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Welcome to our home to March Madness college basketball picks and betting advice. The 2022 tournament is coming to a climax and the final is set, with the North Carolina Tar Heels (8) facing the Kansas Jayhawks (1) in New Orleans for the National Championship . This page features the best bets for the rest of the tournament, previews for the biggest games and the best sign-up offers across a host of different sportsbooks for anybody interested in March Madness betting.

TLorenzo

Tommy Lorenzo

Sports betting expert

Tommy’s love of sports betting blossomed in the early 1990s as he began making regular trips to Las Vegas sportsbooks. The winner of ESPN Insider’s 2014 Las Vegas Super Bowl Prop contest, Tommy started his own sports betting site 10 years ago and uses data and analytics to make selections on college basketball and Major League Baseball.   

Kansas Jayhawks (1) vs North Carolina Tar Heels (8)
DateMonday April 4, 2022
Time9:20pm (ET)
VenueCaesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
TVTBS

The March Madness championship game is finally here.

As March Madness brackets lay broken, the culmination of the NCAA basketball season comes down to the final two tournament survivors: Number 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks and the number 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels.

Kansas comes into the March Madness championship game playing its best defense of the season paired with a very efficient offense, with multiple contributors. Simply put, Kansas can hurt you from all over the floor, which will make defending this team a heavy task for a North Carolina team that had to go all out on Sunday night vs Duke.

The Jayhawks led a tough Villanova team by double digits for almost the entirety of the first half in their final four matchup. They will look to impose their will on the Tar Heels right out of the gate. Kansas has the ability to dictate the pace of the game and will maintain possession to keep offensive pressure on North Carolina. Duke did a poor job of perimeter defending and the Tar Heels made them pay - do not expect Kansas coach Bill Self to allow this to happen on Monday night in New Orleans.

Only one number 8 seed has been crowned March Madness champion, but North Carolina should not be judged by their 8 seed. This team has been on an upward trajectory for over a month now and their size as well as their perimeter offense are legitimate. This game will be quite the test for Kansas facing a North Carolina squad with players like the dangerous Brady Manek and the in-form Caleb Love playing at a very high level.

March Madness Final Players to Watch

Sophomore North Carolina guard Caleb Love is averaging a solid 20 points per game so far during March Madness. Love shot over 50% from the field on Saturday and was a big part of North Carolina’s victory over Duke. If Love is hits the same vein of form again, the Tar Heels are live.

March Madness Player to Watch Ochai Agbaji

Jayhawks guard, Ochai Agbaji , scored 21 points against a stingy Villanova defense on Saturday. He can shoot from distance or work himself inside the lane to draw fouls and make shots in the paint. He moves the ball well for Kansas and he also is a strong contributor defensively.

March Madness Final Picks from Tommy Lorenzo

  • North Carolina holds a 6-5 record all time against Kansas.

  • North Carolina is 5-0 against the spread (ATS) in its last five games.

  • Kansas holds a 7-2 ATS record in its last nine games as a favorite.

The Pick: Kansas -4

Sean Paul College Basketball Betting Expert

Sean Paul

College basketball betting expert

Sean Paul brings a wide ranging knowledge of basketball to his coverage, covering topics across all 32 conferences in College Basketball. He is a member of the US Basketball Writers Association and the co-host of the MakingTheMadness podcast.

The stage is set, the Kansas Jayhawks will meet the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2022 March Madness championship game in New Orleans. Kansas handily defeated Villanova in their March Madness final four matchup, while the underdog UNC squad battled their way to victory thanks to clutch plays from Caleb Love, who scored 25 points in the contest. Kansas snuck past Creighton and Providence in March Madness Round of 32 and March Madness Elite Eight games to get here, their two toughest battles of the tournament to date. What does North Carolina have to offer the Jayhawks?

It’s now the title game. What will happen? Kansas, four point favorites likely won’t get 25 points from David McCormack facing an elite center like Armando Bacot, but can he cancel Bacot out? That’s a real key factor to monitor here. Neither team has floor stretch “centers” so dragging the opposing big man out to defend in ball screen situations won’t be a real issue to pay attention to.

Potentially the scariest thing about Kansas - they only got three points from Remy Martin, a guy who’s blossomed into march superstardom, but throttled a good Villanova squad. If he, Ochai Agbaji and McCormack plays the way they can, that’s a lot for UNC to battle with. One thing I’d look for is ways to get Agbaji more shots attempts, as he didn’t get many in the blowout victory despite the large number of points. Your best player needs consistent looks to get going and put pressure on the opposing defense

But, the guard tandem of Love and point guard RJ Davis keeps the Tar Heels competitive in each game if they’re making plays the way they’re capable of.

March Madness Final Player to watch:

North Carolina Player to Watch Caleb Love

Caleb Love scored 25 in the final four win, and willed UNC to a March Madness final four win over UCLA, who made the final four last season. There’s no player that makes worse shots than Love and that’s what great players do.

March Madness Final Pick from Sean Paul:

Kansas -4

NCAA - First Four@2x NCAA - East@2x NCAA - MidWest@2x NCAA - West@2x NCAA - South@2x NCAA - Final four@2x

Kansas Jayhawks (1) vs Villanova Wildcats(2)
DateSaturday, April 2, 2022
Time3:09pm (ET)
VenueCaesars Superdome
TVCBS

Villanova’s depth will be put to the test on Saturday night. The Wildcats come into this March Madness final four game without guard Justin Moore, who suffered an achilles injury and will be out for the rest of the tournament. Villanova has relied heavily on their starting five and perhaps one or two players off of the bench, however, this is an experienced team that we think will be ready to give a strong performance on Saturday night.

Both teams are playing strong defense coming into this game - Kansas and Villanova are ranked in the top 20 nationally in defensive efficiency. It should be noted that this game will be played in a cavernous football stadium, which will further help the “defensive angle” of this game as sightlines will take some adjusting to.

Big 12 Player of the Year, Ochai Agbaji, contributes in many different ways for the Jayhawks. He is one of the team’s better three point shooters, so it will be interesting to see how his shooting adjusts in this difficult environment. In the four games Kansas has played in the tournament, starting with the March Madness first round, Kansas has allowed an average of 59 points. It would appear that defense may be the star of the night, which will likely create a tight game.

Kansas vs Villanova player to watch: Ochai Agbaji, Guard, Kansas

Jayhawks guard, Ochai Agbaji, can shoot from distance or work himself inside the lane to draw fouls and make shots in the paint.

He moves the ball well for Kansas and he also is a strong contributor defensively. On Villanova’s side, fifth year senior guard Collin Gillespie leads Villanova in scoring (15.6 points per game) and is tenacious in taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers. He is a leader on the court and Villanova will need a strong performance from him on Saturday.

Kansas Jayhawks vs Villanova Wildcats free betting pick

Villanova +4.5 (+155)

TLorenzo

Tommy Lorenzo

Sports betting expert

Tommy’s love of sports betting blossomed in the early 1990s as he began making regular trips to Las Vegas sportsbooks. The winner of ESPN Insider’s 2014 Las Vegas Super Bowl Prop contest, Tommy started his own sports betting site 10 years ago and uses data and analytics to make selections on college basketball and Major League Baseball.   

March Madness Final Four breakdown

The March Madness final four matchups are set. This year’s tournament has come down to a pair of matchups between perennial NCAA basketball powers to decide who will reach the March Madness championship game.

The road each team took through the March Madness schedule to get to this point differs. Each side offers a unique story. No.1 seed Kansas is the only top seed to advance through their March Madness bracket and reach the final four. Meanwhile, a pair of No.2s - Duke and Villanova - both lived up to their hoops pedigree by navigating through some tough opponents. Lastly, No.8 seed North Carolina got hot at the right time and the Tar Heels would be no surprise to reach the final.

Kansas Jayhawks (1)

Odds to win March Madness Championship Game: +190

Kansas senior forward David McCormack, who is 6ft10in, won’t light up the scoreboard, but he provides a presence in the front court and is disruptive to even the best “around the rim” type of offenses. All American senior guard Ochai Agbaji is averaging nearly 19 points per game and has been a consistent tournament performer starting from the March Madness first round. The experience that these two older plays have presented in tournament play has been critical to The Jayhawks’ success.

Kansas has been one of the most unheralded No.1 seeds in recent memory – mediocre performances in the early stages of the tournament did not help that narrative. However, their explosion vs a very good Miami team in the March Madness elite eight showed how formidable coach Bill Self’s squad is. Kansas has the depth and experience to wear teams down and we expect that scenario to play out vs Villanova on Saturday.

