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Vegas's NCAA bracket

The best three seed and the best 10 seed, Stanford and Arizona. (AP Photo).

Number 46 on my list of incorrect "favorite/underdog" usage concerns the NCAA tournament, and the tendency to automatically refer to higher seeds as the favorites. This is a mistake I myself have made, and for that I'm truly sorry. The point is, a favorite, by definition, is only a favorite if Vegas is giving the other team points. And if fifth-seeded Clemson would be giving points to fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in the second round, as the Tigers would, then Clemson is the favorite regardless of the numbers on the bracket.

In fact, last year, if I'm not mistaken, 10th seeded Georgia Tech was favored in its first-round meeting with seventh-seeded UNLV. And even though the Rebels won that particular game, in an upset, it still seems worthwhile to fill out a bracket according to Vegas favorites, just to see what it would look like. In this case, the rankings are provided by my best friends at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, whose weekly poll and official bracket by-the-numbers picks appear after the jump.

First Round

Vegas takes 29 of 32 higher-seeded teams, with the exceptions being 8th-seeded UNLV (going down to Kent State), 7th-seeded Gonzaga (going down to Davidson) and 8th-seeded BYU (going down to Texas A&M). As mentioned previously, the Mountain West has a horrific first-round tourney record in recent years, and Vegas has evidently taken note.

Second Round

Vegas, getting more boring by the round, takes 15 of 16 higher-seeded teams, with the lone exception being 4th-seeded Vanderbilt (going down to Clemson).

Third Round

Four one seeds, three two seeds, and one lonely three seed advance to Vegas's Elite Eight. The three seed is Stanford, which Vegas takes over Texas.

Final Four

Attempting to craft the most boring bracket of all time, Vegas actually has all four one seeds advance to the Final Four. Its championship game is UCLA against Kansas, and its champions are the Kansas Jayhawks, which is why Kansas leads the Top 35 rankings that appear below, with AP rankings in parentheses.

Vegas's seed-by-seed preferences: Kansas (of the 1 seeds), Tennesseee (of the 2 seeds), Louisville (of the 3 seeds), Washington State (4), Clemson (5), Marquette (6), West Virginia (7), Mississippi State (8), Arkansas (9), Arizona (10), Kansas State (11). Those latter schools are all among the most underseeded in the tournament, while the overseeded would include Texas, Xavier, Purdue and Vandy. The East bracket has 3 of the top 8 teams; the Midwest 4 of the top 12. The lowly West has just 2 of the top 14, with 7th-seeded West Virginia judged the third-strongest team in the region, according to Vegas.

1. Kansas (4)
2. North Carolina (1)
3. UCLA (3)
4. Memphis (2)
5. Tennessee (5)
6. Duke (9)
7. Georgetown (8)
8. Louisville (13)
9. Wisconsin (6)
10. Stanford (10)
11. Texas (7)
12. Clemson (22)
13. Washington State (21)
14. Marquette (25)
15. West Virginia (32)
16. Pittsburgh (17)
17t. Connecticut (16)
17t. Southern Cal (27)
19t. Michigan State (18)
19t. Xavier (12)
21t. Notre Dame (15)
21t. Mississippi State (34)
23. Arizona (44+)
24. Gonzaga (24)
25. Indiana (26)
26. Davidson (23)
27. Drake (14)
28. Kansas State (44+)
29. Arkansas (31)
30. Purdue (20)
31. Villanova (44+)
32. Texas A&M (36)
33. Miami Florida (44+)
34. Mississippi (44+)
35. Vanderbilt (19)

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 18, 2008; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Interesting. But does that take into account the idea that Vegas would want teams like Carolina getting points regardless of matchup? Or is it strictly based on what a "raw" line would be?

Posted by: Brinson | March 19, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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