NCAA Tournament Picks Against the Spread – March 21st (Evening Games)

By this point you are either celebrating wildly, or more likely, throwing your hands up in the air and cursing your stupid brackets.  After all, their all roughly nine quintillion possible bracket combinations, so your odds of perfection are a little less than great…

Regardless of where you sit with your brackets, we have another packed evening of tournament action coming up, with eight more first round tournament games tipping off in the evening sessions.  Let’s take a look at a few of the possible wagering highlights.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. Michigan Wolverines -10.5

The evening starts off with one of the more intriguing personal matchups of the opening weekend, Michigan’s Trey Burke matching up with SDSU’s Nate Wolters.  Don’t let the funky nickname or small conference affiliation fool you, SDSU and Wolters can play.  He is a legit NBA draft pick and has already hung 50+ in a game this year.

I am not sure there is enough around Wolters to pull off the upset in Auburn Hills, but keep in mind this Michigan team was upended early by DJ Cooper and Ohio U in the opening round, so they have been vulnerable to the upset.

I like South Dakota State with the points either way, and am looking forward to a really entertaining game.

Free Pick:  South Dakota State +10.5

Belmont Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats -4.5

Belmont has been knocking on the upset door for years, most notably their near-miss against Duke in a #2/#15 matchup several years back.  This year, they have both the talent and the seeding to make that threat legitimate damage.

Arizona has a great record but has had three ridiculous miracle finishes (or referee assistance) in games they were very fortunate to win.  I see this being the same type of game – either way, I like Belmont with the points, but have this game circled as the most likely upset of the evening.

Free Pick:  Belmont Bruins +4.5

Cal Bears vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels -3

I might be overly optimistic on UNLV, but I still really like this team as a potential sleeper.  They have an NBA lottery pick in Anthony Bennett, a veteran star and leader in Mike Moser and a talented supporting cast of good athletes and shooters.  I think Dave Rice’s club is a real threat to do some damage in this region.

Cal has been better in the second half of the season, but this is still a team that was fortunate to get invited to the Dance.  I think UNLV makes quick work of their season and advances to the next round.

Free Pick:  UNLV Runnin’ Rebels -3

Harvard Crimson vs. New Mexico Lobos -10.5

The name ‘Harvard’ sounds better than they are this season.  This is not the Jeremy Lin team or even the one the year after that that upset Michigan and was ranked nationally.  They won a down Ivy League thanks to a late slip up by Princeton and dismissed two of their best players halfway through the season.

New Mexico has had trouble living up to their seed in the past, but I don’t think they will this year.  I like them come out aggressive early and overwhelm Harvard with their superior size and athleticism.

Free Pick:  New Mexico Lobos -10.5

Chris Scheeren / Author