Kansas (1)

Villanova Wildcats (2)

Odds to win March Madness Championship Game: +475

Villanova does not have a very deep team, but what they lack in depth they make up for in experience. Kansas has their share of upperclassmen, but Villanova still holds an experience edge - something that is critical in the late stages of March Madness.

Villanova boasted an elite assist to turnover ratio during the regular season, but that number has begun a hard decline during the NCAA tournament. Given Villanova’s experienced backcourt, the assist to turnover number should be stable. The fact that this important stat, which measures turnovers and “good passing” efficiency, is heading in the wrong direction with Villanova continuing to win games indicates a luck factor has been involved.

One thing that Villanova has been doing right is taking care of business at the free throw line. Their effectiveness from the charity stripe is a big reason they got the job done against a tough Houston team – the Wildcats made every single one of their free throws. Villanova finds themselves banged up coming into the March Madness Final Four. The loss of guard Justin Moore to injury is a big blow – one that may keep the Wildcats from advancing.

Duke Blue Devils (2)

Odds to win March Madness Championship Game: +140

Duke’s offense went from really good to outstanding as the tournament has gone on. Freshman forward Paolo Banchero has performed as advertised and is looking to be a top pick in this summer’s NBA draft. Duke’s offense, behind multiple potential NBA lottery picks, is fully cranked at the moment due also in large part to the adjustments made by Coach K and his staff. Duke answered the call against a tough Arkansas team in their March Madness Elite Eight win and never let the Razorbacks get enough momentum to make a game out of it.

Duke is doing a lot of things well at the moment and is a dangerous team that can smell the final. The end of the regular season loss to North Carolina will be fresh in their mind this week as they try to avenge the embarrassing defeat to the Tarheels in Coach K’s farewell game. Anyone looking at backing this Duke team to win it all should do so with confidence.

Duke (1)

North Carolina Tarheels (8)

Odds to win March Madness Championship Game: +475

North Carolina has a chance, but they’ll have to continue to do certain things to beat Duke for the second time in March. The Tarheels can crash the boards - they were a top 10 rebounding team during the regular season and they’ll need to keep that going as second chance opportunities will be important vs Duke. North Carolina’s guard play has been solid as the Tarheel backcourt has put up big scoring numbers so far in the tournament. Big men Armando Bacot and Brady Manek create problems near the rim, with Manek also having the ability to punish you from beyond the three-point line.

North Carolina has a tall order and the Tarheels know very well that Saturday’s game will be much different than their recent matchup vs Saint. Peter’s. Duke will likely attack the basket and try to go at Manek who at times can be prone to committing fouls. Duke’s perimeter defense will be ready here as they do not want a repeat of their last matchup with North Carolina shooting from the perimeter at will. It’s hard for us to see North Carolina rolling past Duke then either Kansas or Villanova. They are an almost +500 longshot for a reason.

North Carolina

NCAA Midwest

Kansas Jayhawks (1) Vs Miami Hurricanes (10)
DateSunday March 27
Time2.20pm ET
VenueUnited Center, Chicago, IL
TVCBS

The March Madness bracket continues to move towards the tournament final as the weekend will see the March Madness final four decided. Odds makers are ready with their best numbers at this point of the March Madness schedule.

Kameron McGusty continues to play wonderfully for the Hurricanes and has led them to the brink of a final four berth. This Miami team boasts a group of experienced senior year players and their experience has served them very well so far in this tournament. Miami’s offense has improved greatly as the season has gone on and is fully cranked on the eve of this matchup against favored Kansas. The difficult ACC schedule has served the Hurricanes well.

The Jayhawks put away Providence on Friday but failed to cover the spread in that contest. Kansas is playing well and doing just enough to win, covering in only one of three tournament games so far. The Jayhawks play hard inside and they will test the athleticism of Miami crashing the boards for rebounds. The Jayhawks also have a free throw advantage over Miami, which could play a big role as far as the point spread goes late in the game.

Kansas vs Miami player to watch: Kameron McGusty, Guard, Miami

Miami guard Kameron McGusty rolled again on Friday scoring 27 points vs Iowa State. McGusty’s NBA draft stock is rising given his performances during March Madness and there is no reason to believe he won’t be a big contributor for Miami on Sunday.

Miami

Kansas player to watch: Remy Martin, Forward

The tournament’s best sixth man, Remy Martin, continues to provide a tremendous spark off of the bench for Kansas. Martin is scoring over 19 points per game so far in the tournament and is ultra tough coming off the bench. He plays with energy and has a nose for the basket - an absolute handful for defenses and a great change of pace for the Kansas offense.

Summary

- Kansas is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a win

- Kansas is 1-5 ATS in its last six March Madness games

- Miami is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games on neutral courts as underdogs

- Miami is 15-5-1 ATS in its last 21 games overall

Kansas vs Miami pick:

Miami +6

Sean Paul College Basketball Betting Expert

Sean Paul

College basketball betting expert

Sean Paul brings a wide ranging knowledge of basketball to his coverage, covering topics across all 32 conferences in College Basketball. He is a member of the US Basketball Writers Association and the co-host of the MakingTheMadness podcast.

NCAA East

St Peter's (15) Vs North Carolina (8)
DateSunday March 27
Time5.09pm EST
VenueWells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TVCBS

The Peacocks made even more history on Friday, becoming the first 15 seed to make the March Madness Elite Eight, and find themselves 40 minutes from the March Madness final four. The final obstacle in their quest is the extremely talented North Carolina Tar Heels squad. Saint Peter’s easily covered the first three games of the tournament as massive underdogs - they enter this matchup 8.5 point underdogs to a more talented UNC squad. The talent disparity hasn’t hurt the Peacocks yet due to their high level shot making in key situations and overall toughness on defense.

The mixing and matching of KC Ndefo, Clarence Rupert and other rim protectors inside could matchup well with the Tar Heels standout Armando Bacot. The best case scenario here is getting either Matthew Lee. Or Darryl Banks switched onto Bacot, initiating a mismatch in favor of Saint Peter’s.

Caleb Love and RJ Davis work to form the best guard duo remaining in the tournament. Both have had standout performances, as Love couldn’t miss in the win over UCLA with 29 points and Davis scored 30 in the victory over Baylor. SPU doesn’t have a single player in the roster who can score 29+ points in any game. They just don’t have those guys but they all plays well in their respective roles.

The storylines are never ending here - if Saint Peter’s wins they’ll create even more history as the lone 15 seed to make the Final Four, while North Carolina could have forever bragging right in their rivalry against Duke with a win in Coach K’s potential final game.

St Peter's vs North Carolina player to watch: Doug Edert, Guard, St Peter's

Saint Peter’s will need to hit shots from deep to beat a team of North Carolina’s caliber and Doug Edert is by far the best shooter on the team who is incredibly dangerous coming off screens and lining up from deep.

Saint Peters

Saint Peter's vs North Carolina pick:

Saint Peter's +8.5

NCAA South

Houston (5) Vs Villanova (2)
DateFriday March 25
Time6.09pm ET
VenueAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TVTBS

The winner of the South Region will be decided today. The Houston Cougars, a member of last year’s March Madness Final Four, try to prove analytics right and show they belong in the elite conversation in College Basketball. Their opposition, Villanova tries to snag their third national title in the past six NCAA Tournaments, led by the best head coach in College Hoops, and the best point guard the game has to offer.

Houston stifled top seed Arizona on the offensive end of the floor, never letting the Wildcats find get comfortable hit their shooting rhythm. There’s nothing worse than playing 30 seconds of tough defense before an offensive rebounds continues the possession, and that’s what Houston did all game. Houston’s big duo of Josh Carlton and Fabian White could dictate how the game plays out.

The Wildcats are so close to another potential title, which would be Jay Wright’s third title in seven years. Everything starts with the elite guard play featuring Collin Gillespie & Justin Moore. Both must perform better than they did in the narrow win over Michigan in the March Madness Sweet 16. The Wildcats attempt 46.2% of their shots from beyond the arc and they aren’t easy to beat when they’re those shots are falling.

Houston vs Villanova Player to Watch: Eric Dixon, Forward, Villanova

The Wildcats need all the size possible to battle on the boards against an elite offensive rebounding Cougars squad. Dixon’s stats don’t pop off the screen, but he’s an important player. As Villanova tallest rotation-player he has to avoid foul trouble against the physical Houston front court.

