David vs. Goliath - #16 vs. #1
The trend continued yesterday with no 16 seed ever beating a top-seed, but will that change in the two games tonight?
No. 16 Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions (17-15) vs. No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (29-5)
Bovada has Duke as the huge 23-point favorites in this game with a total of 126.5.
In a first round match in the South Region the 16th seed Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions take on the top-seed Duke Blue Devils. The Golden Lions got past their first test of beating Winthrop in the play-in game, but facing Duke may be just a tad harder, to say the least.
This season Duke is 18-13-2 ATS and Arkansas Pine Bluff is 2-3 ATS.
Arkansas Pine Bluff lost their first 11 games of the season, but won the SWAC tourney and then the play-in game to make it to their first Big Dance ever. They are led by the backcourt G duo of Terrance Calvin (10.3 ppg) and Savalance Townsend (10 ppg). These guys have to shoot lights out and play solid D on the solid backcourt of Duke to have any chance in this game.
Golden Lions’ F/C Lebaron Weathers (9.8 ppg 6.8 rpg) has to play good D and keep Duke F Kyle Singler (17.6 ppg 6.9 rpg) from scoring easy buckets in the paint and dominating the boards.
Duke has a much more athletic team that has two guards averaging over 17 ppg, so if the Golden Lions do not slow the pace and keep the guards from scoring this game will be an expected blowout.
Duke may not take Arkansas Pine Bluff for granted, as they may be on a mission since the Blue Devils have not been to the Final 4 since 2004, which is their longest drought in over 20 years.
No. 16 Vermont Catamounts (25-9) vs. No. 1 Syracuse Orange (28-4)
Bovada has Syracuse favored in this game by 15.5 points with a total of 143.
In the first round match up in the West Region in the top-seed Syracuse Orange take on the 16th seed Vermont Catamounts. This is not the best match up for the Orange, as they lost to 13th seed Vermont in the 2005 NCAA tournament after winning the Big East tourney.
Vermont made it to the Big Dance after winning the American East Conference tourney even though they did not win the regular season conference title.
The Catamounts won 11 of their last 12 games including their last four while the Orange lost their last two games of the season including losing in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
Vermont has two guards and a forward averaging in double figures led by F Marqus Blakely (17.4 ppg).
Syracuse has a much better frontcourt with three forwards averaging in double figures led by Wes Johnson (16 ppg). However, the Orange will be without their 4th leading scorer and rebounder, as F Arinze Onuaku is out with an injury.
Since the Orange have the major advantage down low Vermont will have to shoot well from the outside and F Blakely (9.4 rpg) and G Evan Fjeld (6.1 rpg) will have to keep Syracuse from killing them on the boards.
Vermont has to slow down the pace of the game and play good all around defense against a Syracuse team that is averaging 81.5 ppg this season.