Arizona has the easiest road to the Great Eight, according to the early odds released by 5 Dimes. The Wildcats are favored by 7.5 points over Steve Fisher’s San Diego St. team. The other game in the West bracket, being played in Anaheim, features the Baylor Bears taking on the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin is favored by three points in that game.
The South regional features Florida, the top seeded team in the tournament. The Gators are favored by five points over UCLA, with the total posted at 137 points. The Gators are -230 to win the game outright. Two Cinderella teams will play the other game in the South. Dayton, entering February with a 1-5 record in the Atlantic 10 after losses to Saint Louis, Richmond, VCU, Rhode Island and St. Joseph’s, have lost only twice since then. They knocked out Syracuse on Saturday, and will take on Stanford on Thursday night in Memphis. Stanford is favored by three points.
In the East, Iowa St. is favored by one point over Connecticut. That game will be played in Madison Square Garden on Friday. The winner of that game will take on the winner of Virginia and Michigan St. The Spartans are favored by two points over Virginia.
Louisville and Kentucky will renew their rivalry in the Midwest bracket in Indianapolis on Friday. Louisville is favored by five. Kentucky finally stepped up to their preseason reputation by defeating the only undefeated team in college basketball, the No. 1 seed Wichita State Shockers. The Wildcats have had Louisville’s number since John Calipari took over the Kentucky team. Kentucky beat Louisville in the Final Four two years ago, and is 5-1 against the Cardinals since Calipari began coaching in Lexington.
Tennessee and Michigan will be the undercard in the Midwest Bracket, but both teams have the talent to beat the winner of the Louisville/Kentucky game. Michigan is favored by 1.5 in the early lines.