Odds format
United States

March Madness: The Biggest Winners and Losers from the First Two Rounds

College basketball expert Mike Spector reveals his biggest winners and losers from the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
| 7 min read
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Copy Link

March Madness: The Biggest Winners and Losers from the First Two Rounds

Sixteen teams’ hopes for a national championship are alive, as the NCAA Tournament action resumes once again on Thursday night with the Sweet 16 round. And while all 16 teams are “winners” to this point, some are bigger winners than others, given the gravity of their victories or how well the bracket unfolded around them.

Conversely, not all upsets are created equal, and a handful of the 36 teams that have lost so far are stewing more over their missed opportunities.

Below are the biggest winners and losers from the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Click Here for Complete Sweet 16 Odds

Error fetching data.

Biggest Winners of the First Two Rounds of March Madness

Shaheen Holloway and the Saint Peter’s Peacocks

When you are the tenth team in the history of the NCAA Tournament to accomplish something and have the chance to become the first team to achieve something else, you earn the resounding title of the tournament’s biggest winner.

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks became the tenth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed and now can become the first-ever No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight. Two No. 15 seeds have made the Sweet 16 (2013 Florida Gulf Coast, 2021 Oral Roberts) since 1985, but each lost its Sweet 16 matchup.

Regardless of Saint Peter’s result in the Sweet 16, they have made New Jersey history, as they are the first school from the state to win its first two NCAA Tournament games since the Seton Hall Pirates did it in 2000, who were led by current Saint Peter’s head coach, Shaheen Holloway. The Peacocks are also huge winners from a financial standpoint as they stand to collect $100M in incentives and endorsements from this tournament run and that their small Jesuit college in Jersey City, NJ, is now on the map. However, that success may ultimately come at a price, as Holloway will be a coveted head coaching candidate and may even bolt for his alma mater since Kevin Willard pursues the Maryland head coaching position.

Purdue Boilermakers

Saint Peter’s surprise Sweet 16 appearance is Purdue’s gain, as they don’t have to face Kentucky or a 31-win Murray State team. As a result, the Boilermakers are now the overwhelming favorites to win the East Region, as many sportsbooks have them at -125 or better to reach the Final Four. Considering Purdue has made just two Final Four appearances in school history, this is a big deal, and they have to like their chances in the next two rounds.

Bet $5 on the MONEYLINE of any March Madness game and win $200 with this amazing DraftKings promo! Simply click here or click 'claim offer' below

Error fetching data.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks were widely regarded as having the easiest path to the Final Four of any No. 1 seed. However, that path got much easier given the chaos that ensued in the bottom of the Midwest Region. If Kansas gets by a Providence team that has been living on the edge all season in close games, the Jayhawks would have to beat either No. 11 Iowa State (already beat them twice in the regular season) or No. 10 Miami to advance to the Final Four.

Miami Hurricanes

While Miami still has its work cut out for itself to reach the first Final Four in school history, the bracket broke nicely for them in the Sweet 16. Instead of facing a Wisconsin team that won a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship, the Hurricanes face an Iowa State team picked to finish last in the Big 12 preseason media poll. Not only did the bracket break right for them, but their play on the court has been impressive as well, and arguably no team left in the field has a trio of guards as talented as Charlie Moore, Isaiah Wong, and Kameron McGusty.

If you're in need of the best sportsbook promos available, you've come to the right place

Error fetching data.

Biggest Losers of the First Two Rounds of March Madness


If Saint Peter’s is our biggest winner thus far, the Wildcats have to be our biggest losers. Kentucky has to live with the dubious distinction of being one of just ten No. 2 seeds to ever lose to a No. 15 seed. In addition, John Calipari is at a crossroads for how he wants to form his teams in the future. Calipari eschewed much of the one-and-done mentality he was famous for over the last decade to form one of his oldest teams thanks to the transfer portal additions of Oscar Tshiebwe, Kellan Grady, and Sahvir Wheeler. Will Calipari now abandon the transfer portal and return to the one-and-done recruiting approach? He gets paid a lot of money to figure out the right formula.


Wisconsin did not have the same national championship aspirations as Kentucky, but their Round of 32 exit is just as disappointing given how bare the cupboard appears for next year. The Badgers lose Big Ten Player of the Year Johnny Davis and backcourt mate Brad Davison. That is a lot of production to replace, and it may force the Badgers to the bottom half of the Big Ten next season.

Bet $5 On ANY Game During March Madness and Win $150 With This FanDuel Promo Code


Many clamored for Tennessee to be a No. 1 seed after its litany of big regular-season wins and impressive run through the SEC Tournament. However, Rick Barnes’ teams are now 2-12-1 ATS in their last 15 NCAA Tournament games. In addition, since an Elite Eight appearance in 2008, Barnes’ teams have made it past the first weekend once in ten trips. That dubious March record will haunt the Volunteers all next season, no matter how successful they are.

The Entire West Region

Our only group of teams to make the “losers” section despite still being alive in the NCAA Tournament are all the top four seeds from the West Region. While the other three regions were chock-full-of upsets, the top four seeds in the West advanced, which will make each of their paths to a Final Four that much more difficult. Whoever emerges from this gauntlet of a region may have some battle scars to shake off in the Final Four and beyond.

Click here for the best offers in your state


Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


Almost there!

We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.