Besides filling out brackets, gambling on March Madness games is not easy. Throw trends and previous matchups out the window. Teams are unfamiliar with one another and, in most cases, are playing on a neutral court. My personal rule of thumb for March Madness is simply this… guard play and coaching. This may differ from others or could be a completely wrong philosophy this year, but I believe, at the end of the day, solid guard play along with great coaching takes you on a nice run during the madness. Now, for your viewing pleasure, I have 4 predictions for the next few days. 1 play in game, 1 NIT game, and 2 for round one of the big boy tournament (1 for Thursday, 1 for Friday).
Enjoy and happy hunting.
Tuesday March 15th
FLORIDA GULF COAST -5.5 over Fairleigh Dickinson (Play-in game)
This is more of a gut feeling bet. FGCU has had a more successful year with a stronger out of conference schedule. My take is covering 5.5 means it will be a close game, but free throws late will help them cover.
Wednesday March 16th
MONMOUTH -8 over Bucknell (NIT)
Monmouth because…. WHY NOT?! This team got stubbed from the dance and will have something to prove. They have beat some worthy opponents this year (UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, Georgetown). They will take the disrespect they received from the committee and use the motivation in the NIT. Take the Hawks to cover 8.
Thursday March 17th
DUKE -11 over UNC Wilmington (round 1)
I know, I know… while we will all be pulling for the mighty Seahawks reigning from Wilmington, they just won’t be able to compete with this Duke team. I think at 11, this line is a little low and Duke should be able to cover easily. UNCW just won’t have the size and athleticism to compete with Duke. And the only way they’d be able to do that, is to get Duke in early foul trouble. Duke will have a tough time later in the tournament, with their lack of bench play, but round 1 shouldn’t be an issue. Take the Blue Devils to cover 11 here.
Friday March 18th
WVU -7 over Stephen F. Austin (round 1)
SFA just has yet to face an opponent with the tenacity of WVU besides playing Baylor early on this season… and they lost to Baylor by 42. Law a Relativity suggests that WVU beat Baylor both times this season, so WVU should have to problem handling SFA. And I agree with the Law of Relativity. WVU will press anyone to death and go on a few heavy runs a game. This won’t change. Take WVU by at least 20.
A few underdogs to keep an eye on getting points
Arkansas – Little Rock, Fresno State, Stony Brook, Hawaii, South Dakota State