The preliminary Thursday-Friday of March Insanity could also be one of the best two-day stretch of the yr. Wire-to-wire motion the place the drama by no means fails, and we get our first take a look at that yr’s Cinderellas.
Beneath, we are going to check out Friday’s slate and provides an official decide which can both be a aspect or a complete. If you’re into the nerdy stuff, X’s and O’s, and the narratives, you’ll benefit from the learn. If you’re simply in search of my ideas on a decide, be happy to skip to the underside. Let’s dive into my March Insanity Finest Bets for Friday.
March Insanity 2023 Finest Bets for Spherical One: Friday, March 17
10. USC (22-10) vs. 7. Michigan State (19-12)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 12:15 pm EST CBS
Line: Michigan State -2
That is an intriguing however boring 7-10 matchup, for my part. I assume this one will come all the way down to the wire however might see it as a little bit of a rock struggle over the primary 30-plus minutes. Michigan State will look to place USC into the pick-and-roll, however USC has accomplished a good job defending that this yr.
USC will attempt to get the ball within the fingers of Drew Peterson and iso him to dying. Peterson is a giant guard who operates properly within the vary and might knock it down from outdoors if he must. Though they are going to be smaller than Peterson, MSU has some guards that may defend him.
My Choose: UNDER 137.5
14. Kennesaw State (24-8) vs. 3. Xavier (25-9)
Midwest Area – First Spherical – March 17, 12:40 pm EST truTV
Line: Xavier -12.5
Xavier was one Zach Freemantle shot away from probably successful the Massive East common season and Massive East Event. Sean Miller and Co. fought all the best way to the ultimate, the place they had been pretty embarrassed by Marquette at MSG. They wrote the ship properly with out their finest massive man and are nonetheless alive for a particularly profitable March. Kennesaw fought by means of a really aggressive ASUN season to make it to their first ever NCAA Event.
Schematically, Xavier should not have any downside getting up and down the court docket quick and scoring the basketball. Kennesaw will play quick and take plenty of threes. That’s what they’ve accomplished all season, and that’s actually their solely path to success right here. I see this sport being performed up-tempo and have plenty of alternatives to attain.
My Choose: OVER 154.5
14. UC Santa Barbara (27-7) vs. 3. Baylor (22-10)
South Area – First Spherical – March 17, 1:30 pm EST TNT
Line: Baylor -10.5
The pre-season Massive West favourite fought by means of some accidents and a few late-season struggles however put it collectively come event time to get by in a convention the place actually 5 groups have the potential to win an NCAA Event sport this yr.
The Massive West deserves extra credit score! It’s possible you’ll keep in mind UCSB as the stylish 12 seed from two years in the past that misplaced to Creighton by a degree in spherical one. Clearly, this isn’t the identical roster, however they are going to have Josh Pierre-Louis, who performed a key function on that crew and can look to do the identical right here in opposition to Baylor. The Bears received right here by the use of the stainless 2022-2023 Massive 12, which can simply be the top-to-bottom finest convention I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.
Wheels up for Denver 🛫#SicEm | #CultureofJOY pic.twitter.com/iP6TCtAKCH
— Baylor Males’s Basketball (@BaylorMBB) March 15, 2023
Baylor is definitely within the dialog for “Finest Guard Trios” within the Nation. 19-year-old freshman Keyonte George ought to be a lottery decide within the upcoming NBA Draft, whereas Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer ought to have NBA profession’s themselves. With that being stated, UCSB doesn’t have the horses to decelerate all of those Baylor guards and doesn’t have the items to take advantage of Baylor’s weaknesses down low.
My Choose: BAYLOR -10.5
12. VCU (27-7) vs. 5. St Mary’s (22-10)
West Area – First Spherical – March 17, 2:00 pm EST TBS
Line: SMC -4
Tremendous enjoyable matchup right here, despite the fact that the entire is so low. What fairly probably is one of the best St. Mary’s squad Randy Bennett has ever coached received a little bit of a troublesome draw with the A-10 champs. VCU was a little bit of a query mark heading into this season, with the Atlantic 10 trying stronger than ever. Nearly each squad in that convention was disappointing, however the Rams proved to be essentially the most constant.
St. Mary’s was given a present with native freshman Aidan Mahaney. He proved himself to be probably the greatest freshmen in the whole nation. The place VCU could make the upset is with their press. St. Mary’s struggled in opposition to it many occasions this season, and the Rams have one of many higher press defenses within the nation. We all know that St. Mary’s doesn’t flip the ball over within the half-court, so this level of the sport might be an enormous X think about figuring out who makes it out.
My Choose: VCU +4
15. Vermont (23-10) vs. 2. Marquette (28-6)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 2:45 pm EST CBS
Line: Marquette -10.5
Lots of buzz round Vermont placing the Massive East champs on upset alert, however I’m not shopping for it. Vermont has managed the America East for years now, however this was a bit extra spectacular this season. Bryant had by far essentially the most gifted roster in that convention, and UMass Lowell was one of the best crew, for my part.
