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SATURDAY MARCH MADNESS GAMES: PICKING THE SPREAD
By E.P. Bignon
-Syracuse (-4.5, 134.5)-Kansas St- Syracuse survived UNC Ashville without Fab Melo in the lineup. Their depth and a balanced attack (4 players in double digits) carried them into the second round. Kansas State is not a great three-point shooting team and will struggle with the Syracuse zone. I’m not ready to throw the ‘Cuse under the bus quite yet but it will be close, take Kansas State and the 4.5 points and the over as well, 134.5
-Ohio St (-7.5, 136.5)-Gonzaga- Ohio St held Loyola (MD) to 35% shooting for the game and outrebounded them 2 to 1. Gonzaga shot over 50% from the field and from behind the arch, so something’s gotta give. This one is o tough one to call but I like Ohio St to win but not to cover. Gonzaga +7.5 and the under 136.5.
-Marquette (-5,142)-Murray St- Murray St definitely takes a step up in class for this 2nd round match-up. Jae Crowder & Darius Odom-Johnson were spectacular in round 1 as they easily dismissed BYU. Murray St has been “thee” story in college basketball this year but they just don’t have the horses to advance. This should be a relatively fast paced game so take Marquette -5 and the over 142.
-Vanderbilt/Wisconsin (Pick, 120.5) Wisconsin has struggled all season on offense but did put up 73 points against Montana. Vanderbilt is much better than Montana and are still riding high after that SEC Tournament run. John Jenkins put up 27 points against Harvard, look for him to keep it rolling. Vandy is the pick but take the under 120.5
-Indiana (-6, 138)-VCU- Indiana shot 59% from the field & 53% from three in their opening round game against New Mexico St. Cody Zeller had 14 points & 6 rebounds inside, an area that Indiana should excel against a weak VCU inside game. VCU will not repeat last year’s magic ride to the Final Four, take Indiana big -6 and the over 138.
-Kentucky (-11, 140)-Iowa St- Kentucky built a big lead against Western KY in their opening round game and then mailed it in winning by 15. It won’t be that easy against Iowa St. The Cyclones got 15 and 13 from Royce White and 20 points from Chris Allen, to have any chance at the upset these two will need to put up similar numbers. This one will be closer than most might think but too much talent on the Kentucky bench. Take the 11 points & Iowa St and this will go over the 140.
-Baylor (-7.5 ,133)-Colorado- Baylor’s first round win over South Dakota St was hardly impressive. Perry Jones who seems to disappear at times during games will need to step it up in their round 2 match-up with Colorado. The Buffs built a 20 point lead against UNLV & held on for a 4 point win. The Bears are too athletic for Colorado, Baylor in a blow out and take the over 133.
-Louisville (-1 ,128)-New Mexico- The Louisville Cardinals held off a pesky Davidson team that wouldn’t go away. Gorgui Dieng watched most of this game from the bench in foul trouble, Peyton Siva fouled out. If Louisville is going to advance this duo has to be on the floor for most of the game. A tough one to call, Louisville’s defense will be the difference. Take Louisville and the over 128.
Games they both pick
Kansas State +4.5 Kansas State +4.5
Gonzaga +7.5 Gonzaga +7.5
Marquette -5 Marquette -5
Vandy (pick) Vandy (pick)
Virginia Commonwealth + 6 Indiana -6
Iowa State +11 Iowa St. +11
Colorado +7.5 Baylor -7.5
Louisville -1 Louisville -1
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