March Madness 2021 Predictions and Picks – March 19, 2021

March Madness 2021 predictions and picks for Friday, March 19, 2021, from the handicapping team at The Gold Sheet (founded in 1957, longest-running sports betting newsletter). To get the latest College Basketball Odds, make sure to check out our free odds over at WagerTalk Live Lines.

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Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Cleveland State59134.523282711-2 / 8-510-3 / 8-59-4 / 4-8+6.8 / -5-3 / +4
Houston U74-205 (2)-2041717-1 / 5-313-5 / 5-38-10 / 4-4+20.7 / +8.1-14 / -10
The Horizon League rep isn’t getting a lot of respect, opening as a 20-point underdog as Houston has its highest seeding since 1984. This year’s team isn’t as flashy as that star-laden group led by Hakeem Olajuwon, but it has been incredibly effective in only suffering a few letdowns in a conference where they weren’t tested often. That may help them maintain focus here but could also catch them looking ahead to their next game. Talented Swiss army knife Dejon Jarreau warning about the dangers of looking ahead is a good sign for Kelvin Sampson’s squad, but hearing they’re a 20-point underdog is going to have the Vikings coming in with nothing to lose. After opening 0-3 with losses to Toledo, Ohio and Ohio State, Dennis Gates’ team won 13 of the next 15 and bounced back from a 101-46 blowout against the Bobcats by playing the Buckeyes extremely tight. Cleveland State survived a triple-overtime game against Purdue-Fort Wayne and then handled Milwaukee and Oakland to punch their ticket after a few down seasons. Torrey Patton and Tre Gomillion are veterans who are more than capable if you let them get going, so the Vikings are not a bad bet to cover the spread and go out with their heads held high following a resilient season.
Play on Cleveland State

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Cleveland State

79-74+5.22533-43-0 / 1-12-1 / 1-12-1 / 0-1

Houston U

82-59+22.6517-135-0 / 0-03-2 / 0-03-2 / 0-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Cleveland State

03-09-21Oakland-2.5141.580-69

Houston U

03-14-21Cincinnati-1313591-54
03-08-21Wisc Milwaukee-4.5142.571-6503-13-21Memphis-713476-74
03-02-21IPFW-7.5140108-10403-12-21Tulane-18.5133.577-52
02-20-21@ IPFW-3.5142.567-5503-07-21Memphis-10135.567-64
02-19-21@ IPFW-414368-7502-28-21South Florida-18.513298-52
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Rutgers56-1.51310811-4 / 4-78-6 / 5-66-9 / 4-7+5.9 / -6.6-6 / +2
Clemson62125.512 (2)-3101413-2 / 3-59-5 / 1-78-7 / 3-4+8.1 / -6.6-7 / 0
The last time we were talking about Rutgers in the Dance, Bob Wenzel was on the Scarlet Knights sideline and the Gulf War had just ended (1991). That long-ago theme of this matchup includes this season, as Rutgers-Clemson would have looked a lot better in December, when the Scarlet Knights won their first six games and the Tigers were notching quality win after quality win (Purdue, Maryland, Alabama) outside of the ACC. In March, however, neither team brings a head of steam into the Dance. Any clues? Style similarities suggest a potential root-canal grinder, both boasting of snarling defenses that like to extend. But Rutgers’ highlights outside of the Big Ten are basically limited to a win over Syracuse, and Steve Pikiell’s squad even endured a 5-game skid in January. How Pikiell’s ball-handlers deal with the sort of pressure that Brad Brownell’s defense exerts across 94 feet will be key for the Scarlet Knights, who might have to hurry into their offensive sets and make sure battering ram 6-6, 235-lb. wing Ron Harper, Jr. (15.4 ppg) gets his requisite touches. Meanwhile, Pikiell’s shot-swatting 6-11 C Myles Johnson can close the paint on the Rutgers stop end. Clemson (65 ppg) no smooth-running offensive machine, but Aamir Simms is a do-everything small-ball center who can likely play around Johnson. In the end, however, we suspect it might be the Knights’ faulty FT shooting (just 63%) that makes their first Dance visit in 30 years a brief one.
Play Clemson

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Rutgers

66-69-2.81213-22-0 / 1-22-0 / 1-21-1 / 2-1

Clemson

64-58+6.21221-62-1 / 1-11-2 / 1-12-1 / 0-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Rutgers

