As I am writing this blog, Michigan is up by 24 points in the first half over Texas A&M on 10 three pointers. Quick point, there is no way Michigan has the same offense in the second half (Note: they did). Loyola is up by 8 with 17 to go over Nevada. But here is the slate for Friday’s games. By the way, if we are keeping count, both my first half bets have hit so far for the Loyola game.
Clemson vs. Kansas
Line: Kansas -5
Kansas is one of the 2 #1 seeds left in the tournament. To get here they had to go past a scrappy Penn team, one that gave them a first half scare. Then they survived another scare against Seton Hall. Clemson blew past its first 2 opponents, beating new Mexico State by 11 and then blowing past Auburn by 31. If anything Clemson is full speed ahead and aboard the Championship train. With the way this tournament has gone, the Tigers could actually do it. Both these teams can shoot the three and both these teams have control of the ball. But here is the kicker. Kansas is 45th ins adjusted defensive efficiency and Clemson is 7th in the nation. Clemson wins, take the money line at Clemson +185.
West Virginia vs. Villanova
Line: Nova -5
Nova is the other #1 seed left in the tournament and probably the second best team left after blowing past their opponents by 20 points each game. But that’s where this game becomes interesting, so has West Virginia, against ranking wise better opponents. Nova is well coached and can shoot from deep, much like Michigan was last night. According to KenPom, the WIldcats are the best offensive team in the country. West Virginia isn’t much behind at 10 but cannot defend the 3, allowing 37% from deep. Nova wins, but the line is covered in the last minute on the line
Syracuse vs. Duke
Line: Duke -11.5
Duke is the best team left. They are confident and they are have a deep bench to take them to the ship. Duke did beat Syracuse earlier this season allowing only 44 points to the Orange. However, record don’t matter and this is going to come down to who is the better coach, and Duke wins that battle, but doesn’t cover. Take the Orange (better on the line and on the boards) in this one.
Texas Tech vs. Purdue
Line: Purdue -1.5
Purdue’s best player is out with an elbow injury, so can Purdue battle back? Really depends on Purdue’s engineers. As an engineer myself, this is what I am rooting for. As an Illini alum, I don’t want that to happen. Texas Tech know how to attack the guards and create turnovers and will have the chance to win the game. But Purdue has the better team. They hit 42% from 3 and rank #2 in adjusted offense. The 1.5 point line is too small for the tournament especially if it goes into the fouling game. The Boilers win, but do not make it any further.