Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 3/28/14
The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers are in exclusive company heading into Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup with No. 4 Michigan State. And that’s not a good thing. The Cavaliers, the top seed in the East Regional, opened as 2-point underdogs against the Spartans, becoming just the second No. 1 seed to be tagged as a Sweet 16 underdog since 1992. According to Covers Expert Marc Lawrence and his extensive betting database, Virginia joins the 2005 Washington Huskies, who were 1.5-point underdogs against No. 4 Louisville in the Sweet 16 despite being the top seed in the regional. Washington lost that game 93-79. Since the 2007 tournament, there have been seven No.1 teams set as an underdog, with those top seeds going 3-4 SU and ATS in those matchups. However, all of those games were against either a fellow No. 1 seed or a No. 2 seed. Virginia has looked strong in its first two contests of the tournament, taking one-sided wins over Coastal Carolina and Memphis (1-1 ATS). The Cavaliers, who are listed at +1,000 to win the national title, are up against a Michigan State squad (+350) that is finally healthy after a season battling injuries. However, the Spartans nearly got stunned by Harvard in the Round of 32 Saturday night. According to Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, seeding has very little to do with the oddsmaking process at this point in the tournament – especially when dealing with the Top 4 seeds. “There’s no real difference between a No. 1 and a No. 4 seed,” Korner tells Covers. “In that top four of the bracket, there isn’t much separating these teams. They both play the lower competition on opposite ends of the bracket. Everyone makes a big deal out of the seeding but there’s no difference. A No. 4 is just as good as a No. 1 seed.”
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