Take Colorado State Rams at +3 spread against Missouri Tigers risking 3 Units
This is basically a tossup game that could go either way and figures to go right down to the wire. Missouri has been a team that has underperformed pretty much all season. While they do have some key wins at home this season, they have been mediocre if that away from their home floor. Last season Missouri was bounced early in the tournament by a much smaller and less talented school than Colorado State. Missouri has lots of of talent on their roster and often times play a style of basketball that is fun to watch, however they have given away a lot of games that they probably should have won. Often times the deciding factor between a Missouri win and a Missouri loss has been the play of point guard Phil Pressey. Pressey can be spectacular at times, but he can also be flat out lousy at other times. Pressey is really the key to this game. When he plays under control and minimizes his mistakes, he can control the game and the Tigers can roll. When he is shooting poorly, taking bad shots and committing turnovers, Missouri has little chance.
Colorado State is a solid team that relies on taking high percentage shots and are absolute beats when it comes to rebounding. Colorado State's 6'10" Colton Iverson is one of the best all around players in the country and is severely underrated for a big man. Iverson has a chance to emerge in this tournament. Colorado State has been solid and were once ranked in the Top 25, thanks mostly to their lengthy home winnign streak. Colorado State has not nearly been as dominant on the road, but with this being a neutral court game, I believe they o still have an advantage. Missouri has just been plain bad away from their home court. If Colorado can limit Missouri's second chance opportunities and disrupt the play of Pressey then I believe they have a chance to win this game outright. Take the points
Take VCU Rams at -7 spread against Akron Zips risking 3 Units
Starting Akron Point Guarg Alex Abreau was arrested this past weekend and this has been a detrimental blow to this team. Abreau is the Zips best all around player. While Akron was able to get by Ohio after news of his arrest, this is a completely different scenario and will going up against a VCU team who just like last year could be poised to make a deep run in this year tournament. As much as people may want to play down the issue of Abreau being out, the fact remains that this would be a completely different game with Abreau in the lineup. Akron is really going to struggle on the offensive side of the ball especially with the pressure defense that VCU brings. VCU is one of the nation’s best scoring teams and it is because of their ability to force turnovers.
The Rams like to create havoc with their pressure defense. If the game turns into a wild, reckless affair, as postseason games often do, VCU has a definite advantage. Akron will have trouble controlling the pace and maintaining its poise without their point guard in the mix. VCU should roll in this game.
Take Oregon Ducks at +2.5 spread against Oklahoma State Cowboys risking 3 Units
This is one game that has upset written all over it. I still am honestly in shock that the Oregon ?Ducks were slated as a 12 seed in this tournament. Maybe just because of that we are seeing the line-makers create some value there. The Ducks are playing better basketball with Dominic Artis back in the fold and did manage to win the Pac 12 tournament this year. Lets not forget that they were ranked as high as number 10 this season and had some big wins against key team both at home and away ( UNLV ). It kind of makes me wonder where they would have been seeded had Artis not been injured.
This game is being played in San Jose California which while it is not Oregon, is still closer to home to them than Oklahoma State. State has a good offensive team lead by Marcus Smart and I will bet that the Ducks will have trouble slowing him down, but what this game comes down to for me is the fact that Oregon is just the all around better team. Offensively, defensively, Oregon just matches up well with Oklahoma State. Arsalan Kazemi has been a double-double machine for Oregon and could be the difference maker in this game.
I believe that Oregon is seeded to low and that Oklahoma State is perhaps a seed or two too high. Oregon pulls the upset today, take the points.
Witchita State at +4 spread against Pittsburgh Panters risking 3 Units
This game features a team from a traditional "power conference" (Big East) against a one from a mid-major (Missouri Valley). Statistically however these team match up rather well together. I have not really been impressed with Pittsburghs play at all this season. For playing in the Big East they have severely underperformed. They are a team that has no true stand out player, or one that can take a game over when needed and that has hurt them.
Both teams are strong inside teams, so you will likely see a back and forth battle in the paint. Both teams are also good rebounding teams so this should turn into a game about who really wants it more. I believe that is Wichita State. Whenever you match up a mid-major with a powerhouse you always see the smaller, lesser known school up their game on the big stage. Wichita State is not a team that anyone should sleep on. Forward Carl Hall can be an absolute difference maker in this game and if he gets hot, I believe State could potentially pull the upset.
Belmont at +4 spread against Arizona risking 3 Units
This is another game where I feel that an upset is here. Belmont is a team that shoots the 3 ball incredibly well and has the potential to be this year's "Cinderella" team. Ian Clark has been the heart and soul of this team and has carried them all the way to this tournament. Arizona was once ranked the #3 team in the country, something that I believe was sorely overrated and it's no secret that have have struggled lately. This is a game that no doubt Belmont will "get up for". Again this is a smaller mid major school with a chance to knock of a power house school who is reeling right now.
Arizona does not defend the 3 pointer very well which has been their Achilles Hell and which has also been a major strength for Belmont. A lot of the pressure is going to be on Wildcat point guard Mark Lyons. If he has a off game and continues to turn the ball over, Arizona could be making a quick exit out of this tournament. This game will be closer than the line suggests.