NCAAB March Madness South Region Sweet 16 Betting Preview

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NCAAB March Madness South Region Sweet 16 Betting Preview

March Madness 2024 has seen its field go from 64, to 32, and now to 16 as we enter the regional semifinals stage of the tournament. In Dallas, Texas, the South region sees three of the top four seeds battling out with the lowest remaining seed in the entire tournament, No. 11 NC State. Despite that, the Wolfpack boast only the third-longest moneyline odds to win in the Sweet Sixteen, which goes to show how tight it is in the South. NC State will look to continue their Cinderella run against Marquette while top dog Houston attempts to keep Duke in check when the South regional semifinals take place on Friday, March 29.


  • No. 2 Marquette will end 2024’s final Cinderella story in the Sweet 16
  • No. 1 Houston will show Duke what a real team looks like
  • Tyler Kolek will be the fulcrum of the Golden Eagles’ offense in their win
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NCAAB March Madness Sweet 16 South Regional Semifinals - March 29

All odds provided by Sports Interaction.


No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 11 North Carolina State - 7:09PM

Marquette-294-6.5 (-110)O151.5 (-110)
NC State+230+6.5 (-110)U151.5 (-110)

The impact of the return of Marquette guard Tyler Kolek after about a month on the shelf cannot be overstated, as the senior has put up back-to-back double-doubles in the first two games of the Golden Eagles’ tournament run. 

NC State, on the other hand, are the last remaining Cinderella story in what has been a very favorite-heavy tournament so far. They have leaned on the powerful inside presence of big man D.J. Burns, but the burly forward might be in tough here against the Golden Eagles: Kolek is the type of brainy point guard that will get him into pick-and-roll situations, where Burns struggles to defend in space.

Burns has a ton of power, but he’s a plodder, so if Kolek gets the switch out on him, the Wolfpack are going to be in trouble. Their half-court defense is already a little bit suspect, so when you insert a table-setter like Kolek in the mix, it only exacerbates their weaknesses.

Another reason we like Marquette here is that they are built to combat the press with Kolek at the controls. The Wolfpack press more than nearly any school in the country, and Kolek has the type of Steve Nash vision to break those presses exasperatingly easily.

We’ve seen this spread move down from 7.5 to 6.5 as the public hammers the final double-digit seed to cover, but that has actually turned Marquette into a much better value bet here in the point spread betting market.

Best Bet: Marquette to cover -6.5 point spread (-110)

Best Marquette vs. NC State Player Props

Marquette was a little bit iffy coming into the tournament because no one was sure how their best player, Tyler Kolek, would impact the team coming back from an extended injury absence. It turns out, there was no need to worry, because Kolek picked up right where he left off prior to the injury.

The guard hadn’t played in about a month leading into the opening game of the tournament, but he responded like he never left, shooting 54 percent from the field as he poured in 18 points and 11 dimes. In the next round, against Colorado, Kolek double-doubled again, this time scoring 21 points on 71 percent shooting to go with 11 more assists.

Kolek has been a dominant dimer this season, especially since mid-December: in his last 20 games, he has hit double-digit assists 10 times. He’s also dished out 8+ helpers in 11 of his last 15 games, and NC State are also in the bottom half of the country when it comes to allowing assists to opponents.

Best Bet: Tyler Kolek Over 7.5 Assists (-140)

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 4 Duke - 9:39PM

Houston-189-3.5 (-120)O134.5 (-110)
Duke+155+3.5 (+100)U134.5 (-110)

Both of these teams have a lot of key contributors. While Duke rolls with a shorter six-man rotation in most games, all five of their starters are scoring in double-digits this season. Houston, for their part, have a much deeper rotation, with nine guys averaging 15+ minutes, which helped them a lot last week.

Houston was about as close as they could get to choking away what seems like a great chance for a run at the Final Four in the second round last weekend, allowing Texas A&M to erase multiple double-digit leads before the Cougars outlasted the Aggies in overtime.

While giving up those late leads was not encouraging, the fact that they were able to respond to each and every ridiculous A&M run was extremely encouraging. And further, the Cougars were able to withstand the furious charge of the Aggies despite their top three scorers all fouling out in the final minutes of regulation and in overtime.

Every guy that came in knew his job and went about his business with a workmanlike approach. That’s what Houston’s all about: play tough defense, and don’t make mistakes offensively. Do your job, and everything will work out. Everyone in this rotation bought into Kelvin Sampson’s suffocating defensive philosophy, and it has paid dividends for them.

Duke, meanwhile, has beat up on two non-Power Six squads in their first two tournament games. They won convincingly, but does it really matter if it’s not against elite competition? Duke’s last two games in the ACC season did not offer positive signs, as they lost to UNC in a game that decided the regular season conference champion, then lost to NC State in their first game of the conference tournament.

While Houston has been in the trenches earning important experience and confidence playing against tough opposition in close games down the stretch, the Blue Devils have been beating up on the little guys without having to get too serious.

To boot, the Blue Devils have relied on some ridiculous shot-making in their two tournament wins, and if Houston can do anything, it’s end a shooter’s hot streak. Jared McCain is not going to score 30 points on eight threes like he did last game, and that’s pretty much what Duke would need to win this one.

Best Bet: Houston to cover -3.5 point spread (-120)

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Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of their lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.