Look below to find our top March Madness predictions for all the Elite Eight action.
Saturday, March 26th, 2022
#2 Villanova vs #5 Houston – 6:09pm ET
Two “mid-major” schools are set to meet in this game to earn a trip to the final four. The 2nd seeded Villanova Wildcats from the Big East will meet the 5th seeded Houston Cougars from the American. Both of these schools have won national titles in the past and now they will be looking to get back to the mountain top.
The Houston Cougars seemingly out of nowhere become one of the top contenders to win the championship. After handling the Arizona Wildcats pretty easily in the Sweet 16 winning by 72-60, all of a sudden Houston is the team that many go with. The Cougars previously went past UAB and Illinois and are the only team that has won all three NCAA tournament rounds with a double-digit lead. The Cougars finished the regular season on top of the American Conference with a 32- record.
The Villanova Wildcats also had control of all three previous tournament games and are coming off a 63-55 win over the Michigan Wolverines. Villanova previously went past Delaware and Ohio State winning by 20 and 10 point differential. The Wildcats are the best free-throw shooting team in the country with 82.5%. Villanova is a 2.5-point underdog going into this game and they have covered the spread in 4 of the last 5 games overall and 20 of the last 26 NCAA tournament games.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova +2.5 (-106)
The Villanova Wildcats are in the midst of an incredible NCAA tournament run as they are looking to win their third national championship in the last six seasons. The Wildcats are coming into this game with a record of 29-7 on the season. They started with a big win over the Delaware Blue Hens, then followed that up with a win over Ohio State, before ending Michigan’s Cinderella run. Now they’re looking to take down the Cougars and move on to yet another Final Four to face the winner of Kansas and Miami.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 26, 2022
The Houston Cougars have had an incredible season this year, but it’s not quite over yet. As they come into this game with a record of 32-5 through 37 games on the season. Their tournament run started with a win over UAB to avoid the 12 vs 5 upset. They followed that up with a huge win over Illinois, before knocking out number one seeded Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen. Now they will be looking to take down the second straight Wildcats team they will face. However, as for the result of this game, I don’t see it happening as I have Villanova getting the victory over Houston.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova (+126)
Villanova just continues to roll right along, as they took care of Michigan in the Sweet 16, and now they take on a Houston team that has been on an absolute tease since the American conference tournament. The biggest question to me in this one is how well can the Wildcats from Villanova can rebound against a bigger, more physical Houston team. If they can manage to at least rebound decently, and guys like Collin Gillespie are hitting their shots, I like Nova in this one. However, given the fact that most metrics have Houston as the number two teams in the country, and watching them virtually destroy Arizona in the Sweet 16, they’re not a team to sleep on by any means. Another interesting aspect of this matchup is that we get one of the best coaching matchups you can see in today’s college hoops, as Jay Wright takes on Kelvin Sampson. Possibly against my better judgment, I’m going to take Villanova, but I do think it comes in tremendously close fashion, possibly giving us an OT game along the way.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Villanova (+126)
#4 Arkansas vs #2 Duke – 8:49pm ET
The Arkansas Razorbacks ended the Gonzaga Bulldogs hopes and dreams once more in the Sweet Sixteen. While the Duke Blue Devils held off Texas Tech to keep Coach K’s legendary career alive for at least another game and they are now one step closer to another game against rivals North Carolina.
The Arkansas Razorbacks did the unthinkable by eliminating the Gonzaga Bulldogs winning by 74-68. Arkansas held the Zags to 37% shooting from the field and 24% from the three-point line. The Razorbacks previously defeated Vermont and New Mexico State with a total of 9 points differential. The Razorbacks finished the regular season fourth in the SEC with a 28-8 record which didn’t look so promising. The Razorbacks are scoring 77.3 points per game which ranks them 40th in the league.
