Here's hoping you bet on that prop at various sportsbooks asking if a double-digit seed would make the Sweet 16. You have four chances for that to happen on Saturday as No. 12 Yale, No.12 Arkansas-Little Rock, No. 11 Wichita State and No. 11 Gonzaga all pulled upsets in Thursday's first round and are in action Saturday. I'm confident one of those four will make it to the next round.
No. 11 Wichita State vs. No. 3 Miami (+2.5, 131.5)
South Region game at 12:10 p.m. ET from Providence on CBS. Wichita State (26-8) was the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champion but barely snuck into the Big Dance after being upset by Northern Iowa in the conference tournament semifinals. Clearly the veteran Shockers belong. While Kentucky's backcourt of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray is perhaps the most talented in Division I, Wichita State's senior duo of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker is the most accomplished and I'd take them up against anyone. They led the Shockers' 65-55 win over No .6 Arizona on Thursday, meaning that every year since the First Four has been in existence (2011) at least one team to win one of those games has reached the Round of 32. VanVleet had 16 points and five steals vs. the Wildcats and Baker 13 points and five rebounds. Wichita State's defense, which led the nation in points allowed, held the Cats to just 19 first-half points. That's Arizona's fewest in any half of a game in seven years. UA was averaging 81.2 points on the season.
Free $60 in Member College Basketball Picks. No Obligation Click Here
Miami (26-7) has a pretty good senior backcourt of its own in Angel Rodriguez (transfer from Kansas State) and Sheldon McClellan (transfer from Texas). Rodriguez had 24 points and seven rebounds and McClellan 20 points and five boards in the Hurricanes' 79-72 win over No. No. 14 Buffalo, the MAC Tournament champion. Another UM transfer, Kamari Murphy, had 11 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double since he was with Oklahoma State during the 2013-14 season. Davon Reed added 10 points and 12 rebounds, giving UM its first pair of teammates with a double-double in the same game in four years. UM and WSU have a common opponent: Utah (which also advanced Thursday). The Utes lost to both: 90-66 to Miami in a holiday tournament in Puerto Rico and 67-50 in Wichita.
Key trends: WSU is 3-10 against the spread in its past 13 neutral-site games. The Canes are 12-4 ATS in their past 16 nonconference games. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Wichita's past eight nonconference games.
I'm leaning: If the backcourts play even, then what happens? I think there's little question Miami is better up front. I'll take the points, as I can't believe No. 3 is a dog vs. a No. 11 even if WSU isn't your typical No .11. Definitely go under.
No. 12 Yale vs. No. 4 Duke (-6, 146)
West Region matchup at 2:40 p.m. ET from Providence on CBS. The jokes for this matchup are endless. "Yale vs. Duke in Providence" may be the whitest thing ever written in basketball history. Duke students love to rag other teams about how their school is superior; but here Duke is the safety school. "Over/under" how many BMWs in the parking lot? On and on. I wish I was in the stands for this one, actually. Yale (23-6) actually outrebounded much bigger Baylor in Thursday's 79-75 upset and shot 53.1 percent from the field in the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament win. And the Bulldogs deserved to win. Justin Sears is the team's star and a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year. He was good with 18 points, but Makai Mason blew up with a career-high 31 points.
Duke (24-10) didn't look particularly good in its 93-85 win over No. 13 UNC Wilmington on Thursday. The Blue Devils were down 43-40 at halftime but were rescued by a career-high 23 points from Marshall Plumlee, 19 of those in the second half. He's really Duke's only legitimate post player with Amile Jefferson out injured, and Plumlee dominated the smallish Seahawks by hitting 9-for-10 from the field and pulling down eight rebounds. Grayson Allen added 23 points (just 4-for-12 from the field) and 10 boards, and Brandon Ingram 20 points and nine rebounds. Duke shot 68 percent from the field in the second half. This is a rematch of a Nov. 25 game at Cameron. Yale led for all but about the final 90 seconds of the first half, but Duke pulled away in the second for an 80-61 win. Jefferson had nine points and 12 rebounds in that one.
Key trends: Yale is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. the ACC. Duke is 5-0 ATS in its past five vs. the Ivy League. The over is 5-0 in Duke's past five nonconference games.
I'm leaning: 106 tournament victories vs. 1. I'd love to see Yale win again, and I actually like Duke as a fan. But I'm giving the points. The Blue Devils are similar to the Bulldogs but way more talented. Go over.
No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock vs. No. 4 Iowa State (-6.5, 145)
Midwest Region game at 6:10 p.m. ET from Denver on TNT. Arkansas-Little Rock (30-4) was probably the biggest surprise of the first round, but this team is no fluke as it won the Sun Belt regular-season and conference tournament titles. The Trojans beat No. 5 Purdue 85-83 in double overtime Thursday, rallying from a late 13-point deficit in regulation. UALR's Josh Hagins was the biggest star of Thursday as he scored 11 of his 31 points in the final 4:02 of regulation, including a very deep 3-pointer to tie with four seconds left. Hagins added seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. I watched that entire game, and Purdue really should have won but kept blowing chances to do so. The Boilers had the monster edge in size, but it was their guards who kept blowing the key shots. UALR was only outrebounded by seven.
Iowa State (22-11) was a 7.5-point favorite over No. 13 Iona on Thursday, and I recommended taking the Cyclones there in Thursday's Opening Line Report. ISU won that track meet 94-81 in the highest-scoring game of the tournament's opening day. Monte Morris scored 20 points and had eight assists, while All-American Georges Niang had 28 points and six rebounds. ISU shot exactly 50 percent from the field and missed only five of 25 free throws. Iowa State's 94 points are the second-most in school history in an NCAA Tournament game. Maybe you worry about allowing 81 points, but that's just the way Iowa State plays. This game won't be at the pace of Thursday's as UALR is a defense-first club.
Key trends: UALR is 0-5 ATS in its past five vs. the Big 12. ISU is 4-1 ATS in its past five neutral-site games. The under is 11-2 in UALR's past 13 Saturday games.
I'm leaning: Iowa State and under.
Want free sports betting picks? Doc's Sports has you covered - get $60 worth of picks free from any of Doc's Sports expert handicappers. Click here for free picks (new clients only).
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent College Basketball Handicapping Articles
- NCAA Basketball Betting Advice: Top Teams Falling Short of Expectations
- Expert College Basketball Handicapping: Ranking the Conferences from Betting Perspective
- Expert College Basketball Handicapping: The Last of the Unbeatens
- College Basketball Betting and Handicapping: Studs and Duds Against the Spread
- Expert College Basketball Handicapping: The Last of the Unbeatens
- Expert College Basketball Handicapping: Marquee Teams Tough to Trust
- College Basketball Betting Advice: Mid-Major Teams with Betting Value
- 2019 College Basketball National Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- 2018 AAC Basketball Tournament Odds and Expert Predictions
- NCAA Basketball Expert Betting Advice: Three Interesting Opening Lines 3/8/2018