Villanova Player to Watch

Houston vs Villanova pick:

Villanova +1.5

Duke Blue Devils (2) vs Arkansas Razorbacks (4)
DateSaturday March 26
Time8.49pm ET
VenueChase Center, San Francisco, CA
TVTBS

The March Madness bracket continues to move towards the tournament final as eight teams remain alive in the tournament. The winners of Saturday’s games advance to the March Madness Final Four and odds makers are ready with their best numbers at this point of the March Madness schedule.

Duke’s star freshman, Paolo Banchero leads a starting group who all have the potential to be taken in the NBA draft this summer. Duke’s ultra-efficient offense continues to roll as the Blue Devils were successful scoring against a very tough Texas Tech team on Thursday night. Duke will be tested in this March Madness Elite Eight matchup however, as they take on an athletic and defensively minded Arkansas Razorbacks team. This is a different Duke team from a month ago - their talent is peaking at the right time and they are playing hard for head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who walks away from coaching at the conclusion of this tournament.

Arkansas played well in their upset of top seed Gonzaga on Thursday, and are rewarded with a matchup against the surging Blue Devils for their efforts. The Razorbacks are tenacious on defense and they have put the lid on two strong offensive teams in New Mexico State and Gonzaga so far in the tournament. The question is if they can keep it up against Duke on Saturday night; their defense might, but their offense won’t.

Arkansas Player to Watch: JD Notae, Guard

Arkansas guard J.D. Notae made only 9 of 29 field goal attempts vs Gonzaga as he went all out defensively. He still finished with a team-high 21 points but another poor shooting performance is out of the question if Arkansas hopes to advance.

Arkansas Player to Watch

Duke Player to Watch: Paolo Banchero, Forward

Freshman forward, and future NBA lottery pick, Paolo Banchero makes everyone around him better. His multifaceted game has hit a new level during March Madness - look for him to score his usual 17-18 points while putting in work defensively.

Summary

- Arkansas is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.

- Arkansas is 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games.

- Duke is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.

Duke vs Arkansas Pick:

Duke -4

NCAA East

Houston (5) Vs Villanova (2)
DateSaturday March 26
Time6.09pm ET
VenueWells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TVCBS

The darling of the 2021-22 NCAA Tournament, Saint Peter’s looks to make history as the lone 15 seed to make the March Madness Elite Eight, but Purdue looks to get ever closer to that ever-elusive final four.

The Peacocks from Jersey City had two of their best offensive performances at the right time, and face a struggling Purdue Boilermakers defense; can the offense find it’s groove again?

I think the quickness and size of Purdue will give SPU problems. Jaden Ivey can pull out a good defensive performance at times but the real issue is the lack of Saint Peter’s big-man shooters. You can take advantage of Purdue’s Zach Edey by pulling him to the three-point line, but you can live with KC Ndefo and Fousseyni Drame taking perimeter jumpers. Guards Doug Edert & Darryl Banks will have to do the heavy lifting scoring wise in order to keep pace with Purdue.

Saint Peter’s ranks 28th in KenPom’s defense efficiency but will meet an elite Purdue offense, who ranks first in offensive efficiency. Purdue didn’t have issues scoring against an elite Texas defense, and I don’t think they’ll struggle to score here – they bring too much size & athleticism.

One to watch: Jaden Ivey

Jaden Ivey March Madness Highlights

I mentioned him already, but Ivey is the most electrifying player in College Basketball, thanks to his mix of shot creation and lightning quick speed. A must watch player every night.

March Madness Prediction and Pick: Purdue -12.5

UCLA vs North Carolina
DateFriday March 25
Time9.39pm ET
VenueWells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TVCBS

Two of College Basketball’s blue blood programs meet In the Sweet 16: which one of the historic programs can get closer to another national title?

North Carolina’s success of recent times hase been driven by RJ Davis & Caleb Love. The two sophomore guards have had blowup performances at different points this season: Davis scored in the March Madness Round of 32 win over Baylor. However Love struggled, only scoring six points before fouling out of the contest shortly before Baylor’s historic comeback.

I spoke about the guards, but Brady Manek & Armando Bacot at the four/five spots have been the most valuable players in Chapel Hill this season. Bacot holds a clear advantage against UCLA’s below-average frontcourt.

My biggest question: How does UNC defend the ultra-versatile Jaime Jaquez from UCLA? He’s been a difference maker in recent games and Manek struggles on defense at times. They also have Johnny Juzang, who’s only scored 25 points in the first two games of the tournament. However we saw what he’s capable of doing in last year’s historic first four to final four run. Which version of Juzang shows up? That’s a question we are all curious to find out the answer to.

UCLA boasts an incredibly amount of bench depth, which UNC just can’t match. That’s something that could matter here: Coach Mick Cronin can bring established players like David Singleton & Cody Riley off the bench, while UNC Coach Hubert Davis only has freshmen to call on that haven’t played in big March moments.

One to watch: Tyger Campbell, UCLA

UCLA Campbell March Madness Highlights

UCLA probably falls to Akron in the March Madness round of 64 without the late-game heroics from Tyger Campbell. He’s the wildcard here with everything he brings to table with his quality passing & scoring.

March Madness pick: UNC +2

NCAA Midwest

Kansas Jayhawks (1) vs Providence Friars (4)
DateFriday March 25
Time7.29pm ET
VenueUnited Center, Chicago, IL
TVTBS

The March Madness bracket continues to move towards the final, as sixteen teams remain alive in the tournament. The winners of Friday’s games advance to the March Madness Elite Eight and odds makers are ready with their best numbers at this point of the March Madness schedule.

The Kansas Jayhawks are back in the March Madness Sweet 16 after stumbling in the second round in the NCAA tournament last year. The Jayhawks took care of Texas Southern and Creighton in the first two rounds, with the competition level increasing in this matchup vs Providence. Forwards Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson bring a strong front court presence, however Senior guard Ochai Agbaji is the player Kansas needs here. Agbaji’s scoring has gone down a few ticks so far, but if he can pick it up here vs Providence: Kansas will roll.

Providence is a team with very pedestrian underlying offensive stats, yet they have done well enough to land in the Sweet Sixteen. The Friars defeated a subpar South Dakota State in the first round and blew out Richmond, who Providence caught on an ice cold shooting day. Head Coach Ed Cooley has really done wonders with this team. Their leading regular season scorer, center Nate Watson, hasn’t really showed up yet in terms of scoring points in this tournament. I do not see how he fares better against a Kansas team that has size on defense.

The Ones to Watch - Remy Martin and Nate Watson

Remy Martin March Madness Highlights

The Jayhawks got veteran Remy Martin back from injury just in time for March Madness. Martin really is a starter but has embraced his role coming off the bench for Coach Bill Self. Providence senior center Nate Watson has scored five, six, and ten points respectively over his last three games. If Providence plans to have any chance of upsetting Kansas on Friday: Watson will need to have a very strong game.

Summary

- Kansas is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a favorite

- Kansas is 4-0 in their last 4 games following an ATS loss

- Providence is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog on a neutral court

March Madness Pick: Kansas -7.5

Iowa State (11) vs Miami (10)
DateFriday March 25
Time9.59pm ET
VenueUnited Center, Chicago, IL
TVTBS

Miami brings a very experienced team into this Sweet Sixteen matchup. The Hurricanes leading scorer, senior guard Kameron McGusty comes into this game on a 12-game double digit scoring streak and is one of several players that have stepped up nicely so far in the tournament. Miami pounded a physical Auburn team and covered the spread as well – the fifth time Miami has won for bettors in the last six games. If Miami has a weakness it’s in the rebounding department, however Iowa State does not bring much to the table crashing the boards either. Iowa State was not a team many were looking at to make a run to the March Madness Elite Eight after the Cyclones were defeated in three straight games heading into the NCAA Tournament.

The Ones to Watch – Izaiah Brockington and Kameron McGusty

Kameron McGusty March Madness highlights

Iowa State Senior guard Izaiah Brockington leads Iowa State with 17 points per game. He also shoots a solid 47% from the field. Brockington’s offense has been consistent in the tournament and his defense is strong. Miami’s leading scorer, Kameron McGusty, will have his hands full with the aforementioned Brockington, but McGusty is fully cranked coming into this game.

Summary

- Iowa State is 5-2 ATS in its last nine games.

