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March Madness 2024 Sweet 16 Computer Picks for Thursday: Will Illinois Keep Rolling?

We’re headed to the Sweet 16! Here are our computer picks for Thursday, for you to consider. Now, let’s break down the college basketball odds available at the top betting sites.

Picks Summary


Clemson Tigers vs. Arizona Wildcats

Thursday, March 28, 2024 – 07:09 PM ET at Crypto.com Arena


Our AI Model likes Arizona to win by 7 but the Wildcats are favored by 7.5 points over Clemson. That extra point might be too much, given how Clemson has played recently.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson has had some weird stretches this season. The Tigers knocked off:

  • Alabama
  • Pittsburgh
  • South Carolina
  • TCU

But Clemson also lost to:

  • Miami
  • Georgia Tech
  • Virginia
  • Notre Dame

They also looked awful against Boston College in the ACC Tournament.

Back When It Matters

But Clemson looks completely back. With monster wins over New Mexico, and Baylor as underdogs, the Tigers will now take on Arizona in the Sweet 16.

The Tigers seem to love being the underdog. Clemson won’t dominate the offensive glass and probably won’t see the foul line much. However, when the Tigers do get to the line, they’ll shoot it at nearly 80% from the floor.

On the other hand, Clemson won’t force a high rate of turnovers. They’re just really good at defending inside, keeping teams to 46.9% from inside the arc. That’s big, knowing Arizona adds 53.5% of points scored from inside the arc.

Sweet 16 Computer Pick

Arizona’s bread and butter is scoring inside, but Clemson will be a difficult matchup for Arizona, just like it was for Baylor, around the rim.

I’m not guaranteeing an upset. However, Clemson at +7.5 has value.

NCAAB Pick: Clemson +7.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)


Alabama Crimson Tide vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Thursday, March 28, 2024 – 09:39 PM ET at Crypto.com Arena


Our AI Model is siding with North Carolina in this game as the computer has the Tar Heels winning by at least 5 points.

The Alabama Crimson Tide was close to being upset in the Round of 32 by Grand Canyon. However, the Crimson Tide pulled it out with better defense than usual.

Balancing Act

Still, the Tide isn’t a well-balanced team like the Tar Heels. Instead, Alabama ranks 101 in defensive efficiency, which is not good enough to get into the Elite Eight.

North Carolina ranks 6th defensively at KenPom and 16 offensively. Those are quality numbers that will put a team into the Finals.

Sweet 16 Computer Pick

Alabama has only earned 15.6% of turnovers and has allowed more than 30% of offensive rebounds. Teams are getting to the foul line at a heavy rate against Alabama, and that’s big for UNC, who have shot 75.6% from the foul line this season.

There’s no chance we’re going to back the Crimson Tide here. Take the Tar Heels.

NCAAB Pick: North Carolina -4.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook


Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa State Cyclones

Thursday, March 28, 2024 – 10:09 PM ET at TD Garden


While Iowa State is the favorite against Illinois by 2.5 points, the Fighting Illini have been more crisp over the first two rounds. The AI Model has considered that before Thursday’s game and has the Cyclones only winning by as much as 2 points.

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Iowa State Cyclones haven’t played any tough competition.

Iowa State knocked off a 15 and 7 seed to reach the Sweet 16, while Illinois added wins over a 14 and 11 seed to make it into this round. 

Illinois Fighting Illini

But Illinois really turned some heads after its first two games.

The Fighting Illini scored 85+ points in both matchups and now ranks No. 1 in offense, according to KenPom. The No. 1 offense will now take on the No. 1 defense in Iowa State.

That should be a crazy battle.

Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State has earned 25.5% of turnovers, while Illinois has limited turnovers to 15%. If Illinois can escape the Iowa State pressure and keep turnovers down, the Fighting Illini will win this game.

Illinois has shot 35.3% from deep and 55.3% from inside the arc. While Iowa State is active defensively, the Cyclones are not getting a ridiculous amount of stops in the halfcourt. The Cyclones have allowed more than 29% of offensive rebounds and fouls at a very high rate.

That plays to what Illinois wants to do. The Fighting Illini have gotten to the line at a high rate and shooting 74.4% from there.

Sweet 16 Computer Pick

On the other hand, Iowa State has shot under 70% from the foul line. While Illinois doesn’t defend the three well, Iowa State doesn’t take many threes. The Cyclones are better inside, where Illinois has held opponents to 46.5% from.

Illinois won’t force turnovers like Iowa State. However, the Fighting Illini will have more success on the defensive glass and keep fouls down in this matchup.

Therefore, Illinois is the play here.

NCAAB Pick: Illinois +2.5 (-110) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

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*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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