03-12-21@ Illinois+813868-90

Clemson

03-10-21Miami Florida-8126.564-67
03-11-21Indiana-2.5129.561-5003-06-21Pittsburgh-912977-62
03-06-21@ Minnesota-3.5139.577-7003-03-21@ Syracuse+1.513554-64
03-01-21@ Nebraska-8139.551-7202-27-21Miami Florida-1312866-58
02-24-21Indiana-3.5132.574-6302-24-21@ Wake Forest-3.5132.560-39
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Morehead State6813717272512-2 / 9-410-4 / 9-44-10 / 5-8+6.8 / +4.7-1 / +5
West Virginia78-137 (2)-1261110-6 / 8-37-9 / 6-59-7 / 8-3+6.2 / +3.5-7 / -3
Notes to consider…Here is our dilemma with Morehead, as early-season evidence suggests the Eagles are going to be out of their depth vs. top-level WVU after being beaten soundly by a collection of big boys (Kentucky, Ohio State, and Clemson, plus A-10 Richmond) in pre-league. All of those games, however, came before Christmas, if not Thanksgiving in the case of the UK loss. Remember that OVC reps have mostly held their own in recent NCAA appearances, covering 6 of 9 chances since 2014, with outright wins by Belmont (2018) and Ja Morant’s Murray State (2019) in the last two Dances. The Eagles have only lost once since New Year’s and powered thru the OVC Tourney, with 6-10 frosh Johni Broom (14 ppg) having matured into a force by season’s end. Here is where the Mounties might have been able to use 6-9 brute Oscar Tshiebwe, who entered the transfer portal in early January. It’s a different Huggy edition, not as much “Press Virginia” but rather pure uptempo with four DD scorers led by G Miles McBride (15.4 ppg). Now, can the sometimes-inconsistent Eagle guards maintain their poise and prevent the Mounties from racing away? “Over” also intrigues (WVU 13-4 that way last 17).

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Morehead State

75-66+9.22024-24-0 / 1-03-1 / 1-02-2 / 1-0

West Virginia

76-72+3.6615-82-3 / 0-01-4 / 0-03-2 / 0-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Morehead State

03-06-21@ Belmont+713786-71

West Virginia

03-11-21Oklahoma State-315069-72
03-05-21Eastern Kentucky-214467-6403-06-21Oklahoma State-1014780-85
03-03-21SE Missouri St-7.513261-5403-04-21TCU-13142.576-67
02-27-21Belmont+4141.589-8203-02-21Baylor+4149.589-94
02-25-21Tennessee State-11.513274-6002-27-21Kansas State-15.5137.565-43
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Syracuse6813915111513-1 / 2-67-7 / 3-53-11 / 7-1+11.3 / -3.3-10 / +3
San Diego State75-311 (2)-6102016-2 / 6-28-10 / 5-38-10 / 5-3+11.3 / +13.1-11 / -7
Neither side is what we have been used to seeing from each in recent years. Jim Boeheim’s zone isn’t as apt to bother foes as it did in seasons past (Boeheim has even utilized a man-to-man defense–sacrilege!–a bit the past two seasons). Then again, it’s still Syracuse, and Boeheim’s history of emerging from the pack and making a deep March run (most recently 2018) can’t be ignored. Meanwhile, the many bricklayers who populated the San Diego State perimeter in the Steve Fisher era have been replaced by a capable bomb squad that hits 37% of its triples. What to do? Perhaps respect the Aztecs, who bring a 14-game win streak into the Dance and have uncovered a late-season threat in sr. PG Trey Pulliam, adding another sharp edge to an already-balanced attack led by srs. F Matt Mitchell (15.4 ppg) and G Jordan Schakel (14.3 ppg). And unless Buddy Boeheim (16 ppg) and the many Orange bomb-throwers are hitting from the perimeter, the ‘Cuse is rather ordinary, and only won twice on the ACC trail. Some business to tend to as well for Brian Dutcher’s SDSU, as the Aztecs were one of the real casualties of last year’s cancelled Dance, with nowhere to go after recording a 30-2 SU mark. They can start to make amends on Friday.
Play SDSU

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Syracuse

76-76-0.21212+32-0 / 0-32-0 / 1-21-1 / 3-0

San Diego State

69-63+6.81118-84-0 / 1-01-3 / 0-11-3 / 1-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Syracuse

03-11-21@ Virginia+5.513069-72

San Diego State

03-13-21Utah State-212868-57
03-10-21NC State-3146.589-6803-12-21Nevada-813977-70
03-01-21North Carolina+2.5151.572-7003-11-21Wyoming-15.514569-66
02-27-21@ Georgia Tech+514477-8403-03-21@ UNLV-9.513271-62
02-22-21@ Duke+614971-8502-27-21Boise State-6.513762-58
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Liberty60139.519192713-0 / 6-510-3 / 7-48-4 / 3-8+18.4 / +2.9-15 / -2
Oklahoma State68-712 (2)-9121010-2 / 8-57-5 / 8-46-4 / 8-4+6 / +2.6-5 / +2
The money came in on the Atlantic Sun champion Flames, who will look to make Cade Cunningham’s lone NCAA Tournament appearance a brief cameo. Liberty has a giant killer-type leading the way in 5-foot-9 Darius McGhee, and you hope the Cowboys don’t overlook their opponent based on the small-school label and diminutive scoring leader. Chris Parker, a senior grad transfer who spent most of his career at Division II Henderson State, also looks to be perfectly cast to star in a Cinderella story. To their credit, Oklahoma State improved as its season unfolded and overcame multiple injuries by playing cohesive ball, winning eight of its final 11 games. The Cowboys were especially good at defending the 3-pointer, leading the Big 12 by holding opponents to just 32 percent from beyond the arc in league play while ranking 83rd nationally (.319). If they keep Liberty from finding a rhythm the Cowboys should avoid a first-round upset, but guys like McGhee and Elijah Cuffee will go down firing and come in awfully confident after 12 straight wins. Liberty defeated Mississippi State and South Carolina early in the season and played Purdue, TCU and Missouri, but it has been a while since the A-Sun champs have played someone of OK State’s caliber. Ritchie McKay is going to try and control the pace since Oklahoma State can be deadly in transition, but they’ll have to gang rebound since there’s not a ton of size on the roster outside of 6-foot-9 Blake Preston. With Liberty looking to play at a deliberate tempo and the Cowboys just getting their feet wet in these NCAAs, the value here may ultimately lie with the ‘under.’ That number opened at 141.5 but has snuck down to 139.5.
Play on under

