With the Round of 32 action tipping off on Saturday, teams around the country will be trying to not only get themselves in the Sweet Sixteen, but also to line themselves up to make the Elite Eight and the Final Four. The Big Ten has 5 teams still in the NCAA Tournament, but who has the best odds to make the Final Four?
Wisconsin is clearly the answer to this question as they are a #1 seed and considered to be a legitimate national championship contender, but taking them out of the equation, who has the best shot to be playing in Indy? Things became particularly interesting when UAB and UCLA recorded upsets on Thursday and UCLA won their matchup on Saturday moving into the Sweet Sixteen in the same bracket as the Iowa Hawkeyes.
As mentioned above, the gates may have opened for a deep Iowa run on Saturday afternoon with UCLA advancing to play next weekend. The Hawkeyes still have a difficult matchup against Gonzaga on Sunday, but the game has to be considered to be at least winnable. It would certainly be an upset, but Iowa's size might give them a matchup problem for Gonzaga and allow them to pull off the upset. Iowa has 35% odds to win on Sunday according to KenPom. If they win, they would move on to face UCLA and then await a potential matchup with Duke.
Statistically speaking, the Terps are probably the Big Ten's best bet to make the Sweet Sixteen outside of Wisconsin, but what becomes interesting is their likely matchup with Kentucky next weekend. Maybe Maryland could pull off the upset, but the Wildcats are clearly the class of the NCAA Tournament field and are undefeated. The odds of pulling off the upset would certainly be slim for the Terps. After that, things might get easier with a weakened Kansas team or a Notre Dame that was nearly upset on Thursday, but Kentucky certainly looks tough.
- Michigan State
The Spartans are facing an extremely tough matchup with Virginia on Sunday in hopes of moving on the Sweet Sixteen. The Cavaliers are a #2 seed and the Spartans only have 26% odds to beat them. If MSU pulled off the upset, they would likely have matchups awaiting with Oklahoma and Villanova next weekend.
- Ohio State
The Buckeyes are the only Big Ten team to play on Saturday and they get to face an ultra talented Arizona team for a shot to make the Sweet Sixteen. D'Angelo Russell has been magical this season, but Arizona has 82% odds to win this game for a reason. If Ohio State won, they would face a winnable game against Xavier or Georgia State, but get a team like Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, which would be very tough.
What Do You Think?
Needless to say, there are things to like about all four of these teams advancing to Indy, but we wanted to gauge the readers on who they thought had the best chance to make this year's Final Four. You can compare each team's path with the updated 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket here.