I stuck around to watch the ending of all the games, except UK/WVU because that one got out of hand very early. When Kentucky is up 18-2 only 9 minutes into the first half, it’s time to throw in the towel, Huggins. On to the picks from last night’s and tonight’s game…
Wichita St (-2.0) vs Notre Dame (+2.0) ~ O/U = 137.5
Final Score = Wichita St 70 / Notre Dame 81
I only caught the last 5 minutes of this one, but from what I saw, the Irish could not miss. Apparently this game was a lot closer at the beginning of the 2nd half, but Notre Dame just went into another mode and cruised. I thought the Shockers had a real shot to win this one, but Notre Dame was just too much.
UNC (+6.5) vs Wisconsin (-6.5) ~ O/U = 145
Final Score = UNC 72 / Wisconsin 79
In all honesty, I loved watching the final 10 minutes of this game; one of the best, hardest fought endings I’ve seen this year. The score definitely doesn’t lend itself to just how close this game really was. Wisconsin was grinding out some tough shots, and Marcus Paige splashed two big 3s to keep it within 1. Ultimately, free throws won it at the end for Wisconsin. With the 5 guys on the floor inside 2 minutes, their worst free throw shooter was still above 70%. It was a good run for an underrated UNC team.
WVU (+13.5) vs Kentucky (-13.5) ~ O/U = 136.5
Final Score = WVU 39 / Kentucky 78
I noted yesterday that if WVU got down early, it would pretty much be over. It was. Kentucky got up 18-2 by the 11 minute mark in the first. It’s hard to see just how big Kentucky is until you really see them stand next to someone else. I don’t think any of their starters are less than 6’7”. That’s a serious advantage. Good luck, Notre Dame.
Xavier (+10.5) vs Arizona (-10.5) ~ O/U = 136
Final Score = Xavier 60 / Arizona 68
Xavier had this one, but down the stretch, Arizona went on a 19-7 run and both McConnell and Johnson stepped up big. Arizona exposed Stainbrook’s weaknesses and that went a long way to keeping them in it. Their game against Wisconsin should be another tight one.
ATS: 0-4 ~ O/U: 3-1
UCLA (+8.5) vs Gonzaga (-8.5) ~ O/U = 144.5
Gonzaga is a tough out. They’ve got some length, they can play defense, but I like their offense a lot better. They’ve lost 2 games in the regular season by a combined 6 points. I honestly have not seen UCLA play, and I don’t think they’re going to win this game. So I’m not going to pretend I know anything about them.
Verdict: Gonzaga (-8.5) , Over 144.5
NC State (+2.5) vs Louisville (-2.5) ~ O/U = 129.5
Honestly, I don’t know much about either of these teams. I didn’t have either of them getting this far in the tournament. Both of them can play defense, and I think that’s the kind of matchup we’re going to get tonight. NC State handily held off a very good Villanova team, which shows a lot. I think NC State covers this one.
Verdict: NC State (+2.5) , Under 129.5
Utah (+5.0) vs Duke (-5.0) ~ O/U = 134.5
I’m kicking myself for not having Utah in this game in my bracket. This is a real team with some real defense. However, I think Jahlil Okafor is going to give them fits in the post. Duke is solid on both sides of the ball, and can come back if they get down. After seeing Arizona barely eek one out, I think Duke might be the only team that stands a chance against Kentucky.
Verdict: Duke (-5.0) , Over 134.5
Michigan St (-1.5) vs Oklahoma (+1.5) ~ O/U = 135.5
Another defensive-dominant game is in store for this one. People don’t know much about Oklahoma, but they match up very well with Michigan St. The Spartans get more recognition because of Izzo, but the Sooners only allow 63 points per game. And even though the Spartans are riding a lot of momentum, I like Oklahoma to cover.
Verdict: Oklahoma (+1.5) , Under 135.5