The NCAA Tournament is down to its final eight teams as the Elite 8 gets set to tip off on Monday night.
This year’s slate features a hodgepodge of programs, as a few lower-seeded teams have snuck through the bracket. However, three No. 1 seeds still made it into the Elite 8 and remain heavy favorites to make the Final Four.
The contests will get underway on Monday as No. 12 Oregon State squares off against No. 2 Houston before No. 1 Baylor takes on No. 3 Arkansas. Tuesday will feature a matchup between No. 1 Michigan and No. 11 UCLA followed by No. 1 Gonzaga against No. 6 USC.
With the match-ups set and the games ready to get under the way, the ESPN computer has made it predictions of which teams will emerge from the Elite 8 and make the Final Four.
In the first Elite 8 game between Houston and Oregon State, the ESPN computer gives the Cougars a 92.0 percent chance to win and advance. The Beavers became just the second No. 12 seed or lower to make the Elite 8 with Saturday’s win over Loyola but will have their work cut out for them against the American Conference champs.
The nightcap on Monday between Baylor and Arkansas projects to be the closest match-up of the Elite 8 with Baylor having a 74.8 percent chance to knock off the Razorbacks. The Bears have won each of their three games by double digits, while Arkansas has struggled to separate from lower seeds.
In Tuesday’s first game, the ESPN computer projects that the No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga has an 80.3 percent chance to take down No. 6 USC. The Trojans have been one of the hottest teams in this year’s tournament, but the Bulldogs hope to keep their perfect season alive.
Finally, for the fourth and final Elite 8 contest between UCLA and Michigan, the ESPN computer favors the Wolverines. In his first season at the helm, Juwan Howard has a 80.2 percent chance to get by the No. 11 seeded Bruins. Michigan was dominant for much of the regular season and now boasts wins over No. 8 LSU and No. 4 Florida State, but UCLA may be the team’s toughest test yet.
None of the four match-ups project to be toss-ups, but if this year’s NCAA Tournament has proven to be unpredictable. All that’s left to do is play the games to determine what teams will advance to the Final Four.
Monday night’s games will air on TBS and Tuesday’s match-ups will air on CBS, with both broadcasts beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET.
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