Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:40 AM EST.
Second Round of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Viejas Arena - San Diego, California
7:45 PM EST. Kansas State put away Creighton in round one with a nice win and cover. What was most impressive about that 69-59 victory was that the Wildcats got it done without leading scorer Dean Wade. Wade is still listed as day-to-day, but coach Bruce Weber hasn't ruled him out yet for tonight but did mention that his star player's role would be limited even if he did suit up, which isn't likely to help sway the market off a very popular pooch. However, the Wildcats executed a marvelous defensive game plan against the Blue Jays holding them to a season-low of just 59 points on 33.8% shooting. K-State took away the long ball as well, as Creighton only made 26.5% of its shots from beyond the arc. That strategy should serve the Wildcats well today, as they draw a school that is a mirror image of the Blue Jays offensively (by using screens and ball movement to make space for the three-pointer) while also taking a huge step down in competition.
The Retrievers of UMBC did what was once thought to be impossible after they not only won but destroyed #1 seed Virginia 74-54 as a 20½-point pooch. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Retrievers, who needed a three-pointer at the buzzer just to beat Vermont and punch their ticket to The Big Dance. Nothing can be taken away from UMBC at this point, and it will go down in history as the one in one out of 135, but we are in the business of playing over and under-reactions, which mean the Retrievers, are in our sights. UMBC was incredible against Virginia by shooting an impressive 54.2% from the field (including 67.9% in the second half), while also hitting 50% of its shots from beyond the arc (12-of-24). Baltimore County also benefitted from a Cavaliers implosion that saw UV go just 4-of-22 from three-point land. The discrepancy in long balls was more than enough to make up the difference in talent between those two schools but now the Retrievers have the market behind them in this second round, which means you are going to pay a premium to back this #16 seed. That is a situation that isn't going to happen very often. What’s more amazing than a #16 has never beaten a #1 before Friday is that it never has happened, as any team can go cold or any dog can get hot. Asking the Retrievers to cover another double-digit spread after rewriting the record books two nights ago might be unfair but this double-digit spread is half the price of the last one. The clock strikes midnight here.
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#712 Kansas State -10 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)