Final Four Betting: South Carolina vs. Gonzaga

thornwell-south-carolinaSouth Carolina is easily the most-surprising of the 2017 Final Four participants. They ended their SEC conference schedule on a down note, losing 6 of their last 9 games, and getting into the tournament based on earlier results. And this is the reason why few expected the Gamecocks to make any noise during March Madness.

But here we are nearing April, and South Carolina is the tournament’s only Cinderella left. Victories over 10-seed Marquette, 2-seed Duke, 3-seed Baylor, and 4-seed Florida have earned them a trip to Phoenix.

Their opponent is Gonzaga, which finally exercised some demons by booking a trip to the Final Four. Of course, it should be little surprise that the Bulldogs have made it this far since they’ve only lost one game, and have been in or around the nation’s top ranking all year.

Gonzaga’s road to the Final Four hasn’t been as tough as South Carolina’s, winning over 16-seed South Dakota State, 8-seed Northwestern, 4-seed West Virginia, and 11-seed Xavier. But the Bulldogs fended off potential upsets and are one step closer to winning the title.

Who will win and move into the title game to play the winner of Oregon/North Carolina? Which team will cover their spread? Find out as we discuss everything you need to know regarding the Bulldogs and Gamecocks.

No. 7 South Carolina (26-10) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (36-1); Friday (April 1 @ 6:05pm) Betting Line: South Carolina +7 (-110); Gonzaga -7 (-110)

Why the Gamecocks will Cover their +7 Spread

As mentioned in the introduction, nothing has been easy for South Carolina. Few expected them to get past Duke in the second round, but they pulled off an 88-81 upset. Then they made things look easy against Baylor, winning 70-50.

Beating Florida for a second time this season? No problem for a South Carolina team that’s exceeded expectations throughout the tourney.

Based on what the Gamecocks have done so far, it’s not outside the bounds to think that they could also knock off the Zags. Gonzaga is a little better overall than Duke, Baylor, and Florida, but they’re not an insurmountable task.

dozier-thornwellThe key for South Carolina is making sure that their stars are on. This isn’t a deep team, so they need guards Sindarius Thornwell (21.6 PPG) and P.J. Dozier (13.8 PPG) to step up. This was certainly the case against Florida, as Thornwell hit 8-of-13 shots while scoring 26 points, and Dozier make 7-of-11 shots to score 17. Others who played well against the Gators include Chris Silva (13 points, 9 rebounds) and Maik Kostar (12 points).

The problem – as it’s been all season for South Carolina – is that they only got 3 points off their bench. Additionally, they played four of their starters for 36 minutes or more, meaning there’s little firepower outside of the core players.

Thornwell and Dozier have been great in the tournament so far. If they’re both on again, and get some help from another starter or two, then this team can make an improbably championship appearance.

From a betting standpoint, South Carolina is 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last four games. But in the 10 contests prior to March Madness, they were just 1-9 ATS.

Why the Bulldogs will cover their -7 Spread

gonzaga-march-madnessOver the past two decades, Gonzaga has transformed from a little-known basketball school into a powerhouse that makes the tournament every year. But the only thing missing from the Bulldogs’ resume until now was a Final Four appearance. They’ve taken care of this bit of history and are now looking at more if they can get past a less-heralded South Carolina team.

As we discussed earlier in the year, this is the most-complete team we’ve seen from Gonzaga. The dilemma in years’ past was always that they relied on one pro-level talent to score big, including Adam Morrison, Kyle Wiltjer, and Domantas Sabonis. But this season, the Zags have several players who can score and can absorb 1-2 starters having an off-night.

karnowski-gonzagaThe leading scorer is point guard Nigel Williams-Goss (16.7 PPG, 4.6 APG), while Przemek Karnowski (12.2 PPG), Jordan Matthews (10.7 PPG), Jonathan Williams (10.3 PPG), Zach Collins (9.9 PPG, 1.6 BPG), and Josh Perkins (8.2 PPG) also make significant contributions. Basically, this Bulldogs team is everything that the Gamecocks aren’t.

Last weekend, we saw Gonzaga end Xavier’s season with emphasis, thumping this Cinderella 83-59. Their depth was on full display, as four players scored in double figures, and they got a solid 14 points off the bench. There’s a good chance that they’ll dominate South Carolina and end their season as well.

