Dayton vs Boise State Pick – NCAAB March 18th

So much for Ole Miss not being able to score with BYU. The Cougars put up a second half collapse for the ages, blowing a second half lead by allowing more points in the second half than the Virginia Cavaliers average in a game. The Ole Miss onslaught handed us a win, and the first mild upset of the young tournament. I am sure there will be plenty more, and we will do our best to identify them (though at least one will make the collective sports world gasp in surprise…)

Tonight’s First Four games are interesting, as the Dayton Flyers will play on the home floor of… the Dayton Flyers. Some have cried foul that Boise State has to play on another team’s home floor, but I would chalk this one up to bizarre confluence of coincidence – how long are the odds that one of the four at-large schools in the play-in game would be the one school who calls the pre-determined location home? Plus, why are they an #11 in the play-in game while Indiana, Texas and UCLA enjoy a few more nights of rest?

Alas, the tourney continues tonight, so let’s balance out the tourney record before the true madness starts tomorrow.

Today’s Free Pick:

Dayton Flyers -4 vs. Boise State Broncos

I love how Boise State is considered the “home” team in this game. Well done NCAA, those white jerseys should negate the home court an crowd advantage.

But in all seriousness, the fact this is a home game for Dayton matters. A lot. Archie Miller’s Flyers went a perfect 16-0 this season at home and they certainly are tourney-tested after last season’s thrilling Elite Eight run. They are probably under seeded as an #11, but playing at home and then possibly against Providence isn’t the worst draw in the world.

Meanwhile, Boise State has to travel across the country tonight, but their head coach isn’t complaining. Both teams are 25-8 and played in similar leagues, though I’d give the slight nod to this year’s A=1- over the Mountain West.

For me it comes down to two big factors; tourney experience and home court advantage. Both are strongly in the Flyers corner. Laying four points is a pretty reasonable price to pay for a more experienced (and I think, slightly better) team playing in not just a city “close” to home like many tourney teams have earned the right to do, but literally in their home gymnasium. That’s a huge edge I’d be surprised if the Flyers squandered.

Free Pick: Dayton Flyers -4