I’m gonna do this blog because I love doing this blog and giving my opinion on every team, but if you’d like picks, upset potential, fade material, please visit http://spreadinvestor.com/march-madness-sheet/
It’s $9.99. That’s like two beers at the bar, one if you’re on the coast. The picks are included there, but trust me, the spreadsheet/NFW list/historical trends is where the value is really at. I’m never going tout – although the @mlparlays Venmo is open – but this is a once a year thing that myself, @Return_of_RB, @THold42, and @spreadinvestor have put a lot of time into. For the OGs, you’ve gotten free material for three years now. This is a small ask. As always, thanks for reading.
16. Texas Southern (16 seed / -97.10)
They went 0-13 against non-SWAC teams, so it’s safe to say they’re not going to pull off the historic upset.
15. Lipscomb (15 seed / -68.20)
Lipscomb is a lot of fun and they love to play fast, but getting into a track meet with UNC is probably not going to end well for them.
14. UNC Greensboro (13 seed / 1.07)
Greensboro can absolutely lock people up, but their upset potential took a blow when they were given the underseeded Zags.
13. South Dakota State (12 seed / 19.97)
The Jackrabbits are another popular upset pick with almost 1 out of 4 brackets having SDSU knock off Ohio State. Daum is always the focal point of the offense, but if they are going to win, it’s the supporting cast that needs to catch fire.
12. Providence (10 seed / 23.22)
Ed Cooley is fun, I just wish his team wasn’t always itching for a rock fight. But if the Friars can get their wish the first weekend, they’re a sneaky underdog to make the Sweet 16.
11. Montana (14 seed / 25.30)
Montana is underseeded here, but Michigan is probably the worst case 3 seed scenario for them. They’re going to have a real difficult time trying to bottle up the Wolverine ball screen action and when Beilein finds a weakness, he does not relent. While it’s not a great matchup for the Grizz, they can stick in it because, well, they’re just a good basketball team.
10. San Diego State (11 seed / 52.82)
The Aztecs enter the tournament on a tear, but of course the committee matches them up with another team that’s been playing at a really high level. This team is fairly similar to the Steve Fisher coached SDSU teams, but one big difference is that they’ve played at a quicker pace. They’ve got some offensive punch as well. Tough pod for them, though.
9. Missouri (8 seed / 66.48)
I was a big Mizzou supporter all year, but they just have way too much instability going on right now. You can’t NOT play Michael Porter if he wants to play, but I don’t really like the idea of inserting a guy who hasn’t played all year and he’s going to suddenly account for 36% of the possessions he’s on the floor.
8. Florida State (9 seed / 66.55)
Can’t remember the last time I’ve been impressed by a Leonard Hamilton team in a tournament game. It’s been a while.
7. Xavier (1 seed / 68.95)
There’s a lot of red flags with X’s defensive profile. There’s also the red flag of: JP Macura is the second-best player. On the other hand, if it’s a close game I’d like to be on Trevon Bluiett’s side, please.
6. Houston (6 seed / 70.44)
Ended the season on a great run, but so did the other three teams in their pod. They don’t have many holes, but they’re definitely not as efficient as you’d like inside the three-point line. They’re really a team you’d like to get behind, but the draw was very unfortunate.
5. Texas A&M (7 seed / 71.40)
A&M was disappointing, but they did have a great non-conference and they are still an elite defensive squad. Guard play is a big question mark after some midseason attrition, but they can hang with UNC if they’re able to get past pesky Providence.
4. North Carolina (2 seed / 82.08)
I doubted the Heels last year and they rubbed it in my face. And it’s hard to ever bet against Roy Williams, who by the numbers is the best tournament coach in college basketball. But it’s also important to point out the Heels were real close to being bounced out in the first weekend last year. Their profile is very similar to last year – albeit a little worse defensively – but I still just have a hard time rolling with a team that isn’t very efficient from the floor.
3. Ohio State (5 seed / 82.82)
Ohio State’s been overachieving all year, so it’s not surprising to see so many people dismiss them so quickly. Just at least keep in mind that they were 15-1 against Big Ten teams not named Penn State, they have an All-American, Chris Holtmann, and are Top 26 on both ends of the floor. They did not catch a break with having to go to Boise and likely playing Gonzaga, though.
2. Michigan (3 seed / 83.00)
I wouldn’t expect Michigan to have a big dropoff from the level they were playing at in the Big Ten Tournament. It wasn’t like they just rode some hot shooting streak to the title, they’ve just grown a lot as team, which is what a John Beilein team does. With that said, it’s not going to be an easy road. They open with an underseeded Montana, will likely face an underseeded Houston, and will more than likely follow that up with two Top 10 teams. And that’s just to reach San Antonio.
1. Gonzaga (4 seed / 91.14)
The Zags are really good again, but I do still question if they’re good enough defending the perimeter. Their numbers have started to look a lot better in that area, but you have to wonder if that will hold up now that they’re out of the WCC again.