From a betting perspective, the Zags are 1-2-1 ATS in March Madness. In their last 9 games before the tourney, they were 7-2 ATS.

Final Thoughts on South Carolina vs. Gonzaga Betting

This game features two teams playing in their school’s first-ever Final Four. On one side, you have a South Carolina team that relies on two stars in Dozier and Thornwell to carry them. Meanwhile, Gonzaga has a solid starting five along with support from the bench. Based on the Bulldogs’ depth, we see them overwhelming the Gamecocks while using their strong defense to force Dozier and/or Thornwell into a poor-shooting game.

Final Score Prediction: Gonzaga wins 83-69

Elite Eight Betting: UNC vs. Kentucky

justin-jackson-uncThe 2017 Elite Eight is full of good matchups, but one stands out above the rest : North Carolina vs. Kentucky. Not only is this a storied rivalry between two of the winningest teams of all time, but it’s also the toughest matchup.

As we’ve discussed all along, we believe that UNC is destined to win the tournament based on their experience and talent. But with three potential NBA lottery picks on their team, Kentucky is certainly capable of winning this game and the entire tourney.

Who will move on to the Final Four? Which team should you bet on? Let’s find out by looking at the betting line along with why each team can cover the spread/win the game.

No. 2 Kentucky (32-5) vs. No. 1 UNC (30-7); Sunday (Mar 26 @ 5:05pm) Betting Line: UNC -2.5 (-110); Kentucky +2.5 (-110)

Why the Wildcats will Cover the Spread

de-aaron-foxEarlier this week, we thought the Kentucky vs. UCLA game would go differently, with the Bruins winning again¬†thanks to their uptempo style. But the Wildcats picked apart UCLA’s defense with their own uptempo attack, while also stopping their opponent in an 86-75 victory.

A big reason why the Bruins lost is the play of Kentucky freshman guard De’Aaron Fox. Perhaps fueled by the mock drafts and scouts considering UCLA’s Lonzo Ball to be the better point guard, Fox exploded for 39 points. A virtual lock as a top-5 draft pick, Fox hit 13-of-20 from the field on an assortment of floaters and running jumpers. He’ll need to showcase this kind of talent again if Kentucky is going to beat a more-experienced North Carolina team.

Also critical to the cause are fellow future NBAers Malik Monk and Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. Monk, a 6’3″ freshman shooting guard, made 8-of-17 shots en route to 21 points. He and Fox are hitting their stride at the right time and nearly beat UCLA by themselves.

malik-monk-march-madnessBam was neutralized, scoring just 2 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. Given that he’s averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds on the season, Kentucky needs the 6’10” forward to step up against the Tar Heels.

Luckily for the Wildcats, senior forward Derek Willis had a solid game with 8 points, 8 boards, and 4 assists. He only shot 3-of-11 from the field, but still did enough as a role player to aid Fox and Monk.

Summarizing Kentucky’s chances, Fox and Monk will be the most-talented players on the floor Sunday. If they’re hot again, then John Calipari’s squad will reach their fourth Final Four in the last seven years.

From a betting perspective, Kentucky is only 4-7 against the spread (ATS) in their last 11 games.

Why the Tar Heels will cover the Spread

While Butler has been a giant slayer in recent years, they weren’t able to keep up with North Carolina in a 92-80 loss.

The team’s offensive stars, F Justin Jackson and G Joel Berry III, came through with 24 and 26 points, respectively, on a combined 17-of-31 shooting. Both players are juniors who’ve been through the tournament grind before and won’t be rattled in a close game.

While Jackson and Berry are great players, what makes the Tar Heels so good is their depth. This was put on full display with Kennedy Meeks grabbing 11 rebounds, Isaiah Hicks scoring 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and Luke Maye coming off the bench to score 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

This represents the biggest problem for the Wildcats in that North Carolina is a complete team with multiple players who can step up. If Jackson and/or Berry are off, like they were against Arkansas in the second round, other players like Meeks, Hicks, and Maye rise to the occasion.

Of course, we can’t overlook the experience of this team either. North Carolina is led by juniors and seniors who played on last year’s runner-up squad. A narrow 77-74 championship loss to Villanova has fueled Roy Williams’ team all season.

Assuming UNC can contain Kentucky, their upperclassmen will push this team another step further towards a title.

As for betting, UNC is 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 contests.