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Liberty

79-66+12.61930-124-0 / 1-02-2 / 1-02-1 / 1-0

Oklahoma State

82-82+0.2138+71-0 / 2-21-0 / 3-11-0 / 4-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Liberty

03-07-21North Alabama-13132.579-75

Oklahoma State

03-13-21@ Texas+3145.586-91
03-05-21Stetson-10133.577-6403-12-21@ Baylor+914883-74
03-04-21Kennesaw St-1712869-5903-04-21@ Baylor+12.5148.570-81
02-27-21@ Bellarmine-312794-7803-01-21Oklahoma+2.514579-75
02-23-21North Alabama-1613274-5402-27-21@ Oklahoma+614094-90
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Oregon State581311622159-6 / 7-68-6 / 10-39-6 / 8-5+0.5 / -1.2-1 / +7
Tennessee65-8.58 (2)-1061614-3 / 4-510-7 / 3-59-8 / 2-7+13.8 / +0.7-13 / -6
*** Key Release: Under the total

The Beavers stunned their way into the NCAAs by taking down UCLA, Oregon and Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament. All of those teams received at-large bids. Oregon State fell to .500 on Valentine’s Day but is 7-2 in its last nine and has been extremely active on the defensive end. That’s where the Vols’ bread is buttered too, thanks to the presence of weapon Yves Pons, who jumps like he’s been fitted with a pogo stick. He’s a game-changing defender and a luxury few coaches in the country have, so it will be interesting to see how Rick Barnes deploys him. Ethan Thompson is the Beavers’ primary catalyst but they do a lot of their work by committee and have really seen their bench contribute to fuel this late-season push. Wayne Tinkle will need to keep getting production from 250-pound JUCO transfer Rodrigue Andela, who averaged 8 points and 8 boards off the bench in Las Vegas, nearly doubling his season averages. Tennessee is a young group with top scorers Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer both being freshmen, so there’s a chance they’ll need some time to adjust to the setting. Ultimately, the Vols should find a way to win late, but the low side is my preference in this one. The number opened at 131.5 and hasn’t moved much, but you’ll want to get in at the highest point possible prior to tip-off.
Play on under (key release)

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Oregon State

74-72+1.82013+70-1 / 4-00-1 / 4-01-0 / 4-0

Tennessee

71-66+5814-52-0 / 1-22-0 / 0-21-1 / 1-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Oregon State

03-13-21@ Colorado+8.513270-68

Tennessee

03-13-21@ Alabama+3.514268-73
03-12-21@ Oregon+8.513675-6403-12-21Florida-3.513478-66
03-11-21@ UCLA+5.5133.583-7903-07-21Florida-6136.565-54
03-07-21Oregon+5.513767-8002-27-21@ Auburn-8141.572-77
03-03-21@ Utah U+5.5135.575-7002-24-21@ Vanderbilt-12138.570-58
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Georgia Tech57124.511141410-3 / 5-46-7 / 6-34-8 / 5-3+6.5 / +3.7-6 / +2
Loyola Chicago60-5.513 (2)102214-0 / 8-49-5 / 7-47-7 / 5-7+18.1 / +10.7-16 / -5
*** Key Release: Under the total

The big news here is that ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright won’t play for Georgia Tech due to COVID-19. He would’ve matched up with Ramblers 6-foot-9 star Cameron Krutwig, who the team runs their offense through, so Yellow Jackets head coach Josh Pastner has to find some answers quickly. Rodney Howard, a 6-10 transfer from Georgia with a limited offensive game, will hope to stay out of foul trouble and give his team quality minutes. Longer wings like Jordan Usher and Michael Devoe will also have to show and be disruptive, but Loyola-Chicago is definitely better off not having to deal with an athletic shot blocker who also creates opportunities with his passing out of the post and ability to create second chances. With Jose Alvarado at the controls, we’ll definitely see Tech attempt to be disruptive while creating turnovers but he can’t take some of the chances he’s used to taking without a shot eraser like Wright behind him. Porter Moser’s team won the Horizon League while Pastner’s took down Florida State to win the ACC, so these teams have been tested in elimination games. Each team prefers to work the shot clock, which is why this total is as low as it is, supplanting Rutgers-Clemson as the lowest number at 124.5. This may very well wind up a race to 60.
Play on under (key release)

