Photo Credit: CBS Sports
This Thursday and Friday is the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament and it’s shaping up to be a good one. For the first time in 10 years, all of the one, two, and three seeds made it to this round. Somehow Duke is still alive which is pretty upsetting to put it lightly, but the game against UCF only made me more optimistic that Blue Devil fans will have to continue saying their stupid slogan “sights on six” for another year. I should also add that the Big 10 is making me look pretty dumb for doubting them, but there is still a lot of basketball left and you better believe I’m sticking with my take that the Big 10 doesn’t have any teams that can make it to the Final Four. With that said, here are six sweet locks for the Sweet Sixteen.
Tennessee -1.5 vs Purdue:
Tennessee looked dominant in the first half vs Iowa before almost blowing their 25 point lead in large part due to the foul trouble of Admiral Schofield in the second half. I still love the Volunteers’ chances to make it to Minneapolis and certainly believe they will handle the Boilermakers this Thursday. I have to say, I am disappointed in Jay Wright’s inability to get his team to put pressure on Purdue’s only scorer (Carsen Edwards) on Saturday night. Edwards was unstoppable finishing with 42 points which was the most points by a player in an NCAA Tournament game since 2004. Jordan Bone’s athleticism should make for a tougher matchup for Edwards this Thursday, which is a big reason I like Tennessee’s chances. Ride with the Vols.
Tennessee vs Purdue Over 146.5:
Though I am very confident Tennessee will come out with a win, I highly doubt this game will be a blowout which means there will be lots of points scored. With Matt Haarms keeping the rim protected, I think the Volunteers will have a field day from long range. On the other end, the Boilermakers should be able to put up a solid amount of points due to Tennessee’s inconsistent defense. My final prediction is 84-75 Tennessee. Hammer the over on this one, and if you’re really feeling like a winner then it might not be a bad idea to do a little two-in-one parlay with Tennessee -1.5.
Texas Tech +115 ML vs Michigan:
Another pick against the Big 10? Damn right. Texas Tech looked like a team that could make a solid run at a national title on Sunday night dominating a very good Buffalo team. Jarrett Culver is one of the best players in the country right now, and the Red Raiders certainly do not lack talent surrounding him. Culver’s dribble-drives and pick-and-rolls with Odiase with the ability to kick it out to snipers in Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti is a thing of beauty. Michigan is a great defensive team, but so is Texas Tech, and the clear edge on offense goes to TTU. Forego the spread in this game and take Tech to win outright so you get a little bit better of a payout.
North Carolina -5 vs Auburn:
No doubt this game will be a shootout, but the Tar Heels will come out on top. There are just so many ways this team can beat you with the speed of Coby White, the shooting of Cam Johnson and Luke Maye, and the incredible transition game that Roy Williams has instilled in this team. I can’t help but think that Auburn will have to have its best game of the season to move on to the Elite Eight. I have been a huge Auburn believer the whole season and even wrote back in February (when they were a projected seven seed) that I thought they would make the Elite Eight, however, UNC is the hottest team in the country right now and I just don’t think Auburn has enough firepower to overtake them. Take the Tar Heels in this one.
Kentucky -2.5 vs Houston (if P.J. Washington plays):
P.J. Washington, who sat out the first two rounds with a foot injury, is still questionable for this game, but if he plays I love the Wildcats. If P.J. plays then I believe Kentucky’s frontcourt trio of Washington, Reid Travis, and E.J. Montgomery will be too much for Houston to handle. Without Washington, however, Kentucky would be starting four freshmen against a very experienced team, so I would stay away from this game if that is the case.
Michigan State vs LSU Under 149:
149 is a massive O/U number in college basketball, and I do not see this game getting that high. Michigan State has only scored 80+ once in their last 16 games. They have been playing at a very slow and controlled pace lately and will definitely look to continue to do that to slow down the firepower of LSU. Though LSU is one of the better offenses in the country, they succumbed to the Big 10 style of basketball on Saturday against Maryland in a game that finished with both teams scoring less than 70 points. In addition, they have only scored 80+ once in the last seven games. Unders may be boring, but this is one you need to take if you really want to break your bookie.