NCAA Tournament (0.5 Unit) Miami +7.5 vs. Auburn (-110): 6:45 PM CT on TRUTV
I think this is a sneakily bad matchup for Auburn given the styles and talent of these teams. The Tigers and their erratic guards are going to struggle against the excellent and deep talent of Miami’s backcourt. Those Hurricanes guards can put a lot of pressure on the ball, force turnovers, and score from anywhere on the court. And when Miami plays their 5-out offense, they’ll be able to negate Auburn’s ability to erase interior shots as the country’s leader in blocks.
I’m also anticipating some significant positive regression for the Miami shooters, who went just 1-14 from deep against USC on Friday. That should have been a deathblow for a Canes team so reliant on playing from the perimeter, but they hung in thanks to forcing 18 turnovers. These teams are on very different trajectories ATS-wise as well, with Miami currently on an 8-2-1 ATS run while Auburn is just 3-8 in their past 11 games. In the end, that just makes this too big of a number, and I see another close game here so I’m taking the points.
NCAA Tournament Ohio St./Villanova Under 132.5 (-110): 1:40 PM CT on CBS
There’s one major reason to look at the under here on such a low number, and that’s pace. Villanova plays at the 342nd tempo in the country, just a little bit slower than Ohio State who’s 330th. The Wildcats are also extremely reliant on three-point shooting, getting up the 32nd-most attempts from deep. But if those shots aren’t dropping, Nova’s offense does a face-plant. If Ohio State replicates the field goal defense they showed on Friday, one of those face-plants could be coming here. But I see this game being very slow-paced and tightly guarded with a Sweet 16 berth on the line, so I’ll take a shot on the under.
NCAA Tournament Texas Tech -7.5 vs. Notre Dame (-110): 6:10 PM CT on TBS
When does the St. Patty’s Day luck run out for Notre Dame? The Irish survived a double-overtime game, then were fortunate enough to play the extremely erratic and sloppy Crimson Tide. It’s tough to go against a team riding a hot streak and playing with house money, but my goodness did Texas Tech look good on Friday.
The Red Raiders shot 66.7% from the floor and 60% from deep, and while that’s not sustainable, if any of it carries over they could roll again. Tech is much more likely to lean on their top-rated defense in this one, slowing down Notre Dame’s offense with physicality they’re not used to seeing. I’m high on this Tech team from a future standpoint in this tournament and today, so they can …….