Final Thoughts on Kentucky vs UNC

This is a true wildcard game due to the Wildcats’ three freshman. As Fox and Monk showed in the Sweet Sixteen, they’re capable of great things when hitting shots. Adebayo is also capable of big games – both from a rebounding/shot-blocking and scoring perspective.

North Carolina, on the other hand, is a known quantity. We know that they’re going to play with poise and look for good shots. Furthermore, they’re a deeper team than the Wildcats. While we can see Fox, Monk, and/or Adebayo getting hot and propelling Kentucky to the win, the safe money is on North Carolina covering -2.5.

Final Score Prediction: North Carolina wins 82-77

Sweet Sixteen Betting: UCLA vs Kentucky

kentucky-ucla-march-madnessUCLA’s 2016 season was a disaster as the team went 15-17, leading to calls for Steve Alford’s job. But what a difference a year makes since the Bruins (31-4) are now in the Sweet 16, with a chance to make their first Elite Eight appearance since 2008.

They got here with solid victories over 14-seed Kent State (97-80) and 6-seed Cincinnati (79-67). The latter proved a good challenge before UCLA faces Kentucky, a team just as talented as itself.

As for John Calipari’s squad, they’re in familiar territory, having made the Sweet Sixteen in six of the past eight seasons. But given the quality of their opponent, this is one of the few times the Wildcats haven’t been favored in a Sweet Sixteen matchup.

Who will move on and face the winner of UNC/Gonzaga? Find out as we discuss both teams’ chances and offer some betting advice.

UCLA (31-4) vs. Kentucky (31-5); Friday (Mar 24 @ 9:35pm) Betting Line: UCLA 0 (-110); Kentucky 0 (-110)

Why the Bruins will Cover the Spread

lonzo-tj-leafWith apologies to Baylor and Oregon, UCLA is the best and most-talented #3 seed in the tournament. You could easily argue that they’re under-seeded, but a third-place conference finish in the Pac 12 relegated them to this position.

If you look at the Bruins’ schedule, they got revenge for all four of their losses, which included Oregon, USC, and Arizona (twice). This is a squad that faced a number of quality opponents during the year, and they’re as prepared for a deep tournament run as anybody.

The Bruins feature a nice mix of youth and experience in their lineup. They’re led by Pac 12 Freshman of the Year Lonzo Ball (14.7 PPG, 7.6 APG) and fellow freshman T.J. Leaf (16.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG). Sophomore guard Aaron Holiday (12.5 PPG) also chips in plenty of points. Leadership is provided by senior G Bryce Alford (15.6 PPG), senior G Isaac Hamilton (14.0 PPG), and junior C Thomas Welsh (10.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG).

With six double-digit scorers, it’s not hard to see how UCLA led the nation in scoring at 90.2 PPG. This is a big reason why we at have the over/under set at 165.5.

Kentucky can also score (85.2 PPG), but we like the Bruins if this turns into a shootout. In fact, this is exactly what happened when the teams met in Rupp Arena on Dec. 3, with UCLA prevailing 97-92.

The one concern if you’re thinking of betting on the Bruins is that they’re just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last five contests. They either win or lose this game, but it’s hard to put lots of faith in them judging from the ATS performance.

Why the Wildcats will cover the Spread

deaaron-foxOutside of a mid-season 82-80 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers (16-16), Kentucky beat everybody they were supposed to. They also notched significant victories over North Carolina and Florida. Currently on a 13-game win streak, the Wildcats have played their best basketball when it matters most.

You almost have to like that Kentucky lost to UCLA earlier this season because they have the revenge factor going for them. Of course, this team has a lot more to bank their hopes on than just revenge.

For starters, they’re led by three potential NBA lottery picks in De’Aaron Fox (16.1 PPG), Malik Monk (20.0 PPG), and Edrice “Bam” Adebayo (13.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG).

UCLA has their own lottery hopefuls as well in Ball and Leaf. But three trumps two in this case, and we really like Kentucky from an overall talent perspective.

Senior forward Derek Willis (7.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG) is also crucial to the Wildcats since he’s been through tournament runs before and provides a veteran influence.

From a betting perspective, Kentucky hasn’t been any better than UCLA, going 1-4 ATS in their last five contests. They failed to cover in victories against Northern Kentucky (79-70) in the first round, and Wichita State (65-62) in the second round.

