Straight Up Plays: 11-5
Against The Spread: 6-10
Straight Up Plays: 23-9
Against The Spread Plays: 13-18-1
Now onto Fridays games…..
(5) VCU Rams vs (12) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Tough matchup for SFA, but it is a trendy upset pick within at-least my Texas ties. I guess people have forgotten the VCU I know, which is tenacious defense, fast breaks, and constant pressure on the ball (I saw it first hand when they took out Kansas to go to the Final Four 2 years ago). SFA is on an impressive 27 game winning streak, but if you look at those wins, well, they should win those games. The Southland is one of the weaker conferences in the NCAA (Until ACU becomes a power……..kidding) but VCU with one of the top defenses in the game, should be able to handle them.
Straight Up- VCU
Against The Spread- VCU -6.5
(4) UCLA Bruins vs (13) Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
UCLA is off an impressive Pac-12 tournament championship, which got them this high #4 seed in a favorable bracket for them. UCLA is very efficient on offense, and plays enough defense that they are actually a dark horse in the tournament as a whole. Don’t have many impressive wins, besides a win against Arizona (who wasn’t really playing for much), and Tulsa hasn’t beaten a tournament team all year. UCLA rolls.
Straight Up- UCLA
Against The Spread- UCLA -8.5
(7) New Mexico Lobos vs (10) Stanford Cardinal
Tough matchup for a Stanford team that is pretty highly seeded in my opinion. New Mexico drew a tough Harvard team last year (and obviously this year as well), but match up well against Stanford. They are coming off a tough win vs San Diego State, and should be ready to lock down defensively. They are pretty middle of the road as far as tournament teams in offense and defense, and don’t cause many turnovers, but play some of the best defense in the country. Stanford is very big, and if they want a chance to win they need to take advantage of that.
Straight Up- New Mexico
Against The Spread- New Mexico -3
(2) Kansas Jayhawks vs (15) Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Don’t rule out the Embiid-less Jayhawks just yet. Even though Eastern Kentucky does have one of the better shots at taking down a 15 seed than anyone else, I do not see that happening. Kansas still has one of the best players in the country with Andrew Wiggins, and is playing with some motivation after getting knocked out of the Big 12 Tournament earlier than expected. Eastern Kentucky is going to need a lot of help (even though they take some of the best shots in the country), but I think Kansas rolls.
Straight Up- Kansas
Against The Spread- Eastern Kentucky +14
(1) Virginia Cavaliers vs (16) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Not much to say in this game. Virginia too deep and solid of a team to give Coastal Carolina a chance. They are one of the worst offensive teams in the country, and given Virginia is one of the best defensive teams in the country, this could be a blood bath.
Straight Up- Virginia
Against The Spread- Virginia -21.5
(8) Memphis Tigers vs (9) George Washington Colonials
Could be one of the better games of the day. Memphis is coming off a bad loss against Connecticut in the conference tournament, but have some good wins throughout the season. They will be one of the most athletic teams in the tournament, but that doesn’t always lead to victories. George Washington is a fairly under the radar team (I’m guessing most people are just picking Memphis off of the name recognition) but they have a solid team. This is a tough game to call, and could go either way.
Straight Up- Memphis
Against The Spread- George Washington +3
(6) North Carolina Tarheels vs (11) Providence Friars
Tough tough matchup for Providence, coming off an impressive run through the Big East tournament. They have some really impressive wins vs tournament teams, so aren’t a shoe in to lose this game. North Carolina started off the season very inconsistent, but got on a hot streak when Mcadoo starting figuring out how to stay out of foul trouble. Back to back losses vs Duke and Pitt should motivate them to come ready to play.
Straight Up- North Carolina
Against The Spread- North Carolina -4
(3) Iowa State Cyclones vs (14) N.C. Central Eagles
If Iowa State thinks they can just sleep walk through this game, then they may be the 3 seed that loses in the first round. N.C. Central is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and that is a big part of their offense. They constantly make teams shoot bad shots, turnover the ball, and play sloppy. Iowa State on the other hand, scores at will, and turned it on during the Big 12 tournament. I could see Iowa State either losing this game, or making it to the Elite 8, that is how dangerous this team is. They are senior led by Kane and Ejim, who may single handedly carry the Cyclones to a first round win.
