April 13, 2021

US: March Madness 2021: How the madness began

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March Madness began in the early 1900s in the state of Illinois. It comes from high-school basketball, not college ball. It was a small, state (Illinois High School Association) invitational that started in 1908, and by 1930, it blew up to over nine-hundred schools battling it out for the best in the state during the month of March.

March Madness 2021 Update

We are heading into the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and it’s already MADNESS, as we have a pair of stats that are rank as the second-most in the history of the tournament.

First off, four Pac-12 Teams are entering the Sweet 16 portion of the tournament. The 9-1 record put together by Pac-12 teams in 2021 is the second-most in history. ON top of that, more low-seeded schools made the Sweet 16 than we’ve seen in a long time. Again, it’s the second-most double-digit seeded teams history. We have No. 15 Oral Roberts, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 11 Syracuse, No. 11 UCLA.

The Big 10 absolutely collapsed. It was thought to perhaps be the toughest conference this year, but after the Oregon Ducks knocked out Iowa and USC blasted Kansas—a horrendous 85-51 domination—only one team out of the Big 10 will enter the Sweet 16.

The Madness began this year with seven teams coming out of the ACC—the fifth consecutive tournament with seven or more— and nine teams coming out of the Big 10, four of which got berths of either No. 1 or No. 2 seeds:

  • No. 1 Michigan Wolverines
  • No. 1 Illinois Fighting Illini
  • No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
  • No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes

Now the only Big 10 team left is Michigan in a year that seemed like if any conference was loaded enough to essentially be assured that the Championship would get taken by one of its teams, it would be the Big 10. 

Instead, it’s suddenly the Pac-12 that has powered its way through the Big Dance. Granted, the Oregon Ducks did get a little help from good ol’ SARS COVID-2. Unfortunately for the Pac-12, USC and Oregon meet in the next round, so no matter what happens, the Pac-12 won’t see more than three in the Elite 8. That said, it ensures that the Pac-12 sees at least one team in the Elite 8, even if Oregon State loses to Loyola and the UCLA Bruins get pounded as underdogs on the NCAAB lines-boards by No. 2 Alabama. 

Odds on Saturday Sweet 16 Games 

Oregon State vs. #17 Loyola-Chicago

The Beavers are currently listed as 6.5-point underdogs against the Ramblers of Loyola. 

Villanova vs. Baylor

The Wildcats are also 6.5-dogs in their affair against the #3 Bears of Baylor.

Oral Roberts vs. #10 Arkansas

The Golden Eagles are double-digit dogs (11.5) against the Razorbacks of Arkansas.

Syracuse vs. #6 Houston

The Orange are 6-point underdogs on Saturday against the Cougars of Houston.

Odds on Sunday Sweet 16 Games

#19 Creighton vs. #1 Gonzaga

The Bluejays are 13.5 underdogs against the Bulldogs of Gonzaga.

#14 Florida State vs. #4 Michigan

The Seminoles are just 3-point underdogs against the top-seeded Wolverines.

UCLA vs. #5 Alabama

The Bruins of Los Angeles are 6-point dogs to the No. 2 seeded Crimson Tide.

Oregon vs. #23 USC

The Ducks are dogs of just 2.5 to Trojans of USC. This is the tightest matchup as Oregon is a 6 seed and USC is a 7 seed. 

Oregon vs. USC

We know that one of these teams will represent the Pac-12 in the Elite 8. So, let’s have a look at the matchup. Both of these teams beat higher seeds from the Big 10 to get here. The USC Trojans absolutely smashed the No. 3 seeded Kansas Jayhawks, but Oregon did beat a team 5 seeds higher and arguably a much better team than Kansas, in Iowa, by 15 points. 

This game will be a battle to the end as both teams score roughly 75 points per game (UofO 75.15 to USC 75.00). Both range around 47% in field goal percentage, with Oregon taking the advantage just barely 47.6% to 47.14. Oregon also shoots better from beyond the arc at 38.17% compared to USC’s 35.59. But the big kicker that could be a difference-maker for Oregon is their free-throw shooting. They average 70.5% from the line compared to the Trojan’s 64.31%. However, in offensive rebounds, the Trojans snag around five more per game … which could also be a game-deciding stat through second-chance points. 

Defensively, the Trojans are roughly three points better. Allowing 64 and change compared to Oregon’s 67 and change. The three-pointers allowed and defensive rebounds are virtually the same, but USC does have a better defensive field goal percentage, 38.68% to 43.64%.

Al in all, these two teams are well-matched, and even though USC got the better of Oregon last time around, that was in LA, this is a neutral floor. 

Oregon could steal this one, but my prediction is USC wins by two.

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