- Iowa State is 6-1 ATS in neutral-site games as an underdog this season

- Miami is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against opponents with winning records

March Madness Pick: Miami -2.5

March Madness Brackets: Download here

View Tommy Lorenzo’s expert predicted bracket here:

March Madness Expert Bracket

Download your blank printable version of the bracket here:

March Madness Printable Bracket

NCAA West

Gonzaga Bulldogs (1) vs Arkansas Razorbacks (4)
DateThursday March 24
Time7.09pm ET
VenueChase Center, San Francisco, CA
TVCBS

The March Madness bracket continues to move towards the final as sixteen teams remain alive in the tournament. The winners of Thursday’s games advance to the March Madness Elite Eight and odds makers are ready with their best numbers at this point of the March Madness schedule.

Gonzaga advanced to the March Madness Sweet 16 via a hard fought victory over Memphis. The 82-78 score does not reflect the effort that Gonzaga had to give to escape with a win and move on. The star of that game for Gonzaga was forward Drew Timme who matched up well physically against a big and athletic Memphis squad. Arkansas is similar in many ways so Timme, who scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half of the aforementioned game vs Memphis, will have to produce again. It’s not only Timme who is leading Gonzaga – guards Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton scored 40 points combined against Memphis as they were a huge factor in Gonzaga’s victory as well. Gonzaga has not played a full “good’ game as of yet but that may be coming Thursday night vs Arkansas.

The Arkansas Razorbacks depend heavily on their defensive prowess – they are ranked in the top 25 nationally in team defensive efficiency. However, their fast-moving offense has propelled Arkansas to their second straight March Madness Sweet 16 appearance. The Razorbacks held a very good New Mexico State team to 48 points earlier in the tournament, however the Razorbacks just missed covering the spread. Senior guard JD Notae contributed strongly in Arkansas’ win with 18 points and he also led all players with eight steals, which is impressive. The concern we have is that this Arkansas team, even with a strong defense, will not slow down their offense – that will play right into Gonzaga’s hands. The level of their opponent rises significantly in this spot.

The One to Watch: Drew Timme

Gonzaga (2)

For Gonzaga, Drew Timme will have to establish himself again and wear out the Arkansas front court. Timme has scored a double-double in both March Madness games so far and is making a case for player of the tournament. On the Arkansas side, JD Notae can score but he is also a defensive force and the senior guard can create problems if Gonzaga gets careless with the ball.

Summary

• Gonzaga has covered the spread once in their last five games.

• Gonzaga is 7-6 (54%) ATS when playing on 4+ days rest this season.

• Arkansas is 2-6 (25%) ATS when playing on 4+ days rest this season.

• Arkansas is 4-1 (80%) ATS when playing ranked teams this season.

March Madness Pick:

- Gonzaga -9.5

March Madness Quick Pick:

- DUKE +1 vs Texas Tech

NCAA South

Michigan Wolverines (11) vs Villanova Wildcats (2)
DateThursday March 24
Time7.29pm ET
VenueAT&T Center, Texas
TVTBS

Here we are! It's March Madness Sweet 16 time. One week of NCAA March Madness basketball has gone by, and now we'll find out which teams will participate in the Final Four. Michigan is showing every bit of the top-five ranking held earlier in the season, pulling off two impressive victories in the March Madness First Round and Second Round. Standout center Hunter Dickinson posted 48 points on 16-23 shooting while adding 17 rebounds in the first two rounds of Madness! Nobody is playing better than the Wolverines star thus far in the Big Dance.

DeVante' Jones looks like he might play in the Sweet 16 matchup after barely playing in the last week. His presence adds a stabilizing veteran presence at the point-guard position. The Wildcats covered the spread in their first two tournament games against Delaware and Ohio State. They really only play a six-man rotation, with Caleb Daniels filling big minutes in the sixth-man role off the bench. Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore will bring consistent guard scoring production every game, and both have experience winning games in March. Villanova plays an NBA type of system, trying to spread the floor, shoot threes, and find mismatches leading to more threes. The biggest mismatch is getting whoever Dickinson is guarding some space against beyond the arc. Eric Dixon, who'll likely get defended by Dickinson, just made two clutch triples in the Second Round victories over Ohio State.

One to watch: Caleb Houstan

Michigan

There isn't a more-telling individual stat in college hoops than Michigan's 10-0 record when the talented freshman from Canada connects on three or more shots from beyond the arc. He didn't score in the last round but can change a game with his knockdown shooting ability.

March Madness Pick:

- Villanova to win, and cover the spread

Arizona Wildcats (1) vs Houston Cougars (5)
DateThursday March 24
Time9.59pm ET
VenueAT&T Center, Texas
TVTBS

The second South Region matchup is between the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats and the five-seeded Houston Cougars. The latter has shown why the predictive metrics favored them to such a large degree throughout the season and currently ranks second in KenPom's rankings.

Let's discuss Arizona, who barely got past the tough TCU Horned Frogs, but there's no tougher team in college basketball than Houston. The Wildcats need production from their top three (Bennedict Mathurin, Christian Koloko, and Azuolas Tubelis) to score on the tough Cougars defense. Arizona ranks top 15in both KenPom's offensive & defensive efficiency rankings. Attacking the glass on both ends is the key against Houston, who loves to out rebound teams and make big plays throughout.

A March star rises with Cal State Bakersfield transfer Taze Moore, a player that is such a perfect fit for the Houston program with his ability on each end. He scored 21 points in the win over Illinois, while Kyler Edwards scored 25 points in the March Madness First Round win over UAB. With Houston, it's never just one guy — without Marcus Sasser, they don't have a superstar player, but plenty of players can stand out on any given night while the defense always shows up.

One to watch: Fabian White Jr

Houston (1)

White surprised the college basketball world by revamping his offensive skill set, adding a reliable three-point jumper over the offseason. He provides the Cougars with more floor stretching ability and could be the go-to scorer in today's matchup. White connected on 37% of his outside shots this year, attempting more than 100 this season.

March Madness pick:

- Arizona -1.5

NCAA Midwest

Auburn Tigers (2) vs Miami Hurricanes (10)
DateSunday March 20
Time7.45pm ET
VenueSecours Wellness Arena, Greenville, South Carolina
TVTruTV, Sling TV

March Madness predictions are starting to get a whole lot more interesting as the NCAA tournament moves into round two. Many March Madness brackets are still looking good, as many early favorites, except Kentucky of course, got the job done. The March Madness second round gives us some great matchups that will determine which teams will reach the March Madness Sweet 16.

USC is a talented squad and Miami had to go all out to get the 68-66 win. Miami showed some gumption and got the job done by limiting turnovers and hitting their free throws. Auburn’s defense is opportunistic but we think that they will have a hard time pressuring a Miami team who has become extremely disciplined handling the ball. If Miami has a weakness, it’s rebounding and it is glaring. Miami managed only three offensive rebounds against USC and they absolutely must do better vs Auburn. If they do, they can cover in this spot. Auburn is a top shot-blocking team and they were tested by Jacksonville State in the first round. However, they settled in well in the second half and pulled away. Auburn’s backcourt play is not elite and we feel the Miami defense will create problems for Auburn’s guards.

The one to watch: Kameron McGusty

Miami senior guard Kameron McGusty is the Hurricanes leading scorer (17.4 points per game) and is good for five rebounds per game. The All ACC McGusty is also stingy on defense. His performance will be key in Miami getting the cover and perhaps an upset here.

• Miami has covered the spread in four out of the last five games.

• Miami is 3-1 (75%) ATS this season vs ranked opponents.

• Auburn is 15-11 (57%) ATS after a win.

• This is the first time this season that Auburn plays on one day of rest.

March Madness pick:

- Miami +7.5

NCAA West

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11) vs Texas Tech Red Raiders (3)
DateSunday March 20
Time7.10pm ET
VenueViejas Arena, San Diego, California
TVTBS

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame have surprised many as they’ve won two straight games to get to the second round and a possible March Madness Sweet 16 berth. The Irish have been a great underdog to back winning five of their last seven games outright as underdogs. Texas Tech’s defense is dominant but their underlying defensive numbers do take a slight hit away from home. Their three-point game has been pretty good of late but the stats were padded playing a defensively deficient Montana State. The three-point game will be key in this matchup and Texas Tech should have a defensive strategy to mitigate damage from beyond the arc. However, it is no secret that Notre Dame is an elite three-point shooting team and several of their most recent opponents could not stop them. Notre Dame is running on pure adrenaline right now and they should be good enough to cover here.

