Everyone remembers when Maryland-Baltimore County defeated Virginia in the first No. 16 vs. No. 1 seed upset ever. No one remembers UMBC’s next game.
In the second round, UMBC lost 50-43 in an ugly game against Kansas State. They covered a 12 point spread.
That’s not much of a sample size, but there isn’t much history of No. 16 seeds playing in the second round. Fairleigh Dickinson will be the second to do so, after a stunning upset of top seed Purdue. The Knights drew No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic in the second round. The FAU probably didn’t do much advanced reconnaissance on Fairleigh Dickinson.
Here are the picks for Sunday’s matches, with odds from BetMGM:
Pitt (+5.5) over Xavier
Pitt may be a team that had to get out of the ACC game. The Panthers looked good in their two tournament games. They can keep this game close.
Kansas State (+2.5) over Kentucky
Perhaps Kentucky is the rare team to underperform all season and turn it on in the postseason. But that’s quite rare. Usually a mediocre team is mediocre for a good reason. It is not yet time to trust UK.
Marquette (-2.5) above the state of Michigan
This rule is a bit strange. Michigan State looked good in the first round, but it was against a mediocre USC team. Marquette has been one of the most popular teams in college basketball. Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach, but he doesn’t have the type of team to go deep. Marquet does.
UConn (-4.5) above St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s is good and this line is a little high, but UConn is one of the top-rated teams in the advanced stats for a reason. The Huskies started slow in their first round, but came on strong, and they should continue that momentum.
Creighton (+1.5) above Baylor
This should be a great game. Creighton haven’t lived up to the pre-season hype, but they are a good team with balance. Baylor’s defense can be a liability, and that will make all the difference.
Fairleigh Dickinson (+15.5) over Florida Atlantic
Not only was FDU the worst team in the NCAA tournament field, the Knights were the worst by a fairly large margin. Even after beating Purdue, they are only 275th in KenPom’s rankings. But momentum is a funny thing. And while Florida Atlantic is very good, it’s still surprising to see a No. 9 seed as a 15.5 point favorite. Might as well drive with FDU and all those points.
Miami (+1.5) above Indiana
The Big Ten haven’t been bad this tournament, aside from that whole No. 1 seed losing to a No. 16 thing. There’s still some trepidation, and maybe Miami is a little underrated. The Hurricanes have a top-notch backcourt.
Gonzaga (-4.5) on TCU
Gonzaga has been playing at a very high level for many weeks. The Bulldogs have flown under the radar as they have set the bar high in recent years and suffered some losses early this season. Gonzaga could end up in a Final Four.
Second round on Saturday takes record: 3-5
Tournament so far: 18-26