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Georgia Tech

75-67+8.21317-22-0 / 3-01-1 / 3-01-1 / 2-1

Loyola Chicago

68-55+131126-155-0 / 0-03-2 / 0-02-3 / 0-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Georgia Tech

03-13-21@ Florida State+4.5145.580-75

Loyola Chicago

03-07-21Drake-8.512575-65
03-11-21Miami Florida-10138.570-6603-06-21Indiana State-11.5121.565-49
03-05-21@ Wake Forest-8.5135.575-6303-05-21So Illinois-17121.573-49
03-02-21Duke-1.5145.581-7702-27-21So Illinois-19123.565-58
02-23-21@ Virginia Tech+413669-5302-26-21So Illinois-19.5124.560-52
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Drexel67143.52123285-2 / 7-55-2 / 9-32-5 / 9-3+6.7 / +3.4-7 / 0
Illinois84-22.5-1 (2)-243813-2 / 9-39-6 / 8-44-11 / 8-3+12.6 / +8.8-12 / -2
The Fighting Illini really impressed down the stretch and has captured victories in 14 of 15. Ayo Dosunmu has been one of the nation’s most prolific guards all season and Andre Curbelo took his game up a few levels when Dosunmu was sidelined with a facial injury. He’s sporting a mask that makes him look like a superhero but struggled with a 5-for-17 effort in the Big Ten Tournament final. The CAA champion Dragons have to hope his slumping continues since that’s the only way they’re going to have a chance to win. 6-foot-8 James Butler is a load in his own right at roughly 250 pounds but he’ll be going up against a 7-footer in Kofi Cockburn who outweighs him by at least 40 pounds. Brad Underwood is going to throw multiple bodies at Drexel point guard Camren Wynter to keep him off balance, and ultimately, I think you’ll see Drexel wear down in bowing out. Of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t cash a few tickets if Wynter and Zach Walton don’t suffer through cold shooting games. The pace is likely to be up-tempo throughout most of this one since Drexel head coach Zach Spiker is comfortable employing a faster pace and probably wants to keep Cockburn running up and down the floor. Taking the 23.5 points or backing the high side on 143 looks enticing.

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Drexel

75-71+42226-11-0 / 3-11-0 / 3-10-1 / 4-0

Illinois

79-70+9.435+12-0 / 3-01-1 / 3-01-1 / 1-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Drexel

03-09-21Elon-3.513063-56

Illinois

03-14-21Ohio State-6.514891-88
03-08-21@ Northeastern-0.513174-6703-13-21Iowa-315482-71
03-07-21@ Coll of Charleston-4.5130.580-7503-06-21@ Ohio State+2.5150.573-68
02-26-21@ James Madison+1.514484-7803-02-21@ Michigan+8.514576-53
02-07-21@ Hofstra+4139.574-7902-27-21@ Wisconsin+4.5135.574-69
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Oral Roberts751573126256-3 / 7-64-5 / 9-44-5 / 10-3+7.3 / -0.7-6 / +4
Ohio State88-165 (2)-28589-3 / 7-45-7 / 6-46-6 / 6-4+7.8 / +1.8-9 / 0
Notes to consider… Oldtimers might remember the first time ORU made it to the Dance in 1974 and advanced all of the way to the Elite 8 behind explosive G Richie Fuqua. Meet the new Fuqua in G Max Abmas, the nation’s scoring leader at 24.2 ppg and part of a potent 1-2 Golden Eagles Batman-and-Robin punch with F Kevin Obanor (18.2 ppg). At almost 82 ppg (12th nationally), ORU can certainly score. But can the Golden Eagles slow Ohio State? Probably not, as the Buckeyes seemed to emerge from a late-season 4-game losing streak by reaching the Big Ten Tourney finale and pushing Illinois into OT on Sunday, with G Duane Washington shaking a recent slump by scoring 23 ppg in the four games at Indy. Keep in mind, however, that ORU covered spreads in pre-Summit play vs. Dance qualifiers Wichita, Ok State, and Oklahoma, and there is always a back-door entry considering this big price. “Expect a Miracle” could be asking a bit much, but sticking within an inflated number at Mackey Arena might be within reason for Paul Mills’ Golden Eagles.

