NCAA basketball tournament odds 2016: Kansas leads March Madness betting favorites

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NCAA basketball tournament odds 2016: Kansas leads March Madness betting favorites

A day after suffering a defeat in the ACC championship against North Carolina, Virginia is likely feeling better about itself.

That gave automatic spots to bubble teams (or less) such as Fresno State, Gonzaga and CT while squeezing out a few spots bubble spots - even though there were two more available this season because Louisville (and Rick Pitino) and SMU (and Larry Brown) are both ineligible.

It's another opportunity for the Big 12 to have success.

Despite Seton Hall's sixth seed, this is the school's first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade.

"We were wondering what we were going to do for that entire time; all of a sudden we knew rather quickly", coach Jamie Dixon said. The other leading teams have flaws and appear vulnerable. Not that Virginia's road to the Final Four will be easy.

KU, which is in the South region, will open with 16th-seeded Austin Peay at around 3 p.m. Thursday in Des Moines. "I will say Monmouth was right there in that final discussion".

So, which story lines will dominate the opening weekend?

Notoriously, the No. 5 seed is the most prone to being upset in the first round by the No. 12 seed, but in recent years, it's been No. 14 over No. 3 that's happening constantly. The Crusaders will be seeking their first tournament win since 1953.

It's that time of year again. Only Kansas (27), the top overall seed in this year's tournament, and Duke (21) have longer active streaks.

Given the ups and downs and the embarrassments of the year, an Elite Eight finish would be something to celebrate for the Lady Vols. And with lots of talent coming back next year, maybe the program is in better shape than we thought. The Jayhawks have a three-hour drive from their campus in Lawrence, while blue-bloods Kentucky, UConn and in are joining them there. Best possible second-round matchup The notion of a Purdue-Iowa State battle in the second round sure is fun.

- GOING GLOBAL: There will be plenty of worldwide flair to this tournament. Finally healthy and has Shockers hoping to make a run out of the First Four.

"But we will play hard and we will work hard", he said.

- PHILLY PRIDE: Speaking of rivals, it was a banner year for the Big 5.

The victor of Saturday's game will face the victor of No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 Missouri State, Monday.

March Madness has officially begun and Kansas together with North Carolina, Virginia and OR will be up for the challenge as they were picked as number one seeds in their respective brackets after the NCAA tournament Sunday Selection.

Every other overall No. 1 seed has at least reached the Sweet 16, with three of those teams winning titles.

"It's just a matter of the way things work out when we apply - strictly apply - our procedures for seeding", committee chair Joe Castiglione said, "and then, of course, when we get into bracketing".

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