Before we get to today's picks, let me take this opportunity to thank Syracuse for one of the worst performances by a #1 seed in NCAA tournament history. What was scary about that game was Butler didn't even play close to their best and still won, thanks to Syracuse's dumb turnovers, terrible shot selection, and poor in-game coaching (Boeheim, why did you leave Rautins in with 4 fouls in a spot where you had to foul? Did you bet the Butler money line?). And of course the epic Xavier-Kansas State battle was made less fun by KSU pulling off a late cover in the final seconds, so that sucked too. I take full responsibility for losing with Cornell though, bad things happen when you pick with your heart and not your brain. Let's see if my picks can suck less tonight.
#6 Tennessee vs. #2 Ohio State (-4.5), 6:05 central
This line puzzles me. Ohio State is way better than Tennessee and should win this game easily.
Pick: Ohio State
#10 Saint Mary's vs. #2 Baylor (-4.5). 6:25 central
Everyone is saying that this is a terrible match-up for Saint Mary's because Baylor has the size to slow down Omar Samhan. While that's true, the Gaels are more than a 1 man team, as they are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country and have 4 very good shooters. Baylor is very good, but Saint Mary's should be able to make this one close.
Pick: Saint Mary's
#9 Northern Iowa vs. #5 Michigan State (-1), 8:35 central
This line should be about 4 points higher. Yes, Michigan State has had some injuries, but I really think people are overrating UNI because of the one game vs. Kansas. Obviously it was a huge upset but Michigan State has more talent even with Lucas out and a better coach. Korie Lucious has bounced back from being named Big Ten Least Valuable Player by hitting the game-winner vs. Maryland, and with 4 days to prepare you have to think Izzo will be able to slow down UNI's offense.
Pick: Michigan State
#4 Purdue vs. #1 Duke (-8.5), 9:00 central
Tough game to predict here. It's easy to see Purdue running out of gas and getting blown out, but Purdue could also grind out another win. Either way though, there won't be much scoring. Purdue isn't getting to 70 unless there's overtime, and if bad Purdue shows up they won't get to 50, so the pick here is the under.
Pick: Under 127