists per game. Brunson is an 80% free throw shooter, and nails over 40% of his long ball attempts.
Marvin Bagley III, Duke – 6/1
If this award was based on potential, this big dude would probably win the award. This guy is a stud. He has also been injured for a decent chunk of the season, which will hurt him in the end. The Duke freshman who is going to be a one and done is scoring more than 20 points per game, and grabbing 11.2 rebounds per game. In the loss to Virginia, the freshman was not to blame as he scored 30 points and tore down 14 rebounds. Bagley’s team may not be a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, and if there is any small nod one way or the other – Brunson’s is.
Deandre Ayton, Arizona – 8/1
The freshman out of Arizona – yeah we have heard of him. If Sean Miller gets fired, it’s going to be because of this guy. And not because he has not performed on the basketball court. This is the freshman that folks say was offered $100K to come and play at Arizona. The big man does not get seen as much as he plays out West. But, Ayton is scoring 19.9 points per game, and ripping down more than 11 rebounds per game. Ayton dropped a total of 48 points and 35 rebounds against their biggest rival Arizona State this season.
Devonte’ Graham, Kansas – 10/1
This guy never came off the floor for the Kansas Jayhawks. In fact, Graham went a stretch of 12 out of 14 games, where he played all 40 minutes of the game. The Big 12 Player of the Year carried the Kansas Jayhawks on his back and took them to their 14th straight conference title. The Jayhawks guard scored nearly 18 points per game, and dished out 7.2 assists per game. In his recent blowout over Oklahoma, he scored 23 points and dished out 7 assists.
Trae Young, Oklahoma – 20/1
Trae Young is likely not going to win the National Player of the Year award, but he is worth a look. Young lost out to Graham for the Big 12 Player of the Year, and for good reasons. His Oklahoma Sooners tanked towards the end of the season, and finished 9th in a 10 team conference. Young finished the regular season with more than 27 points per game, and 9 assists. Young is a great talent, and will have a nice NBA career, but much of why he doesn’t win the award is on his Oklahoma Sooners.
There is a look at the top choices to take down the 2018 Wooden Award. It should be a great end to the NCAA Basketball season, and we are more than looking forward to it, and seeing who takes down the Wooden Award. Our bet — Mr. Brunson at Villanova.
March Madness has arrived. The month of March is one of the best times to be a sports bettor. You have action nearly every night of the month in the world of College Basketball. Selection Sunday is right Around the Corner, and we wanted to give you a look at the 10 Most Likely Teams to cut down the net when the tournament comes to an end:
The Virginia Cavaliers were run away winners of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tony Bennett and his team have just two losses heading into the final week of the season. The Cavaliers have been winning games with their great ability to guard. Does defense win championships in the NCAA Tournament? The Cavaliers, who are allowing just 52.1 points per game will soon find out.
Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats are bound to grab one of the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have been the top ranked team for much of the season. Villanova has sputtered a bit down the stretch with 3 losses in 6 games. But, Jalen Brunson is an experienced, and talented guard that has the will to win. Remember – this is a program that took down the title in 2016.
Bill Self has his Kansas Jayhawks right back where they have been for a decade or more. The Kansas Jayhawks won the Big 12 title for the 14th straight season. The Jayhawks have had some NCAA Tournament issues in the past, so it’s yet to be seen what will happen this season. Kansas is not the most talented team to come through that program, but their ability to hit the outside shot is second to none.
Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans are the winners of the Big Ten regular season. Michigan State lost just three games all season. If you think about it – that’s pretty amazing for all the controversy they had to go through all season. Many are talking about the Spartans not getting a #1 seed in the tournament, but that would be a shame. Michigan State checks all the boxes yet again for a long NCAA Tournament run.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils took a recent loss to Virginia Tech, and many around the Duke camp hope that’s just a get out of the way loss before they finish in the postseason. The Blue Devils are likely the most talented team in the tournament. Duke has 6 losses on the season, and a few of them have you shaking your head. But, in the end, it’s hard to bet against the Blue Devils in tournament play.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Roy Williams and his Tar Heels are the defending champions. Sure, they have 8 losses on the season, but we have seen the Tar Heels get hot in the past. It’s hard to bet against North Carolina, with back to back trips ot the title game, and Roy Williams as their head coach. Luke Maye and Joel Berry are about as good of a duo as you will find in the 2018 edition of the NCAA Tournament.
Many are counting out Chris Mack and his Musketeers. What people do not realize – is Xavier has gone through the Big East, and come into the final week of the season with just four losses on the season. The Musketeers can really score. They are getting almost 86 points per game. Trevon Bluiett is a player that can take over a game. The Musketeers will be an interesting tournament team to watch.
The city of Cincinnati has got to be quite interested in the NCAA Tournament. Both the Bearcats and Musketeers have a chance to make a deep run. The Bearcats have four losses on the season, and are winners of the American Athletic Conference. Cincinnati ran through one tough stretch this season with back to back losses to Houston and Wichita State. The Bearcats are winning with their ability to guard – allowing 57.5 points per game.
