No. 1 seeds have continued their all-time march madness betting dominance, but here and there the March madness odds have been upset.
No. 11 seed Xavier Musketeers defeated No. 6 seed Maryland Terrapins 76-65
Xavier made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row at the expense of the Terrapins, who in turn were eliminated in the opening round for the first time in 20 years. Xavier junior guard missed his first seven shots and scored just 3 points in the first half, but shot 6 of 7 in the second and finished with 21 points, four three-pointers to help Universitas Xaveriana rally from a six-point deficit. JP Macura had 10 points and Sean O’Mara added 18 and seven rebounds off the bench. UMD came in favoured after placing second in the Big Ten conference during the regular season, but the Terrapins’ youth made them one of the more assailable No. 6 seeds in the tourney. Maryland started three freshmen for much the season. Kevin Huerter had 19 points but shot 5 of 13 from the floor, and star Melo Trimble shot 1 for 9 from the three-point line and finished with 13 points, three assists, and three TOs. The Musketeers threw the Terps for a loop by shifting their defense from man-to-man to zone throughout the contests. As far as March madness betting goes, Xavier head coach Chris Mack is one of the best, with a 9-3 record against the spread in the Big Dance.
No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defeated No. 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers 81-72
MTSU have become accustomed to upsetting the March madness odds. Last year the Blue Raiders knocked off No. 2 seed Michigan State in the opening round and, in a less shocking turn of events, they did the same to The U. Middle Tennessee senior forward Reggie Upshaw had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Giddy ‘Up’ Potts added 15 points and Jacorey Williams 13. Minnesota attempted to stage a comeback from a 17-point deficit, but Upshaw put a stop to that happy crappy with seven consecutive points, including a trey and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to give the Musks a 10-point lead with 3:40 remaining. Additionally, Minnesota got in foul trouble when Big Ten defensive player of the year center Reggie Lynch picked up more than would have been desirable. Head coach Rick Pitino had no choice but to bench Lynch, which left the lane wide open for M. Tenn. attackers. MTSU set a program record as well as a Conference USA record with 17 wins, while the Gophers – who went from 23 losses last year to 24 this season – saw their return to the Big Dance after a wait of three years cut short by the Raiders, but they can find a quantum of solace in the fact that they have a bright future ahead of them. MTSU will remain as a march madness betting underdog when they face Butler in the second round, but now we know how little the Gophers care for march madness odds.