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Oral Roberts

84-73+11.22725-43-0 / 2-02-1 / 2-01-2 / 2-0

Ohio State

72-73-1.248-31-1 / 2-10-2 / 2-11-1 / 1-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Oral Roberts

03-09-21@ North Dakota St+1145.575-72

Ohio State

03-13-21@ Michigan+5142.568-67
03-08-21@ South Dakota State+4.516290-8803-12-21@ Purdue-1140.587-78
03-07-21North Dakota-7.5153.576-6503-11-21Minnesota-11142.579-75
02-28-21Western Illinois-8.5162.595-5902-28-21Iowa-215757-73
02-27-21Western Illinois-9.516485-8102-25-21@ Michigan State-4144.567-71
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Virginia Tech68012-110149-2 / 5-26-5 / 4-35-6 / 5-2+11.7 / +4.6-10 / -1
Florida6313515 (2)9167-3 / 5-43-7 / 5-42-7 / 6-3+6 / +3-10 / -1
*** Key Release: Under the total

Though hitting a few high notes during the season (such as the SEC-Big 12 Challenge upset of West Virginia at Morgantown), it was hardly a smooth ride in Gainesville, starting with the scary incident involving key cog Keontae Johnson in December. Eventually Michael White was able to cobble together a functional offense that runs thru G Tre Mann (16 ppg), but turnovers (on almost 21% of Gator possessions) and suspect work on the defensive glass prevented anything longer than a 3-game win streak and contributed more than a bit to a 1-3 slide entering the Dance. Better vibes on the VPI side as HC Mike Young (Dance experience at Wofford) worked around opt-outs and injuries to create a balanced look with various dimensions and three DD scorers led by active 6-9 jr, Keve Aluma (15.6 ppg/8 rpg). Our question with the Hokies mostly has to do with inactivity, as they’ve only played three times since February 7. At this stage of the season, however, maybe rest is more of a benefit than any issues with rust. “Under” might be worth a look as well, as Gators have only one “over” in their last nine outings.
Play VPI and VPI-Fla “Under”

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Virginia Tech

75-67+7.41012-22-1 / 1-12-1 / 0-21-2 / 2-0

Florida

71-64+6.41318-42-1 / 2-00-3 / 2-00-2 / 0-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Virginia Tech

03-11-21North Carolina+414173-81

Florida

03-11-21Vanderbilt-814569-63
02-27-21Wake Forest-10.5132.584-4603-03-21Missouri-414270-72
02-06-21@ Miami Florida-5.5131.580-7602-27-21@ Kentucky+2142.571-67
02-03-21@ Pittsburgh-3.5135.572-8302-23-21@ Auburn-1.515574-57
01-30-21Virginia+512565-5102-20-21Georgia-8154.570-63
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Colgate80161.51923308-1 / 6-05-4 / 5-15-4 / 3-3+18.6 / +16.5-12 / -9
Arkansas85-8.59 (2)-1281514-2 / 5-29-6 / 5-24-11 / 6-1+12.9 / +2.9-11 / -2
Colgate has generated more warnings this week than are usually issued by the National Weather Service. Though they didn’t begin their season until the day after the New Year’s bowls, the Red Raiders made plenty of noise in 2 months, losing just once in their league (in the first weekend of play) and ranking behind only Gonzaga in scoring offense. At 86.3 ppg, Colgate can fill it up, hitting from all angles in a perimeter-oriented offense that nails 40% of its triples and 50% of its FGs overall, with four DD scorers led by sr. G Jordan Burns (17 ppg), who was part of Matt Langel’s side that gave a very strong Tennessee all it could handle in the first round of the Dance two years ago. Arkansas still should have enough to survive, as Eric Musselman’s many transfers were able to blend with do-everything 6-6 frosh wing Moses Moody (17.4 ppg) to charge down the stretch with nine straight wins. Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee and other Porker backers, however, are a bit concerned that the same zip didn’t seem there in the SEC Tourney at Nashville last week, when LSU ended the long win streak. The Razorbacks survive, but maybe not easily.
Play Colgate

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Colgate

85-70+15.22229-115-0 / 0-03-2 / 0-03-2 / 0-0

Arkansas

82-74+8.4818-73-1 / 1-02-2 / 1-01-3 / 1-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Colgate

03-14-21Loyola Maryland-10.5148.585-72

Arkansas

03-13-21LSU-3.516371-78
03-10-21Bucknell-11.5157105-7503-12-21Missouri-5.514970-64
03-06-21Boston University-12148.577-6903-06-21Texas A&M-1513787-80
02-21-21Boston University-1115278-6303-02-21@ South Carolina-6.5157101-73
02-20-21Boston University-11.515182-7202-27-21LSU-6.5161.583-75
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Utah State5513111122010-1 / 8-58-3 / 7-65-6 / 4-9+16.3 / +8.2-11 / -7
Texas Tech64-49 (2)-471512-2 / 5-35-9 / 3-53-11 / 4-4+15.1 / +3.1-18 / -3
*** Key Release: Under the total

