The second day of the Round of 32 is set to go as March Madness continues and Joe, Ninja and Iain hit the studio to break down their favorite picks.
In the East Region, it’s No. 8 LSU against the top-seeded Michigan Wolverines, and this is where Joe is looking for his first bet. The Wolverines haven’t been the same since Isaiah Livers went down in the Big Ten Tournament and should have their hands full with a Tigers squad that won four of its last five coming into March Madness. The lone loss for LSU was in the SEC championship against Alabama, while Michigan stumbled down the stretch by dropping three of its last five games. We already saw a No. 1 seed fall to an 8 seed with Loyola Chicago ousting Illinois; will we see another?
In one of the opening-round stunners, the Abilene Christian Wildcats beat the Texas Longhorns. Joe Pleasant drained two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to put the Wildcats up 53-52 and just like that, a popular pick to win the region was out. Now Abilene Christian faces UCLA, which pulled off an upset in its opening match as well. The Bruins topped BYU 73-62 to advance to the Round of 32 after defeating Michigan State in a play-in game just to make the tourney. Joe is looking at the line for his bet on this game.
Gonzaga is the overall No. 1 seed for the entire tournament and with good reason. The Bulldogs have dominated their opponents all season and next up for them is the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma squeaked past Mizzou in the opening round and should have its hands full against a Zags team that led the nation in two-point field-goal percentage, converting at a rate of 63.9 percent. It’s a big spread once again for Gonzaga so you’ll want to hear Iain’s reasoning for his bet on this game.
In the West Region, No. 6 USC takes on No. 3 Kansas. The Pac-12 has had a great start to the tournament thus far and USC will look to keep the good name of the conference going. It won’t be an easy task against a Bill Self-coached basketball squad. A key number to keep an eye on for USC is 62 points. The Trojans are 0-5 when they don’t reach that number, and 23-2 when they get to at least 62 points. Iain is looking at the spread as the Trojans and Jayhawks vie for a spot in the Sweet 16.
After pulling off an opening-round upset over No. 7 UConn, the 10th-seeded Maryland Terrapins will face No. 2 seed Alabama. The Crimson Tide took care of Rick Pitino and Iona in the opening round with a 68-55 win. It was an off-night for ’Bama from beyond the arc, though. The Tide only hit five three-pointers while shooting 31 percent from deep. During the regular season, they were fourth in the NCAA, averaging 10.7 threes made per game. They also shot 35 percent from downtown. Ninja is looking at the spread in this game for his bet.
Next up for Ninja, he’s got a bet on the total as the Colorado Buffaloes face the Florida State Seminoles. This game features the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the East Region, so buckle up. The Seminoles led the ACC by averaging 78.3 points per game, as M.J. Walker and RaiQuan Gray led the way offensively. For the Buffaloes, Mackinley Wright IV is the key. He averaged 15.4 points per game in the regular season to go along with 5.8 assists. Well, in the opening game he dished out 13 assists in their blowout win over Georgetown. Since the Buffaloes cruised in their opener, they were able to limit their starters’ minutes and get the bench involved. That could be a slight help with fresh legs.
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