The one to watch: Paul Atkinson

Senior forward Paul Atkinson, a 6ft 9in transfer from Yale, is Notre Dame’s workhorse near the basket. He has stepped up big with his all-around solid play so far in the tournament. He can bang on the boards, score, and is not afraid to mix it up down low. Atkinson is critical to Notre Dame’s success and he should be up to the challenge again in this spot.

• In the last 20 years, No. 11 seeds have the better record against the spread vs No. 3 seeds 17-14 (55%) ATS.

• Notre Dame is 6-2 (75%) ATS in their last eight games.

• Texas Tech is 6-4 (60%) ATS in their last 10 games.

March Madness pick:

- Notre Dame +8

March Madness quick picks:

- Wisconsin -4.5 vs Iowa State

- Duke -6.5 vs Michigan State

NCAA South

Illinois Fighting Illini (4) vs Houston Cougars (5)
DateSunday March 20
Time12.15pm ET
VenuePPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
TVCBS

Yesterday, eight teams punched their tickets to the March Madness Sweet 16, and eight more will join when the March Madness second round wraps up on Sunday. We’ll take a look at two more games on this day.

Illinois narrowly evaded the upset bid from No. 13 seeded Chattanooga in the March Madness first round. How did the Mocs do it? Pressuring Kofi Cockburn, throwing bodies at him in the post and making his life tough inside. You know who does that better than any team in America? The Houston Cougars. On nearly every post catch, the Cougars post trap (putting two guys on the big man after the catch.) It could be a really long night for Cockburn, who has to look for Alfonso Plummer and Trent Frazier on the perimeter for threes. Neither of those two played great against the Mocs, though Plummer did catch fire later in the contest. They’ll need more from Plummer to secure a March Madness Sweet 16 berth.

Houston has overcome so many different Boulder sized obstacle to make it to the March Madness second round. The Cougars lost Tramon Mark & Marcus Sasser for the year, but improved production from Kyler Edwards, Jamal Shead and Taze Moore kept them adding numbers to the win column. What Houston does is offensive rebound, ranking top 10 in offensive rebounding percentage. The first shot doesn’t have to be great when you rebound like Houston does.

The one to watch: Josh Carlton

The UConn transfer is posting a career-best 12.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in 35 games this season. He’s been a key ingredient to Houston’s success.

March Madness pick:

- Houston -4.5

NCAA East

Purdue Boilermakers (3) vs Texas Longhorns (6)
DateSunday March 20
Time8.40pm ET
VenueFiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TVTNT

Texas showed off their defensive prowess in an impressive win over Virginia Tech in the March Madness first round, limiting the high powered Hokies offense to three made shots from deep. The Longhorns on the other hand connected on 10-19 shots from beyond the arc en route to the win. Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones combined for 36 points. If those two play that way again, Texas becomes an entirely different team when defenses have to respect the three-point shot.

Texas will have their hands full with Purdue’s impressive offensive attack led by the dynamic Jaden Ivey. There’s no player quicker than Ivey, but if Texas can stay in front of him and have other defenders close gaps to the basket that’ll force Ivey to make fast decisions. He’s struggled with turnovers at times, so that’s something worth watching. Zach Edey is virtually unstoppable with his 7ft 4in frame, and should get whatever he wants on offense, but Texas can really spread the floor and take advantage of Edey’s defensive struggles.

The one to watch: Timmy Allen

Allen didn’t have an efficient night against VA Tech, only shooting 4-11 from the field. Texas needs more from the skilled mid-range scorer in this March Madness second round matchup.

March Madness pick:

- Texas +3.5

March Madness quick picks:

- Arizona Vs. TCU: Arizona -10

- Villanova Vs. Ohio State: Villanova -5.5

NCAA Midwest

Kansas Jayhawks (1) vs Creighton Blue Jays (9)
DateSaturday March 19
Time2.40pm ET
VenueDickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas
TVCBS

Now is the time that March Madness predictions get more interesting as the NCAA tournament moves into round two. Many March Madness brackets are still looking good as many early favorites, except Kentucky of course, got the job done. Results from March Madness first round games have now given us some great matchups that will decide which teams will reach the March Madness sweet sixteen.

Kansas had an easy go of it in round one as they defeated Texas Southern while covering the big point spread as well. Things will get a tad tougher as they face Creighton from the Big East Conference. Creighton is coming off a hotly-contested first-round game where they outlasted San Diego State in overtime. A good performance by Creighton but one that may have taken a toll on the Blue Jays. Seven foot Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner sustained a knee injury in overtime and will miss the rest of the tournament. Frankly, this is a big blow for Creighton as Kalkbrenner was Creighton’s second highest scorer and a strong rebounder.

Creighton’s three-point percentage over their past three games is a lowly 11.6%. This is an ominous number given the fact that they will have to score and score often to give Kansas a run. Kansas has a lot of weapons on offense, and with a rejuvenated and healthy Remy Martin, they are even more dangerous now.

The one to watch: Jalen Wilson

Kansas

Kansas sophomore forward Jalen Wilson should benefit from the void left by Creighton’s injured big man. Expect Wilson to have his way on the boards and have a strong rebounding and scoring performance for the Jayhawks on Saturday.

• Kansas is 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a favorite.

• Creighton is 18-15 (54%) ATS on the road/neutral court

• Creighton is 3-7 (30%) since 2012 in NCAA Tournament games

March Madness pick:

- Kansas -11.5

NCAA West

Gonzaga Bulldogs (1) vs Memphis Tigers (9)
DateSaturday March 19
Time9.40pm ET
VenueModa Center, Portland, Oregon
TVTBS

A very interesting matchup awaits us on Saturday Night as the upstart Memphis Tigers tangle with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Memphis, runners up of the American Athletic conference, are averaging 75 points per game with their latest win coming against a stingy Boise State squad in round one. Memphis’ strong offense will put no fear in Gonzaga who were No.2 in all of the NCAA in scoring an average of 88 points per game. Gonzaga showed in the second half vs Georgia State that they can put the foot on the gas offensively and they have two big and talented players in Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren that will give the athletic Tigers problems.

The one to watch: Drew Timme

Gonzaga

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme is a veteran presence for Gonzaga. Timme led all scorers in Gonzaga’s win over Georgia State on Thursday with 32 points. Timme was also good for 13 rebounds in the game

• Gonzaga has won 19 out of their last 20 games.

• Memphis is 4-2 (66.7%) ATS vs ranked opponents this season.

March Madness pick:

- Gonzaga -10

March Madness quick picks:

- Richmond +2.5 vs Providence

- New Mexico State +6.5 vs Arkansas

NCAA East

North Carolina (8) vs Baylor (1)
DateSaturday March 19
Time12.15pm ET
VenueDickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas
TVCBS

The March Madness first round saw some crazy results, including a victory for No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s among others. Could we see another day crazy day of March Madness today?

The Bears look like the most vulnerable one-seed due to injuries, but cruised over 16th seeded Norfolk State on Thursday. On the other hand, North Carolina beat Marquette by 31 points in their most complete game of the year. Caleb Love poured in 23 points on 6-13 from three, and Brady Manek led the Heels with 28 points. Four of the five starters have the ability to go put big numbers in the scoring column, while the defense has looked vastly improved recently. It all comes down to how the defense performs. We know Hubert Davis’ squad is more than capable of scoring 75+ points on any team in the country, but does the defense show up against Baylor?

On the Baylor side, Matthew Mayer poured in a season-high 22 points in 8-12 shooting in the first-round victory over Norfolk State. Mayer was expected to be a major breakout store in a bigger role, but couldn’t find any semblance of consistency this season. Is this a turning point for the versatile wing player? If so, Baylor becomes a different team. The Bears have won five of their six past games.

One to watch: Brady Manek

The transfer from Oklahoma scored 20+ points in four of the Tar Heels past five games.

March Madness pick:

- North Carolina +5.5

NCAA South

Michigan (11) vs Tennessee (3)
DateSaturday March 19
Time2.15pm ET
VenueGainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TVCBS

Michigan stormed back from a 15-point first half deficit to knock off No. 6 seed Colorado State, doing so without point guard DeVante Jones. Freshman Frankie Collins filled Jones’ shoes, scoring 14 points in the biggest moment of his young career. The key is finding ways to get Hunter Dickinson some room to operate inside - spread the floor with shooters spread across the perimeter and Dickinson will do his job down low. With that said, hitting those is important so the defense respects the shooting and doesn’t put more defenders inside the arc. Caleb Houstan took over late in the win over Colorado State. The Wolverines haven’t lost when the gifted freshman makes at least three triples - can he make three here?

