March Madness daily update: 2021 NCAA Tournament is about defying expectations

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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email

From now through the end of March Madness, we will be providing a daily update with everything you need to know about the NCAA Tournament. Covering line movements to betting trends, statistics, quotes, and more, we will provide you with everything you need to know about all of happenings in Indiana.

With the first two rounds having come and gone, let’s take another daily in-depth look at the Big Dance by previewing this weekend’s Sweet 16 action.

Line movements

Move for the favorite
Alabama -4.5 to -6 vs. UCLA
USC -1 to -2.5 vs. Oregon

Move for the underdog
Oregon State +7 to +6 vs. Loyola Chicago

Move for the over
Baylor-Villanova 138 to 140.5
Alabama-UCLA 143.5 to 145

Move for the under
Michigan-Florida State 146 to 144

Loyola Chicago vs. Oregon State preview and picks

Public Money

Loyola Chicago vs. Oregon State Over 125.0

The public is all over the over in Saturday’s showdown between the Loyola Chicago Ramblers and Oregon State Beavers. It is a surprising No. 8 vs. No. 12 meeting in the Midwest Region. Loyola Chicago scored 71 points in each of its two wins over Georgia Tech and Illinois, while Oregon State averaged 75 points while defeating Tennessee and Oklahoma State. Per DraftKings, 94 percent of the handle and 86 percent of the bets are on Over 125.

Loyola Ramblers guard Braden Norris (4) shoots against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Gonzaga -13.5 vs. Creighton

Bettors are also hammering the Gonzaga Bulldogs in their matchup with the Creighton Bluejays on Sunday. It is a No. 1 vs. No. 5 meeting in the West Region. Gonzaga, the top-ranked team in the nation, had no trouble disposing of Norfolk State and Oklahoma. Creighton barely got past UC Santa Barbara before manhandling Ohio. For this Sweet 16 contest, 82 percent of the money and 80 percent of the wagers are on the Zags -13.5.

Stats of the Day

5 – Number of top scorers USC lost from last year’s team

6 – Position Arkansas was picked to finish in the SEC

7 – Position Michigan was picked to finish in the Big Ten

Despite relatively low expectations, all three of those teams are in the Sweet 16…and so is Oregon State. The Beavers were supposed to be even worse, picked to finish last in the Pac-12! Both USC (-1 vs. Oregon) and Arkansas (-11.5 vs. Oral Roberts) are suddenly expected to reach the Elite Eight.

Arkansas Razorbacks forward Justin Smith (0) gestures after the game against the Colgate Raiders during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts preview and picks

Quote of the Day

“We kind of coined our own phrase; we’re ‘new bloods.’ We’re new on the block. We didn’t get invited to the blue blood party.”
          — Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton

No worries if you aren’t a blue blood. After all, the 2021 NCAA Tournament is not for blue bloods. Duke and Kentucky did not even make the field. Kansas and North Carolina are already out. This marks the first time since 1979 that neither Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, nor North Carolina advanced to the Sweet 16. Although Florida State may not be a historic basketball program such as the aforementioned quartet, but it is no stranger to success. This is the Seminoles’ third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. They are +3 underdogs against East Region No. 1 seed Michigan on Sunday.

NCAA Tournament  futures betting

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