#3 Marquette vs. #6 Murray State, 5:15 in Louisville (CBS). Marquette and Murray State both like to get it up and down, shoot threes, and have excellent guard play. The difference, though, is that Marquette has Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder, and I’m not sure Murray can match up there. That said, these Racers continue to save their best performance against their best opponents, and Isaiah Canaan will have a coming out party on CBS.
The Line: Marquette by 5.5. The Pick: I like Marquette to win, but I have faith that Murray can make a game of it, Murray State +5.5
#4 Wisconsin vs. #5 Vanderbilt, 6:15 in Albuquerque (TNT). This is a game that will be decided by Vanderbilt’s balanced offense and great outside shooting, and Wisconsin’s slow down, hard man-to-man defense in half court sets.
The Line: Vanderbilt by 1. The Pick: Hmmm, Vanderbilt losing would hurt my ability to win a pool where I am currently the leader, so I could use the theory that the universe will be cruel to me. In the end, though, I like how this Vanderbilt team is playing and the balance they will bring. It won’t be easy. Vanderbilt -1.
My record: 25-9 against the spread so far in the tourney.