Everyone remembers Maryland-Baltimore County’s 16th-versus-1 all-time win over Virginia. Nobody remembers UMBC’s next game.
In the second round, UMBC lost, 50-43, in an ugly game against Kansas State. They covered a 12-point difference.
That’s not a huge sample size, but there isn’t a lot of history to play the No. 16 seed in the second round. Fairleigh Dickinson would be the second to do so, after a stunning upset from top seed Purdue. The Knights tied No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic in the second round. FAU may not have done much pre-exploration for Fairleigh Dickinson.
Here are the picks for Sunday’s matches, with odds From BetMGM:
Pete (+5.5) on Xavier
Pete may be the team that needs to get out of the ACC game. The Panthers have looked good in both matches of the tournament. They can keep this game close.
Kansas State (+2.5) over Kentucky
Perhaps Kentucky is the rare team that doesn’t make it all season and run in the postseason. But this is very rare. The middle team is usually mediocre for good reason. It is not yet time to trust the UK.
Marquette (-2.5) over Michigan
This line is a bit strange. Michigan State looked good in the first round but was up against a mediocre team from USC. Marquette was one of the hottest teams in college basketball. Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach, but he just doesn’t have the kind of team that enables him to run deep. Market does.
OConn (-4.5) over St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s is good and that line is a little high, but UConn is one of the top-rated teams in the advanced metrics for a reason. The Huskies started slow in their first-round matchup, but they’ve come in strong, and they need to keep that momentum going.
Creighton (+1.5) over Baylor
This must be a great game. Creighton didn’t live up to their pre-season hype, but they are a good team with poise. Baylor’s defense can be a handicap, and that will be the difference.
Fairleigh Dickinson (+15.5) over Florida Atlantic
Not only was FDU the worst team in the NCAA Tournament, but the Knights were the worst by a fairly large margin. Even after beating Purdue, they’re still only 275th Kienbaum Ratings. But momentum is a funny thing. And even though Florida Atlantic is pretty good, it’s still surprising to see the No. 9 seed as a 15.5-point favorite. It might as well be with FDU and all of those points.
Miami (+1.5) over Indiana
The Big Ten wasn’t bad in this tournament, aside from losing the entire top seed to No. 16. There is still some fear, and Miami may not have been underestimated. Hurricanes have a first-class backcourt.
Gonzaga (-4.5) on TCU
Gonzaga has been playing at a very high level for many weeks now. The Bulldogs have flown under the radar as they have been setting a high bar in recent years and have had some losses early in the season. Gonzaga could end up in the Final Four.
Saturday second round picks record: 3-5
Championship so far: 18-26