Archives for March 2011

Butler vs. VCU Final 4 Vegas Line, Picks & Score Prediction

#8 Butler Bulldogs (-2.5) vs. #11 VCU Rams (133.5)

My, what a game in store for us in this one! The number of teams from mid major conferences that have been to the Final Four is awfully small as it is, but we have never seen two teams from the non-Big Six conferences squaring off for the right to go to the finale on the first Monday of April before this.

VCU is that team that just keeps beating you up the way that little guys do. The Rams just keep shooting threes, and they aren’t worried about apologizing for missing a ton of them. They have converted on 49 triples already in this tournament, and they have three games with at least a dozen converts from beyond the arc. Needless to say, when you can hit shots like that on a consistent basis, you can sway momentum on your side, and it is that momentum that every team in its path has failed to combat.

The Rams play deceptively fast ball, as they full court press you for the majority of the game and try to get that tempo going. The faster they play, the better they play, and it gives them more chances to knock down three pointers in transition.

Head Coach Shaka Smart has two bona fide stars to rely on in Joey Rodriguez at point guard and Jamie Skeen at center. Skeen, a transfer from Wake Forest, is coming off of the game of his life against the Kansas Jayhawks in which he stood toe to toe with both Marcus and Markieff Morris, arguably the best front court duo in the entire country. Rodriguez doesn’t really score all that much, but he is sneaky in his ways and can knock down long shots as easily as he can set up a teammate for an open look.

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However, there’s just something about this Butler team that is stunning to us. The Bulldogs might have lost a lot more games this year than they probably should have, but they play like a Big East team. They’re a lot bigger than you think they are, and they play with a certain grit and tenacity about them. Sure, Butler can knock down some outside shots, but with Matt Howard on the inside, the post is where this team really makes its headway.

This Butler team is on the longest winning streak in America at 13 games, and there is no doubt in our minds that they return to the Final 4 with unfinished business stemming over to last season. The Dogs want back in the title game, and they want to finish what they started last year to bring a title back to Hinkle Fieldhouse. It’s been a nice run for VCU, just as it was for the George Mason Patriots five years ago, but just like with Mason, the Rams will be ousted one step short of the finale.

Prediction: Butler 65 – VCU 60

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2011 Final Four Betting Tips: Kentucky vs. UConn & Butler vs. VCU

We have now reached the Final Four of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, and in the immortal words of the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

As you probably know, we have analyzed how each individual seed has done in every round of the tournament over the last 10 years, and we have already presented our findings though the Elite Eight. However, much of our research for the Final Four is moot since all four top seeds are out this year and the 2011 Final Four consists of a three seed, a four seed, an eight seed and an 11 seed!

Remember, this is after 39 of the 40 Final Four participants since the 2001 NCAA Tournament had been teams seeded fifth or higher, with only the 11th seeded George Mason Patriots crashing the party in 2006. Furthermore, there is guaranteed to be either an eight seed or an 11 seed in the National Championship Game this year after no team seeded higher than fifth reached the Finals the last 10 years.

Favorites Hitting 60% ATS L10 Years

Before taking a more detailed look at the two Final Four matchups, please note that the favorites have done quite well in the Final Four round over the last 10 years. The chalk has gone 12-8, 60.0 percent against the Final 4 odds in this round since 2001, and that includes both favorites covering in the Final Four round last season with Duke beating West Virginia handily and Butler beating Michigan State.

Kentucky Wildcats (4) vs. Connecticut Huskies (3): This matchup obviously has more data available for this round over the last 10 years than the other matchup does. A total of six #3 seeds have reached the Final Four since 2001, and they are 3-3 both straight up and against the spread. It should be noted however that only once was the #3 seed the higher seed like Connecticut is here, and that resulted in an easy covering win by the Florida Gators over the Cinderella George Mason Patriots in 2005.

Somewhat surprisingly, Kentucky is just the third fourth seed to have reached the Final Four in 11 years, and the two previous ones each got hammered while losing ATS, as Louisville lost by 15 points to top seeded Illinois in 2005 and LSU lost by 14 points to second seeded UCLA in 2006. Thus, all the seeding trends point to third seeded Connecticut in this contest, but that actually flies in the face of the general success the favorites have had in this round, as the lower seeded Wildcats are actually two-point favorites in this contest.

