Sweet 16 Betting Picks
This year’s March Madness has definitely lived up to its name so far. While North Carolina, Kansas, Gonzaga and Arizona are still around, we’ve already lost a 1-seed (Villanova) and a couple of 2-seeds (Louisville and Duke). We’ll check out each of the Sweet 16 games coming up this weekend and give you some suggestions for your college basketball betting picks.
Sweet 16 Betting Picks
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 20, 2017
East Region: #8 Wisconsin vs #4 Florida
Perhaps the most shocking number from Florida’s win over Virginia? The fact that the Cavaliers only scored 39 points for the game. Virginia has struggled all year long to find offense, but the Gators simply shut that offense down. Wisconsin has to be the scarier team here, though, as they found ways to get stops against a Villanova offense that had rolled strong all year long and kept knocking down clutch shots. I like the Badgers in this one.
East Region: #3 Baylor vs #7 South Carolina
South Carolina put up 93 points on Marquette and 88 against Duke. They face a Baylor team that couldn’t shake New Mexico State until well into the second half and almost went from a huge first-half lead to a shocking loss against USC. Baylor can score with the best of them, but they don’t play much defense at all. The Gamecocks are brimming with confidence after taking down the Blue Devils and I like them to roll again over the Bears.
West Region: #1 Gonzaga vs #4 West Virginia
I’m kind of surprised that “Press Virginia” was able to outswarm Notre Dame, but then won by a dozen points. They take on a Gonzaga team that struggled to put away 8-seed Northwestern in the second round. Can Gonzaga’s guards make their way through Bob Huggins’ fullcourt press and expose the Mountaineers? Or will West Virginia take down another victim with their monster conditioning and their high-octane game? Gonzaga’s inability to get stops against Northwestern makes me worry that West Virginia will just be too fast — give me the Mountaineers.
West Region: #11 Xavier vs #2 Arizona
How does Xavier keep winning? They control the boards. Arizona does a pretty good job of that themselves, though — and they do a better job of defending that inside-out game that Xavier likes to play. Lauri Markkanen has been a force for the Wildcats, both inside with his post play and outside with his jump shooting — more than one observer has compared him to a young Dirk Nowitzki. I see the Wildcats bringing Xavier’s Cinderella story to a close.
South Region: #1 North Carolina vs #4 Butler
The Tar Heels continue to play consistent, steady basketball. Yes, they fell to Duke in the ACC tournament final, but Duke is already out, while the Tar Heels used that commitment to defense and timely outside shooting to hold off an Arkansas team that had been peaking at just the right time. I see them beating a Butler team that is a solid squad but does not have the size inside to control the game.
South Region: #2 Kentucky vs #3 UCLA
Kentucky almost saw their tournament dreams die at the hands of a plucky 10-seed in Wichita State, who mounted a furious comeback to turn a big deficit into a one-possession game at the end. The problem for Kentucky? They just don’t play defense in the clutch. They have a terrific offense, but if they go cold again, I don’t see UCLA letting them up off the mat. Give me the Bruins in this one.
Midwest Region: #1 Kansas vs #4 Purdue
Caleb Swanigan has shown us how important big men are in tournament play, as he controlled the paint in the Boilermakers’ 80-76 win over Iowa State. Kansas has both the size inside to play with Purdue, and the Jayhawks’ guards are a lot more athletic. I see Kansas taking down the Boilermakers in this one.
Midwest Region: #3 Oregon vs #7 Michigan
How about those Wolverines? They just keep winning clutch game after clutch game. The Oregon Ducks almost lost to 11-seed Rhode Island in the round of 32, holding on for a three-point win. If the Ducks can’t keep URI off the scoreboard, how will they handle a Michigan team that steamrolled their way to a Big Ten tournament title and already took down 2-seed Louisville? Give me the Wolverines.