3:00 PM EST
Minnesota/Middle Tennessee State OVER 136 (2u)
Hard to pick a side in this game even though I do like Middle Tennessee State to get it done. I had this Minnesota team pegged for a big run before the injury to Springs though so hard to fade them. One thing is for sure though, this game will be very high scoring and I see this game finishing in the high 140’s to mid 150’s. Middle Tennessee is a bonesaw and they could put up close to 80 themselves. Take the over.
6:50 PM EST
Maryland -2 over Xavier (2u)
Xavier just was never the same team since Summers went down and these guys know they aren’t making a run in the tournament without him. Melo Trimble is the best player on the court in this game and often times that is enough to advance out of the first round. Xavier has really struggled to defend the 3 ball and if Maryland’s guards find their stroke they will definitely win this game. Take Maryland.
7:20 PM EST
Saint Mary’s -4 over VCU (2u)
VCU is getting a lot of hype for their tournament experience but this Saint Mary’s team is really flying under the radar this year. They have been overshadowed by Gonzaga but they are a very, very talented team. If they can get hot from beyond the arc they can beat any team in this tournament. Saint Mary’s also has one of the best defenses in the nation and have only given up over 58 points twice in their last 10 games, both times against Gonzaga. VCU is overrated in my opinion and had to go into OT to beat a very average Richmond team. Saint Mary’s should win this game by close to double digits. Take Saint Mary’s.
7:25 PM EST
Purdue -9 over Vermont (3u)
Vermont is on a monster winning streak, but Purdue would be too if they played in that conference. Purdue was just about the worst draw this red hot Vermont team could have pulled to open the tournament. The Catamounts certainly won’t lack confidence given their long win streak, but this is a matchup nightmare for them. Vermont is a good shooting team, but are not used to playing against the size Purdue brings to the table. Purdue is going to kill them inside and I can’t see Caleb Swanigan or Isaac Haas being stopped. These guys are just too big, too strong and too talented. Purdue is a legit final four team and has a quality defense and should run this team out of the gym. This game should be a rout. Take Purdue.
9:20 PM EST
Florida State -12.5 over Florida Gulf Coast (2u)
The notion that Florida Gulf Coast is a popular upset pick is an absolute joke. FGCU is a nice story and had a nice comeback win to get into the tournament but this team has played no one. They had the 243rd hardest strength of schedule so their “impressive record” is heavily inflated. FGCU played one neutral site game all year versus Florida and got destroyed 80-59. Florida State has two first-round NBA Draft Picks on their roster, an experienced point-guard, strong role players and size to compete with most NBA rosters. This should be an absolute slaughter. Take Florida State.
9:55 PM EST
Nevada +6.5 over Iowa State (2u)
Iowa State has certainly looked impressive to finish the season and is one of the most experienced team in the tournament, but they are a perennial under achiever in the Big Dance. Nevada is a scoring machine with 4 players averaging over 14 points a game and they can definitely keep pace offensively with this Iowa State team. They have the big edge inside with their Bigs and I like Nevada to win this game outright so we will gladly take the free 6.5 points in case this comes down to the wire in Madness fashion. Take Nevada.