Speaking of freshman point guards, nobody in the country has a better pair of young guards than Kennedy Chandler & Zakai Zeigler, who have spearheaded Tennessee’s eight-game winning streak. They also have the second best defense in the country per KenPom and shoot the ball extremely well from deep. When you have a guard trio like Tennessee does, it’ll be tough to take them down in March.

One to watch: Santiago Vescovi

Vescovi led Tennessee in scoring against Longwood in the March Madness first round. If the Vols need a clutch shot late, look at Vescovi to take that shot.

March Madness pick:

- Tennessee -6

March Madness quick picks:

- Saint Mary’s +3 Vs UCLA

- Murray State -9 Vs Saint Peter’s

NCAA Midwest

Wisconsin Badgers (3) vs Colgate Raiders (14)
DateFriday March 18
Time9.50pm ET
VenueFiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TVTBS

Now is the time for March Madness predictions as the NCAA tournament is upon us. There are millions of combinations available when filling out your March Madness bracket and the juicy matchups have begun right off the bat.

In sports betting circles, many feel that Colgate has a puncher’s chance to reach the March Madness sweet sixteen. We don’t think that the 14th seed Patriot League champions will do that, however they certainly are a strong underdog in this matchup vs the Big 10’s Wisconsin Badgers. Colgate can flat out shoot the ball, with a high shooting percentage from both 2-point and 3-point range. The Raiders are a veteran group with good size who is riding a 14-game winning streak and they should give Wisconsin all they can handle here. The Badgers did not look good at the end of the regular season - a loss to a below average Nebraska team and a first-round conference tournament defeat have Wisconsin limping into March Madness. The Badgers aren’t very good at shooting three pointers and their defense is pedestrian. They will be solely dependent on their perimeter defense stepping up to limit Colgate’s capable offense.

The One to Watch: Nelly Cummings

Colgate is a well-balanced team with multiple contributors. Their key player for this game will be Nelly Cummings. Cummings, an experienced senior guard, is scoring 14.5 points per game and averaging 2.9 rebounds per contest.

• Colgate is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after covering the spread.

• Colgate is 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games.

• Wisconsin is 15-7 ATS in their last 24 March Madness games.

• Wisconsin has covered the spread in only two of their last eight games as a favorite on a neutral court.

March Madness Pick:

- Colgate +7.5

Quick Picks Midwest Bracket (Friday)

- Kansas - 21.5 vs Texas Southern

- USC -1.5 vs Miami

NCAA West

Alabama Crimson Tide (6) vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11)
DateFriday March 18
Time4.15pm ET
VenueViejas Arena, San Diego, California
TVTNT

It took Notre Dame going double overtime to finally slam the door shut on Rutgers Wednesday night. This was about as draining a game the Irish could have asked for to officially advance to the March Madness first-round game in San Diego, where Alabama awaits. The No.6 seed Crimson Tide does have the rest advantage here, however it should be noted that they hold a 3-8 (27%) record this season when having a rest advantage against their opponent.

Alabama has defeated some quality teams this season but they can be very up and down at times, especially defending. The Crimson Tide’s defensive efficiency numbers are not good (229th in the country) and that’s not exactly a stat you like to see laying points.

The One to Watch: Paul Atkinson Jr

Senior forward Paul Atkinson Jr started his March Madness run with a bang. Atkinson scored a game-high 26 points and made the game-winning putback in the final seconds of Wednesday’s double overtime thriller. If Alabama focuses their defense on stopping Atkinson, Blake Wesley at the guard spot can also take care of business for a well-balanced Irish offense.

• Alabama holds an 11-21 (34%) ATS record this season.

• Alabama holds a 3-8 (27%) ATS record when having a rest advantage.

• Notre Dame is 7-2 ATS and 9-0 straight up when it scores more than 76 points.

• Notre Dame is 9-5 (63%) ATS as an underdog this season

March Madnesss Pick:

- Notre Dame +4

Quick Picks West Bracket (Friday)

- Duke -18.5 vs Cal State Fullerton

- Davidson +1 vs Michigan State

NCAA South

Loyola Chicago (10) vs Ohio State (7)
DateFriday March 18
Time12.15pm ET
VenuePPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
TVCBS

What a fun first day of March Madness! Let’s hope the second day of the Round of 64 brings another day of excitement! Here’s my March Madness picks for today:

Loyola Chicago is back in the NCAA Tournament, but under first-year head coach Drew Valentine, who is only 30 years old! The Ramblers had some ebbs-and-flows, but the veteran-laden Ramblers strolled through the Missouri Valley conference tournament to secure a tournament bid. Program legend Lucas Williamson dictates what happens for this team on both ends of the floor — he’ll defend dynamic freshman Malaki Branham of OSU, and can score the basketball when needed. The elite defense of LUC will face the subpar defense of Ohio State, who ranks outside the top-120’s in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric.

That’s an issue that’s sat with the Buckeyes since last year when Oral Roberts pulled off the stunning 15-2 upset in Indy. OSU limped into the tournament, losing four of their final five games, including losses to Penn State, Michigan without Hunter Dickinson & Nebraska. Superstar forward EJ Liddell could be a mismatch against Loyola Chicago, and he’s made some big time plays in his three-year career in Columbus.

One to watch: Braden Norris

Norris is the Ramblers biggest offense threat thanks to his pristine 43% three-point ratio.

March Madness pick:

- Loyola Chicago ML (even)

NCAA East

Texas Longhorns(6) vs Virginia Tech Hokies (11)
DateFriday March 18
Time4.30pm ET
VenueFiserv Forum, Wisconsin
TVTBS

Texas didn’t live up to expectations this year, but there’s still time to get back on track. The offense hasn’t found any consistency this year and that’s held the Longhorns back. There’s plenty of individual talent, though the parts haven’t meshed as hoped. High level transfer Marcus Carr is only averaging around 10.9 points per game, down from 19.4 during his junior year at Minnesota. If the Longhorns win - they’ll need big production from Carr. There’s a floor due to the elite defense, ranking top 15 in KenPom defensive efficiency metric, but scoring the basketball is key. Look at Timmy Allen, the team’s leading scorer, to find comfortability in the mid-range game because that’s where he thrives.

Virginia Tech had to win the ACC title to make the March Madness bracket, defeating North Carolina and Duke in the process. Like all Mike Young teams, VA Tech takes a ton of perimeter shots. You look at guys like Hunter Cattoor (41% from three), Darius Maddox (51% from three) and Sean Pedulla (43% from three) to stretch the floor and take deep shots. On the flip side, Texas only allowed opponents to shoot around 31% from beyond the arc this year, a pretty solid percentage. The matchup between Keve Aluma and Allen from Texas could dictate the outcome of the game.

One to watch: Justyn Mutts

VA Tech’s super glue guy Justyn Mutts leads the team in rebounds, assists, blocks & steals per game. He’s an under the radar player.

March Madness pick:

- Texas -1

Quick March Madness Picks:

- Purdue/Yale (2:00 PM EST) Over 144.5

- Chattanooga/Illinois (6:50 PM EST) Chattanooga +8

- Houston/UAB (9:20 PM EST) Under -136.5

NCAA South

Colorado State (6) vs Michigan (11)
DateThursday March 17
Time12.15pm ET
VenueGainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TVCBS

The March Madness bracket begins with Colorado State (6) facing Michigan (11) in the South Region. Despite Colorado State being the better seed, Michigan enters the contest as a 1.5 point favorite due to its favorable measurables: ranking two spots ahead of the Rams in KenPom's metrics. However, DeVante' Jones, the Wolverines' starting point guard, will not play in the First Round after suffering a concussion; so what does that mean? Freshman Frankie Collins will play his first NCAA Tournament game as the starting point for Michigan. That's not easy to do and a storyline to watch. Whatever Michigan does on-court runs through 7-footer Hunter Dickinson, who averages 18.3 points 8.2 rebounds. He should be able to get solid post-touches, potentially forcing double teams and finding shooter Caleb Houstan and others beyond the arc.

