The NCAA Tournament is in full swing and we are into the second round starting on Saturday. We have a lot of really nice matchups and spreads to take advantage of. Also, I will try to take my feeling on the game clear, as a lot of these lines are relatively fresh and bound to move a lot.
Maryland (+2) vs. LSU:
The Tigers are favored +2 and I am truly skeptical of this team. To be honest, I think that both of these teams are rather lucky to have even gotten out of the first round ad I think saying either one of them should be favored over the other is a stretch. LSU outrebounded Yale by 8, shot 13 more free throws, assisted on 12 baskets compared to Yale’s 8, all while Yale had a stretch where they shot 1-21 from 3 and their best player scored 5 points on 2-16 shooting. If you didn’t know the score of that game and you read those stats, you’d would have taken LSU by 20 in that game. They barely won that game against a team that was physically outclassed and I think Maryland takes advantage of these deficiencies.
Murray State (+4.5) vs. Florida State:
Florida State has a lot of upside and length, but I think that Murray State gives them all they can handle. The biggest concern about Florida State is their lack of consistency and I didn’t see that change in their first game vs. Vermont. Murray State isn’t the best team out there, but they do not have any glaring issues and obviously, Ja Morant is capable of covering up any small issues. Take the Racers and the points here.
Villanova vs. Purdue (-3.5):
Villanova and Purdue are both teams that I would consider to be “solid”. Neither team has a fatal flaw and that always leads me into who has the best option to win this game. I think that Purdue’s Carsen Edwards is significantly the best player on the court and that is the difference in the game. I think we see a close game for the most part with a Purdue win anywhere from 5-10 points late. Villanova just has not shown enough against elite teams to inspire confidence in me.
Iowa (+8) vs. Tennessee:
The biggest concern for Iowa is Tennessee’s physicality on the inside. However, we just watched Colgate, who I think is oddly a much worse version of Iowa stay close by shooting the ball. Now, Colgate shot over 50% from three, which we can’t expect from Iowa, but I do expect Iowa’s increased basketball talent will allow them less turnovers, more open looks, and eventually a better chance in this game. I think Tennessee is capable of being upset in this spot by an Iowa team that can get streaky and that means that +8 is way too much to give the Hawkeyes in this matchup.
Ohio State (+5.5) vs. Houston:
This line was pretty shocking to me simply because this was the same as the line for the Iowa State game. That being said, I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of post offense for the Cougars. Both of these teams are more focused on defense than on offense and I think that initially makes this game closer than the talent suggests. The curious thing about the Cougars is their big man rotation. The Cougars are relatively hesitant to run out anyone with any size for a lot of time and none of them are elite scorers. I think we could see a similar result for the Buckeyes that they pulled off vs. Iowa State if Wesson can get it going on the interior against a guard-heavy team. I am waiting to bet this game though, as I would be relatively shocked if the public moved this line towards the Buckeyes before it goes toward the favorite.
Enjoy the games and best of luck!