With the seeding trends conflicting with the overall favorite trend, we will defer to the Pomeroy Ratings and make our selection Kentucky -2.

VCU Rams (11) vs. Butler Bulldogs (8): After having only one team seeded higher than fifth reach the Final Four the last 10 years, we have two such higher seeds facing each other this year. As stated, earlier, 11th seeded George Mason got trounced by Florida in 2005. Well, at least you can say that 11 seeds are 0-1 and eighth seeds are 0-0, right? Also, Butler does fall under the successful favorite trend in this round.

Given the limited seeding data, that will have to do, so we are going with Butler -2½.

Lock it down peeps: Butler/Kentucky for all the marbles!

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2011 Final 4 Dates, Game Times, Odds, Predictions

2011 Final Four Information:

Final Four Dates: Saturday, April 2nd
2011 NCAA Championship Game Date: Monday, April 4th
Final Four Location: Houston, Texas
Final Four Arena: Reliant Arena
Final 4 TV: CBS
Final 4 Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr
Current Odds to win the 2011 Final 4: CLICK HERE

2011 Final 4 Games Schedule & Odds:

– Final 4 Game 1: 6:05pm (EST) – Butler Bulldogs (-2.5 points) vs. VCU Rams
– Final 4 Game 2: 8:45pm (EST) – Connecticut Huskies (+2 points) vs. Kentucky Wildcats
– Championship Game: 9:20pm (EST) – Connecticut Huskies (-3 points) vs. Butler Bulldogs

2011 Final 4 Predictions:

Butler vs. VCU Prediction
UConn vs. Kentucky Prediction
UConn vs. Butler Prediction

Elite 8 Vegas Odds & Score Predictions: UNC-Kentucky & Kansas-VCU

#4 Kentucky Wildcats (-1) vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (146.5)

The Wildcats and Tar Heels are used to playing each other, as they do so almost every single season. North Carolina has gotten the better of the proceedings of late, winning seven out of eight and going 7-0-1 ATS over the course of that stretch.

Both of these teams are really peaking at the right time. Kentucky clearly had its best game of the season against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday night, accounting for one of the biggest upsets of the dance. The Wildcats didn’t have any fantastic numbers over the course of their upset, but they all came together right at the perfect time.

North Carolina was a marginal team over the course of the first month or two of the season, but it has really hit its stride starting in the ACC campaign. The Heels have gotten great play out of their bigs, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson. These three are averaging well over 60 points per game in this tournament between them, and if they can come up with that type of production in this one, there is no way that the “upset” is going to happen. Back the Tar Heels on the Elite 8 lines.

Prediction: North Carolina 77 – Kentucky 74

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#11 VCU Rams (+10.5) vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks (147.5)

If you’re a believer in history repeating itself, you have to wonder if the Rams aren’t going to win this game. After all, the 2006 George Mason Patriots were basically in the exact same boat. They were a No. 11 seed. They took out a middling seed and beat some big boys as well along the way to get into the Elite 8. Then they knocked out the bona fide favorite to win it all to get to the Final Four… And quite ironically, the team that beat them in the Final Four was the Florida Gators, who they could match up with this year as well if an upset of KU occurs.

However, the bad news for VCU is that Head Coach Bill Self has been preaching history not repeating itself in this tournament. We all know that the Jayhawks have been trying to erase the memories of that loss to the Northern Iowa Panthers from last season, and the good news for them is that they have run up against seemingly every single mid major available in this tournament.

Kansas has a ton of talent, namely in the form of the Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus. However, those two really didn’t have a fantastic game against the Richmond Spiders, yet The Jayhawks still cruised to the comfortable neutral court win and cover.

So instead, we’ll have a nice compromise in this one. The Rams will pick up the cover, but Kansas will end up in the Final Four, where it will continue to be the big time favorite of the bunch.

Prediction: Kansas 71 – VCU 64

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Elite 8 Historical Trends & Betting Tips Past 10 Years

We are now continuing our series on how each individual seed has done in each round of the NCAA Tournament over the past 10 years, moving on to the Elite Eight, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday of this week.

Interestingly, no number nine seed has made it to the Elite Eight since the 2001 Tournament, but yet two 10th seeds, two 11th seeds and one 12th seed have. Well, it has been a repeat performance for the nine seeds this season, as none have made it even as far as the Sweet 16! Meanwhile, there are still five double-digit seeds that have a chance to crack the Elite Eight.