We saw USU’s Achilles heel in the Mountain West finale vs. San Diego State, when the Utags’ long-range radar went on the blink as Craig Smith’s team made just 3 triples. To deal with Chris Beard’s stifling defense and prevent Texas Tech from collapsing around 7-footer Neemias Queta in the paint, tail-gunner Brock Miller in particular is going to have to do a bit better than hit only 25% of his triples (6 for 24) as was the case across the three games in Vegas last week. Mention of the menacing Queta, however, is enough to make even Beard’s mentor Bob Knight quake in his boots, as the Portuguese fly-swatter is capable of closing down the defensive interior and disrupting an entire offense, as he did when blocking 9 shots and altering countless others in the 62-50 semifinal win over Colorado State. Duly warned, Beard’s offense can work around Queta, especially as bombardiers like Georgetown transfer Mac McClung and Kyler Edwards (combined for 252 triples) do much of their work far away from Queta’s neighborhood. And if Tech does something else well, it’s draw fouls, as only nine teams took more trips to the charity stripe, and Queta has been vulnerable to occasional foul trouble. Mostly, however, after a season’s worth of Big 12 wars, Tech ought to be relieved to be facing someone else.
Play Utah State-Texas Tech “Under” Key Release and Texas Tech

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Utah State

70-56+14.6921-104-0 / 1-03-1 / 0-11-3 / 0-1

Texas Tech

71-63+8812-63-0 / 0-23-0 / 0-20-3 / 1-1

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Utah State

03-12-21Colorado State-4.5138.562-50

Texas Tech

03-11-21@ Texas-1.513466-67
03-11-21UNLV-10.5136.574-5303-07-21@ Baylor+8137.573-88
03-06-21@ Fresno State-9132.557-5103-04-21Iowa State-17.513881-54
03-04-21Wyoming-16.514672-5903-02-21TCU-12.513269-49
02-28-21Nevada-7.514187-6602-27-21Texas-4135.568-59
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

North Texas541262016248-3 / 8-37-4 / 8-35-6 / 5-6+15.7 / +4.8-13 / -3
Purdue65-7.58 (2)-1481110-1 / 5-46-5 / 6-38-3 / 2-7+9.4 / +4.2-7 / +1
Notes to consider…Even with the home-state edge, Purdue might have its hands full with gritty C-USA champ UNT, which grinded its way thru four straight days of wins in its conference tourney at Frisco last week. Mean Green HC Grant McCasland has waved a magic wand in March before (won the CBI in 2018) , though UNT has done it more with defense this term (61.8 ppg ranks 10th nationally), which kept it respectable against a challenging slate of pre-league big boys (Arkansas State, Miss State, West Virginia). When the Mean Green need points, the Shakespearean twist provided by G Javion Hamlet (15 ppg; scored clutch 19 ppg in C-USA Tourney) usually comes in handy, and the Riveters must contest UNT’s 3s, which the Eagles converted at a near 38% clip. But teams that clogged the passing lanes on Hamlet often slowed down the Mean Green, and Matt Painter’s formula (defense, controlled tempo) is much the same as UNT…except with a deeper roster of talent. It can’t hurt Purdue to have played at the same Lucas Oil last week, and balance (six score between 8-16 pg led by rugged 6-10 PF Trevion Williams at 15.6 ppg) should allows it to pull clear late. “Totals” alert–“under” (10-3 last 13 for Mean Green) usually a consideration in UNT games, too.

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

North Texas

63-56+6.41722-51-1 / 3-01-1 / 3-02-0 / 0-3

Purdue

73-60+12.2813-43-0 / 2-03-0 / 2-02-1 / 0-2

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

North Texas

03-13-21@ Western Kentucky+2124.561-57

Purdue

03-06-21Indiana-7133.567-58
03-12-21@ Louisiana Tech-1.512754-4803-02-21Wisconsin-2128.573-69
03-11-21@ Old Dominion-4.5127.561-5502-26-21@ Penn State+1.5138.573-52
03-10-21Middle Tennessee St-1612676-5602-20-21@ Nebraska-7.5137.575-58
03-06-21UAB-4.512561-6502-16-21Michigan State-5.5136.575-65
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Winthrop6914318203011-1 / 12-06-6 / 7-55-6 / 6-6+13.6 / +11.9-12 / -9
Villanova68-6.58 (2)-1241210-1 / 6-47-4 / 5-57-4 / 4-6+15.8 / +1.9-12 / -7
Given how many are always looking at the 5-12 games as upset specials in the first round of the Dance, and the support given to Winthrop by many insiders, and we wonder if an Eagle win in this matchup is going to be considered a surprise at all. That Villanova looks vulnerable is an understatement; the Cats didn’t win either of their last two games after PG and glue guy Collin Gillespie went out with a torn MCL vs. Creighton on March 3. Then, in the regular-season finale at Providence on March 6, Gillespie’s replacement at the point, Justin Moore, went down with a severe ankle sprain. With little-used soph Chris Arcidiacono filling in, the Cats would lose that game to the Friars before getting bumped off by Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals at MSG. There is a chance Moore could play on Friday, but he’d be at less than 100% as Jay Wright’s backcourt has become chaos with the late-season-injury bug. True, Winthrop didn’t face any of the big boys in pre-league play, but did handle a couple of the top SoCon entries (Dance qualifier UNCG, and Furman), and has carried a chip on its shoulder all thru this 23-1 season after being denied a chance at the Dance a year ago. Whereas Wright has to worry about depth at the moment, no such concern for Eagle HC Pat Kelsey, who rotates 11 players and creates several awkward matchups with 6-7 hybrid PG Chandler Vaudrin, physicality on the blocks with 6-10, 275-lb. PF D.J. Burns (22 in Big South final romp past Campbell), and instant offense from the bench in 6-6 dagger thrower Adonis Arms. Minus Gillespie (and perhaps Moore), Nova is probably not worthy of the 5-line and looks extremely vulnerable at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Play Winthrop

