March Madness is crazy, and it’s now Sweet 16 time. I’ve seen a trend this year with more office pools available beginning one week into the tournament, starting with the 3rd round of action. More office pools, more fun!
Here are your Sweet 16 Selections for every game from SpotPlays.com. There are several that I really like this week and those games are indicated by an asterix*.
*SYRACUSE +5 1/2 versus Indiana. The Orangemen bounced back in a big way after getting humiliated by Louisville in the final 15 minutes of the Big East Championship. Syracuse is on a roll and they match up well with the #1 seed Hoosiers. This simply looks like too big a spread between two elite ballclubs.
Marquette + 5 1/2 versus Miami. The angle on this game boils down to this: The Golden Eagles are a gritty team that tends to play most games close, as we saw in the first two rounds of the tournament. Miami, on the other hand, doesn’t typically blow out teams, so this spread seems a tad high. Miami center Reggie Johnson, their top rebounder, has been declared out and that is a huge loss for the U. There is good chance that Miami still wins this game but fails to cover.
Arizona +4 versus Ohio St. The Wildcats from Arizona are looking like the team that started off the season 14-0 and was ranked #1 in the country for coach Sean Miller. This team is deep with talent and difficult to defend. They are capable of pulling the upset over the Buckeyes who were very fortunate to even make to this round.
*Wichita St. -4 over LaSalle. I not only think the Shockers are going to win this game and cover, but they stand an excellent chance of winning both games over the weekend. The Missouri Valley team was 12-1 against non-conference opponents (now 14-1) and they sport a tenacious defense. Senior Carl Hall will lead this team to a winner over the play-in team LaSalle whose surprising run ends here.
*FGCU +13 versus Florida. Florida Gulf Coast U. You got to love ‘em. This team, despite defeating Miami early in the season handily, came out of nowhere to shock the world with two early wins and a subsequent Sweet 16 berth. I’ve watched both of their games and two things struck me. First, their poise late in the game against Georgeton, when the heavy favorite tried and tried to make a run at them, was simply incredible. Second, the talent of FGCU runs deeps. It’s not limited to Sherwood Brown. Florida is the better team, but I don’t think they are anywhere near 13 points better and they have been very erratic this season, especially away from home. I love the Eagles to make a great game of this and easily cover by staying within single digits throughout.
*MICHIGAN +2 versus Kansas. A team that averaged the fewest turnovers in the nation this past season, Michigan has played their best ball thus this tournament. They come in against an overhyped, overrated team in the Jayhawks. Kansas loves to turn the ball over and this is going to be the deciding factor in the game. Michigan wins straight up.
LOUISVILLE – 9 1/2 over Oregon. The Pac-12 Champs were certainly playing with a chip on their shoulder after getting shafted with the #12 seed. They are a good team with some solid guards play, but now they step up sharply in class to face the red-hot Cardinals. No one is playing better than the dynamic duo of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. The team goes 10 deep with solid play off the bench. I look for Oregon to give the Cardinals a game for 30 minutes but Louisville pulls away late.
DUKE -2 over Michigan State. This game is a coin flip for me. Neither would be a surprise but I have been impressed with the play of Duke thus far and therefore give them the very slight edge.
Best Spot Plays
Syracuse +5 1/2
Wichita St. -4
Florida Gulf Coast +13
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