The Duke Blue Devils have been very solid in the opening three rounds of the NCAA tournament, defeating Cal Fullerton, Michigan State, and Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 by 78-73. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is playing his last tournament and is hoping to finish his 43-year stint with the Blue Devils with his 6th NCAA tournament victory. The Blue Devils are a 4-point favorite going into this one and they have covered the spread in only 2 of the last 9 tournament games going in as favorites.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Duke (-164)
The Arkansas Razorbacks are having a great year that not many people expected them to have. As they come into this game with a record of 28-8 through 36 games on the season. The Arkansas Razorbacks kicked off the tournament with a huge win over Vermont as they barely survived getting upset by the Catamounts. In the second round, they were nearly upset again by New Mexico State. However, in the third round, it was the Hogs who got to do the upsetting as they took down top-seeded Gonzaga in a masterful performance.
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 25, 2022
The Duke Blue Devils are trying to extend the legendary career of their head coach as long as possible heading into this one. Duke has survived a few scares from Michigan State and Texas Tech over the past two rounds. Now they will need to find a way to survive a red-hot Arkansas Razorbacks team who is looking to dash some more hopes in this year’s tournament. As for the result of this game, it seems destined that Duke and North Carolina will meet in the final four, that is why I have to go with the Blue Devils in this one.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Duke (-164)
How far does this last dance for Coach K go? I didn’t think it was getting past Texas Tech in the Sweet 16, but a great decision to switch to a zone late in the game proved to be a difference-maker, as the switch threw the Red Raiders off, and Duke managed to close out the game on a great run to get the win. Now they get an Arkansas team that has been ferocious throughout this tournament, including knocking off the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in convincing fashion in the Sweet 16.
The key for the Razorbacks in this one is going to be controlling Paolo Banchero, and finding ways to force turnovers to get easy buckets, as the Duke defense has been impressive for much of the year. They were able to control Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren enough to get the win over the Zags, but now they’re going to have to do the same against this similarly built Blue Devils team. In the end, I like Duke here, as I think Arkansas is a bit too one-dimensional on the offensive end, with JD Notae leading the way, but also taking too many shots. This one is close as well, but Coach K’s run continues, as his Blue Devils sneak away with it late.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Duke (-164)
Sunday, March 27th, 2022
#1 Kansas vs #10 Miami FL – 2:20pm ET
The last number one seed remaining faces off with the lowest power five seed remaining in this one. As the Kansas Jayhawks take on the Miami Hurricanes for a trip to the Final Four to face the winner of the Villanova and Houston game taking place on Saturday night.
The Kansas Jayhawks are going into the Elite 8 after a 66-61 win over the Providence Friars. The Jayhawks previously defeated Texas Southern and Creighton in the tournament, leading during the majority of all three games. The Jayhawks finished the regular season on top of the Big 12 conference with a 31-6 record and also won the conference tournament defeating Texas Tech in the final. Kansas is ranked among the top 30 teams in the league with 78.6 points per game and 48% shooting from the field.
The Miami Hurricanes are one of the two major surprises going into the Elite 8 but there is no question they fully deserved it. The Hurricanes are coming off a 70-56 win over Iowa State. In the previous two rounds, Miami defeated USC and Auburn which was a major upset even more with the fact that they won by 18 points. The Hurricanes are the worst defensive team left in the tournament, allowing 70.8 points per game on 46.3% shooting from the field and 35.4% from the three-point line.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas
One word to describe the Kansas Jayhawks during their three-game stretch in this tournament would be, domination. As they’ve knocked off two of the best mid-major schools in the nation in their last two after defeating Big East teams, Creighton and Providence. A lot of people seemingly had the Jayhawks as a dark horse or favorites to win the entire tournament this season and as of right now I would have to agree with them after early exits from Baylor, Gonzaga, and Arizona.
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— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) March 26, 2022
The Miami Hurricanes are shocking the nation on this incredible Cinderella run they are on. It all started with a win over Southern California, then an upset win over Auburn. In their last game, they beat Iowa State and now they will get a chance to take down a second straight Big 12 team when they take the court against Kansas. Miami is leaving a path of distraction in their way and now they will look to make their first-ever Final Four with a win here. As for the result of this game, however, I don’t see it happening as I have Kansas winning.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas
The Kansas Jayhawks just continue to prove why they were a one-seed entering the tournament, as they’re now the last one-seed alive, and they just keep rolling. After winning the Big-1/ regular-season title, they then won the conference tournament, and have now advanced to the Elite Eight impressively, as for the most part, they’ve just cruised through the first three rounds. What makes this Kansas team more impressive is that they took care of Providence in the Sweet 16, even though their best player, Ochai Agbaji, only scored five points. This shows just how dangerous they are, as it puts their depth to the forefront.
