Top seeds fighting Elite 8 odds
We were 2-for-2 yesterday, pegging the Villanova upset and UNC cover. Today, we lean toward both No. 1 seeds to win, but only one of them to cover the Elite 8 point spreads.
No. 2 Michigan State Spartans (29-6) vs. No. 1 Louisville Cardinals -6.5 (31-5) O/U 138 2:20 PM ET
The Elite 8 odds list at online sportsbook Bovada has the Cardinals as 6.5-point favorites in this game with a total of 138. We had long ago picked the Spartans to beat Louisville in an upset here but we're not so sure that our March Madness bet should be the same as our bracket game pick.
The Spartans come into this game after beating Kansas 67-62 in the round of 16, while the Cardinals absolutely crushed Arizona 103-64 in their last game.
This game features two teams with contrasting styles, as the Cardinals are an up tempo 3-point gunning team, while the Spartans use a half court offense and beat teams with their strong rebounding.
The Cardinals are led by forwards Terrence Williams (12.7 ppg 8.6 rpg) and Samardo Samuels (12.1 ppg) and G/F Earl Clark (14.1 ppg 8.8 rpg).
Williams and Clark will have to hit the boards hard and not allow the Spartans to control the glass. The Spartans lead the nation in rebounding differential (+9.7 rpg) and they grabbed 40.9% of their missed shots.
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The Spartans have a good all around team with G Kalin Lucas (14.7 ppg), F Raymar Morgan (10.5 ppg 5.4 rpg) and C Goran Suton (9.8 ppg 8 rpg). Morgan broke his nose in the win over Kansas, but he will play in this game. It will be a big blow to the Spartans if the injury hurts his play.
The Spartans have to control the boards, not allow the Cardinals to run and gun getting easy buckets, and keep them from bombing away from 3-point land.
Look for the Cardinals to be way too athletic for the Spartans. We predicted Louisville would destroy Arizona, it won't be that bad but they will run all over them winning this game, covering the spread, and reaching the Final Four.
No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (30-5) vs. No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels -7 (31-4) O/U 164 5:05 PM ET
Sportsbook.com opened the Tar Heels as 7-point favorites in this game with a total of 164. You can see their latest Elite 8 odds by visiting Sportsbook.ag now.
The Sooners come into this game after cruising past Syracuse 84-71 in the round of 16, while the Tar Heels laid a beat down on Gonzaga 98-77 in their last game.
This is a sweet match up featuring last year’s player of the year Tar Heels F Tyler Hansbrough (21.3 ppg 8.1 rpg) and this year's probable player of the year F Blake Griffin (22.7 ppg 14.4 rpg). Griffin will probably be the number one pick in the next NBA Draft.
The Sooners have to play good perimeter defense, as the Tar Heels have a stacked backcourt with guards Ty Lawson (16.2 ppg) and Wayne Ellington (15.8 ppg) and G/F Danny Green (13.2 ppg).
Sooners' G Willie Warren (14.5 ppg) not only has to play solid defense, but he also has to provide some scoring so the Tar Heels do not pack the lane to contain Griffin. Warren’s backcourt mate G Tony Crocker (9.8 ppg) had 28 points in the win over Syracuse and he needs to repeat that performance tonight.
For the Sooners it’s easy, as they simply have to play solid defense against a Tar Heels team that is averaging 90.5 ppg.
Look for the Sooners to play a good game on defense, but the Tar Heels have way too many scoring weapons, as North Carolina will win this game and move into the Final Four. However, the Sooners will make this a close game and the Tar Heels will not cover the spread.
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