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THURSDAY MARCH MADNESS PICKS

The college basketball season is down to its final frantic flurry. Let's see if we can get a few more wins before it's over.



Furman vs Virginia


This logo should be enough to make the pick, but let's look a little bit deeper. My starting point is fading Virginia. Virginia is always susceptible to upsets because they don't score much. This was true for the best versions of Virginia, and this is not one of the best versions. To be clear, Furman isn't exactly a lockdown defensive team, but that makes Virginia a great matchup because they aren't likely to take full advantage of a lackluster defense. This is a team that scored under 70 19 times this year, including 49 in the conference tournament against Duke.


Like many matchups in the tournament, this can be a bit hard to predict because of the disparity in talent level between the ACC and the Southern Conference. Duke and The Citadel aren't exactly getting the same recruits. But we can only go off of the information we have. Furman can score, and while Virginia will slow them down, in a low-scoring game they have the ability to put together a couple of runs to keep them in it. They also rebound well, which will keep Virginia from getting lots of extra shots.


I like Virginia to win in the end, but I think this is a close game. For that reason I'm taking the points.


Pick: Furman +6 (-108) WynnBet



Princeton vs Arizona


This is a weird pick for me because I don't really like Arizona. I think they're fairly soft mentally and physically, but when they play lesser teams, they take care of business. I won't regurgitate their entire record here, but just to name a few, they beat Cal by 23, Oregon State by 32, Washington by 23, and Montana State by 21. Their size and athleticism are going to give Princeton huge problems.


The chances for a team like Princeton are built on two things--offensive scheme and shooting. The offensive scheme is something it takes teams a little while to adjust to, so I can see it helping Princeton stay close for the first 10 minutes or so, but Arizona will adjust, and even if they get beat here and there I think their size at the rim will negate some mistakes. As far as shooting, Princeton isn't elite. In fact, Arizona is superior in almost every shooting category.


I just don't think this Princeton team is anything special and eventually, Arizona beats them by 20.


Pick: Arizona -14.5 (-110) FanDuel




Northern Kentucky vs Houston


Marcus Sasser might not go for Houston. Let's get that out of the way up front. He's their leading scorer with 17.1 points per game. If his injury lingers it could be an issue for Houston, but in this game it's just not.


Northern Kentucky had a couple of good offensive performances at the end of the season, but don't let that blind you to the fact that they don't generally score much. Seven times this year they didn't even make it to 60. Now they're going against an athletic, aggressive, stifling defense. I think it could be ugly.


Houston can keep N Kentucky from scoring, but without Marcus Sasser (if he doesn't play) can they score themselves? The answer is, against N Kentucky, absolutely. They still have three other guys averaging double figures--Jarace Walker, J'Wan Roberts, and Jamal Shead. In addition, Houston is 6th in the nation in offensive rebounding with 11.7 per game while N Kentucky is #231 in the nation in offensive rebounds allowed at 8.7 per game. Not only does Houston have enough scorers, they're likely to get multiple chances to put it in the hole.


I'm doubling up on this game. It's not something I do often, but I think this is a severe mismatch.


Pick #1: Houston -11 1st Half (-110) DraftKings

Pick #2: Houston -18 (-110) PointsBet




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