West Region
Friday, March 21st 4:40 PM EST on TNT
9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs 8 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Game Line: Oklahoma State -2  Game Total: 139 (from BetOnline)

The Oklahoma State Cowboys take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA tournament in San Diego, California. The Cowboys come into this matchup off a Big 12 quarterfinal loss to Kansas. Gonzaga won the WCC regular season and postseason tournament, and were really never tested in their conference this season. The Cowboys had a mid-season 7 game losing streak, but really picked up their play toward the end, winning 5 out of their last 6 games including a win over Kansas. The only loss was an 85-81 overtime loss at Iowa State, the eventual winner of the Big 12 conference tournament. The Cowboys average 80.3 ppg while shooting 46.5% from the field. The Gonzaga Bulldogs were never really challenged this year in the WCC, only losing 3 conference games all on the road. They come into the tournament with some momentum, winners of 5 games in a row. One negative about Gonzaga this season is they don’t own a win against a ranked opponent. They did play Memphis tough on the road, but lost 60-54.

If there is a game on the board I see value in, it’s this one. Gonzaga winning their conference and only being a 9 seed speaks volumes. They did play 2 teams in the Big 12, losing to Kansas State and winning at home against West Virginia. I can see Oklahoma State’s defense giving Gonzaga some serious problems. The Bulldogs had turnover issues all season, and Oklahoma State is one of the best teams in terms of turnover margin. I’ll lay the small number with the Cowboys, as I see their superior backcourt in Marcus Smart and Markel Brown leading their team to the third round.

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Gonzaga Bulldogs Free NCAABB Pick: Oklahoma State -2 Over 139
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Gonzaga Bulldogs Game Prediction: Oklahoma State 75 Gonzaga 68

 

East Region
Friday, March 21st 7:20 PM EST on TNT
11 Providence Friars vs. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels
Game Line: North Carolina -4 Game Total: 143 (from BetOnline)

The Big East champion Providence Friars take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round of the NCAA tournament in San Antonio, Texas. North Carolina was one of the hotter teams down the stretch, but lost their regular season finale to Duke, and were knocked out of the ACC tournament by Pitt in the quarterfinals. Providence made a heck of a run in the Big East tournament, winning the championship by defeating Creighton 65-58. The Friars are coming in to Friday’s game winners of 6 out of their last seven games.

North Carolina is averaging 76.3 ppg while shooting 46.3 ppg, led by guard Marcus Paige (17.4 ppg). They are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, grabbing 39.8 boards per game and leading the charge in the paint is James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson, together averaging more than 12 rebounds per contest. The Friars sure have a lot of momentum winning the Big East crown. They are led by standout senior Bryce Cotton, who is averaging 21.3 ppg and continues to make big shots in the clutch. Providence is averaging 73.2 ppg, while shooting 42.5% from the field with a 1.17 assist to turnover ratio. Providence has had their problems taking care of the basketball, as they rank near the bottom of the conference in terms of fewest turnovers.

As previously stated, Providence has a lot of momentum coming into this matchup, and might seem like the sexy pick for an upset. North Carolina looked absolutely awful against Pitt, and their shot selection was horrible. The Tar Heels however have the better coach, and that’s why I’m laying the points with North Carolina on Friday. The Friars definitely have the talent to pull off the upset, but I can’t see North Carolina losing. The Carolina defense will give Providence fits, and as far as rebounding is concerned, North Carolina has too much size for Providence. The Heels also defend the perimeter extremely well, which is a strength for the Friars. I expect North Carolina to really turn it around after the poor performances in the past two games. Providence winning would make a great story, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Providence Friars vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Free NCAABB Pick: North Carolina -4 Under 143
Providence Friars vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Game Prediction: North Carolina 70 Providence 58

 

South Region
Friday, March 21st 9:57 PM EST on truTV
13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. 4 UCLA Bruins
Game Line: UCLA -9.5 Game Total: 145.5 (from BetOnline)

The Pac-12 tournament champion UCLA Bruins take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to close out the second round of the NCAA tournament from San Diego, California. To say that UCLA has turned it up a notch would be an understatement; they’ve won 5 out of their last 6 games and had quite the impressive run in the Pac-12 tournament. The Bruins defeated Oregon 82-63, blew out Stanford 84-59, and defeated Arizona 75-71 in the conference final. They are one of the highest scoring teams in the country averaging 81.8 ppg while shooting 49% from the field and are led by Jordan Adams (17.2 ppg), who is one of the better scorers in the country.

Tulsa punched their ticket to the tournament winning the Conference-USA tournament beating Louisiana Tech 69-60. In case you didn’t know, their coach knows a thing or two about being in the NCAA tournament, as Danny Manning has done one heck of a coaching job. Tulsa comes in to Friday’s matchup winners of 11 in a row, averaging 73.1 ppg while shooting 44.2% from the field. Tulsa does make it difficult for opponents on the defensive end, limiting opponents to 40.3% shooting from the field. They also rank 27th in the country in turnover margin (2.7).

I really like this game to go over the total of 145.5. Both teams can score in bunches, and this could be one of the more entertaining games of the day. As far as the side goes, I like the dog here. Tulsa has a lot of momentum coming into this game with their 11 game win streak. UCLA is coming off a huge win against Arizona (a #1 seed) winning the Pac-12 title. I’m sure they’ll be focused, but to what level? After such a big win, there is usually a letdown. I know this is the NCAA tournament, but you have to wonder how much intensity will be brought to the table by the Bruins. I expect Tulsa to hang around, even though UCLA has really turned it up on the defensive end as of late, I don’t know if that level of play can continue with the almost week long layoff. I see a high scoring game with Tulsa making it interesting and giving the Bruins all they can handle.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. UCLA Bruins Free NCAABB Pick: Tulsa +9.5 Over 145.5
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. UCLA Bruins Game Prediction: UCLA 82 Tulsa 76

 

 

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