March Madness 2017 Picks: Saint Mary's vs Arizona West Region, Saturday

Saint Mary's Gaels

Friday, March 17, 2017 5:06 PM GMT

Big chalk didn’t stop the Arizona Wildcats from beating the NCAAB odds in the First Round. Saturday’s Second Rounder against the St. Mary’s Gaels will be different.

Saint Mary's vs Arizona

West Region, Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET

Maybe we should just stop fading the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats (31-4 SU, 18-14-3 ATS). They were one of the few teams to cover a massive spread in the First Round of March Madness – depending on what price you got Arizona at. The “official” result was a push when the ‘Cats beat the North Dakota Fighting Hawks 100-82 as 18-point faves on the closing line. We had the Hawks at +16.5, before the steam came out.

At least we had it right with the No. 7 St. Mary's Gaels. They did the West Coast Conference proud on Thursday, downing the VCU Rams 85-77 as 4-point faves. Should we stick with this underrated program in Saturday's matchup (7:45 p.m. ET, CBS) with Arizona? St. Mary's is a 4-point puppy this time after opening as low as +2.5 on the NCAAB odds board, so at these prices, it's a definite maybe.

Left Coast Conference

Let's double-check the projections to see if we've got some profit margin for our college basketball picks. FiveThirtyEight sees this as a close matchup, with Arizona winning 55 percent of the time – that's good for between two and 2.5 points at Wizard of Odds. Sweet. Ken Pomeroy even has St. Mary's ranked ahead of Arizona on his efficiency chars, by about two points per 100 possessions.

Well, all righty then. The Wildcats were the class of the Pac-12 Tournament, and they played well enough against North Dakota, but the Pac-12 isn't all that. And don't pooh-pooh the WCC, either. They were one of the best non-majors in college hoops this year (yes, BYU is a conference member now). Just because they're not Gonzaga doesn't mean St. Mary's can't ball.

Free NCAAB Pick: St. Mary's +4 (–105)

Best Line Offered: at Betmania

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