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Winthrop

78-60+18.21931-113-0 / 2-03-0 / 0-20-2 / 0-2

Villanova

67-63+4513-82-1 / 0-22-1 / 0-21-2 / 1-1

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Winthrop

03-07-21Campbell-11.5141.580-53

Villanova

03-11-21Georgetown-6.513971-72
03-04-21Longwood-13.514382-6103-06-21@ Providence-4.5138.552-54
03-01-21High Point-13143.583-5403-03-21Creighton-5147.572-60
02-19-21@ High Point-914571-6302-28-21@ Butler-12131.561-73
02-18-21@ High Point-10147.576-7002-23-21St. Johns-11152.581-58
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Wisconsin69137.59599-4 / 4-55-8 / 5-35-9 / 3-6+8 / +0.1-12 / -1
North Carolina77-1.56 (2)-591110-2 / 6-56-7 / 4-57-6 / 4-7+11.8 / +1.9-9 / -1
Those wondering if the Big Ten is worthy of the praise the TV analysts have heaped upon the league might find this matchup a viable barometer to the relative strength of the loop. That’s because Wisconsin certainly isn’t in the field because of a fast finish; to the contrary, the Badgers enter the Dance having lost 8 of 12, with their only wins since the start of February vs. second-division Big Ten sides Nebraska, Northwestern, and Penn State (twice). But, these days losses don’t count in the equation for major conference teams, and here we are with Wisconsin. At their best, the Badgers spread the floor with several 3-point shooters and hope to clear some room for Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers to operate inside, but without much depth, Greg Gard has mostly reverted to Wiscy’s old grind-it-out philosophy these days. This does not look like Badgers teams that have advanced deep in tourneys past; it’s hardly a vintage UNC side, either, but Roy Williams did oversee signs of improvement as the campaign progressed. Backcourt work has been below Chapel Hill standards for much of the season, though Roy has gotten better work lately from touted frosh Caleb Love (whose transition to an ACC PG has been a bit bumpy) and less-touted frosh Kerwin Walton, who has boosted often-erratic 3-point production. Against most foes, however, serviceable work on the perimeter is good enough, because the Heels can bang with plenty of bigs including 6-10 frontliners Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot, and lead the nation in offensive boards. Late-season form suggests the Heels (also 11-6 “over” last 17) can survive and advance.
Play UNC and Wiscy-UNC “Over”

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Wisconsin

67-68-1.267-01-1 / 1-20-2 / 2-01-1 / 1-2

North Carolina

81-71+10.41012-33-1 / 0-13-1 / 0-03-1 / 0-1

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Wisconsin

03-12-21@ Iowa+514357-62

North Carolina

03-12-21@ Florida State+3151.566-69
03-11-21Penn State-5.5134.575-7403-10-21Notre Dame-6.5151.5101-59
03-07-21@ Iowa+7.5142.573-7703-06-21Duke-3151.591-73
02-21-21@ Northwestern-6132.568-5102-27-21Florida State+215378-70
02-18-21Iowa-1.5144.562-7702-24-21Marquette-9.5145.570-83
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Hartford57140.525303010-1 / 5-58-3 / 6-46-5 / 2-9+10 / -0.4-5 / +6
Baylor88-25.56 (2)-2101812-0 / 4-17-5 / 3-27-5 / 2-3+26 / +12.2-23 / -11
Notes to consider…No question that the near-four week Covid pause that Baylor endured into late February took some of the starch out of the Bears, who covered only two of seven games upon their return to action and suffered their only two outright defeats of the campaign (in truth no shame in losing to Kansas and in OT vs. Ok State). But after a season’s-worth of competing in the rugged Big 12, might Baylor find America East rep Hartford a welcome relief? Perhaps; the Hawks hardly distinguished themselves in non-league losses to UConn and Villanova, though note A-East reps have provided some value in the most-recent Dances (UMBC in 2018 and Vermont two years ago, a combined 3-0 vs. line). Still, Hartford might be looking at humiliation unless G Austin Williams can replicate his heroics when scoring 21 ppg across four wins in the recent AE Tourney. Greater challenges await for Baylor, which also enters the Dance on an 11-1 “over” run stretching back to before the Covid pause.

