Purdue and Houston both have what it takes to expose their opponents' weaknesses and advance to the Elite Eight.
Yes, the favorites went a perfect 16-0 straight up in the second round of the 2019 NCAA tournament, the first time that has happened since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. But will the favorites continue to dominate in the Sweet 16, where there are some extremely competitive matchups, with half of them favored by five points or less?
Arguably the two best games of the Sweet 16 will take place on Thursday and involve Big Ten schools. First, in the South Region, the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers will face the third-seeded Purdue Boilermakers as 1.5-point favorites on the March Madness betting odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Then in the West, the second-seeded Michigan Wolverines are listed as two-point favorites versus the third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Purdue and Michigan are two of the three Big Ten teams still in the Big Dance, with the second-seeded Michigan State Spartans the other in the East. The SEC has four left while the ACC leads the tournament with five remaining, including three No. 1 seeds. Of all those major conferences, the SEC seems the most vulnerable right now and should be faded in the Sweet 16 despite the presence of two No. 2 seeds in Tennessee and the Kentucky Wildcats in the Midwest. Both the Volunteers and Wildcats will go down.
All four SEC teams could end up losing in the Sweet 16, with Kentucky meeting the third-seeded Houston Cougars as three-point favorites on the March Madness lines to end Friday's action, the third-seeded LSU Tigers sitting as six-point underdogs against the Spartans to tip off the day's action, and the fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers taking on the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels as five-point underdogs in between. LSU and Auburn do hold some betting value, but it would be a surprise if either Tigers team made it to the Elite Eight.
That said, the Boilermakers and Cougars both have what it takes to pull off upsets in the Sweet 16, and they will expose their opponents' weaknesses to advance as underdogs. Count Purdue and Houston as best bets to do just that, with the former ending the run of the favorites and the latter possibly being the only other dog to survive in this round.