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Weekend Tickets: NCAA Tournament First Round 3/22 – Metro US

Weekend Tickets: NCAA Tournament First Round 3/22

Duke v Florida State
Duke v Florida State. Getty Images

Happy holiday hoop season! It’s here … so imbibe, baby.

Because I write this in Thursday’s I cannot give you an accurate Saturday look — but keep an eye on Belmont, Nevada and a Purdue upset to either Nova or Saint Mary’s.

Here is Friday’s card:

CINCINNATI 3.5 IOWA
With the game in Columbus, might as well be a home game for the Bearcats. Iowa has struggled down the stretch losing 5 of 6 — though the Big 10 had an impressive showing in Minnesota in Thursday. AAC is down but Cincy is under-seeded.
PICK: Cincinnati ***

OLE MISS 1 OKLAHOMA
Mirror matchup — with both teams getting fat early on non-conference wins and struggling in conference play. Sooners only made the tournament with a weighted-win over a still-suspect Kansas team. Rebels enjoyed a great turnaround from last year’s 12-20 season and are on the uptick.
PICK: Rebels *

TEXAS TECH 13.5 NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Love this Red Raiders team that plays defense and can hit a timely 3. Texas Tech was fourth in scoring defense and has the right grit to make a Final Four run.
PICK: Texas Tech ****

KANSAS STATE 4.5 UC IRVINE
Irvine has won 16 straight games and has size and the backcourt to pull off the upset, especially with Dean Wade banged up for Kansas State. K State beat Irvine by 22 two years ago but these Anteaters are dragonslayers.
PICK: Irvine OUTRIGHT *****

TENNESSEE 17.5 COLGATE
Vols get a sure a first round win as the two seed. The only thing in question is the number. Colgate has enough three power to stay barely inside.
PICK: Colgate with the cover — Vols sleepwalk through their first game en route to victory. **

VIRGINIA 22 GARDNER WEBB
Before you pound G-W because of last season’s historic exit by the Cavs — and coming off that disappointing effort in the ACC Tournament with the loss to Florida State — remember Virginia is all about this season’s tournament. Virginia has its best offense in years and still suffocates you. Not letting what happened in the past affect my eyes. This is a Final 4 type team.
PICK: Virginia ***

WISCONSIN 2 OREGON
My favorite game of the day. Ducks are sizzling. They have won 8 straight game, including the PAC 12 conference tourney. They’re playing suffocating defense — over those 8 games have allowed only one team to score more than 61 points. Couple that with this not being your typical Wisconsin squad — one wildly inconsistent.
PICK: OREGON *****

UTAH STATE 3 WASHINGTON
I love this Aggies team that secured the school’s highest seed (8) ever. They win with offense averaging 79.2 points per game and a whopping 17.1 assists per game. In a statement game for me, Washington got thumped by by 20 against Oregon.
PICK: I believe in Utah State

DUKE 27.5 NORTH DAKOTA STATE
Here we thought North Dakota State just a football school. Not even Carson Wentz’ prayers can help NDSu against Duke — however they have a chance to cover against Duke.
PICK: Wentz inside the number*

HOUSTON 12 GEORGIA STATE
Cougars had their best season since Phi Slamma Jamma. But Georgia State is dangerous — remember 2015 when it knocked off Baylor as 14 seed. Houston survives but doesn’t cover.
PICK: Georgia State****

MISSISSIPPI STATE 6.5 LIBERTY
Liberty coach Ritchie McKay studied under Tony Bennett and runs his defense — which makes the Flames dangerous. But Miss State has supreme athleticism led by all world stud Quinndary Weatherspoon.
PICK: Miss State by double digits***

NORTH CAROLINA 23.5 IONA
Rout. Heels on their way to the Final Four.
PICK: UNC ***

CENTRAL FLORIDA 1 VCU
Great matchup of 8-9 seeds. Going to be a defensive struggle — but Central Florida has the slight advantage on offense.
PICK: Golden Knights*

IOWA STATE 5.5 OHIO STATE
I LOVE this Iowa State team. If the Cyclones were in another region I’d give them a fighter’s chance to reach the Elite 8. They will overwhelm an overrated Buckeyes squad.
PICK: Iowa State*****

VIRGINIA TECH 10.5 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
Keep an eye on the Hokies — who play great defense and can score off turnovers. Think they have a puncher’s chance against … Duke. So this one’s a cigar piece.
PICK: Va Tech****

BUFFALO 4.5 ARIZONA STATE
The Bulls have been fun all season long dominating the MAC. They have won 12 straight and CJ Massinburg is legit. No Bobby Hurley former team magic here.
PICK: Buffalo****
Enjoy the games!

 

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