March Madness 2017 First Round Betting Preview

Posted by Peter Boysen on March 14, 2017 in

The first games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament take place tonight, as those eight teams that have to win a play-in to join the field of 64 square off in Dayton. Let’s take a closer look at some things for you to consider as you fill out those brackets. The first round is where a lot of brackets fall apart, so take a look at some of our March Madness betting research and ideas before you lock in your selections.

March Madness 2017 First Round Betting Preview

Can Villanova repeat?

The fact that the Connecticut women have won four straight titles and the fact that LeBron James has been in the NBA Finals for seven straight years might make you think that Villanova can skate to another title too. Well, repeating just doesn’t happen that often in March Madness. Florida was the last to do it (2006-2007), but before that we have to go back to 1991-1992 (Duke). Villanova no longer has Daniel Ochefu to dominate the interior — but there really isn’t an overwhelming big man in this field.

Can Florida escape the first round?

The Gators face an East Tennessee State team that shows up with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, an Indiana transfer — and Florida lost John Egbunu to a blown ACL. If ETSU can exploit that mismatch inside, and if you remember that Florida is seeded higher than they should be thanks to that slide they had in their SEC schedule, the Buccaneers are a tempting upset pick.

Can Princeton win without the “Princeton offense”?

It’s been a long time since Pete Carril wore his sweaters and polo shirts to the NCAA tournament and led Princeton to a first-round upset just about every year, thanks to that offense that was based on back-door cuts that drained the clock and exasperated his up-tempo opponents. However, the Tigers still grind it out, and they know how to hold onto the ball. However, they play an athletic Notre Dame team that will know how to spread out their defense and pick them apart.

Can Michigan keep winning?

The Wolverines just rolled to a Big Ten title that no one saw coming. In the first round, they take on an Oklahoma State team that is likely to turn the game into a track meet. The Cowboys play a fast-based game, while the Wolverines like to keep things plodding. This will turn into a question of which team can impose their own rhythm on the contest. If point guard Jawun Evans can keep the tempo going, Michigan’s strengths on defense will likely be negated, and the Cowboys will go home. But if Michigan can keep things measured, then you’ll see them playing Louisville in the second round. I’m not betting against Michigan against a 10-seed Oklahoma State team that opened their Big 12 slate 0-6. Are you?