NCAA Tournament Free Picks: Day Time Second Round Picks 3/17

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Though the NCAA Tournament has already gotten started, this is the first day in which most NCAA basketball betting fans are paying close attention. The first slate of games is always the most exciting, and we have all of the ins and outs covered for the start of what should be a great day of March Madness picks!

Matchup: #12 Clemson Tigers vs. #5 West Virginia Mountaineers
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 12:15 ET
Location: East Region, Tampa Bay, FL
NCAA Basketball Odds: West Virginia -2
Over/Under 123

This is going to be an ugly, ugly slugfest here at the St. Pete Times Forum to start off the NCAA Tournament, and there is no doubt that we have to go with the Tigers. These teams in the Big East might be amongst the best in the country, but they also have been through the mill and often times aren’t ready for the dance once it begins. Clemson has already gotten its feet wet with that win over the UAB Blazers on Tuesday in the “First Four.” Sure, it’s been an arduous journey to get here to Tampa Bay, but we still have no reservations that this one is coming down to the last shot, one way or the other. Free March Madness Picks: Clemson Tigers +2

Matchup: #9 Old Dominion Monarchs vs. #8 Butler Bulldogs
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 12:40 ET
Location: Southeast Region, Washington DC
NCAA Basketball Odds: Old Dominion -2
Over/Under 122

My, how quickly we all forget about that run that the Bulldogs made to the NCAA Tournament finale last year! No, this Butler team isn’t the same squad as last year, but it really did well in the Horizon League and really turned it on when it counted down the stretch. Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard are the real deal. Don’t get us wrong. We love Old Dominion and we love the fact that this team plays stellar defense. In fact, the Monarchs already have one win over a Horizon League team this season, beating down the Cleveland State Vikings in BracketBusters. Of course, that CSU team was one that the Bulldogs were able to handle this year, even with Norris Cole going crazy. This is another one of these games that really could go either way, and we have to back the ‘dogs’ in this one. March Madness Free Picks: Butler Bulldogs +2

Matchup: #13 Morehead State Eagles vs. #4 Louisville Cardinals
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 1:40 ET
Location: Southwest Region, Denver, CO
NCAA Basketball Odds: Louisville -9.5
Over/Under 131

At the start of the season, many were high on both the Eagles and the Murray State Racers out of the OVC, and many thought that both might be able to sneak into the NCAA Tournament. Instead, both underachieved, and Morehead State was just lucky to end up here. The Redbirds are fantastic, as they play stout defense and surprisingly stellar offense. Don’t let the injury to Raheem Buckles worry you… at least not yet… Terrence Jennings and the crew should be able to put forth a great effort to put this Morehead State team away once and for all by a comfortable double digit margin of victory. Free March Madness Picks: Louisville Cardinals -9.5

Matchup: #10 Penn State Nittany Lions vs. #7 Temple Owls
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2:10 ET
Location: West Region, Tucson, AZ
NCAA Basketball Odds: Temple -2
Over/Under 121.5

The Nittany Lions are just really particularly lucky to be here in the NCAA Tournament, as they really weren’t even on the radar a bit over a week ago before the Big Ten Tournament started. This is a team that probably should be a CBI team that just happened to catch some fire at the right time to get here. Teams like that generally don’t last all that long in the dance. Temple has dealt with some injuries, but this is a team that really knows how to ball, especially out of the A-10, even though the conference was down this year. Head Coach Fran Dunphy hasn’t had a great history here in the dance, but that should all change this week with a big win over PSU. Free March Madness Picks: Temple Owls -2

Matchup: #13 Princeton Tigers vs. #4 Kentucky Wildcats
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2:45 ET
Location: East Region, Tampa Bay, FL
NCAA Basketball Odds: Kentucky -13.5
Over/Under 130

Just like it’s really quick that we forgot about Butler, it’s really quickly that we forgot about the Ivy League as well. No, Princeton really isn’t as strong of a shooting team as last year’s Cornell Big Red were, but that doesn’t mean that the Ivy Leaguers really aren’t dangerous. This was a team that fought tooth and nail just to get here, as it took a buzzer beater to knock off the Harvard Crimson. Kentucky is one of the most overrated teams in the country as well at this point. Sure, the talent level is there, but this is definitely a time in which the Selection Committee got this one right. Head Coach John Calipari’s team might have won the SEC, but it’s only a matter of time until someone exposes this team as a fraud. The Cats will get through this one, but it won’t be by two TDs. March Madness Free Picks: Princeton Tigers +13.5

Matchup: #16 UNC Asheville Bulldogs vs. #1 Pittsburgh Panthers
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 3:10 ET
Location: Southeast Region, Washington DC
NCAA Basketball Odds: Pittsburgh -18.5
Over/Under 135

The Panthers know that they are supposed to get through this one in a big time way. The Bulldogs had their day, as they picked up that win in Dayton on Wednesday. U-Pitt really hasn’t had a great history in this tournament, but there is a point that Head Coach Jamie Dixon really has to get his team going. Last year, this team couldn’t get out of the first weekend of the dance. Though we really don’t think there is any doubt that the Panthers are going to get through this game, there is still that doubt about this spread. This could go either way, but when push comes to shove, we’ll take the chance that Pittsburgh tries to make a real statement. Free March Madness Picks: Pittsburgh Panthers -18.5

Matchup: #12 Richmond Spiders vs. #5 Vanderbilt Commodores
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 4:10 ET
Location: Southwest Region, Denver, CO
NCAA Basketball Odds: Vanderbilt -3
Over/Under 134.5

We hate these stupid 5/12 games, because they really feel like pick ’em games at times. In a rare twist though, we do have something to base this off of. The Commodores figured out how to not just beat, but destroy a very comparable St. Mary’s Gaels team at home. John Jenkins is coming off of a god awful game against the Florida Gators in the SEC Tournament, and he is going to want to make amends for sure. The Richmond defense is fantastic, but it just isn’t good enough to figure out this Vandy offense, which really can be a force at times. March Madness Free Picks: Vanderbilt Commodores -3

Matchup: #15 Northern Colorado Bears vs. #2 San Diego State Aztecs
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 4:40 ET
Location: West Region, Tucson, AZ
NCAA Basketball Odds: San Diego State -15.5
Over/Under 130.5

This is the first time the Bears are ever playing in the NCAA Tournament, while it is very likely going to be the first win for the Aztecs in school history in the dance. Kawhi Leonard is one of the biggest men in this game, as he can score, block shots, and rebound like none other out there. Northern Colorado is just going to be happy to be in this game, and with a tremendous home court advantage, there is no doubt that the Aztecs are going to get rid of the Bears really quickly. Free March Madness Picks: San Diego State Aztecs -15.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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