It’s that time. It’s NCAA Tournament time. What better time than to continue to put out some picks and breakdown some games as we all look to get some extra cash in March. We’ve had a decent run so far this year, let’s hope it continues. These will come out different times during the day to split up games. As is tradition I’ll make a pick for every single games.
Reags Recommendations (63-59-3, 21-28-1 NCAA Tournament)
Under 165 UNC/Auburn
Under 144 Duke/Virginia Tech
No. 3 LSU vs No. 2 Michigan State (Michigan State -6.5/148)
Ultimately this is going to be talent vs coaching. LSU is the more talented team. Even with Cassius Winston being the best player on the floor, you can make an argument that players 2-6 all are on LSU. They have just a ton of individual talent everywhere you look. However, they have an interim head coach going up against an elite guy in Tom Izzo. We’ve seen LSU jump out to early leads since Wade left only for adjustments to be made at half and LSU trying to hang on. Against Maryland it was the Terps switching to a zone. We’re not going to see that today, but you know Izzo has something in mind. The other key here is Michigan State is actually a good offensive rebounding team. That can cancel out LSU’s offensive rebounds since the Tigers are a subpar defensive rebounding team. I’m fascinated to see the talent vs coaching play out here.
Pick: LSU +6.5
No. 5 Auburn vs No. 1 UNC (UNC -5.5/165)
The game that everyone is talking about. Perhaps the most anticipated game of the Sweet 16 with the style that both teams play. We’re still waiting to find out if Nassir Little is playing for UNC. He was listed as questionable after an illness hit him yesterday. What Auburn wants to do is get up the floor and look for those transition threes. However, when that’s not there they will get into an offensive set. Remember the game against Duke in the Maui Invitational? That was supposed to be a run and gun type game. Auburn played like Virginia. I think we see something similar to that. They’ll pick and choose when they want to run because they know UNC wants to get out and do the same. That’s the key. Limit UNC’s transition. The other thing is that for as great as Coby White has been there has been some games against pressure (Duke/Kentucky) where he struggles with turnovers. He’ll have to deal with Jared Harper tonight.
Pick: Under 165
No. 4 Virginia Tech vs No. 1 Duke (Duke -7.5/144)
We saw these teams play earlier in the year, but we didn’t really see these two teams play. Duke didn’t have Zion and Virginia Tech didn’t have Justin Robinson. That changes a whole hell of a lot. What Virginia Tech wants to do defensively is press and trap before getting back and sagging defensively. It’s rare to see a team that presses and traps like that be a team that gives up so many looks from three. But it’s how they operate. It’s fascinating. Now, yes, the question is always whether or not Duke shoots the ball. But, really the key is going to be how quick can they get the ball to Zion in transition against the press. If they can get him the ball in space, they win with ease.
Pick: Under 144
No. 3 Houston vs No. 2 Kentucky (Kentucky -3/134)
This is one of those games where PJ Washington is just so damn important. Houston is a real, real good team. But, what they like to do defensively is double in the post with both bigs. You can’t really do that with PJ Washington due to his ability to both pass and shoot. He negates that. Then there’s going to be the need for Kentucky to not leave their guys defensively. The good thing is they sort of had that challenge already with Wofford. Houston is a good 3pt shooting team and Galen Robinson is excellent at getting in the lane to draw attention. Houston will challenge Kentucky on the glass too.
Pick: Houston +3