In traditional Vermont trend, they shot the lights out when it counted most and discover themselves again within the NCAA Event. Marquette was so extraordinarily strong from the time convention play began, solely dropping two video games within the 2023 calendar yr, and that was in opposition to two top-five seeds on their court docket.
Vermont will look to play a particularly slow-paced sport and dictate the tempo within the half-court. Marquette will ship traps and strain like Vermont has not seen earlier than, which is what leads me to consider the Golden Eagle’s will soar.
My Choose: MARQUETTE -10.5
11. Pittsburgh (23-11) vs. 5. Iowa State (19-13)
Midwest Area – First Spherical – March 17, 3:10 pm EST truTV
Line: Iowa State -4
Pittsburgh will get into the primary spherical after a gathering with Mississippi State that got here all the way down to the ultimate minute. Iowa State had an up-and-down season however a profitable one within the nation’s finest convention. Pittsburgh will decide and roll as a lot as anybody within the nation, which bodes properly for Coach Otz and the Clones as they swarm the PnR in addition to anybody within the nation.
We again @Gbocoliseum ‼️ pic.twitter.com/fUhq7uMpsB
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) March 16, 2023
Pittsburgh should depend on the decide and pop on this matchup. Iowa State will allow you to shoot the ball. Fortunately for Pitt, they shoot the ball properly and have a transparent path to success on this one. Iowa State has been a large number offensively all season, and that has gotten worse after dropping guard Caleb Grill.
My Choose: PITT +4
11. NC State (23-10) vs. 6. Creighton (21-12)
South Area – First Spherical – March 17, 4:00 pm EST TNT
Line: Creighton -5
Lots of noise took place when Clemson didn’t get within the dance, not essentially over NC State, however the truth that they beat NC State 3 times. The Wolfpack had a high quality season and have a pleasant shot to advance in opposition to a unstable Creighton crew.
Talking of Creighton’s volatility, I like them at a macro degree against a game-by-game setting. They’re a crew who takes a load of threes and might get scorching immediately however look terrible simply as shortly. NC State’s path to success right here lives and dies on ahead DJ Burns’ shoulder.
Creighton head coach Greg McDermott will not often double the submit, which feeds into Burns’ iso energy. I’m banking on Creighton to make a run right here and see them getting by means of in a really shut matchup.
My Choose: NC STATE +5
13. Iona (27-7) vs. 4. UConn (25-8)
West Area – First Spherical – March 17, 4:30 pm EST TBS
Line: UConn -9
I used to be rather less optimistic about this yr’s Iona crew simply cruising by means of the MAAC like which have beneath Pitino the previous couple of years, however they proved to do it once more. UConn was one basket away from a gathering with Xavier within the Massive East last, a sport they very properly might have one.
The margins are very small, and if that consequence would have occurred, the sentiment round UConn can be very completely different heading into the event. I’m listening to plenty of hype across the Nelly Junior Joseph – Adama Sanogo matchup down low, however I see Sanogo completely dominating in that one.
UConn additionally has loads of outdoors threats who can warmth up as properly. Pitino will use his huge guards to attempt to bully UConn into turnovers. This will really feel like an old-school Massive East struggle at first, however I see UConn operating away, led by Sonogo down low.
My Choose: UCONN -9
16. Fairleigh Dickinson (20-15) vs. 1. Purdue (29-5)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 6:50 pm EST TNT
Line: Purdue -23
Briefly, nobody on this FDU roster has an opportunity of stopping Zach Edey. If FDU Coach Tobin Anderson is sensible (which he’s as he began a dynasty at division II St Thomas Aquinas), he’ll try to remain on this sport with Purdue in different methods. That could be with the guard play; exploiting Purdue’s freshmen who’ve by no means actually been on this spot would be the key. Anticipate Zach Edey to get all that he needs, however FDU is feisty on the sides. They know they’re underdogs and can play very freely on this matchup.
📸 | Let’s do it once more ⏪#reigKNIGHTed | @MarchMadnessMBB pic.twitter.com/SRTBN9cDcQ
— FDU Males’s Basketball (@FDUKnightsMBB) March 16, 2023
My Choose: FDU +23
11. Windfall (21-11) vs. 6. Kentucky (21-11)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 7:10 pm EST CBS
Line: Kentucky -4
Shot high quality luck vs. expertise that hasn’t panned out. Extraordinarily fascinating however bizarre matchup right here. Each of those groups seemed superior at occasions and horrible at others. Kentucky has the upper ceiling of the 2 with the mix of NBA expertise plus Picket Award winner Oscar Tshiebwe on the roster.
Windfall is a crew that does its finest work on the rim and crashes the glass closely. Sadly for them, that’s one factor you simply can’t do in opposition to Kentucky. Tshiebwe is likely one of the finest rebounders within the nation and appears like his “Picket Award-winning self” when he is ready to be remoted on the block.
Most groups will attempt to stretch him off the block, however Windfall not often performs this fashion. On the opposite finish, Cooley will not often double the submit giving Tshiebwe one other avenue to succeed. I can see Kentucky successful with flying colours and the general public saying, “be careful for Kentucky; the place have they been all yr!?”
