NCAA Tournament: Three Opening Round Previews and Predictions

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is finally upon us. When the bracket gets released on Sunday you get all excited for the games but then you have to wait three days. But we’ve almost made it. Many consider this weekend to be the best weekend of the entire tournament. Lets take a look at the three opening round games that I think are the best possible bets.

by Nick Stasiak – Wannamakeabet Staff Writer

Kansas (-13.5) vs Penn

Let’s just get this one out of the way. There has been some talk this week that this could finally be the time that a 16 seed takes down a 1. Penn shoots well from three and if their shots are falling they could giving Kansas a game. The spread is unusually low for a 1 v 16 game. Usually the spread is around 20 but this one is at 13.5, with money actually going on Penn. All this talk about Penn finally being the 16 seed to pull off the upset makes me think that not only will it not happen, but it won’t even be close. There is so much talk about this that it seems like it’s too good to be true. Devonte Graham won’t let it happen. Give me Kansas and give me Kansas big.

The Pick: Kansas -13.5 

Ohio State (-8) vs South Dakota State

If you follow college basketball and the tournament, you know that the 5/12 matchup is where most upsets happen. When people look for potential upsets, the 5/12 matchup is the first place they go to. This one definitely jumps out as a potential upset. South Dakota State averaged 84.9 points per game this year, which ranks sixth in the country. They also averaged 39 rebounds per game, which ranks 25th in the country. What could impact Ohio State is they won’t have played for 13 days since the Big Ten Tournament was a week earlier than most tournaments. Another thing about Ohio State is they weren’t even supposed to be this good this season. They have no doubt overachieved. I would not be surprised if South Dakota State won this game. In fact, I took them to advance in my bracket. So obviously I will take them and the points

The Pick: South Dakota State +8 

Kentucky (-5) vs Davidson 

This is another 5/12 matchup that maybe a lot of people aren’t picking, but at least mentioning as a possible upset. Both of these teams come into this game on a hot streak. Davidson had to win their conference tournament to even get into the field, stealing a bid from Notre Dame. Kentucky enters this game 7-1 in their past eight games and coming off winning the SEC Tournament. They are probably playing their best basketball of the season. Which is why I don’t see this game coming down to the end. Kentucky is extremely talented, they are finally clicking on all cylinders, and they are playing a team that needed to in their conference tournament to even make the field. I think Kentucky wins this game and pulls away late.

The Pick: Kentucky -5

Leave a Reply