Straight Up- Iowa State
Against The Spread- Iowa State -8
(1) Arizona Wildcats vs (16) Weber State Wildcats
Again, not much to say on this game. Arizona should dominate the Wildcats, and win pretty easily. Weber State is a pretty decent shooting team, but Arizona has the best defense in the nation, so that will cancel anything Weber State tries to do.
Straight Up- Arizona
Against The Spread- Arizona -19.5
(8) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs (9) Oklahoma State Cowboys
A potential trap game in my eyes for Oklahoma State. Everyone is expecting them to move on to challenge Arizona, and I am sure Gonzaga has heard all about it. I do like the Cowboys to advance, but this game could be one of the better games of the tournament. Marcus Smart is out to prove a point and show everyone that he is NBA ready, and Le’Bryan Nash is one of the more underrated players in the nation. Gonzaga will have to play as good of defense as they have played all year, and shoot lights out from the field in order to have a chance.
Straight Up- Oklahoma State
Against The Spread- Oklahoma State -3
(6) Baylor Bears vs (11) Nebraska Cornhuskers
Tough game to decide on, keep going back and forth. Baylor is playing some of their best basketball right now, while Nebraska has been one of the more underrated teams all season. How in the world did Baylor get a 6 seed by the way? This matchup to me is all about coaching and who I would rather have leading my team, and that goes to Tim Miles of Nebraska. Scott Drew can recruit with the best of them, but I will pass on him advancing with an under-performing team.
Straight Up- Nebraska
Against The Spread- Nebraska +3
(3) Creighton Bluejays vs (14) Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Tough draw here for the Sun Belt champions. Creighton is the most efficient offensive teams in the country, and is eager to get back on the court of their loss to Providence. Doug McDermott should have his way and put up his other worldy numbers as the BlueJays roll on to the round of 32.
Straight Up- Creighton
Against The Spread- Creighton -14
(1) Wichita State Shockers vs (16) Cal Poly Mustangs
“Wichita State is awful.” “How is Wichita State a 1 seed?” They don’t play anyone.” Well not only have I heard these comments all week, but I can guarantee you they have as well. They should be able to handle Cal Poly easily, and will be looking forward to playing either Kentucky or Kansas State (in which I will guarantee you I will be picking Wichita State). So go ahead and keep betting against them (…until they play Louisville).
Straight Up- Wichita State
Against The Spread- Wichita State -16
(8) Kentucky Wildcats vs (9) Kansas State Wildcats
Battle of the Wildcats, or battle of the under-performing team. I think Kentucky deserved a little bit higher seed, but it didn’t help they played an SEC schedule and had a couple bad losses. Kansas State has been extremely inconsistent all year, and I expect to see that same team in the tournament. The Kentucky freshman may not know how to play in the NCAA tournament, but I believe they get it done, for at least one game.
Straight Up- Kentucky
Against The Spread- Kansas State +6.5
(6) UMass Minutemen vs (11) Tennessee Volunteers
Unfortunately for the people that haven’t followed college basketball all season long, you would probably pick UMass just based off of the much higher seed, but Tennessee is actually a big favorite and should win. They have been extremely under-performing all year, but they can dominate teams at times. One of the best rebounding teams in the country, they wear down teams in the paint, and play suffocating defense. Look for them to be licking their chops at this UMass team, who must have paid someone a lot of money to get a 6 seed…….
Straight Up- Tennessee
Against The Spread- Tennessee -4
(3) Duke Blue Devils vs (14) Mercer Bears
Not a lot to say about this game, but Mercer is actually a solid team. They are extremely efficient on offense, and have a respectable defense as well. They would have been a live upset pick if they were able to snag a 13-12 seed, but this is an extremely tough matchup verse a Duke team who is on a mission (and who has arguable the best player in the nation in Jabari Parker).
Straight Up- Duke
Against The Spread- Mercer +13
Hope everyone’s brackets have been off to a good start and you haven’t lost anyone too big yet!