Mark Few has the Bulldogs back in the mix. The Bulldogs are a team that just will not go away. Recently, the Bulldogs took down yet another West Coast Conference Championship. Gonzaga lost just one conference game – to Saint Mary’s back in January. The Bulldogs are scoring nearly 85 points per game, so you will have to bring your defensive shoes if you are going to take them down in March.
The Boilermakers are huge, they can shoot the basketball, and are awfully good defensively as well. The Boilermakers are going to be a team that will have to win a possession by possession game in the postseason. Look for Matt Painter and his Boilermakers to make a nice run, which will be largely dependent on their match-ups.
There is a look at the Top 10 teams with a chance to win the NCAA Tournament. We are pumped for March Madness, and are ready to get our bets in for the tournament. Enjoy the tournament!
With the NCAA conference tournaments just weeks away and potential NCAA bids on the line, teams have began focusing on playing harder and staying focused down the stretch. This past Saturday, we witnessed some serious upsets in College Basketball and many that could some serious ramifications on the tournament seeding.
There were 12 games on Saturday that consisted of at least one ranked team and in 5 of those games, the unranked or lower ranked team pulled off the upset win! Let’s take a look at how Upset Saturday played out for some of the teams in the NCAA Tournament hunt!
Baylor Just Keeps Winning, Beat #7 Texas Tech!
The Baylor Bears are one of the hottest teams in the country right now and absolutely no one wants to see this team pop up on their brackets! On Saturday, they extended their winning streak to 5 games, by beating the #7 team in the nation, Texas Tech, by the score 59-57. Baylor is beating top notch teams, such as Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas and OK State during this stretch of games and have some bigger tests in the near future.
Over the next two weeks, they will take on West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State, all of which will pose a threat against the Bears potential NCAA Tournament big. The Bears are just 17-10 on the season but are playing their best basketball right now, when it counts.
As for the Red Raiders, they are 22-5 overall and still reign supreme in the BIG 12. They have won 7 of their last 8 games and simply put, they ran into a better team on Saturday afternoon. They have some stout competition standing in front of them as they will play OK State, Kansas, West Virginia and TCU over the next 2 weeks.
Gamecocks Beat #10 Auburn
One of the biggest shockers of the day was South Carolina defeating the #10 Auburn Tigers. This game was never really close and all though Auburn made a slight comeback, it wasn’t enough as the Gamecocks won 84-75 over the Tigers.
South Carolina jumped out to an early lead and led at halftime by 21 points, 46-25, and they never looked back. Auburn outscored South Carolina 50-38 in the second half but that wasn’t enough as the Auburn Tigers dropped the game and potentially just moved out of the Top 10.
Razorbacks Prove They Should Be Ranked!
The Arkansas Razorbacks have one of the best records in college basketball and better than many of their opponents, including Saturday’s opponent, the #21 Texas A&M Aggies. The Razorbacks came into the game without being ranked at 18-8, while the Aggies were 17-9 and ranked #21 in the nation.
That should all change this week coming up due to the fact that Arkansas defeated Texas A&M by the score of 94-75. Jaylen Barford led the Razorbacks with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and now they find themselves 19-8 overall and have moved up to 3rd in the SEC. The Razorbacks have 4 games left in the season and are still mathematically able to win the SEC regular season title.
Texas Longhorns Upset Trae Young and #23 Oklahoma Sooners
The Oklahoma Sooners were once talked about being one the top teams in college basketball with Freshman Trae Young running the point guard position. They started out their season 12-1 and but have since gone 4-9 to bring their record to 16-10 and are now in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament.
On Saturday, the #23 Sooners hosted the Texas Longhorns and lost their 5th game in a row. The Sooners shot just 30.8% from the floor, which included Young going 7 for 20, and as a team, they posted their lowing scoring output of the year at 66 points. The Longhorns won the game 77-66. The Sooners will now have a quick turnaround and take on the Kansas Jayhawks on Monday Night.
Georgia Upends #18 Tennessee
The Georgia Bulldogs may not have the best record in the SEC but they have a lot of heart and these guys are going to play spoiler to some teams down the stretch. One of those teams was the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. Tennessee was ranked 18th in the nation and traveled to Bulldog country looking to show that their man-pressure defense was the dominant force in the game.
That would not be the case though as the Georgia Bulldogs took the lead early in the game and never looked back! Georgia has now beat Florida and Tennessee in back to back games after losing 6 of 7. It is unlikely they will make the NCAA Tournament but they have 4 games left in the regular season and could end the season 19-11 and on the bubble. Tennessee on the other hand has lost 2 out of their last 3 games and could potentially fall out of the top 25 this week. They have 4 winnable games on the horizon so they have time to turn the ship around but they can’t have more games like they did against Georgia!
