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Sweet Sixteen Tips and Pick

 

"How ya like them apples!!!!"

 

 

The text hit mere seconds after the final buzzer in the Michigan - Louisville game. It was quickly followed by four more texts, each one increasingly vulgar...too vulgar to print.

 

 

The digital assault was courtesy one of my close friends, a Michigan alum and a rather vociferous one at that (he's almost as obnoxious as our Notre Dame buddy - but both pale when compared to the smugness of our buddy who went to Duke - and he didn't even graduate a Blue Devil, getting kicked down the interstate to finish up as a Seminole - I can only imagine the condescension and arrogance if he had a Duke degree hanging in the office).

 

 

But Michigan buddy was hitting me up as I had said I don't think they have the depth to get by Louisville, and that if their offense goes a little cold, they'll have real difficulty recovering. I didn't suggest a bet on Louisville, but I did think they would go through. Big congrats to the Wolverines and their fans and congrats to anyone if your team made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Pretty exciting weekend ahead for you.

 

 

Over the last few weeks I've given out tips on what to look for in the teams you're backing, or going against and while we have now seen a couple of games from the final 16 teams, and have more data and subjective factors to work with in handicapping, I do still always stick to some of the basics that were highlighted in those previous columns.

 

 

Still give weight to teams that can hit their free throws, are good at reducing the scoring efficiency per possession of their opponent, and grab rebounds, limiting second chances for their opponent and giving them extra shots.

 

 

A few points that standout for me heading into the next round are:

 

- Speaking of defensive deficiency, sorry Greg (U of M buddy), but they allowed 1.11 points per possession against Louisville. They're a very good offense, but they need to be as defensively it can get ugly.

 

- The Tar Heels can struggle on the offensive boards. If there guys aren't hitting their shots, this could spell trouble.

 

- UCLA can score, no question. But defense and rebounding are issues. There's uncontested buckets to be had for their opponents and a rather diminutive Kent State team schooled them on the boards in that opener. Now that the competition level has jumped way up, these weaknesses could come back to haunt them.

 

- You don't want to rely on Gonzaga to hit free throws to cover for you. They're not so good from the stripe.

 

- The Gamecocks are great defensively. Love that part of their game. As good as they are on that side is about as bad as they can go on the offensive side.

 

 

Sweet Sixteen Play:

Had a winner last week with my first tournament pick, playing Princeton plus the points.

 

This week, I like the Boilermakers. This is a deep team who can spread the scoring around and handle the challenge Kansas’ Mason and Jackson present.

 

Taking Purdue +5.

 

Good luck!

 

March Madness Picks: 1-0 ATS

 

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