The Big East and Big XII, round two, tips off the Friday action in the NCAA Tournament. Last night, it was Iowa State beating Connecticut, jumping to an early lead and holding on throughout the game. Then, the ACC’s big day (all five teams play today) begins with the Wolfpack.
#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 Texas, 12:15 in Nashville (CBS): J’Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo versus Cincinnati’s three guards (Cashmere Wright, Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick) should be fun. The battle up front, though, will be key. Texas is thin there after the Wangmene injury, so Clint Chapman needs to stay out of foul trouble.
The Line: Cincinnati by 3. The Pick: I think this one is pretty even, and we saw a Big XII team that was a slight underdog switch that role last night. Texas +3.
#6 San Diego State vs. North Carolina State, 12:40 in Columbus (TruTV). San Diego State is 11-3 in games decided by 5 points or less or in overtime, which explains why Vegas, and most power ratings, are not enamored with the Aztecs’ seed. NC State, meanwhile, let several potentially big victories slip away, notably at Duke. Chase Tapley, the Aztecs’ star guard, will go against a taller set of guards at NC State.
The Line: NC State by 2.5. The Pick: the line has moved even more in favor of the Wolfpack, meaning the 6-seed is a dog. I’ll still go with that movement. NC State -2.5.
#8 Creighton vs. #9 Alabama, 1:40 in Greensboro (TBS). An interesting contrast, as it is Creighton’s shooters versus Alabama’s athletes and defense. The key will probably be the other side of the ball, then, and whether Alabama shoots better than they normally do (28.5% on threes, though they rarely shoot them).
The Line: Alabama by 1.5. The Pick: Doug McDermott and the Blue Jays do just enough. Creighton +1.5
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