March 17, 2018
There are 3 picks today.
#1: Take Duke -9 spread (buy the half point) against Rhode Island for 3% of the bankroll.
We must give credit where credit is due, and the Rhode Island Rams are a solid team. They are coming off a hard-fought, overtime victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Round of 64. While they were impressive in closing the game out in overtime, we believe their good fortunes are going to be halted as they are about to run into a buzz saw that is the Duke Blue Devils.
Duke is arguably the most balanced and talent-filled team in the tournament this season. They are potent on the offensive side of the ball with big man Marvin Bagley down low and impressive spot up shooter like Grayson Allen who can do damage both in the lane and from the perimeter. As explosive as their offense is, their defense has been just as good, holding their opponents to just 39% shooting from the field, which is going to prove to be problematic for the Rams in this contest.
Duke is also the bigger (and longer) team in this matchup which is going to give them an advantage on the both the offensive and defensive glass. The Rams were outrebounded severely against the Sooners, and Oklahoma has not been a good rebounding team this season. The Rams offense also struggled against the Sooners very porous defense. They are going to find that the points are going to be at a premium for them in this contest, especially given their knack for going on cold offensive spells from time to time. That is simply not going to cut it against a team the caliber of Duke.
The Blue Devils appear to be a team on a mission at the moment and while Rhode Island may keep this game close in the early going, the deeper into the game it gets, the more we are going to see the gap in talent present itself. Unless Duke make an above average amount of mistakes that helps keep Rhode Island in the game, Coach K's team should cruise to a fairly easy double-digit victory.
#2: Take Loyola-Chicago +5.5 spread against Tennessee for 3% of the bankroll.
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers managed to pull off an impressive 'upset' of the Miami Hurricanes in the Round of 64. We use the term 'upset' very loosely as they were one of the lower seeded teams that many expected would advance past the opening round.
The Ramblers now have a chance to 'shock the world' against as they matchup up extremely well against a somewhat vulnerable Tennessee Volunteer team. The Volunteers absolutely ran through Wright State in their opening round contest, which will likely have them a bit overconfident heading into this matchup and possibly looking ahead to advancing to the Sweet 16; which would be a mistake. The Ramblers are no strangers to taking down big named opponents and their victory over the Hurricanes will likely only add to their confidence. They are not a team that will overlook a matchup with Tennessee by any means and will undoubtedly be ready for the challenge.
The Ramblers were crushed on the boards against Miami, which is the only reason the game was as close as it was. The Volunteers are a solid rebounding team and will hold the advantage on the glass unless the Loyola players get more aggressive around the rim. We have already seen how dangerous they can be with both their inside and outside shooting, so if they can fight and win some of the 50-50 balls, they will have a good shot to not only keep this game close, but potentially win it outright.
This should be an entertaining game to watch. Tennessee is by far the bigger named program, however, the talent level between these two teams is not much different. We believe this is a true toss-up game, with both teams having a path to victory. IT should be close throughout in which case, the points could become valuable.
#3: Take Seton Hall +5 spread (buy the half point) against Kansas for 3% of the bankroll.
The Kansas Jayhawks have been playing well for the last couple of weeks, however, the fact can't be overlooked that this is not the same type of Kansas team that we have become accustomed to seeing from Bill Self. Yes, they are talented, but this year's Kansas team is young, and they are vulnerable, which has been evidenced numerous times this season.
The Seton Hall Pirates are one of the more experienced teams in the tournament and it certainly showed in their impressive performance against the NC State Wolfpack. The Pirates are not a team that makes mistakes and beats themselves and that could be an advantage in this contest against a Jayhawks team that has thrived of capitalizing on team’s mistakes. The Pirates are also an exceptional rebounding team, which will be a huge advantage in this contest as they have the size and length to give the Jayhawks players problems on the glass.
Given that Seton Hall is a very efficient shooting team, gaining those second and perhaps third chance opportunities will allow Hall to continually pile points on the board. On the defensive side, being able to clean up defensive misses and holding Kansas to single shot opportunities could go a long way in containing the Jayhawks' offense and play a pivotal role in the outcome of the game.
Kansas struggled in their opening round matchup before pulling away in the second half, but they can't afford to start slow against this Seton Hall team. They are playing with a ton of confidence at the moment and given the history of early exits by Bill Self's teams, all the pressure to perform is on the Jayhawks in this contest and we expect that to affect their overall game. This should be a highly entertain and high scoring game, but Seton Hall should be able to keep this one close and possibly contend for the outright victory.
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