March Madness odds, picks, pr Columbia College of Missouri Cougars Jerseysedictions for Friday's Round 1 NCAA Tournament games
No. 1 seed Arizona begins its tournament march on Friday, and the Wildcats aren't the only heavy favorites.
No. 2 seeds Auburn, Villanova and Duke also are in action, and six of the 16 games on the schedule have double-digit spreads. There also are three 1-point spreads to work with in games between No. 6 Texas and No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 7 Michigan State and No. Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry shirt 10 Davidson and No. 8 Seton Hall and No. 9 TCU.
It's also a big day for the Big Ten, which has five teams in action. Sporting News offers its picks for the first-round games:
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March Madness picks, predictions for Round 1
No. 7 Ohio State (-0.5) vs. No. 10 Loyola-Chicago (West)
This is a true toss-up game. Loyola-Chicago was favored with the opening line, but it has swung back to the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 1-4 S/U in its last five games, but we think third-team All-American E.J. Liddell will be a difference-maker. The Ramblers will have trouble getting second and third looks, and Army Black Knights Jerseys the Buckeyes will squeak by into the second round.
Pick: Ohio State wins and COVERS the spread.
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No. 2 Auburn (-15.5) vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State (Midwest)
The Tigers struggled down the stretch a bit, but Bruce Pearl still has a team talented enough to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Jacksonville State has new life after losing in the Atlantic-Sun tournament. Get to know Demaree King, who leads the nation in three-point percentage at 46.2%. The Gamecocks also are 5-1 ATS as an underdog. This could g Anderson Trojans shirt et interesting late.
Pick: Auburn wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 3 Texas Tech (-15) vs. No. 14 Montana State (West)
The Bobcats won 27 games and were 5-2 ATS as an underdog this season. We thought this line would be a touch lower as a result. The Red Raiders were 8-0 S/U and 4-4 ATS when favored by more than 14 points this season. This is going to fall right on the line, and in those cases you take the underdog.
Pick: Texas Tech wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 3 Purdue (-16) vs. No. 14 Yale (East)
The Ivy League is back in the NCAA tournament after a two-year absence, and Yale is on a roll at the right time. The Bulldogs, however, are 0-3 ATS as a double-digit underdog. That included blowout losses to Auburn, St. Mary's and Seton Hall. Purdue is that kind of competition, and the Boilers won't mess around after last year's first-round loss to North Texas.
Pick: Purdue wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 2 Villanova (-15.5) vs. No. 15 Delaware (South)
This will be an entertaining game with the wrinkle of Jameer Nelson, whose father is a Chester, Penn, native and St. Joe's basketball legend. Villanova is 5-3 ATS when favored by 15 points or more this season, however, but the Wildcats were 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games. The Wildcats win, but the Blue Hens sneak in a back-do Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Jerseys or cover.
Pick: Villanova wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
MORE: Jameer Nelson Jr. leads Delaware | Caleb Daniels embodies Villanova culture
No. 7 USC (-1.5) vs. No. 10 Miami (Midwest)
The Hurricanes were on the bubble late, and they can get up and down with the Trojans in an up-and-tempo game. The problem is Miami ranks 233rd in Division I in scoring defense. We don't think Miami will get enough stops. USC is 5-1 ATS in games with lines of five points or less.
Pick: USC wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 6 Alabama (-4) vs. No. 11 Notre Dame (West)
Alabama has been a lousy play down the stretch. The College Lacrosse Jerseys Crimson Tide are 5-3 S/U and 2-6 ATS as a favorite in their las NCAA Car Accessories t eight tries, and they might be a touch over-seeded as a result. Notre Dame comes in on short rest, a double-overtime game and a long flight from Dayton to San Diego, but could pull this upset off outright. We still like the Crimson Tide to scrape by.
Pick: Alabama wins and covers the spread.
No. 6 Texas (-1) vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech (East)
The Hokies won the ACC tournament in a four-game run where they averaged 79.3 points per game, and they have a top-25 scoring defense, too. How much will their patience be tested against Texas, which allows just 59.6 points per game. The Hokies are 4-5 ATS as an underdog, so we're counting on Chris Beard to get his first tournament victory with the Longhorns.
Pick: Texas wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 4 Illinois (-8) vs. No. 13 Chattanooga (South)
Chattanooga is a trendy upset pick given the experience around Malachi Smith, who averages 20.1 points per game and shoots 41 BridgeValley Community & Technical College clothes .5% from three-point range. Illinois had some hiccups down the stretch in Big Ten play, but the Mocs won't have an answer for Kofi Cockburn, who averaged 21.1 and 10.6 rebounds. There is a back-door cover risk here, but we'll stick with the Illini.
Pick: Illinois wins and COVERS the spread.
MORE: Five mid-major players to watch in the tourney
No. 2 Duke (-18.5) vs. No. 15 Cal-State Fullerton (West)
The Blue Devils have five first-round losses under coach Mike Krzyzewski since 1980, but this does not feel like one of those situations. After a one-year absence from the tournament, the Blue Devils come out locked in. Keep in mind they have won their last five first-round games by an average of 20.2 points per game.
Pick: Duke wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 6 LSU (-4) vs. No. 11 Iowa State (Midwest)
It's tough to predict how LSU will play given the departure of coach Will Wade, and the Cyclones are a streaky team that lost three straight to end the regular season. Iowa State is 11-6 ATS as an underdog, and we like them to steal this one.
Pick: Iowa State wins in an UPSET.
No. 1 Arizona (-21.5) vs. No. 16 Wright State
Arizona is a popular pick to win the tournament and break the Pac-12's 25-year national championship drought. The Wildcats are hot, and they are 5-2 ATS against non-conference opponents when the spread is 15 points or more. This is a ready-made blowout if the Wildcats get off to a hot start.
Pick: Arizona wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 5 Houston (-8.5) vs. No. 12 UAB (South)
The Blazers won the Conference-USA tournament and are 3-0 ATS as an underdog this season. Houston is one of the best ATS teams this season at 22-12, and they have won their last two first-round tournament games by an average of 30 points.
Pick: Houston wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 7 Michigan State (-1) vs. No. 10 Davidson (West)
Davidson is a hot upset pick here given the Wildcats have four players who can score in double figures led by Hyunjung Lee. The Spartans rank 157th in scoring defense, too. Michigan State still has coach Tom Izzo, however, and that means it's going to be close. We just think Davidson will score more down the stretch.
Pick: Davidson wins in an UPSET.
No. 3 Wisconsin (-8) vs. No. 14 Colgate (Midwest)
Colgate is an experienced tournament team that gave Tennessee a scare in 2019 and played with Arkansas for a half last season. The Raiders rank second in the nation in three-point percentage at 40.1%. The Badgers are 6-4 ATS in non-conference games George Mason Patriots Jerseys this year. Johnny Davis will power the Badgers to a victory helped in part by the Milwaukee crowd, but it's closer than expected.
Pick: Wisconsin wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 8 Seton Hall (-1) vs. No. 9 TCU (South)
It's the only 8/9 game on the Friday schedule, and it's a true toss-up. The Pirates are 3-4 ATS in games with spreads of three points or less. The Horned Frogs are 7-2 ATS in the same situation. In a tight game, we'll go with the Horned Frogs.
Pick: TCU wins in an UPSET.