Many a high seed in NCAA Tournament history has come into the round of 64 with high hopes at deep runs only to see those hopes shattered by a surprising upset from a live underdog.
How many of Friday’s top seeds can avoid these potential land mines?
With a win over Lamar in the first round play-in game Wednesday night, the Vermont Catamounts earned the No. 16 seed and a shot at the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels.
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The line on that one will likely look similar to Friday’s other No. 16 vs. No. 1 as the No. 1 Michigan State Spartans are a 20-point favorite at 5Dimes over the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. No No. 1 seed has ever lost in the first round, but the large spreads may make these games interesting.
Three No. 2 seeds will be in action Friday as well. The longest shot on the board as of Wednesday was No. 15 Norfolk State going up against the No. 2 Missouri Tigers as a 21.5-point underdog. No. 15 Detroit is a 14.5-point underdog against No. 2 Kansas, and No. 15 Lehigh is a 12-point underdog against Duke, with all listed lines being offered at .
A big reason for Lehigh’s seemingly small 12-point spread is guard C.J. McCollum, who averaged 21.9 points per game this season - but the Mountain Hawks have never won a game in NCAA Tournament play.
Both of the No. 3 vs. No 14 matchups Friday are expected to be very competitive. The No. 3 Florida State Seminoles are a 6.5-point favorite over the No. 14 St. Bonaventure Bonnies, and the No. 3 Georgetown Hoyas are just a 4-point favorite over the No. 14 Belmont Bruins, with both lines available at BetOnline.
Like Lehigh, Belmont has never won a game in NCAA Tournament play.
In the last of the games involving top-four seeds in the round of 64, the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines are a 6-point favorite at TopBet over the No. 13 Ohio Bobcats. Ohio won the Mid-American conference and eight of its last nine games down the stretch.