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Cincinnati vs. Kentucky Pick NCAA – March 21st + Bonus Pick

We had a nice day of NCAA Tourney action, going 4-2 ATS with one loss coming by just a single point (the other was the Dayton crowd overwhelming Providence – I was there and it felt like a complete home game for the #11 seeded Flyers, but that is another issue and debate for another day).

Meanwhile, things stabilized a bit in the field with scarcely a ripple of upset, despite a few slightly-close games (but to be fair, it never really felt like West Virginia or Maryland or Oklahoma were in any remote danger). Might there be some danger brewing today? Can UAB or Georgia State be the first #14 to advance in years? Can Butler push Notre Dame or Ohio State challenge Arizona? And surely Villanova and Kentucky are safe today right??

Let’s dig into an awesome Saturday afternoon Round of 32 for a few more winners.

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Today’s Free Afternoon Picks:

Georgia State vs. Xavier Musketeers -6

The Xavier Musketeers were one of the easier winners in the opening round, cruising over Ole Miss by exploiting a balanced attack anchored by one of the more unorthodox but effective big men in the country, Matt Stainbrook. Today they face the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, Georgia State.

I mean, how can you NOT root for the Panthers? You have the coach on a scooter because he tore his Achilles celebrating with his senior NBA-bound son after winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship in dramatic fashion.   You have RJ Hunter, the coaches son, going Bryce Drew to can a 30-footer game winning three to propel the Panthers, a #14 seed, past Baylor with an 11-0 game-closing run, and so exciting Pops that he FELL off his stool and had to have his ankle re-set following the game. Add in Kevin Ware, the darling of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, fully-recovered from his gruesome leg injury and playing good basketball, smiling and loving life… I mean, seriously, you can’t make these kind of story lines up without eliciting groans from the audience.

But can they win today?

They CAN, but they aren’t going to. Xavier is too big, too deep and too good. The magical run ends tonight, but the Big East continues to flex some muscle today and wins and covers the six point spread.

Free Pick: Xavier Musketeers -6

 

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Kentucky Wildcats -15.5

Kentucky put in a workman like mundane effort in dispatching the #16 seed, but expect a little more zip and energy tonight. Frankly, it’s impressive Cincinnati even made the tournament after losing all five starters from last year’s team and head coach Mick Cronin to boot, so there is no shame in getting routed today in Louisville in front of half a million screaming Wildcat faithful.

6’10’’ Octavius Ellis will be back after being ejected in Purdue’s game for a dirty play. I am kind of surprised that the NCAA didn’t suspend him, but perhaps the sanguine notion of not taking away the tournament from a poor, sad kid won out… I’d have suspended him. Not that it matters tonight. One 6’10’’ angry big is about 3 ½ too few to counter Kentucky. Cincinnati struggles to score against regular teams. I can’t imagine them cracking 50 today.

Look for Kentucky to put the clamps down defensively and cruise to a 20-point plus win.

Free Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -15.5