Final Thoughts on Kentucky vs UCLA

With lottery picks on both squads and an even betting line, you could flip a coin to decide this one. But we slightly favor the Bruins to win again because they have the best player on the floor in Ball, and they’ve performed better against elite competition. Kentucky, on the other hand, topped a weaker conference and lost marquee games to both Kansas and Louisville.

Final Score Prediction: UCLA wins 90-88

Sweet Sixteen Betting: Butler vs UNC Analysis

unc-butler-bettingThe North Carolina Tar Heels lost the 2016 championship game by 3 points to Villanova last year. The sting of this loss has motivated them to an ACC title and the 2017 tournament’s top overall seed. But they won’t be happy until they get complete redemption in the form of a title.

All has gone according to plan so far for UNC, with a 103-64 victory over 16-seed Texas Southern, and a 72-65 win against 8-seed Arkansas. The latter was a nice test for the Tar Heels as they gear up for an even bigger challenge in Butler.

Speaking of the Bulldogs, they closed their regular season and conference tournament on a sour note, losing to both Seton Hall and Xavier (Big East tournament). Despite these losses, Butler did enough to attain a No. 4 seed, largely thanks to two victories over Villanova during the Big East conference schedule.

They’ve put their seeding to good use, knocking off 13-seed Winthrop by a score of 76-64, and 12-seed Middle Tennessee by a tally of 74-65. Are these tune-up games enough for the ultimate challenge in UNC? Let’s find out by discussing how both teams will fare in this Sweet Sixteen contest.

Butler (25-8) vs. UNC (29-7); Friday (Mar 24 @ 7:05pm) Betting Line: UNC -7.5 (-110); Butler +7.5 (-110)

Why the Bulldogs will Cover the Spread

kelan-martin-butlerEver since Brad Stevens turned this program into a giant killer in the mid-2000s, Butler has continued to notch quality wins over the years. 2017 was no different since they earned nine wins over tournament teams, including Villanova (twice) and Arizona.

But there were also a couple of puzzling losses to Indiana State and St. John’s. Given the opponent, we don’t expect an empty performance from Butler on Friday night.

North Carolina and the Bulldogs have some familiarity with each since Butler has upset the Tar Heels twice in the past five years. It’s not unfathomable to think that they can do it again, although this is a tougher UNC squad than the ones that were beaten before.

One thing that Butler has going for them is experience, with most of their rotation players being juniors and seniors. Junior forward Kelan Martin leads the team with 16.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG. Senior forward Andrew Chrabascz (11.1 PPG) is another important cog for the Bulldogs. Other contributors include freshman G Kamar Baldwin (10.0 PPG), senior G Avery Woodson (8.9 PPG), and senior G Kevan Savage (8.0 PPG).

Butler is a smart, disciplined team that can beat anybody in the country when at their peak. And if they bring their A-game, it’s possible that they’ll upset the Tar Heels once again.

One big reason to wager on the Bulldogs is that they’re 7-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last eight contests as an underdog.

Why the Tar Heels will Cover the Spread

North Carolina emerged from the nation’s toughest conference with a championship, thus setting them up to be March Madness favorites.

The one unsettling thing about UNC is that they blew a 17-point, first-half lead against the Razorbacks. North Carolina came back for the victory, which could serve as the scare they need to stay focused.

Team stars Joel Berry and Justin Jackson struggled in this contest, making just 2-of-13 and 5-of-14 shots respectively. But Kennedy Meeks came up big, hitting 7-of-13 shots, grabbing 11 rebounds, and blocking 3 shots. The bench also shot well, nailing a combined 7-of-11 field goal attempts.

This represents one of the biggest problems in trying to contain UNC because they have too much talent. If Jackson or Berry aren’t on, then other players like Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley and Luke Maye can step up when needed.

Another issue Butler needs to worry about is the Tar Heels’ size. Few match up well with this team, which, thanks to Jackson’s versatility, starts four forwards and plays two more in the rotation.

From a betting perspective, UNC seems like the safe bet here because they’re 5-1-1 ATS when favored by seven points or more.

Final Thoughts on Butler vs. UNC Betting

This is a tough game to call because both North Carolina and Butler have been on fire regarding the spread. As mentioned before, the Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS as an underdog recently, while the Tar Heels have gone 5-1-1 ATS as a favorite of -7 or better. Their lone loss was the 72-65 win over Arkansas, where they failed to cover -11.5.

