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Bracket Odds: Key Friday Matchups

The middle-seed games on Friday not only make or break the tournament for 16 teams, but also for many bettors across the country.


Friday’s tough middle of the pack matchups give brackets that blew up on Thursday a chance at redemption; or, on the flip side, can break those brackets that were looking so good. Here’s a preview of these key tough matchups on Friday.

With a win over the California Golden Bears on Wednesday, the South Florida Bulls secured a 12-seed and will take on the No. 5 Temple Owls. Considering South Florida ranked 328th in the nation on offense with just 59.2 points per game, going up against Temple’s 30th-ranked offense (76 points per game) the Bulls will need a heck of a defensive performance to keep this one close.

Friday’s No. 11 vs. No. 6 games are arguably two of the toughest to call in the entire bracket this season. The No. 11 North Carolina State Wolfpack are a 2-point favorite over the No. 6 San Diego State Aztecs, while the No. 11 Texas Longhorns are a 2-point underdog to the No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats, both at Bovada. North Carolina State is making its first tourney appearance since 2006.

It doesn’t get any easier moving into the No. 10 vs. No. 7 matchups Friday. The No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers are a 3.5-point underdog against the No. 7 Florida Gators, the No. 10 Purdue Boilermakers are a 1.5-point underdog against the No. 7 St. Mary’s Gaels, and the No. 10 Xavier Musketeers are a 2.5-point underdog against the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, all at BetOnline. Lots of movement came in on St. Mary’s this week as the Gaels opened as a 2-point underdog but are now a 1.5-point favorite.

Rounding out Friday’s schedule, the No. 9 Saint Louis Billikens are a 3.5-point underdog to the No. 8 Memphis Tigers, and the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide are a 1.5-point favorite over the No. 9 Creighton Bluejays, both at 5Dimes. With a 26-8 record and a Conference USA championship, many felt Memphis deserved a better seed than No. 8; they’ll have to prove those people right Friday with a win.