Everyone remembers Maryland-Baltimore County beating Virginia in the first ever No. 16. No one remembers UMBC’s next game.
In the second round, UMBC lost 50-43 in an ugly game to Kansas State. They covered a 12-point gap.
It’s not a huge sample size, but there isn’t much history of 16th-ranked players in the second round. Fairleigh Dickinson is the second to do so, following a stunning upset of top seed Purdue. The Knights will rank No. 9 Florida Atlantic in the second round. FAU probably didn’t do much advanced research on Fairleigh Dickinson.
Here are the picks for Sunday’s games with BetMGM odds:
Pitt (+5.5) over Xavier
Pitt might be the team that needed to get out of ACC play. The Panthers have looked good in their two tournament games. They can keep this game close.
Kansas State (+2.5) over Kentucky
Maybe Kentucky is the rare team that doesn’t make it all season long and turns it on in the postseason. But that’s pretty rare. Usually a mediocre team is mediocre for a good reason. It is not yet time to trust the UK.
Marquette (-2.5) over Michigan State
This line is a bit strange. Michigan State looked good in the first round, but it was against a mediocre USC team. Marquette has been one of the hottest teams in college basketball. Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach, but he doesn’t have the type of team to make a deep run. Marquette does.
UConn (-4.5) over St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s is good and this line is a bit high, but UConn is one of the top ranked teams in advanced metrics for a reason. The Huskies got off to a slow start in their first round matchup, but came out strong and should continue that momentum.
Creighton (+1.5) edged Baylor
This should be a great game. Creighton hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but it’s a good team with balance. Baylor’s defense can be a liability, and that’s the difference.
Fairleigh Dickinson (+15.5) Florida over Atlantic
Not only was FDU the worst team in the NCAA tournament field, but the Knights were the worst by a pretty wide margin. After beating Purdue, they’re still only 275th in the KenPom rankings. But speed is a funny thing. And while Florida Atlantic is very good, it’s still surprising to see the No. 9 seed as a 15.5-point favorite. Might as well ride with FDU and all those points.
Miami (+1.5) beat Indiana
The Big Ten hasn’t been bad this tournament, aside from losing the entire No. 1 seed to No. 16. There is still a bit of excitement, and maybe Miami is a little underrated. The Hurricanes have a top-notch backcourt.
Gonzaga (-4.5) over TCU
Gonzaga has been playing at a very high level for many weeks. The Bulldogs have flown under the radar because they have set the bar high in recent years and have suffered some losses early this season. Gonzaga can end up in the Final Four.
Saturday’s second round record: 3-5
Tournament so far: 18-26