- The Kansas Jayhawks, coming off a Big 12 tourney title victory, are favored to win the Midwest Regional
- No. 2 Auburn — ranked No.1 in the AP poll earlier this season — and Big Ten tourney title champ No. 3 Iowa are also contenders
- Check out the odds, analysis, and betting predictions, below
The Kansas Jayhawks (28-6, 14-4 Big 12) are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. Oddsmakers are tabbing Bill Self’s chances to win his second national championship at +850 and +180 to advance to the Final Four.
KU is playing in its 50th all-time NCAA Tournament and NCAA record 32nd consecutive appearance. It’s also the 15th time Rock Chalk is a regional top seed. The Jayhawks are led by Ochai Agbaji (19.8 ppg, 40.3% from distance) — a legit Wooden Award contender at +1200.
March Madness Midwest Regional Odds
|San Diego State Aztecs||+4000|
|Iowa State Cyclones||+5000|
|South Dakota State Jackrabbits||+8000|
|Texas Southern Tigers||+20000|
|Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Islanders||+20000|
|Jacksonville State Gamecocks||+20000|
Odds taken on March 13th at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Self’s team knocked off Texas Tech 74-65 on Saturday in the Big 12 championship game. David McCormack had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks, while a group of four other players — including Agbaji (16) — scored in double-digits.
Kansas has posted a 39-13 record as a No. 1 seed, with its most recent appearance in 2018. KU is also 14-0 all-time against No. 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas the Betting Favorite for a Reason
The Jayhawks are one of the most offensively efficient teams in the country, ranking 6th in KenPom in adjusted efficiency. Any team that shoots 56% from inside the arc (according to hooplens.com) is formidable. KU shot 59% on its 2-pointers against the Red Raiders to earn the program’s 12th Big 12 title.
Remy Martin had his best game for Kansas since coming back from his injury: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers in 26 minutes off the bench. If he is really going to buy into his role and play that efficiently, the game has changed for Kansas.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 13, 2022
If the Arizona State transfer — who has battled injuries and nailing down his role throughout the season — can do what he did during the Big Dance, watch out.
After Agbaji, there’s Christian Braun (14.6 ppg) — another pro prospect. McCormack, Jalen Wilson and Dajuan Harris Jr. follow. Those six players form a nucleus of talent that could propel the blueblood program back to New Orleans, the location of another recent KU’s Final Four last appearance in 2012.
Auburn Ready to Rebound?
The Tigers (27-5, 15-2 SEC) sat atop college basketball for three straight weeks in late January and early February. But Bruce Peal’s group has limped down the stretch thanks to an inability to take care of the ball and poor shooting from distance.
Auburn will go as far as their heads will let them go. Auburn can beat anyone in the field. Auburn needs to not have to beat themselves.
— Auburn Einstein 🦚 (@AuburnEinstein) March 13, 2022
This team is led by 6-foot-10 freshman forward Jabari Smith and his 17.1 points per game.. It also features multiple transfers — Walker Kessler (UNC), Wendell Green (Eastern Kentucky) and KD Johnson (Georgia) — who entered the season with chips on their shoulders and have proved they belong on the big stage.
This group started the year 22-1 and 10-0 in the SEC., beating teams like Murray State, LSU, Kentucky and Alabama (twice) along the way. But a team that made just 30% of its 3-point attempts in SEC play could get stumped in the later rounds if things end up in a shootout. The last three national champions all shot at least 39% from 3. And that tourney loss to Texas A&M is not a good look.
Per Barttorvik.com, Big Ten tourney champ Iowa (26-9, 12-8 Big Ten) were the No. 2 team in America, behind Gonzaga, since Feb. 1. During that stretch, Fran McCaffery’s squad registered 82 or more points in nine games and Keegan Murray blossomed into a potential first-team All-American and projected draft lottery pick.
Historic hoop 🙌
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 13, 2022
Unfortunately, recent history shows it’s difficult to trust a Big Ten team to make a lengthy run in the bracket after enduring the Big Ten grind. Still, the Hawkeyes’ blend of experience and multiple scoring options makes them intriguing.
Best Bet to Win Midwest Region
Sure, Kansas isn’t super deep and, yes, the Jayhawks’ half of the bracket does have some interesting teams.
That said, this group should be able to handle them all and move on to NOLA.
The pick: Kansas (+180)
Other March Madness content:
- March Madness Odds Favor Gonzaga at +350 After Selection Sunday
- March Madness Odds for All First Round Games
- Printable 2022 March Madness Bracket – Make Your Picks for the NCAA Tournament
- South Region Odds: Arizona +110 Favorites, Tennessee & Houston Sleepers
- West Regional Odds: Gonzaga Odds-On Favorite to Reach Final Four