My Choose: KENTUCKY -4
12. Drake (27-7) vs. 5. Miami (25-7)
Midwest Area – First Spherical – March 17, 7:25 PM EST TBS
Line: Miami -2
Don’t get me flawed; I like Drake greater than anybody. Roman Penn and Tucker DeVries are names which have made me cash over the previous couple of seasons, and I’m thrilled to see them within the dance. Sadly sufficient, I’m not too thrilled to see them match up with Miami.
The Hurricanes have an elite one-two guard punch in Nigel Pack and Isaiah Wong which is the place I see them taking up. Miami ahead Norchad Omier is questionable right here, however I’m anticipating him to go. He ought to do very properly in opposition to Drake’s Darnell Brodie. I’m very excessive on Miami’s guard play to cause them to victory on this spot.
My Choose: MIAMI -2
14. Grand Canyon (24-11) vs. 3. Gonzaga (28-5)
West Area – First Spherical – March 17, 7:35 pm EST truTV
Line: Gonzaga -15.5
Gonzaga goes a bit of beneath the radar heading into the large dance, and they’re heating up on the proper time. Coming into the event after routing St. Mary’s within the WCC Finals. They face off in opposition to the Grand Canyon Antelopes of the WAC who’s led by Bryce Drew.
Though Gonzaga didn’t have their finest season, their metrics rated out extraordinarily properly and had been on the flawed aspect of some “shot high quality luck” outcomes. Grand Canyon is coming off a WAC event the place they shoe 45-93 from deep (actually absurd). That’s their solely hope for fulfillment in opposition to Gonzaga as a result of they are going to get completely nothing inside. Sadly, that ought to regress, and Gonzaga ought to care for enterprise right here.
My Choose: GONZAGA -15.5
9. FAU (31-3) vs. 8. Memphis (26-8)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 2:45 pm EST TNT
Line: Memphis -2
Really a nasty draw yr as we are going to solely get to see 40 minutes from considered one of these groups. Dusty Might and the 30-win Owls face off in opposition to Penny’s Tigers after defeating 1-seed Houston within the AAC finals. I used to be extraordinarily excessive on Houston this season after heading Kendric Davis from SMU.
Tiger followers who’re already in Columbus, we’ll be having open follow at Nationwide Enviornment at 2:45 at present! pic.twitter.com/PBCfegLGNY
— Memphis Basketball (@Memphis_MBB) March 16, 2023
Davis is an electrical manufacturing unit and might go for 30 factors on any given night time. These two groups match up pretty properly with one another, however Memphis has the sheer measurement and athletic benefit. They’re one of many highest ceiling groups within the nation, and would anticipate them to get by means of to spherical two.
My Choose: MEMPHIS -2
24. Montana State (25-9) vs. 3. Kansas State (25-9)
East Area – First Spherical – March 17, 9:40 pm EST CBS
Line: Kansas State -8.5
Montana State is again within the NCAA event after going about issues very beneath the radar in Massive Sky play. Jap Washington gained rattling close to all their video games and was within the high spot all yr lengthy. With a pleasant post-season run with some matchup luck, Jubrile Belo and Montana State have one other likelihood to make some noise in march.
Jerome Tang did a tremendous job in his first yr as Kansas State’s head coach. They assembled an superior roster by means of the switch portal and now discover themselves as a three-seed within the massive dance. Montana State could be very methodical within the half-court and operates so much within the submit.
This fashion of play just isn’t what Kansas State is used to, as they don’t see a lot of this within the Massive 12. I might not be too shocked to see the Bobcats come out of the gates early however would anticipate Kansas State’s athleticism to take over and transfer the Wildcats on.
My Choose: KANSAS STATE -8.5
13. Kent State (28-6) vs. 4. Indiana (22-11)
Midwest Area – First Spherical – March 17, 9:55 pm EST TBS
Line: Indiana -4.5
I’m conscious, and an advocate of Jalen Hood-Schifino‘s significance to this IU roster, however one of the best guard on this court docket could also be Honest Carry of Kent State. I see this sport extra as narrative play than anything, as Kent State is likely one of the hardest groups within the nation and lives for these moments.
Their coach, Rob Senderoff, was once an assistant at Indiana, so add that for extra gasoline to the hearth. Indiana has struggled to defend guards after Xavier Johnson went down, so this could be a spot Carry can actually present out. On the finish of the day, Kent State should take care of Trayce Jackson-Davis, and his presence alone will make it powerful on Kent State. I see this one being a battle, however don’t see Jackson-Davis going out like this.
My Choose: KENT STATE +4.5
11. Arizona State (23-12) vs. 6. TCU (21-12)
West Area – First Spherical – March 17, 10:05 pm EST truTV
Line: TCU -6
I raved about how harmful ASU can be in my West area preview, and we noticed a glimpse of that as they routed Nevada within the play-in sport. Now they face TCU and have some momentum.
TCU has probably the greatest backcourts within the nation in Mike Miles and Damian Baugh however might be with out their massive man Eddie Lampkin who lately “left the crew.” Arizona State has gifted guards and has some measurement on the wings as properly. Having no Eddie Lampkin to take care of makes me see a path the place Arizona State wins this sport outright.
My Choose: ASU +6