As stated before, we believe North Carolina will cut down the nets in Phoenix, thus avenging their loss last year. But can they defeat Butler by 8 points or more? Normally we’d say no, but given how close the last game was, we expect the Tar Heels to come out on fire.

Final Score Prediction: UNC wins 79-68

Sweet Sixteen Betting: Purdue vs Kansas Analysis

The Purdue Boilermakers have reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010, knocking off Vermont and Iowa State in the process. This is important for Purdue because they blew big leads against both Cincinnati (2015) and Arkansas-Little Rock (2016) in the last two tournaments.

It seemed like the Boilermakers were destined to lose another late lead against the Cyclones. But they were able to rally and beat Iowa State 80-76 to move on.

Kansas is in a more familiar spot, having reached the Sweet Sixteen this season and the Elite Eight last year. They’ve made it here with a 100-62 win over UC Davis and a 90-70 victory over Michigan State. Many believe that Kansas has the talent to go all the way – as reiterated by our Sweet 16 overview. But they’ll have to get by a solid Purdue squad to do it.

That said, let’s discuss how this matchup will play out and offer some betting advice.

Purdue (27-7) vs. Kansas (30-4); Thursday (Mar 23 @ 9:35pm) Betting Line: Kansas -5; Purdue +5

Why the Boilermakers will Cover the Spread

caleb-swanigan-purdueWinners of the Big Ten regular season crown, Purdue has been strong all season. They’ve leaned on Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan (18.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG), who’s averaging 18 points, 13 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2 blocks in two tournament contests.

But this isn’t just a one-man team since forward Vincent Edwards (12.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG) has stepped up. He’s shooting over 60% in the tourney, while averaging 21 points, 7.5 boards, and 3.5 assists. Edwards can disappear for stretches, but that hasn’t happened in the Boilermakers’ tournament run so far. If he can come up big against Kansas, then they have a real shot to win.

Freshman point guard Carsen Edwards (10.4 PPG) is another X-factor since he’s explosive and can get hot behind the arc. He’s played average in the tournament, but could be due for a big game.

vincent-edwards-purdueAnother key for the Boilermakers will be their 3-point shooting. They ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in this category and can beat any team when they’re on. Junior guard Dakota Mathias was the conference’s best three-point shooter, hitting 45.8% of his attempts. Vincent Edwards, Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline, P.J. Thompson, and Swanigan can also hit from deep when given the opportunity.

With so many shooters to cover and solid inside play from Swanigan, Purdue is a team that’s difficult to cover – even for a talented Jayhawks team. Assuming Kansas doesn’t bring their A-game, then this will be a closer-than-anticipated contest.

Above all, the biggest reason to bet on the Boilermakers is that they’re 7-3-2 against the spread (ATS) over their last 12 contests.

Why the Jayhawks will Cover the Spread

frank-mason-kansasAlong with North Carolina, Kansas is a favorite to win the tournament. Truth be told, they’re probably expecting to meet UNC in the Final Four since they’re the lone remaining No. 1 seeds, and are on the same side of the bracket.

But their immediate focus is on a Purdue team that’ll look to pull off the upset. This will be hard, given that Kansas is led by Frank Mason III (20.8 PPG, 5.2 APG), the leading contender for the Naismith Award. Not only is Mason capable of taking over games, but he’s also efficient, hitting 47.2% of his three-point attempts.

Perhaps even more important is the senior point guard’s clutch factor since the Jayhawks are 9-1 in games decided by three points or less. If you’re betting on Kansas to cover the spread, you don’t want to see it get to this point. But just know that Mason won’t crack under the pressure when things get tough.

The team’s most-talented player is forward Josh Jackson, who averages 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. The 6’8″ freshman is a top-5 projected lottery pick, and his talent is crucial to what Kansas does.

josh-jackson-kansasThe Jayhawks’ backcourt is completed by Devonte’ Graham, a 6’2″ shooting guard who scores 13.3 PPG. Graham also helps stretch the defense with is 39.2% three-point shooting.

Wing player Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (9.7 PPG) is another shooter on this roster, hitting 39.5% of his attempts from beyond the arc. 6’10” forward Landen Lucas steadies the Jayhawks down low, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game.

