The NCAA tournament continues with another pair of “first four” games Wednesday night in Dayton. Which way are we going with our free NCAA tournament betting picks? Free NCAA Tournament Picks: Wednesday Night’s “First Four” Games.
The line on this game opened with the Texas Southern favored by 4.5 points, the total set at 146.5. In early action the spread was bet up to -5.5.
According to Sagarin’s PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com the Tigers should only be favored by four points.
TSU, amazingly, started 0-13 this season. However, they chose to take a tough road, playing the likes of Gonzaga, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas, Clemson and TCU. They didn’t win any of those games, and they weren’t very close, but apparently it prepared them for the rest of the season. Texas Southern then proceeded to go 12-6 in the SWAC, finishing with four straight wins, then won three games in four days to take the SWAC tournament.
Five of those last seven Tigers victories have come by 14 or more points.
North Carolina Central, meanwhile, only went 9-7 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season, losing seven of its last 12 games. But the Eagles then won four games in five days to win the NEC tournament, including an upset of top-seeded Hampton in the title contest.
Sagarin ranks the MEAC at No. 32 among 33 Division 1 conferences, while the SWAC comes in at No. 33.
Texas Southern is the better team here, playing the better ball as of late. We’ll give the points here.
Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Texas Southern
The line on this game opened with Arizona State favored by a point, total total offered at 142.5. Early betting action then bumped the total to 143.5.
By Sagarin’s PREDICTOR ratings ASU should be favored by one point.
The Sun Devils started 12-0 this season, beating the likes of San Diego State, Kansas State, Xavier and Kansas along the way. But Arizona cooled in conference play and later lost four of its last five games to finish 8-10 in conference play. The Sun Devils then lost to Colorado in their first game of the Pac-12 tournament and should consider themselves lucky to have received an invitation to this Dance.
However, on the season ASU is 5-2 SU, 5-1-1 ATS against teams that made the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse, meanwhile, started 12-2 this season, the best win probably coming against Virginia Tech, the losses coming against Kansas and St. Bonaventure (in overtime), a team that just won an NCAA game Tuesday night. But the Orange only went 8-10 in ACC play, suffering several close losses to teams like Virginia, Florida State, North Carolina State and North Carolina. In the end Syracuse beat Clemson and won one game in the ACC tournament, which apparently was enough for the tournament committee.
On the season the Orange are 6-9 both SU and ATS against teams that made the tournament.
Sagarin ranks the ACC at No. 2 among the 33 D-1 conferences, the Pac-12 at No. 6.
Arizona State definitely gets the check-mark on offense, but we’ve always loved that zone defense Syracuse plays. And the Orange are better on the boards. We’re taking the dog for the win here.
Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Syracuse