March Madness and back, and after an amazing weekend of games, the fun rolls into Monday. Here’s what jumps out to me on Monday’s card on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Wildcats were ferocious in their first-round upset victory vs. Texas, hanging tough the entire game. That was due to their defensive intensity, forcing the Longhorns into a season-high 23 turnovers — this is what they do. It’s remarkable that ACU was even able to be in the game given their offensive struggles, shooting just 30% from the field and 3-for-18 from downtown. But if they can overcome Texas in a game like that, I think the Wildcats have a terrific shot to knock off UCLA. The PAC-12 has been tremendous in tournament play, but UCLA is clearly the weakest of the field. They won track meets against offensive teams to reach this point, with both opponents so far showing a ton of holes on defense. We won’t see that from the Wildcats, and we also have to expect a lot more shots to go down for them, as well. Add some to this play on the moneyline (ACU +190), too.
Ohio vs. Creighton: OH +5.5 (-109)
Ohio was a trendy upset pick over Virginia in the first round, but for all the right reasons. The Bobcats can flat out play, with Ben Vander Plas filling it up, and Jason Preston in command of the offense. Preston finished with an 11-13-8 line vs. the Cavs, and neither star came off the floor during the game. Preston actually disappointed me with his lack of aggressiveness during the win, getting to the cup at ease on the limited occasions he chose to do so. He should be capable of carving up this Blue Jays’ defense, which barely survived a first-round scare of their own. Creighton is also one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the nation, giving them issues covering as favorites at the end of games. Once again, I like the Bobcats outright here, so be sure to add some moneyline (Ohio +195).
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Colorado vs. FSU: COL +1.5 (-109)
I’m somewhat regretful I didn’t back the Buffaloes in the first round vs. Georgetown since there were plenty of red flags there in hindsight. The Hoyas were coming off an emotional run in the Big East and clearly weren’t prepared for the tournament. I think Colorado can also catch the Seminoles sleeping here. Colorado has now won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming in the PAC-12 title game vs. Oregon State. At the time, we considered that a bad loss, but the Beavers are proving to be one of the hottest teams in the country, already punching their Sweet Sixteen ticket. Meanwhile, FSU limps into this game going just 3-3 in its last six and 1-4-1 ATS in those contests. The Seminoles got up 23-7 in the first-round and were unable to cover the first half or the game. McKinley Wright has the ability to be the best guard in this game, and the Buffs have the size to match FSU. Colorado won’t get caught sleeping and will come to play from the jump.
USC vs. Kansas: USC ML (-105)
The Trojans have won four of their last five entering this one — the only loss being at the hands of the Buffs by just two points in the PAC-12 Tournament. Kansas was able to avoid an upset in the first round with a late surge, but its recent resume seems a bit fraudulent. The difference in this one for me is the size for USC up front, with several bodies that can hurt Kansas in the paint. Having David McCormack back is massive for the Jayhawks, but he’s the only capable big they have. The Trojans have the Mobley brothers, along with bodies behind them that can play. More love for the PAC-12 in the night cap.
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