March Madness 2017 Previews and Predictions

March Madness 2017 Previews and Predictions

The first round of March Madness is underway with no real surprises in the first games. I’ve got a few previews for tomorrow’s games, so keep reading for more.

No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats

  • When: March 17, 2017, 7:27 PM ET
  • Where: Golden 1 Center
  • Spread: Cincinnati -3.5
  • Over/Under: 130.5

Analysis: Though I liked what I saw from Kansas State in their game against the Demon Deacons in the First Four of this tournament, this next opponent will be much harder to beat. The Bearcats are well-disciplined and play well on both sides of the court. Offensively, they have four players that are putting up double digits; on defense, they are, perhaps, even better. Cincinnati ranks fourth overall in the nation in points allowed (60.5) and it’s among the best in forced turnovers with 13.7 per game. Those are sobering numbers and ones the Wildcats are surely looking at with some foreboding. 

Game Prediction: It’s going to be a close game. Exciting. But, the Bearcats will pull through to win and cover. 

Kent State Golden Flashes vs UCLA Bruins

  • When: March 17, 2017, 9:57 PM ET
  • Where: Golden 1 Center
  • Spread: UCLA -18
  • Over/Under: 11.5

Analysis: UCLA was eliminated from the Pac-12 tournament by Arizona and played sluggish giving a lackluster effort. However, the Bruins undeniably have one of the best offenses in the nation heading into March Madness. They are the, in fact, number one team in points (90.4 PPG), field goal shooting (51.7 percent), and assists (21.4 APG). Lonzo Ball, Bryce Alford, and big man TJ Leaf are a deadly trio that can take the Bruins deep into March, perhaps April. It’s Kent State’s first trip in eight years to this tournament, despite the program’s long history of 104 years in the league. They’re playing fairly well and are on a nine game winning streak, which gives them some momentum to face the Bruins. But, they rely heavily on Jimmy Hall to do much of their work. 

Game Prediction: UCLA passes but does not cover the 18 point spread. 

Michigan State Spartans vs Miami State Hurricanes  

  • When: March 17, 2017, 9:20 PM ET
  • Where: BOK Center
  • Spread: Miami -2
  • Over/Under: 125.5

Analysis: These two teams are pretty well matched, so get ready for an intense game. Miami probably has the edge in the back court with Davon Reed, Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown, while MSU has the edge in the front court with freshman Nick Ward (13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds), who is competent at getting the baskets below the rim, and 6-7 freshman Miles Bridges, the pivot of MSU’s offensive attack that leads the team with 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. 

Game Prediction: Expect a battle. Miami will pressure the Spartans with a full court press and try to get MSU in foul trouble driving hard to the basket. I expect Miami to take this one, they’ll also cover the 2 point spread. 

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