One seeds: The Elite Eight Round has been the round where the most top seeds have bitten the dust. The 31 that have made it to this point have gone a very mediocre 17-14 straight up with a slim average winning margin of +1.3 points. These top seeds are a poor 12-19, 38.7 percent against the spread. Thus, it is really no wonder that only once have all four top seeds advanced to the Final Four.

Two seeds: A total of 18 two seeds have reached the Elite Eight the last 10 years, and they are 10-8 straight up and 9-8-1 ATS. However, the breakdown of that record is interesting, as the two seeds are a good 8-5, 61.5 percent both straight up and ATS when facing one seeds in the Elite Eight, yet stand just 2-3 straight up and 1-3-1 ATS when facing lower seeds.

Three seeds: A total of 12 third seeds that have made the Elite Eight, and they are just 6-6 straight up and 7-5 against the spread. However, those numbers become significant when you consider that only once in the last 10 Elite Eights has a three seed been the higher seeded team, and moreover, the three seed has amazingly been the underdog in all 12 Elite Eight appearances! Therefore, at 6-6, the Money Line has been profitable.

Four seeds: The four seeds have underperformed over the entire tournament, and thus just a disappointing three fourth seeds have reached the Elite Eight since 2001. The three that did get this far have gone 2-1 straight up but only 1-2 ATS. Furthermore, the lone cover came in an underdog role, meaning that the underdogs are 3-0 ATS in Elite Eight games involving four seeds.

Five seeds: In one of the quirkiest oddities of the entire tournament, the five seeds have gone a perfect 4-0 in the Elite Eight both straight up and against the spread! Half of that success came last year, with a couple of five seeds in Butler and Michigan State both advancing to the Final Four. Beware UConn fans, Arizona is of course a #5 seed.

– No six or seven seeds have made it as far as the Sweet 16 this season.

Eight seeds: Only one eight seed has made the Elite Eight since 2001, and that was the 2004 Alabama team, which got destroyed by the eventual National Champions from Connecticut. Butler is only the second eighth seed to qualify for the Elite Eight in 11 years.

– The five double-digit seeds to reach the Elite Eight since 2001 have gone 2-3 ATS, with only 11th seeded George Mason winning outright to reach the Final Four.

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Elite 8 Odds & Score Predictions: Butler vs. Florida & UConn vs. Arizona

#8 Butler Bulldogs (+3) vs. #2 Florida Gators (132)

Is it just us, or are the Gators really doing nothing but living their past in this NCAA Tournament? They have already taken out the UCLA Bruins, a team that they played in the National Championship Game a few years ago, and now they avenged the loss from last year’s title game against the BYU Cougars. Up next is Butler, a team that it has played in two occasions in March Madness betting action.

These two teams play a very similar style of ball, as both have a few bona fide stars, and both look to slow down the game just a bit, but not quite to a snail’s pace. The Bulldogs are once against the real Cinderellas of this tournament, and save for the winner of the VCU/Florida State game, they will likely be the highest seed left in the dance when it is said and done coming into the weekend.

Butler has a great chance to beat the NCAA Tournament betting lines in this one, if for no other reason that it is just full of mojo right now. Florida just doesn’t feel like a team that is full of magic, and though there are a number of potential threats on this team, we just prefer the way that Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack are playing right now.

Prediction: Butler 67 – Florida 63

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#5 Arizona Wildcats (+2.5) vs. #3 Connecticut Huskies (144.5)

This is a game for all of the doubters out there. Arizona is a team that no one really saw coming out of the West Region, but it definitely has a true home court advantage here in Anaheim that was on display in the big time upset of the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night. UConn was the No. 9 seed in the Big East Tournament, and it was probably looking at a No. 7 seed or so before that run all the way through the tourney at Madison Square Garden. One of these two will find the end of the road here in Anaheim, but when push comes to shove, one will be a very scary contender for all of the marbles.

Derrick Williams was never supposed to be able to match the Dookies eye to eye, but he continues to prove that he is one of the best big men in the entire country, both on the inside and on the outside. Kemba Walker was good enough to go on a 14-1 run on his own against the San Diego State Aztecs that swayed the tide of that game as well in the Elite 8.

Still, we just don’t know how much longer Connecticut can keep this up for. The Huskies just have to fall eventually, and home court advantage could finally make the difference once and for all in their magical run. Back the Cats to continue to roll and punch their ticket to the Final 4.