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Hartford

74-63+11.4282704-0 / 1-04-0 / 1-03-1 / 1-0

Baylor

75-70+4.8314-143-0 / 1-10-3 / 1-13-0 / 1-1

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Hartford

03-13-21UMASS Lowell-213764-50

Baylor

03-11-21Kansas State-20136.574-68
03-06-21@ Vermont+9.513271-6502-27-21@ Kansas-4.514258-71
02-28-21Albany NY+1134.583-7702-23-21Iowa State-24148.577-72
02-27-21Binghamton-6.5133.577-6002-02-21@ Texas-5144.583-69
02-14-21NJ Tech-2131.575-6101-30-21Auburn-1415384-72
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Buffalo72153.51719229-6 / 5-27-8 / 6-15-10 / 5-2+6 / +14.4-8 / -3
Colorado State77-1.517 (2)-2182510-1 / 4-27-4 / 3-34-7 / 1-5+16.4 / +8-10 / -7
Notes to consider…Buffalo glad to be playing the NIT in the Metroplex rather than the normal NIT home-court scenario which would have taken the Bulls to far-away Fort Collins, which might have seemed like a trip to the moon after traveling thru the Rust Belt in the MAC regular season. Worth noting that UB’s obvious potency (81.7 ppg, ranks 13th nationally) began to inflate “totals” as the campaign progressed and Bulls would land “under” in 5 of last 6, and 9 of last 14 games. As long as CSU not too bummed about no replacement call from NCAA, Rams could be worth a look. Rugged 6-5 wing David Roddy is a matchup nightmare with his ability to post-up smaller defenders, and UB doesn’t have a rim protector like Utah State Neemias Queta, who was able to slide down and take away Roddy’s bread-and-butter on the blocks when Utags KO’d CSU in Mountain West semis last Friday.

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Buffalo

77-73+3.81720-64-1 / 0-03-2 / 0-01-4 / 0-0

Colorado State

77-63+14.81728-124-0 / 0-13-1 / 0-11-3 / 1-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Buffalo

03-13-21Ohio-2.5155.569-84

Colorado State

03-11-21Fresno State-8.5136.572-62
03-12-21Akron-4152.581-7403-05-21@ Nevada+1.5145.582-85
03-11-21Miami Ohio-8.515174-6303-03-21New Mexico-1813787-73
03-05-21Kent State-6154.581-6703-01-21Air Force-18.5133.574-44
03-02-21Akron-6.515980-7802-27-21Air Force-17.5135.572-49
No recent meetings

Pred. Score

Line

PR

GS Line

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Pts. Diff. (H/A)

Avg. Line (H/A)

Louisiana Tech5513017192214-2 / 4-410-6 / 5-37-8 / 2-6+13 / +0.1-9 / -0
Mississippi65-3.513 (2)-6112010-4 / 5-59-5 / 5-53-10 / 4-6+11.6 / +1.4-11 / -2
*** Key Release: Under the total

Dealing with plenty of high-powered offenses in the SEC this season, Ole Miss limited opposition to only 63 ppg (ranked 28th nationally), and barely behind only Tennessee in SEC scoring defense. So hardly expect a patient La Tech side that got slowed down by North Texas in the C-USA Tourney at Frisco last week to have much success accelerating the tempo. Bulldogs, however, work on the stop-end themselves and only allowed 64 ppg while winning 21 of 28 this season, and defend the arc resolutely (29.3% ranks 15th nationally in 3-point defense). The difference in Frisco (not the same venue at Comerica Center as last week’s CUSA event at the Dallas Cowboys’ Star facility) is lack of truly sharp edge on La Tech roster to pierce the Reb defense. Winning points more likely to come from Kermit Davis’ Ole Miss side with three-pronged attack led by slick G Devontae Shuler (15 ppg) and recently-percolating backcourt mate Jarkel Joiner (20 ppg L3) and ASU transfer F Romello White (scored 20 in loss vs. LSU in SEC quarters). “Under” however looks every bit as tempting with Rebs that way 19-8 this term, and Bulldogs 13-5-1 “under” last 19.
Play La Tech-Ole Miss “Under” Key Release and Ole Miss

Last 5 Games

PF/PA

Pts. Diff.

Avg. PR

Avg. OPR

Avg. Line

SUR (H/A)

ATS (H/A)

O/U (H/A)

Louisiana Tech

79-61+17.61823-65-0 / 0-04-1 / 0-02-2 / 0-0

Mississippi

69-64+5.41218-63-0 / 0-23-0 / 0-20-2 / 2-0

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Results

Date

Opponent

Line

Total

Score

Louisiana Tech

03-11-21Florida Atlantic-7.513875-69

Mississippi

03-12-21@ LSU+1144.573-76
02-27-21Rice-1214779-5803-11-21South Carolina-7140.576-59
02-26-21Rice-9.5146101-5703-06-21Vanderbilt-9134.556-46
02-13-21UAB-1.513369-6403-02-21Kentucky-313270-62
02-12-21UAB-1134.570-5802-27-21@ Vanderbilt-10.513370-75
No recent meetings
Pred. Score: Gold Sheet analysis predicted score, Line: Consensus vegas odds, GS PR: Team Power Ratings (home field value), PR Line: Power Rating line, FD: First downs, RA/RY: Rushing attempts and rushing yards, PC/PA/I/PY: Pass completions, pass attempts, interceptions, passing yards, F/F Lost: Fumbles and fumbles lost

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