After today’s schedule of games, the Sweet 16 will be fully decided. It is another slate of thrilling action, and we’ll be offer up the same analysis and links to the best available odds for bettors. Yesterday was dominated by favorites, except for one giant upset. No. 1 Gonzaga fell to No. 9 Wichita State in a hard fought game. Gonzaga will likely go down as one of the most overrated No. 1 seeds in NCAA Tournament history, while the Wichita State Stockers are this year’s new Cinderella team heading into the Sweet 16 round of ties.
Our Pick: Iowa
The Iowa State Cyclones are coming off a Round of 64 win against No. 7 Notre Dame, a game in which the Irish had little going. Iowa State dominated the game in all facets, winning 76-58 while shooting nearly 43% from beyond the arc. The Cyclones lead the nation in three points attempted, and three pointers made. They also stepped it up defensively against Notre Dame forcing them into 14 turnovers.
Ohio State was also firmly in control against their first opponent in the tournament, as well. They put up a whopping 95 points in a 95-70 victory against No. 15 Iona. Sam Thompson had a career game for the Buckeyes, notching a double-double, with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams were far superior to their opponents in their Round of 64 matchups, but when looking at Iowa State one has to be impressed. Yes, Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country and are monsters defensively, but this Iowa State team are tough, aggressive and can score in a variety of ways.
The Buckeyes surely will not take this team lightly, but that may not matter. Iowa State is poised to give Ohio State all they can handle. This one should go down to the wire and perhaps end in an upset special for the upstart Cyclones.
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Our Pick: Indiana -11.5
Indiana handled James Madison on Thursday as a #1 seed should handle a #16 seed. The Hoosier dismantled the Dukes 83-63 in a game that was already over by half time. Freshman Yogi Ferrell filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, six assists and eight rebounds.
Temple came out of the gate quick against No. 8 North Carolina State and was up by 16 at halftime. The Owls almost managed to blow this sizable lead but clung on to win the game by single digits by a final score of 76-72.
While we have much respect for the Atlantic 10 based on their success this year, Temple cannot even come close to matching the talent level in Indiana. The Owls have no one who can match up with Cody Zeller who will have free reign in the paint. Temple will have little room for error against a team that produces such a balanced offense attack.
We think the ride ends for Temple tomorrow against a much more skilled Indiana team.
Our Pick: Kansas -6
UNC looked to be cruising against Villanova in their Round of 64 game, but nearly squandered the game after blowing a 20 point lead in the second half. However, the Tar Heels held on late to beat the Wildcats, 78-71. The win gave Roy Williams a historic 700th career coaching victory.
Kansas struggled against No. 16 Western Kentucky in their opening game barely beating WKU 64-57. Jeff Withey led the Jayhawks with 17 points, and Ben McLemore, had a quiet game for his standards. He had just 11 points on 5 shots, but made critical free throws down the stretch to seal the game for Kansas.
North Carolina runs a four guard offense which has made them quicker and more explosive offensively, but will leave them with a massive disadvantage when it comes to rebounding. Kansas will rule the paint in this game with the likes of Whitney and others inside. New Carolina will be forced to score from the perimeter and will not be able to match Kansas’ point total.
Kansas’ hiccup in the first game may have been a blessing in disguise for Jayhawks backers as the number is somewhat low at -6. If KU had blown out WKU, this number would have likely been a lot higher. We love Kansas to take care of UNC and will happily lay the points.
Our Pick: Florida -8.5
Tubby Smith earned his first NCAA Tournament victory in a number of years and his first with the Golden Gophers on Thursday. Minnesota handled UCLA easily winning 83-63 in a game that wasn’t close in the second half. They were powered by guard Andre Hollins who scored 28 points and filled up the stat sheet, adding nine rebounds and five assists.
The Gators also made a statement in their Second Round game. Florida beat up on No. 14 seed Northwestern winning 79-47. The Gators had free reign on offense as three players reached double figures in scoring in the victory. Erik Murphy was dominant in the win, notching 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Florida is extremely strong down low with Murphy and Patrick Young at center. This frontline should be able to combat the more traditional offense attack of Minnesota and stop Trevor Mbakwe from getting to the rim.
The Gators are simply too experienced with a veteran backcourt and a top head coach in Billy Donovan. Tubby Smith and Minnesota had a tough Big Ten schedule, and while we respect their ability – we think this is a one and done year for the Golden Gophers.
Our Pick: Florida Gulf Coast +7.5
Florida Gulf Coast has been the talk of the tournament so far after their defeat of No. 2 Georgetown. FGCU were up by 19 at one point against the heavily favored Hoyas – they ultimately won the game 78-68.
San Diego State looked a bit flat in their first tournament game against Oklahoma but still pulled off the win 70-55. The Aztecs took the Cowboys to task in the second half and broke an early tie with an 8-0 run and never looked back.
Tipped as the nation’s Cinderella story, Florida Gulf Coast was downright dominant against Georgetown. While some might chalk it up to a fluke, anyone who watched that game knows that these guys can play. They outhustled and dropped 54 points in one half against one of the country’s best defensive teams in the Hoyas.
Can FGCU get to the Sweet 16? Sure. We think it is almost likely at this point. This team can spread the floor like no other and make crisp passes to big men underneath when the defense overplays their perimeter shooters. San Diego State looks terribly vulnerable in this spot.
We love FCGU in this game and hope to watch them book their tickets to the Sweet 16.
Our Pick: Duke -5.5
Creighton pulled out a tough victory against Cincinnati in their Round of 64 game on Friday. The Bluejays road Doug McDermott to a 67-63 victory over the Bearcats. The junior forward scored 28 points to lead all scorers and had 11 rebounds in the victory.
Duke had a little trouble with No. 15 Albany in their opening game but pulled away late on the back of Seth Curry. The guard scored 26 points in the 73-61 win and was a key scorer in the final minutes to secure a Blue Devil victory.
Creighton, the Missouri Valley Champs are a talented squad, but they are just too overmatched by the Blue Devils. Getting taken to the brink by a Cincinnati team that has played quite poor as of late does not give us much confidence in the Bluejays. Duke can match the outside scoring of Doug McDermott with their numerous offensive weapons. Duke is not a defense first squad but disrupting Creighton even a little bit will allow to Duke to create turnovers and exert their will on the offense end.
We like the Blue Devils to handle this business and move on to the Sweet 16.
Good luck! Check back next week for our Sweet 16 picks and analysis at Sports Betting Online and remember if you want to bet these games or any other US sport, SBO recommends www.bovada.lv as the best site for basketball, football and baseball betting.
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