The Colorado State Rams only lost five games all year and have an incredibly talented offensive unit led by 6-foot-6 undersized power forward David Roddy, who won conference player of the year. Roddy isn’t the only Ram making clutch plays: Isaiah Stevens is as good as they come running the point guard spot, sporting an impressive 4:1 Assist to turnover ratio. CSU has no shortage of scoring options and should have a solid day against Michigan's subpar defensive unit.

Stats to know:

  • Colorado State is 14-15 ATS this season.

  • Michigan posted an unimpressive 13-18 ATS this season.

  • Michigan hasn't lost when Freshman Caleb Houstan makes three or more three pointers.

One to watch: Frankie Collins, Michigan

On the surface, Collins only averages 2.5 points 1.5 assists in less than ten minutes per game, but they'll need far more from him in this contest without the experienced DeVante’ Jones.

March Madness pick: Colorado State +1

NCAA East

North Carolina (8) vs Marquette (9)
DateThursday March 17
Time4.30pm ET
VenueDickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX
TVTBS

Marquette entered the year with little-to-no expectations under first-year head coach Shaka Smart, who moved over from Texas to take the job in Milwaukee. Similar to his days at VCU, Coach Smart's team plays with a ton of effort and defensive pressure, forcing teams to speed up. They don't force a lot of turnovers, but that doesn't tell the full story on how persistent the Marquette defense can be at times.

The Golden Eagles lost six of their final 10 games entering the NCAA Tournament. They'll look to Justin Lewis (17.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG) and Darryl Morsell (13.5 PPG) to shoulder the scoring load.

While Marquette exceeded expectations, North Carolina didn't meet expectations for a third straight season. In the final home game of the legendary Coach K's career at Duke, the rival Tar Heels stole the show pulling out the 94-81 victory. That was an impressive win, but they lost by double-digits to Virginia Tech in the second round of the ACC Tournament. The lack of consistency on defense has plagued UNC in the first year of Hubert Davis's coaching tenure.

The key for UNC coming out with the first-round victory starts with Caleb Love and R.J. Davis in the backcourt. Love has 20+ point potential on any night, but there's a lot of in-between games where Love doesn't perform well, and that's a real issue against the pressure from Marquette's guards. Davis averages fewer points than Love but shoots 38 percent from three and turns the ball over less than his backcourt partner. How about double-double machine Armando Bacot? Averaging 16.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game: he's been great all year and figures to play an important role against Marquette.

One to watch: Tyler Kolek, Marquette Very few players in College Basketball thrive in the pick & roll game like Tyler Kolek. For Marquette to advance within the March Madness bracket, Kolek will have to use his pristine playmaking ability to lead a lesser-talented Marquette team to victory.

Summary:

  • Marquette is 16-15 ATS

  • North Carolina is 16-16-1 ATS

March Madness pick: North Carolina -3.5

Quick March Madness picks:

- Saint Peter Vs Kentucky: Saint Peter's +18

- Saint Mary's Vs. Indiana: Under 126.5, Saint Mary's -2.5

- Murray State Vs. San Francisco: Murray State -2.5

NCAA Midwest

Iowa Hawkeyes (5) vs Richmond Spiders (12)
DateThursday March 17
Time3.10pm ET
VenueKeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
TVTruTV SlingTV

The Matchup

An interesting matchup presents itself in the March Madness first round as the Richmond Spiders are paired up with the surging Iowa Hawkeyes. The offensive minded Hawkeyes have a favorable path in their bracket that could lead to a March Madness final four berth if things bounce the right way.

Richmond finished sixth in the Atlantic-10 conference before stringing together an impressive run in their conference tournament, catapulting them into the March Madness bracket. Richmond is 1-2 when facing Power Five conference teams this season after suffering losses to Maryland and Mississippi State early in their 2021-2022 campaign. Richmond played impressively in the Atlantic 10 tournament, but facing one of the best offensive teams in the country is a completely different animal when compared to the likes of VCU and Rhode Island. We don’t think Richmond will be able to go shot-for-shot with Iowa as the Spiders generally score in the mid-sixties. That number doesn’t match up to an Iowa team that is almost a given to score 80 points a game as their offensive consistency has gotten better as the season has gone on. To beat Iowa, you must score points and Richmond simply is not built for that.

The One to Watch: Keegan Murray, Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes sophomore Keegan Murray will be headed to the NBA at the conclusion of Iowa’s run towards the March Madness championship game. Murray is averaging just under 24 points per game and close to nine rebounds per contest. The six-foot-eight forward is also shooting a healthy 56% from the floor and can do damage from beyond the three point arc as well.

  • Iowa is 4-9 against the spread (ATS) in March Madness games the past 20 years.

  • Iowa holds a profitable 22-13 (62.9%) ATS record this season.

  • Richmond holds a 16-18 (47.1%) ATS record this season.

  • Iowa scores 15.5 more points per game (83.8) than the Spiders allow (68.3).

March Madness Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes -10.5

Quick Picks - Midwest Bracket (Thursday March 17)

- South Dakota State +2.5 vs Providence

- Kansas -21.5 vs Texas Southern

- San Diego State -2

West Region

Arkansas Razorbacks (4) vs Vermont Catamounts (13)
DateThursday March 17
Time9.20pm ET
VenueKeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
TVTNT

The Match Up

The FIFA World Cup usually produces a “group of death” every four years. In the 2022 March Madness bracket, one could call the collection of teams in the West the “region of death.” This region contains several teams that can be considered March Madness championship contenders: Gonzaga, Duke, Memphis, UConn, and Michigan State all bring championship-winning potential to the table.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are a strong group and deserve their number four seeding, but they have received a very dangerous draw in their March Madness first round matchup - the Vermont Catamounts. Arkansas will run and gun from the get-go against a Vermont team that can both shoot (57% from the floor) and rebound. The Razorbacks’ underlying statistical numbers take a hit when they play away from home and their ‘against the spread’ (ATS) record playing on a neutral court is 3-3 (50%). Vermont has been defeated only one time since early December: the Catamounts know how to win.

The One to Watch: Ryan Davis, Vermont

Vermont’s senior forward, Ryan Davis is the reigning America East conference player of the year. He’s solid from the free throw line and is an impressive 59% from the field. Davis takes good shots and plays efficiently.

  • Vermont won their three conference tournament games by an average of 36-points.

  • Vermont is 8-1 ATS when playing on more than four days’ rest.

  • Arkansas is 3-3 (50%) ATS in games played on a neutral court

  • Arkansas is 2-5 (28.6%) ATS

The Pick: Vermont +5

Quick Picks - West Bracket (Thursday March 17)

- New Mexico State +6.5

- Boise State +3

Wright State (16) vs Bryant (16)
DateWednesday March 16
Time6.40pm ET
VenueUD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
TVtruTV, Hulu

We enter the second day of March Madness first four in Dayton, Ohio! Today, the first matchup is between No. 16 seeds Bryant and Wright State. The Raiders enter the contest favored by 3.5 points.

Bryant was a Division 2 powerhouse before moving onto the Division One level in 2009 under Tim O'Shea. After some struggles, Bryant pivoted to long-time Iona assistant Jared Grasso, who has changed the trajectory of Bryant Basketball - the Bulldogs went 18-2 in Northeast Conference play en route to appearing in the March Madness schedule for the first time in program history. Star scorer Peter Kiss led the charge, averaging 25.1 points. The Bulldogs have the 7th fastest adjusted offensive tempo per KenPom and the Bulldogs attempt threes on 44 percent of possessions.

Scott Nagy's Raiders have made it onto the March Madness bracket in a year where they struggled at times but found their stride when it mattered. To get in the NCAA Tournament, Wright State defeated two of the top three seeds in the Horizon League tournament. Standout forward Grant Basile enjoyed a breakout season, boosting his numbers to 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Basile wasn't the Wright State player on the All-Horizon League first team despite the lofty numbers - that was leading scorer Tanner Holden, posting just under 20 PPG.

Wright State started the year 1-7 mostly due to defensive struggles - those issues subsided a touch through the final stretch of the year, albeit they were still not great. They'll look to find ways to slow down the lethal scoring attack from Kiss and Charles Pride. Neither team prides itself on defensive play, so expect a much different game style than the 16-seed first four games yesterday.

Bryant one to watch: Hall Elisias

Bryant has to hold Basile in check, or it could lead to a massive Wright State advantage. Luckily for the Bulldogs, Elisias ranks 16th nationally in block rate. He's reliable in post-defense situations, but the Raiders could try stretching the floor with Basile to pull the elite shot-blocker away from his comfort zone.

