#2 Miami Hurricanes (-5.5) vs. #3 Marquette Golden Eagles @ Washington DC
The Golden Eagles have really just barely survived their first two tourney games, taking down Davidson and Butler by a combined three points. They’re 0-1-1 ATS in those two games and are now just 0-4-1 ATS in their last five in spite of the fact that they have won four of those five outings. The Hurricanes are in the Sweet 16 for the first time in almost a decade and a half, but it wasn’t easy for them to get here. They’re 1-1 ATS after getting challenged by Illinois in the third round, but they have strutted their stuff defensively for sure. This is a team that you aren’t going to want to mess around with on either side of the court, and if the Golden Eagles think they are going to press the tempo against “The U,” they have another thing coming.
Prediction: Miami 73 – Marquette 63
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-4) vs. #6 Arizona Wildcats @ Los Angeles, CA
The Wildcats are going to be playing a bit of a home game in this one, and they should really be helped out by that. This is the type of game that they have struggled in all year long though, knowing that good teams like UCLA gave them fits. That being said, Arizona is 2-0 ATS to show for its work in the dance, albeit against a pair of mid-major teams that never really should have had a shot against it. This is going to be the third straight game where OSU is pushed defensively, as both Iowa State and Iona gave this defense fits. The Bucks are 1-1 ATS in the dance and are only still here thanks to an G Aaron Craft triple as time virtually expired against the Cyclones.
Prediction: Arizona 69 – Ohio State 67
#1 Indiana Hoosiers (-5.5) vs. #4 Syracuse Orange @ Washington DC
Head Coach Tom Crean has to know that his team dodged a bullet against Temple on Sunday, as now, the Hoosiers are just 0-2-1 ATS in their last three games dating back to the Big Ten Tournament. Syracuse basically had the same type of route to get to this level, beating up on Montana but getting dropped from an ATS standpoint against a very stingy Cal team. The last three games that Indiana has had at least three days to prepare for, it is 3-0 SU and ATS.
Prediction: Indiana 73 – Syracuse 65
#9 Wichita State Shockers (-3.5) vs. #13 La Salle Explorers @ Los Angeles, CA
Only in the dance could a team from Wichita and a team from Philadelphia as respective No. 13 and No. 9 seeds meet in the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles. Both the Shockers and the Explorers have been remarkable in this tournament, going a combined 5-0 SU & ATS in spite of the fact that they have been underdogs in all five games between them. The only other team to come from the First Four to the Sweet 16 was that VCU team that made it to the Final Four a few years ago, and that team went 5-0 ATS before losing to Butler in the national semis.
Prediction: La Salle 63 – Wichita State 60
#1 Louisville Cardinals (-10) vs. #12 Oregon Ducks @ Indianapolis, IN
The Cardinals are now a whopping 9-0 ATS in their last nine games, and they have proven that they have no troubles whatsoever covering big numbers here in the dance. The ‘Ville beat up Colorado State by 26 and North Carolina A&T by 31, and it has really forced a ton of turnovers and bad shots with its defense. Oregon has been a nice story, pulling off a pair of upsets to reach this point both SU and ATS, but this magical run is coming to an end against arguably the best team in America.
Prediction: Louisville 73 – Oregon 61
#1 Kansas Jayhawks (-1.5) vs. #4 Michigan Wolverines @ Arlington, TX
The Wolverines battled through a tremendous defensive team in VCU to get to this point, and they are now 2-0 SU and ATS here in the dance. Kansas has had a significantly harder route to reach this point, as it was challenged and challenged in a big time way by both Carolina and Western Kentucky. The last time these two met was in January 2011, a game won by Kansas and covered by Michigan. This time, the Jayhawks aren’t laying nearly as many points though, and that should be the difference.
Prediction: Kansas 77 – Michigan 70
#2 Duke Blue Devils (-1) vs. #3 Michigan State Spartans @ Indianapolis, IN
Coach K and Head Coach Tom Izzo have had a ton of Sweet 16 appearances between them, and there is no doubt whatsoever that both are going to be hungry for another Elite Eight. The Spartans though, have some real problems against some of the truly elite teams in the land. They are 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS over the course of their last four games played against teams that finished ranked on the Top 4 lines on the bracket for the NCAA Tournament. There is a reason that Duke is the slight favorite on Friday night against a great team from the Big Ten.
Prediction: Duke 68 – Michigan State 65
#3 Florida Gators (-12) vs. #15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles @ Arlington, TX
There really isn’t much that we can say in the way of trends in this game, because there is no history for what happens when a No. 3 plays against a No. 15 seed. This is the first time that a No. 15 has made it this far in the dance, but Florida Gulf Coast should be proud of its accomplishments. Remember though, these Eagles have already clipped Georgetown, San Diego State, and Miami this season, and they could have the ability to get the job done in this game against the Gators in spite of the fact that the men in orange and blue really have dominated here in the dance. Florida ripped through both Northwestern State and Minnesota to improve to 2-0 SU and ATS, and though it will get the job done in this one, it won’t be by a huge margin. This is normally the time that these big seeds start to taper out of the dance.
Prediction: Florida 72 – Florida Gulf Coast 67
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