Prediction: Arizona 80 – Connecticut 73

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Sweet 16 Betting Lines & Score Predictions 2011

#3 BYU Cougars (+3) vs. #2 Florida Gators (149)

This is a great rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament, as the Gators were knocked out of the dance in the first round by the Cougs. Florida returns basically its entire team from last season, but the problem is that BYU also has back Jimmer Fredette. Unless Head Coach Billy Donovan has figured out something magical that no one else has, Jimmer Mania should once again run rampant. Advantage: Jimmer.

Prediction: BYU 80 – Florida 72

#8 Butler Bulldogs (+5) vs. #4 Wisconsin Badgers (124)

We just can’t leave this number on the board. Time has to be running out on the Bulldogs. They just can’t be this good to be able to take down monster after monster in the dance. The Badgers look to have the consistent team in place that should be able to finish off the job that Pittsburgh and Old Dominion started.

Prediction: Wisconsin 60 – Butler 50

#3 Connecticut Huskies (pk) vs. #2 San Diego State Aztecs (130)

Home court advantage should be key here for the Aztecs. They don’t have to stop an entire team here either; just Kemba Walker. Yes, that’s easier said than done, but UConn hasn’t seen a balanced team like this with so much mojo on its side.

Prediction: San Diego State 68 – Connecticut 64

#5 Arizona Wildcats (+8.5) vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils (145)

Derrick Williams packed the Memphis Tigers, and he stuffed up the Texas Longhorns as well. Arizona, like SDSU, will have home court advantage on its side playing on the West Coast, and that should finally finish off the overhyped defending champs once and for all.

Prediction: Arizona 72 – Duke 65

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#11 Marquette Golden Eagles (+4.5) vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (149.5)

The Tar Heels were lucky just to get here to Newark, but now that they are here, they could do a ton of damage. Carolina’s bigs will be just too good here, and Marquette doesn’t have the horses to keep up like Syracuse would have had it not lost Brandon Triche midway through the game.

Prediction: North Carolina 75 – Marquette 68

#4 Kentucky Wildcats (+5.5) vs. #1 Ohio State Buckeyes (140)

Kentucky has the talent to be able to stick around in this game, but when push really comes to shove, Ohio State’s sharp shooting is just too tough. Don’t be shocked if the Cats stick inside the number, though.

Prediction: Ohio State 77 – Kentucky 74

#12 Richmond Spiders (+10.5) vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks (138)

Kansas is going to have the ultimate home court advantage just a few hours away from Lawrence. Richmond might be a nice upstart team, but the magic run ends in a big time way this week as the region’s top seed smashes Cinderella’s slipper to advance to the Elite 8.

Prediction: Kansas 80 – Richmond 65

#12 VCU Rams (+3.5) vs. #11 Florida State Seminoles (132)

FSU has withstood some of the biggest tests in the land, but this pressure defense is going to be too much to handle, especially if Chris Singleton isn’t around to deal with it. VCU’s magical run for VCU and Head Coach Shaka Smart advances into the Elite 8 with a win over the Noles.

Prediction: VCU 69 – Florida State 66

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Sweet 16 Historical Trends & Betting Tips Past 10 Years

We have now reached the Sweet 16 after an exciting first week of the NCAA Tournament that has already seen one top seed fall in Pittsburgh and most of the 11 Big East teams that made the tournament go by the wayside as well. (see Sweet 16 odds)

We now continue our round-by-round seeding trends based on all results since the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Moving on to the Sweet 16, once we get beyond the top eight seeds, it is interesting that there have been more 12 seeds to reach the Sweet 16 (8) than any other team seeded ninth or higher. Richmond has made it nine 12th seeds in 10 years this season.

Also no team seeded higher than 13th has reached the Sweet 16 in the last 10 years, and that has continued this season with Richmond being the highest remaining seed.

One seeds: A total of 36 top seeds made it past the opening weekend the last 10 years, and they are 31-5 straight up in the Sweet 16 while winning by an average of +8.8 points per game. Those clubs have mainly been good bets, going 21-15, 58.3 percent against the spread.

Two seeds: The 25 two seeds that reached the Sweet 16 have gone 18-7 straight up since 2001 while winning by an average of only +4.0 points. Due to that rather slim average winning margin, two seeds have not been good bets this round going 12-12-1 ATS. This does not bode well for San Diego State, Florida or North Carolina with the latter two favored.

