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Which team will spring a March Madness upset in the Sweet 16?

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TwinSpires Staff

March 26th, 2021

There are still four double-digit seeds left in the NCAA Tournament, but as the event progresses past the first weekend, Cinderella stories typically come to an end.

However, 2021 has already been an abnormal year, so why shouldn't the madness continue? Which team do you think will be the shocker of the Sweet 16?

Which Sweet Sixteen matchup will produce an upset?

#12 Oregon State vs. #8 Loyola Chicago

Sat, March 27 2021, 6:40 PM

Loyola Chicago

Moneyline

-305

Spread

-7

Total

O 125

Oregon State

Moneyline

+240

Spread

+7

Total

U 125

It's unfortunate one of these teams has to knock the other out, but that's how these brackets can work sometimes.

The surprise Pac-12 champs haven't needed luck or a buzzer-beater to spring two tournament upsets. The Beavers have simply outclassed two favored opponents. No. 5 Tennessee never presented much of a challenge in the first round and No. 4 Oklahoma State similarly fell behind in the first half and never recovered.

But Loyola owns arguably the best win of the tournament, a convincing, 71-58 victory against Illinois, the only No. 1 seed to be ousted so far.

#5 Villanova vs. #1 Baylor

Sat, March 27 2021, 9:15 PM

Baylor

Moneyline

-335

Spread

-7.5

Total

O 141.5

Villanova

Moneyline

+250

Spread

+7.5

Total

U 141.5

Villanova may not look like a Sweet 16 surprise on paper, but not many expected the Wildcats to make a tournament run, after star guard Collin Gillespie was lost for the season to injury.

But they also haven't had a particularly tough road. No. 12 Winthrop was a trendy upset pick over Villanova, but the Wildcats handled their first-round opponent and were never threatened by No. 13 North Texas in the second round.

Baylor has also been on cruise control, with easy wins over No. 16 Hartford and No. 9 Wisconsin.

The Bears have been tagged as one of the few teams that can take down Gonzaga, but can they get past this wily squad coached by Jay Wright?

#15 Oral Roberts vs. #3 Arkansas

Sat, March 27 2021, 11:25 PM

Arkansas

Moneyline

-670

Spread

-11.5

Total

O 159

Oral Roberts

Moneyline

+460

Spread

+11.5

Total

U 159

The Razorbacks just got by No. 6 Texas Tech in the second round, but will have to take on the giant killers of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16.

Oral Roberts has thrived under the pressure of March, with an overtime win over No. 2 Ohio State and a tight victory over No. 7 Florida.

The Golden Eagles have won seven straight games, and Arkansas should do its best to put them away early, because Oral Roberts' last four victories have been by three points or fewer.

Can the Max Abmas-Kevin Obanor show continue?

#11 Syracuse vs. #2 Houston

Sun, March 28 2021, 1:55 AM

Houston

Moneyline

-305

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 140.5

Syracuse

Moneyline

+235

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 140.5

If not for a late-game collapse by No. 10 Rutgers in the second round, Houston would be back in Texas.

So why are the Cougars favored by more than two scores against a Syracuse squad that owns far more impressive tournament wins, against No. 6 San Diego State and No. 3 West Virginia?

It was tough enough to take down one Boeheim (longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim), but the addition of Buddy Boeheim on the court has been a revelation for the Orange in the NCAA Tournament.

Buddy dropped 30 points in the first round and 25 in the second, but Houston has only allowed more than 70 points twice in 29 games this season.

#5 Creighton vs. #1 Gonzaga

Sun, March 28 2021, 6:10 PM

Gonzaga

Moneyline

-1115

Spread

-13

Total

O 158

Creighton

Moneyline

+650

Spread

+13

Total

U 158

The largest spread of the Sweet 16 favors the overall No. 1 seed, and the undefeated Zags destroyed No. 8 Oklahoma in the second round, even though they shot a season-worst 49.1% from the floor.

Wrap your mind around that for a moment — 49.1% was Gonzaga's lowest shooting percentage of the season, which is still better than Creighton's season average of 47.4%.

Good luck to the Blue Jays.

#4 Florida State vs. #1 Michigan

Sun, March 28 2021, 9:00 PM

Michigan

Moneyline

-141

Spread

-2.5

Total

O 143.5

Florida State

Moneyline

+116

Spread

+2.5

Total

U 143.5

The Seminoles may have sleepwalked through their opening-round win over UNC Greensboro, but they turned it on to crush No. 5 Colorado in the second round.

Michigan had a tougher time with No. 8 LSU, and is only a one-score favorite in this Sweet 16 matchup.

Is that a sign the Wolverines are vulnerable, or can they salvage the dismal run for the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament?

#11 UCLA vs. #2 Alabama

Sun, March 28 2021, 11:15 PM

Alabama

Moneyline

-250

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 145.5

UCLA

Moneyline

+200

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 145.5

The Crimson Tide has put together double-digit victories over Iona and Maryland to get to the Sweet 16, and UCLA has shown grit, considering the Bruins weren't even favored to get out of the play-in round.

The Bruins got a breather in the second round against Abilene Christian, so that might serve them well against an Alabama team that is playing very good basketball.

The Tide hasn't lost in more than a month.

#7 Oregon vs. #6 USC

Mon, March 29 2021, 1:45 AM

USC

Moneyline

-129

Spread

-2

Total

O 138

Oregon

Moneyline

+106

Spread

+2

Total

U 138

The easiest way to get a Pac-12 team out of this tournament might be to put it against another Pac-12 squad.

The "Conference of Champions" has impressed in every round, but only one from the Pac-12 can advance out of this matchup, and the teams have plenty of history.

USC won the only regular-season meeting, 72-58, but Oregon has only lost once since, to red-hot Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Good luck finding a better tourney performance than USC's shellacking of No. 3 Kansas in the second round — the worst defeat for the Jayhawks in NCAA Tournament history — but Oregon's dismantling of No. 2 Iowa wasn't far off.

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