Twelve games will be in the books in the NCAA Tournament by the time we kick off the final slate of games on Thursday night, but we are looking forward to making our March Madness bracket predictions for this last foursome of clashes!
NCAA Tournament Matchup: #9 Connecticut Huskies vs. #8 Iowa State Cyclones
Date: Thursday, March 15th, 9:20 ET
Location: KFC Yum! Arena, Louisville, KY
March Madness Odds: Connecticut -1.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TBS
So let’s get this straight. UConn is a team that is coming out of the lesser conference, has fewer quality wins on its resume, and it is still favored and has a ton of money coming in on it even though it is the worse seed in this matchup. Right? Something just doesn’t make sense to us with this one. There is always a sense of Big East pride and that this conference should be amongst the elite in the nation, but this year, we just don’t see it that way. The Huskies aren’t going to be able to make the same type of run that they did last year, and in the end, an Iowa State team that was already able to prove that it can play with the big boys in the Big XII this year should be able to get the job done. We think that this is one of the more generous point spreads on the March Madness betting lines on the opening day of the tournament.
NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Iowa State +1.5
NCAA Tournament Matchup: #13 New Mexico State Aggies vs. #4 Indiana Hoosiers
Date: Thursday, March 15th, 9:45 ET
Location: Rose Garden, Portland, OR
March Madness Odds: Indiana -6.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS
This is definitely a game in which the Hoosiers should be very careful. New Mexico State is not a joke for sure. The WAC champs can run up and down the floor and make matters very uncomfortable for a young team that really didn’t win a lot of big time games on the road this year. Going up to the Rose Garden for what might feel like a de facto road game probably isn’t going to help matters any for Cody Zeller and the gang. Indiana should get through this one, but we really don’t think that it is going to be that easy, and we surely wouldn’t ultimately be all that surprised if New Mexico State takes this one right down to the wire in what should be a great game.
NCAA Tournament Free Pick: New Mexico State +6.5
NCAA Tournament Matchup: #15 Loyola Maryland Greyhounds vs. #2 Ohio State Buckeyes
Date: Thursday, March 15th, 9:50 ET
Location: Consol Energy Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
March Madness Odds: Ohio State -17
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: TNT
Ohio State has plenty of reason to be really upset right now. The team just missed winning the Big Ten title, and it just missed being on the No. 1 line. It is going to be staring across at a Loyola Maryland team from the Metro Atlantic, and the last time that the Buckeyes had to play a team from this conference, they were bounced by Siena. That being said, the Greyhounds are only playing in their second NCAA Tournament game, and they really don’t have a leg to stand on. They are overmatched by a team that has the ability to just come out and romp, and we think that there are just going to be no equals for what Jared Sullinger, William Buford, and the gang bring to the table. This one could get particularly ugly on Thursday night.
NCAA Tournament Free Pick: Ohio State -17
NCAA Tournament Matchup: #11 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #6 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Date: Thursday, March 15th, 9:55 ET
Location: The Pit Arena, Albuquerque, NM
March Madness Odds: UNLV -5.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: truTV
Here’s what we learned yesterday by watching Cal: The Golden Bears stunk, and they were the best that the Pac-12 had to offer this year. We watched Washington struggle with Texas Arlington for some time in the first round of the NIT, and we watched Arizona get laughed off of its home court by Bucknell. Simply put, the Selection Committee was right: This conference sucks. UNLV is going to be playing a game in the Pit, a place where it is very comfortable playing, and it is going to show. The Rebels are a heck of a lot better than the Buffaloes are, and in the end, we are going to see the Pac-12 already dismissed from this tournament once and for all just one day in, and that has to be a tremendous black eye on the rest of the power conferences as well.
NCAA Tournament Free Pick: UNLV -5.5