The one big thing that Kansas can do is overwhelm opponents with their scoring. They’re averaging 95 points in the tournament so far, and we don’t see them going under 80 against Purdue. This gives Kansas an excellent chance to cover the spread if the Boilermakers aren’t near perfect on offense.

The Jayhawks are slightly worse than Purdue with their ATS record, going 6-4-1 in their last 11 games.

Final Thoughts on Kansas vs. Purdue Betting

The Boilermakers are 8-5-1 ATS against opponents who made the tournament, while Kansas is 7-6-1. Based on the first two rounds of play, many will bet on the Jayhawks here. But based on ATS trends, and the fact that Purdue is the toughest team Kansas has faced so far, we’d lay our money on the Boilermakers covering +5.

Final Score Prediction: Kansas wins 81-77

Does Xavier Have a Chance Against Arizona in Sweet 16?

xavier-vs-arizonaWith only 16 teams left in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the true Cinderellas have been sent packing. Gone are the Nevada’s and Princeton’s that we discussed before the tourney.

The closest thing we have to a Cinderella now is the Xavier Musketeers, an 11-seed that made it here with a 76-65 victory over Maryland, then a 91-66 blowout against 3-seed Florida State.

Their next opponent is 2-seed Arizona, a team that many think has the potential to win it all. We also believe they have the talent since we ranked the Wildcats #7 among the remaining Sweet 16 teams. Meanwhile, we only have Xavier sitting at #14.

Can the Musketeers surprise the basketball world and move on the Elite Eight? Find out as we cover the Arizona vs. Xavier matchup.

March 23 @ 10:09pm EST
Betting Odds at GTBets: Arizona -7.5, Xavier +7.5

Only three times in NCAA Tournament history has a No. 11 seed advanced to the Final Four – LSU in 1986; George Mason in 2006; and Virginia Commonwealth in 2011. Based on the trend over the last decade-plus, we’re do for another double-digit team in the Final Four.

But the odds suggest that it won’t be Xavier, given that FiveThirtyEight gives them just an 8% chance of making it to Phoenix. We at GTBets have them with the worst odds of winning the championship at +5000 right now. Nevertheless, this is a solid team that’s coming off a 25-point win over a No. 3 seed, so they have to be taken seriously.

The big reason why the Musketeers blitzed Florida State is because they hit 11-of-17 shots (64.7%) from three-point range. They also made 71% of their shots around the basket and outscored FSU 36-26 in the paint.

xavier-florida-stateAt first glance, it feels like Xavier just got hot and the Seminoles couldn’t keep up. But the latter ranked in the nation’s top 30% for field goal percentage allowed at the rim (52.3%), and 21st overall for block rate. That said, we expect the good inside play to continue against Arizona, which allowed 64.1% shooting around the rim to 15-seed North Dakota State and 7-seed St. Mary’s.

Another thing that Xavier does well is rebound, given that they got offensive rebounds at a 34.9% rate, ranking 29th in the nation. This could cause trouble for the more-talented Wildcats if they surrender extra possessions to a lower seed.

If the Musketeers can execute their game plan and get by Arizona, they have a realistic path to the national championship game as well.

The only No. 1 seeds left – Kansas and North Carolina – are on the other side of the bracket. The winner of Xavier/Arizona plays the winner of Gonzaga/West Virginia to see who advances out of the West Region. While neither of these are easy matchups, they also aren’t the Tar Heels or Jayhawks.

If the Musketeers become just the fourth team in history to make the Final Four, they’d take on the East winner, which will be between the Florida/Wisconsin and Baylor/South Carolina winners. No. 1 seed Villanova and No. 1 seed Duke have both been eliminated from the East Region.

Assuming Xavier can complete an unlikely run to the finals, they could face UNC, Kansas, No. 2 Kentucky, or No. 3 UCLA.

North Carolina would be a nightmare matchup for the Musketeers due to their size, offensive rebounding percentage (42.2%), and 121.6 points per 100 possessions. According to Jeff Sagarin’s Predictor system, UNC would be an 8.6 favorite over Xavier – probably even more on the betting lines – while Kansas and Kentucky would be 7.1 and 7.5-point favorites respectively.

But obviously we’re getting ahead of ourselves here because Xavier has a very tough test in front of them right now. However, if they can muster yet another upset, then the Musketeers have a shot at going deeper in the tournament than anybody would’ve fathomed before March Madness began.