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With only a few exceptions, the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Men's Championship has been completely chalk. For betting neophytes, chalk is when all the favorites win; this year, nearly every top seed from its respective side of the NCAA tournament bracket has won and moved on (c'mon, Kansas State). The round of 32 was in fact so chalky, it's the first time in the history of the tournament that all 16 betting favorites won in the round of 32.
Now that the collective country's NCAA brackets are officially busted, and with no Cinderella stories in sight, it's time to focus on the final 16 teams and see who has the best chance of cutting down the nets when it all plays out. Using Bing's March Madness prediction matrix, Stacker analyzed the upcoming contests to give readers a preview of what's to come, who might win, and if there's a real chance of an upset. It's time to un-tear those busted brackets and make a comeback in those office pools.
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- Gonzaga vs. Florida State
- Game time: Thurs., 3/28, 7:09 p.m. EST
In a rematch of last year's Sweet 16 contest, the Gonzaga Bulldogs face off against the Florida State Seminoles while seeking to avenge their surprise loss to the lower-seeded Florida team. Both schools have improved from the year before, and stars such as Bulldog Rui Hachimura and Seminole Terance Mann look to duke it out for a spot in the Elite Eight.
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- Michigan vs. Texas Tech
- Game time: Thurs., 3/28, 9:39 p.m. EST
The Michigan Wolverines have been a dominant force all season, and that only continued in the first two rounds of the tournament, winning by a combined 34 total points over their opponents. Texas Tech also slashed and burned through the rounds of 64 and 32 with blowouts over Buffalo and Northern Kentucky. These two dominant squads have won with stifling defense, so much so that the Wolverines are the #2 ranked defensive team in the tournament and the Red Raiders are ranked #3, setting up an epic clash.
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- MI State vs. LSU
- Game time: Fri., 3/29, 7:09 p.m. EST
Led by long-time fiery coach Tom Izzo, the Michigan State Spartans face off against the LSU Tigers in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1979. Of course, Michigan State won't have Magic Johnson leading the team to another victory—but the team does have the feisty junior guard Cassius Winston, who averages nearly 20 points per game. LSU, on the other hand, hasn't made it past the Sweet 16 since 2006; although the team has only lost five games all season.
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- Duke vs. Virginia Tech
- Game time: Fri., 3/29, 9:39 p.m. EST
The Duke Blue Devils made it into the Sweet 16 by the slimmest of possible margins. But as the overall #1 seed, this is still the team to beat—especially being led by Zion Williamson, who has averaged nearly 30 points per game in the first two rounds. The game is a rematch, as the two teams battled back in February with the Hokies pulling out the win 77-72. Important footnote, however, is that Zion was on the bench nursing an injury.
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- UNC vs. Auburn
- Game time: Fri., 3/29, 7:29 p.m. EST
If there's one game in the Sweet 16 that should be guaranteed to generate offensive highlights, UNC vs. Auburn is the game to watch. These two powerhouses are ranked #2 and #3 for most points scored (only behind Gonzaga) in the tournament to this point. UNC's tournament history is long and historic, making them the heavy favorite, while Auburn is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
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- Kentucky vs. Houston
- Game time: Fri., 3/29, 9:57 p.m. EST
The Houston Cougars last made it past the Sweet 16 in 1984, when a young Akeem Olajuwon (who changed his name to Hakeem Olajuwon in 1991) led the team to the championship game. This year's team might be just as formidable, as it won its first two tournament contests by an average of 22 points and has only lost three games all year. Kentucky is still the favorite, though, coming in as a higher seed and with a tournament pedigree that rivals the best teams in college basketball history.
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- Tennessee vs. Purdue
- Game time: Thurs., 3/28, 7:29 p.m. EST
The Purdue Boilermakers breezed into the Sweet 16 with two relatively easy wins, while the Tennessee Volunteers played two nail-biters and squeaked past Iowa to earn a spot. The two teams have nearly even odds to win, and the victor will likely come down to the best players (Grant Williams on Tennessee and Carsen Edwards on Purdue) making tough shots down the stretch.
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- Virginia vs. Oregon
- Game time: Thurs., 3/28, 9:57 p.m. EST
In the only lopsided contest in the Sweet 16, #1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers tackle the #12 ranked Oregon Ducks. The Ducks' road to this spot included an upset win over Wisconsin in the first round and an easy win over UC Irvine in the Round of 32. But the Ducks Cinderella run may be running into a brick wall: The team hasn't played anyone as tough as Virginia, which has only lost three games all season (two of which were against Duke).
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