Now they get a Miami team that has surprised nearly everyone in March, as after a descent through the ACC this year, they’ve managed to the Elite Eight, though they have managed to get a bit of a favorable draw due to upsets along the way. The problem is that this Hurricanes team doesn’t play great defense, which makes me think Kansas will be able to outscore them in a game that could be relatively high-scoring. I like the Jayhawks here, getting a 10-12 point win.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas
#8 UNC vs #15 Saint Peter’s – 5:05pm ET
North Carolina is one step away from returning to the final four and setting up a tournament classic type of clash with Duke. But first, they must get past this year’s Cinderella 15th seeded Saint Peters. The Peacocks just keep on shocking the nation en route to the Elite Eight.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have gone pretty easily through the third first three games in the tournament and are coming off a 73-66 win over the UCLA Bruins. UCLA had the lead in the first half but the Tar Heels won the second half by 10 points and advanced to the Elite 8. Previously the Tar Heels eliminated the defending champion Baylor and also defeated Marquette. UNC has ranked 28th in the league scoring 78.6 points per game and is 31st with 37.4% shooting from the field.
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks are the top story of the tournament and the first-ever no. 15 teams to reach the Elite 8. They started the tournament stunning the Kentucky Wildcats in overtime, then went past Murray State and did another miracle defeating Purdue in the Sweet 16 by 67-64. The Peacocks were down by 4 points at halftime but managed to take the lead late in the game and hold on to it.
Marko’s College Basketball Pick: UNC
The North Carolina Tar Heels are a single step away from making it back to the Final Four this season. If Duke manages to beat Arkansas and North Carolina let the clock hit midnight on Saint Peters it is going to set up one of the most iconic tournament matchups of all time. As it would feature the Duke Blue Devils against their most hated rival the North Carolina Tar Heels for a trip to the national title game. Combine those fans with this type of environment, absolute chaos would ensue.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 26, 2022
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks just keep on winning and now it’s up to the Tar Heels to end this Cinderella story. They started with a huge upset of two seeded Kentucky before knocking out Murray State. Then in the Sweet Sixteen, they took down potential favorites Purdue. With that victory, they became the lowest to ever advance to the Elite Eight. Now they will look to continue making history with a huge win in this one. As for the results of this game I have North Carolina getting the win.
Tony’s College Basketball Pick: UNC
This is just an unbelievable run by the Saint Peters Peacocks, as they’ve become the first 15-seed to ever make the Elite Eight, after knocking off the Purdue Boilermakers. This comes on top of taking down Kentucky and Murray State in the first two rounds, and now they get another blue blood in this one, in the North Carolina Tar Heels. Head coach Shaheen Holloway is leading the way with a calm, “it’s just basketball” approach, that his guys seem to be buying into. Now at this point, it’s well known that Holloway is almost certainly on his way to Seton Hall at the end of this magical run, the only question is when that will be.
North Carolina continues to do UNC type things, as after struggling for the first half of the year, they find themselves in the Elite Eight, and have done so with relatively easy work of Marquette, Baylor, and UCLA, though they did struggle in the first half against the Bruins. The Heels used a big game from Caleb Love, who put in 30, to lead the way over UCLA, but now they get the biggest Cinderella story in the tournament in years in the next round. As for this matchup, I’m going to pick the magic to continue, as I like this matchup for the Peacocks, assuming they can avoid letting Love or Brady Mabel just torch them. I think this one ends up being pretty high-scoring, but give me Shaheen Holloway and his Saint Peters Peacocks to ride the momentum for at least one more round, getting to the Final Four.
Noah’s College Basketball Pick: Saint Peters
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.