Three seeds: Three seeds are 12-13 straight up and 13-12 ATS in the Sweet 16, but they have been true to form seeding wise, as they are 7-3 straight up and 6-4 ATS vs. lower seeds but only 5-10 straight up and 7-8 ATS when going up against two seeds.

**** See Sweet 16 Vegas Experts Predictions ****

Four seeds: A disappointing total of just 14 fourth seeds have reached the Sweet 16 since 2001, and they have continued to underperform, going a dismal 3-11 straight up. That could be a bad sign for Wisconsin, but the Badgers are only the second fourth seed to actually be the higher seed in this round, and the first one won and covered. All four seeds are just 7-7 ATS.

Five seeds: A total of 17 fifth seeds have reached the Sweet 16 the last 10 years, which is greater than the 14 fourth seeds that made it this far. The five seeds are just 4-13 straight up though, while going one game over .500 ATS, at 9-8. Arizona is the only five seed this year.

– No six or seven seeds have reached the Sweet 16 this year so no trends to speak of there.

Eight seeds: Two eighth seeds have made the Sweet 16 since 2001, and interestingly, the lower seeded team won each time as eighth seeded Alabama upset fifth seeded Syracuse in 2004 and the other eight seed, UCLA, got upset by 12th seeded Missouri in 2002. Butler gets another Cinderella chance this season.

– Besides the top eight seeds, two 10th seeds, two 11th seeds and one 12th seed have advanced to the Elite Eight since 2001. This year’s Sweet Sixteen includes 10th seeded Florida State, two 11th seeds in Marquette and VCU and 12th seeded Richmond.

Sunday NCAA Tournament Lines & Score Predictions

#7 Washington Huskies (+3.5) vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (156)

The Tar Heels have already played in one up and down game this tournament, and this should be no exception. The difference now is that Washington has a heck of a lot more talent than Long Island did. Don’t be shocked if this one ends in an upset as the Huskies have the speed, length and athleticism to cut the Tar Heels stay in the dance short.

Prediction: Washington 81 – North Carolina 76

#8 Michigan Wolverines (+11.5) vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils (136)

The Blue Devils might really be up against it in this one, as Michigan is really playing significantly better ball right now. Just ask the Tennessee Volunteers how strong this Michigan team is. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Darius Miller might really be able to take care of the defending champs to move on to the Sweet 16. The Wolverines have covered eight in a row and 13 of their L/14; who am I to fade that?

Prediction: Duke 68 – Michigan 66

#8 George Mason Patriots (+11) vs. #1 Ohio State Buckeyes (135)

George Mason thinks that it can be this year’s George Mason. However, that 2006 Patriots team had a bunch of inside players. These Patriots don’t. The Buckeyes could find themselves in some trouble in this one, but they won’t end up losing. Still, look for the CAA reps to give the tourneys top overall seed a major run for its money!

Prediction: Ohio State 71 – George Mason 66

#5 Arizona Wildcats (+6) vs. #4 Texas Longhorns (138.5)

Charles Barkley thinks that this is can’t miss TV, and we tend to agree with him. Derrick Williams is an absolute monster in the post, and he saved the day against Memphis on Friday. He might be the best player on the court on Sunday, but the Longhorns tenacious defense and explosive offense will be just too much for Miller’s Cats. Barnes and the Horns will punch their tickets to the Sweet 16 in very impressive fashion!

Prediction: Texas 83 – Arizona 69

#11 VCU Rams (+9) vs. #3 Purdue Boilermakers (135.5)

The Rams really did look like a tremendous team on Friday night against Georgetown, but we’re really not so sure that they can keep this up for a third game in five days. Purdue watched this one closely, and you can bet that Head Coach Matt Painter will have all of the answers. Look for the Boilers ability to hold on to the basketball frustrate the Rams enough to get them out of their game; PU marches on!

Prediction: Purdue 77 – VCU 61

**** See NCAA Tournament Expert Picks for Sunday ****

#11 Marquette Golden Eagles (+4.5) vs. #3 Syracuse Orange (140)

It’s payback time. The Orange were knocked off by the Golden Eagles at the Bradley Center back in January, but this is going to be a totally different story. The ‘Cuse are the better tourney team, and it will show on Sunday.