Michigan State Pulls Off Come From Behind Win!
It appeared to look like the biggest shocker of the day would come in the Northwestern vs. Michigan State game. The Northwestern Wildcats hosted the #2 team in the nation on Saturday, Michigan State Spartans, and were up by 22 points at halftime. The Spartans looked out of the game and it appeared as if it would take a miracle to happen for them to make a comeback……
A miracle or a defensive stand that would only allow their opponents to score 11 points in the second half. The Spartans were completely dominating in the second half and played pressure defense the Northwestern simply could not handle. The #2 Spartans came from behind and won the game 65-60 off a near triple double by Cassius Winston. Winston posted 17 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in the game.
Villanova Tops Xavier
In what most people were calling the game of the year in the BIG EAST, the Villanova Wildcats traveled to take on the Xavier Musketeers and were looking to end their span of games were they lost 2 out of 3 games. The Wildcats on paper dismantled the Musketeers but watching the game, it was much closer and actually a very entertaining game.
The final score was Villanova 95 Xavier 79 but with under 4 minutes in the game, the Musketeers had got within 2 points, a single possession, with a chance to win the game. But the Wildcats were truly the better team and continued to play Villanova basketball by shooting 3’s and playing uptempo style of play. Villanova shot 11 three pointers in the first half and are now just a half game behind Xavier in the BIG EAST.
On Monday, the most recent AP Top 25 was released and the Virginia Cavaliers have moved into the top spot as the best team in the country. This is the first time the Cavs have been #1 in over 35 years and they will be looking to continue the momentum heading into March Madness.
The Cavaliers have been winning games thanks to their #1 overall defense that is restricting teams to a very low 52.7 points per game. They have held teams with very powerful offenses such as the #1 offense in the NCAA, Duke Blue Devils, to only scoring only 63 points and the 24th ranked offense in the NCAA, North Carolina Tar Heels, to only scoring 49 points.
Bennett Teaching Defense
With teams struggling to score points on the Cavaliers, they are going to be very tough down the stretch. They are 24-2 overall and have 4 games left in the regular season against weaker teams in the ACC, such as Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Louisville. They could very easily run the schedule of games and finish the regular season 28-2, which would guarantee them a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That being said, they did lose to Virginia Tech in overtime last week and if they lost another game between now and the end of the year, they may very easily fall out of the top spot.
The Michigan State Spartans come in this week at #2 and they are catching some steam at the perfect time. They have won 9 games straight and are winning games over some of the toughest teams in the BIG 10. Last week, they defeated the Purdue Boilermakers and have 3 games left against teams that they should easily win. They are 25-3 overall and if they win out and finish the year at 28-3, they would earn a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Villanova Wildcats fell from #1 to #3 due to a home loss against St. Johns last week and will probably drop again this Monday due to losing on Wednesday Night against Providence. The Wildcats have the 3rd ranked offense in D-1. They have won 8 out of the last 10 games and with being 23-3 right now, they still could get a #1 seed in the tournament but that remains to be seen how far they fall in the polls.
Coming in 4th this week in the AP Poll are the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier is one of the most underrated teams in the country and have built up their record to 23-3 overall. Their three losses come against an at the time undefeated Arizona State, #1 Villanova and a tough Providence team. They are led by one of the top players in the nation in Trevon Bluiett and if teams overlook them, they will end up on the wrong side of a lose. They should move up this week to #3 after Villanova lost this week and that should lock them up for a current #1 seed in the tournament.
The Cincinnati Bearcats round out the top 5 and are a deep threat this year in the big dance. They have the #2 defense in the NCAA and have an offense that can support them in games if they get in a shootout. Cincinnati is on a 16 game win streak and are practically destroying every team that they face. The closest a team has come to being competitive against the Bearcats in the last 10 games was the Connecticut Huskies, who still lost by 8 points. In the 9 other games that they won, they beat their opponents by an average of 21 points per game!
Big Ten Boilermakers
The Purdue Boilermakers have dropped two games straight, which has caused them to fall to 6th in the AP Poll. Was in first place in the BIG 10 on Wednesday of last week but after dropping back to back games to Ohio State and Michigan State, the Boilermakers have fallen to 6th in the AP Poll. The Boilermakers are still a very tough team and their size makes them a very tough style to matchup against. Both Ohio St and Michigan St matchup really well against the Boilermakers but the rest of the BIG 10 and many other teams in the NCAA will struggle trying to get inside on two players over 7 foot.
Making a surprise appearance at #7 this year is the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Most experts didn’t rank the Red Raiders in the top 7 of the BIG 12, moreless no one had them ranked 7th in the AP Poll. They are 22-4 on the year and are in first place in the BIG 12 conference. They are riding a 7 game win streak and are winning games with a tough defense. They have the 7th ranked defense in the NCAA and have the talent to post some big points if they get into a shootout!
The rest of the AP Top 25 as of Monday, February 12, 2018 are as follows: