I’m the pitcher who can’t get in a rhythm. A shooter who can’t knock down five in a row. Still above .500 for the tournament, but not impressively so. First round: 9-7-1. Second round: 4-5. Sweet 16: 4-3-1. So 17-15-2 with seven games left – time to get hot.
Gonzaga -8.5 vs Xavier. I’ve been burned by Chris Mack twice in a row, so why not go for three? Ken Pom has Gonzaga winning by 10, mostly because the Zags are the best defensive team in the country and Xavier is a poor offensive team. FSU and Arizona didn’t play nearly as good defense (neither is Top 25 nationally). Reluctantly, i’ll go with the Zags.
Kansas -6.5 vs Oregon. The Jayhawks have won by 20+ in each of their first three by overwhelming opponents. The Ducks should be able to keep up offensively for a bit, but their best two players – Brooks and Dorsey – happen to be going against players better than them, and that almost never happens. There’s no way I can pick against the Jayhawks here, even if the public is all over them.
South Carolina +3 vs Florida. Can’t get excited about the all-SEC matchup. It’s the third showdown between the teams, and they split the first two meetings. Even though Ken Pom has Florida winning by six, I’ll go with the hot Gamecocks. They’ll be the most unlikely Final Four team since George Mason in 2006.
Kentucky +2.5 vs North Carolina. The Wildcats probably would have been a point higher if they hadn’t dominated Lonzo Ball and UCLA so badly. Kentucky is a better defensive team, Ken Pom has them winning, and they’ve proven they can win a game at any tempo. My big fear for Kentucky is that UNC has two very good defenders in Pinson and Jackson, and if they can neutralize Fox and Monk, I’m not sure where Kentucky finds the offense.