Prediction: Syracuse 81 – Marquette 71

#9 Illinois Fighting Illini (+8.5) vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks (143)

The Illini absolutely blew the doors off of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Friday night, which is a great sign for Weber’s kids heading into this one against the Southwest Region’s top seed. That said, they’re really overmatched here and will need to put forth an effort like Friday night just to win this one outright let alone cover. It’s high time for Kansas to step up and to totally erase those memories of last year’s shocking defeat against the Northern Iowa Panthers. Look for them to do just that and advance to the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Kansas 80 – Illinois 66

#10 Florida State Seminoles (+5.5) vs. #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (134)

Once Notre Dame gets its offense going, this game is all over for the Noles. They really have no business winning this game, or even still being in the last 32 in the nation. Go with the Irish to send Chris Singleton and company packing.

Prediction: Notre Dame 77 – Florida State 60

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Saturday NCAA Tournament Lines & Score Predictions

#4 Kentucky Wildcats (-3.5) vs. #5 West Virginia Mountaineers (132)

The Wildcats really showed a ton of talent against Princeton, but they really never felt like they were going to be a comfortable victor in that game. The ‘Neers have the feel of a team that can make a big time run through not just this week, but next weekend as well.

Prediction: West Virginia 61 – Kentucky 58

#2 Florida Gators (-5) vs. #7 UCLA Bruins (131)

The Bruins could be poised for the big time upset here. Florida is getting a lot of respect for the way that it manhandled Long Beach State. This is a totally different challenge. It’ll be nip and tuck the whole way, but the Gators will find a way to move on in their own backyard.

Prediction: Florida 67 – UCLA 65

#1 Pittsburgh Panthers (-8) vs. #8 Butler Bulldogs (128)

Pittsburgh really didn’t look all that impressive against UNC Asheville in the first half of their Round of 62 game, but they simply exploded in the second half. Now it has to take on the potential Cinderella of this tournament for the second straight year. The Butler very well could do it again, but I’m not gonna call for the outright win.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 61 – Butler 60

#3 Connecticut Huskies (-3) vs. #6 Cincinnati Bearcats (129.5)

This is the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that two teams from the same conference have played each other in the Round of 32. UConn is still just Kemba Walker, but it simply hasn’t seemed to matter of late as all the youngsters look to be contributing. The Bearcats will be out to avenge that home lost it recently just absorbed to the Huskies, but it just won’t happen. They’ll fight to the death, but won’t have enough ion the tank to see it all the way through.

Prediction: Connecticut 77 – Cincinnati 68

#12 Richmond Spiders (-4) vs. #13 Morehead State Eagles (125.5)

These are the two big time Cinderella stories of the first day of the tourney. Kenneth Faried is normally unstoppable, but this Richmond team should be able to throw enough bodies on him to contain him. Go with the A-10 champs to make it into the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Richmond 67 – Morehead State 56

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#3 BYU Cougars (+1) vs. #11 Gonzaga Bulldogs (149.5)

The jump shooters of BYU, led by Jimmer Fredette, will look to take down a white hot Gonzaga squad that might have put forth one of the more dominating performances of the entire Round of 64. Coach Few’s squad has now rattled off 10 straight wins (7-2 ATS) and looks primed to make a deep run in this tourney. If the Cougars still had Brandon Davies down low to allow for the Cougs to snag some cheap points, this could be a different story. He’s MIA though, and the Zags will take advantage en route to punching their ticket to the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Gonzaga 83 – BYU 75

#2 San Diego State Aztecs (-5.5) vs. #7 Temple Owls (125)

The Owls are a stingy bunch, but we aren’t so sure that they can play on the same court with the Aztecs. These teams are nearly mirror images of one another, only the Aztecs do everything better; especially at the offensive end of the court. SDSU looked awfully impressive against Northern Colorado, and it should continue playing near its own backyard in Anaheim for the Sweet 16.

Prediction: San Diego State 72 – Temple 62

#4 Wisconsin Badgers (-2.5) vs. #5 Kansas State Wildcats (127)

This is an interesting Big 12/Big 10 battle with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. The points really might come into play here as well as it wouldn’t shock me if this one was decided on the game’s very last possession. If Jacob Pullen can knock down his long range shots, the Wildcats can win this game. We tend to believe that Wiscy will get the job done, but wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if Martin’s troops pull this one out.

Prediction: Wisconsin 59 – Kansas State 58