Wright State one to watch: Trey Calvin

The Raiders don't win the Horizon League title game without Trey Calvin's 21-point effort, including the game-winning jumper. He's the third scoring option, but he doesn't panic in late-game situations.

Numbers to know:

Wright State is 14-19 ATS

Bryant is 16-13-1 ATS

March Madness Pick:

- Wright State -3.5

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11) vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11)
DateWednesday March 16
Time9.10pm ET
VenueUD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
TVtruTV, Hulu

The March Madness bracket has been established and before round one tips off, the March Madness first four contests decide who completes the tournament line-up. One of these contests involves Rutgers from the Big 10 conference taking on Notre Dame from the Atlantic Coast Conference. This is an intriguing first four matchup and the winner will take on Alabama, who has March Madness championship game aspirations.

Notre Dame is dangerous from 3-point land, shooting a scorching 42% from beyond the arc over their past three games - they rank 20th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage. The Irish also limit turnovers ranking 22nd in that category. The ability to hit threes and stinginess protecting the ball is a lethal combination and a big reason why Notre Dame finished top three in their conference standings. Notre Dame has shown a small profit against the spread (ATS) this season holding an overall 17-15 (53.1%) ATS record.

Rutgers qualifies for the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the second time in school history. The Scarlet Knights hold a 6-8 straight-up all-time record in NCAA tournament games and from a point spread perspective this season, they are an unprofitable 14-16 (46.7%) ATS. Rutgers, led by All-American guard/forward Ron Harper Jr, played good basketball against tough Big 10 opponents over the final month of the regular season. However, the Scarlet Knights covered the spread once in their last six games.

The One to Watch: Blake Wesley

Blake Wesley leads the Irish with 14.6 points per game and has scored in double digits in nine out of Notre Dame’s last 10 contests. Admittedly, Wesley looked tired as the Irish bowed out of their first ACC tournament game, however, the five days rest will serve him well. Offensively, Wesley is no stranger to stepping up in big games. Earlier this season vs Kentucky, he scored a team-high 14-points and shot 50% from the floor and 40% from beyond the arc.

Summary

• Notre Dame’s three-point percentage ranks 20th in the country.

• Notre Dame holds an overall 17-15 (53.1%) ATS record this season.

• Rutgers holds a 6-8 straight-up all-time record in NCAA tournament games

• Rutgers holds an unprofitable 14-16 (46.7%) ATS record this season.

March Madness Pick:

- Notre Dame -1

Texas Southern vs Texas A+M Corpus Christi
DateTuesday March 15
Time6.40pm ET
VenueUD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
TVtruTV, Sling TV

The March Madness bracket has been released but before the real fun starts on Thursday the March Madness first four contests will take place. The first of those contests pits Texas Southern against Texas A+M Corpus-Christi. The winner will be slotted as the 16th seed in the Midwest region, which places them in a first-round matchup vs the Kansas Jayhawks - a March Madness final four contender.

The champion of the Southwest Athletic Conference, the Texas Southern Tigers, return to the March Madness schedule for the second year in a row. Texas Southern’s defense is elite as the Tigers rank a strong #26 nationally in defensive efficiency while holding opponents to under 40% shooting from the field. The Tigers have been a mildly profitable team this season as they have covered the point spread at a 55.2% clip. As a favorite however, they have not been profitable, covering the spread in only 47.6% of their games in 2021-2022.

Texas A+M Corpus Christi, winners of the Southland Conference, come into this game winners of 13 out of their last 15 contests and hold an impressive against the spread (ATS) record of 20-10 (66.7%) for the season. Texas A+M Corpus Christi is shooting 75% from the free throw line, which is head and shoulders above Texas Southern’s 67% mark, good for 319th in all of Division 1 college basketball. The Islanders are a well-coached team with veteran players that should rise to the occasion as underdogs in this March Madness first four matchup.

The one to watch: Isaac Mushila

Texas A+M Corpus Christi junior forward Isaac Mushila isn’t a scoring machine, but he takes good shots and is a relentless rebounder. Mushila had double digit rebounds in both the Southland Conference semifinal and championship game, which is a big reason why the Islanders stamped their ticket to March Madness. Look for Mushila to continue his success on the boards in this matchup.

Summary

• Texas A+M Corpus Christi holds an 11-3 ATS record in its last 14 games as an underdog.

• Texas A+M Corpus Christi holds a 20-10 (66.7%) ATS record this season.

• Texas Southern holds a 10-11 (47.6%) ATS record when favored.

• Texas Southern holds a 7-9 (43.8%) ATS record in games after a win.

March Madness Pick:

- Texas A+M Corpus Christi +4

Wyoming Cowboys vs Indiana Hoosiers
DateTuesday March 15
Time9.10pm ET
VenueUD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
TVtruTV, Sling TV

The March Madness first four begins today as teams try to enter the bracket for the Round of 64. Wyoming and Indiana, the last teams to earn at large bids into the March Madness bracket, will face each other, and the winner will play No.5-seeded Saint Mary's on Thursday.

Indiana narrowly entered the field, and missing the tournament would've made five consecutive tournaments without the Hoosiers. Superstar forward Trayce Jackson-Davis averages 18.1 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting an improved 58% from the field. In three Big Ten tournament games, 'TJD' scored 24 points, 21 points, and 31 points, respectively.

Jackson-Davis is the Hoosiers constant, but the guards is the piece capable of taking Indiana to another level, starting with experienced point guard Xavier Johnson, who's averaging 12.3 points and 5.0 assists in 32 games. Perimeter shooting options Miller Kopp and Parker Stewart add an extra element to the attack from three-point range if TJD gets doubled inside.

Wyoming is a different team to watch – what I mean by that is 6ft 7in point guard Hunter Maldonado does the brunt of his work backing down opposing guards to either get a look inside or find a shooter. He's averaging 18.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in his senior campaign.

I'm so curious to see the matchup between Indiana's star TJD and Graham Ike, a second-team All-Mountain West selection who is averaging 19.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, but he hasn't played great recently. Ike averaged only 13.8 points while shooting 34% from the field in the Cowboys 2-3 stretch late. With his physicality, it really depends if the refs call fouls or not because there were some pretty clear missed calls during those games. The Cowboys attempt threes on 41.8% of their possessions but only shot 33% from outside despite having good shooters. IF the Cowboys don't hit shots, it could be a long night for Wyoming.

One to watch for Wyoming: Drake Jeffries

Jeffries lets it fly from three - taking 224 threes on 239 shots this season! Only 15 shots from two-point range. He's an absolute sharpshooter that can hit five triples on any given night.

One to watch for Indiana: Race Thompson

The senior forward is Indiana's third-leading scorer with an average of 11.6 points and plays a valuable role for Mike Woodson. He's done a terrific job complementing Jackson-Davis this season in the frontcourt.

Score prediction: Indiana 78-70 Wyoming

Wyoming isn't playing well at the wrong time, while Indiana played their way into the tournament. I'm going with the Hoosiers to cover the -4 spread.

March Madness Pick:

- Indiana (-4)

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NCAAB Odds

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Odds updated: Jun 28, 2:08 AM UTC

NCAAB Standings

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  • Division
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  • All Divisions
Team Conf W L Pct Home Away Div Ats OU
1 Vermont Vermont 17-1 25 5 .833 14-0 11-5 0-0 16-13-0 17-12-0
2 UMBC UMBC 11-7 16 13 .552 10-4 6-9 0-0 13-15-0 15-13-0
3 Stony Brook Stony Brook 10-8 18 13 .581 13-4 5-9 0-0 12-18-0 19-11-0
4 New Hampshire New Hampshire 10-8 15 12 .556 10-3 5-9 0-0 13-12-0 10-15-0
5 Albany Albany 9-9 13 17 .433 4-9 9-8 0-0 13-15-2 11-19-0
6 Hartford Hartford 9-9 11 19 .367 6-5 5-14 0-0 15-15-0 18-10-2
7 Binghamton Binghamton 8-10 11 16 .407 5-8 6-8 0-0 12-12-1 10-15-0
8 Massachusetts Lowell Massachusetts Lowell 7-11 15 15 .500 9-6 6-9 0-0 14-13-0 11-16-0
9 NJIT NJIT 6-12 11 17 .393 6-8 5-9 0-0 13-14-0 12-15-0
10 Maine Maine 3-15 6 23 .207 5-9 1-14 0-0 12-13-1 16-10-0

Last updated: Jun 28, 2:08 AM UTC

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