The signs of spring are here. Ignore the weather and focus in on March Madness and you’ll realize that old man winter is almost out the door. In a college basketball season where we enter the NCAA Tournament with the country’s only undefeated team (Wichita State) not as a prohibited favorite, March Madness should be full of excitement and thrilling finishes. Any team can win a game at any given time, and if your a gambler that can wreak havoc on your bank roll if you’re not careful.
There can definitely be money made here, but with so many plays, people sometimes make stretch bets on a game they know nothing about. Keep focused and make wagers on games that you have knowledge about, that is how you’ll make your profit.
Here are my top plays for the First Four and First Round of the NCAA Tournament, good luck if you decide to ride along.
Tennessee Volunteers(+1) to cover against Iowa Hawkeyes
Tennessee played some great basketball against Florida in the SEC semi-finals but eventually lost 56-49 to the number one team in the nation. Not bad for a team having to play in the First Four to earn a birth into round 1 of the tournament. Tennessee, who has been mired in controversy all year long, should get it together long enough to beat a very normal Iowa team. Look for Jarnell Stokes to get his 20th double-double of the year and Tennessee’s defense to hold a good Iowa offense in check.
Dayton Flyers(+6) to cover against Ohio State Buckeyes
The Flyers are a well balanced team with a deep bench that contributes on a nightly basis. Although they lost early in the Atlantic Tournament, I expect them to put up a good fight against the Buckeyes. They’ve shot well from the field (.466) all year long and play well on the road (8-5). Look for this to be a hard fought game that comes down to the wire.
Harvard Crimson(+3) to cover against Cincinnati Bearcats
Just because Harvard is an Ivy League school, don’t think that they can’t play ball. They run an effective offense and can score in bunches. The Bearcats have trouble at the offensive end and will have to find another scorer to compliment Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson to have a chance to keep up in this one. Harvard wins straight up.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks(+6 1/2) to cover against Virginia Commonwealth Rams
The Lumberjacks strength of schedule isn’t the greatest but they have been murdering teams during their 28-game win streak. The winning margin during that streak for the Lumberjacks is 15.5 points, the team has to be confident. VCU matches up well but is giving up 6.5 points to a team that hasn’t lost since November, I’ll take it.
New Mexico Lobos(-41/2) to cover against Stanford Cardinal
Cameron Bairstow and the Lobos won the Mountain West Conference, which means little in the basketball world, and must have a chip on their shoulders after being downgraded to a seven seed. Stanford’s a tough team, but are beatable most nights because they just seemed to take games off during a very tough schedule. If they do that against New Mexico, it could be a very long game for the Cardinal.
Bracket Winners First Four, Round One and Two, straight up
First Four Winners
Tennessee, Albany, Xavier and Texas Southern
Round One Winners
Florida, Pittsburgh, SF Austin, UCLA, Ohio State, Syracuse, New Mexico, Kansas, Virginia, George Washington, Harvard, Michigan State, Providence, Iowa State, Saint Joseph’s, Villanova, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Baylor, Creighton, Oregon, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Kansas State, Xavier, Louisville, UMass, Duke, Arizona State, Michigan
Round Two Winners
Florida, SF Austin, Syracuse, New Mexico, Virginia, Michigan State, Iowa State, Villanova, Oklahoma State, San Diego State, Baylor, Wisconsin, Wichita State, Louisville, Duke, Michigan
Hopefully my bracket turns out to be perfect, and I win a billion dollars thanks to Warren Buffet. The odds are only 9.2 quintillion-to-one…, I have a chance!