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Tuesday’s SportsBIT Show: NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Preview

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Purdue
History says to not bet on a team to win the national championships that lost its first conference tournament game. In the last 15 years, every eventual champion has reached at least the semifinals of its conference tourney, and seven of them have won the event. Kansas did lose its Big 12 Tournament opener but perhaps the time off energized the team as KU won its first two games of the Big Dance by 58 points. Freshman star Josh Jackson missed that Big 12 Tournament loss due to suspension but has been sensational in the NCAAs. He had 23 points in the Round of 32 blowout of Michigan State, setting a Kansas record for most points by a freshman in a Big Dance game. Jackson and senior guard Frank Mason III, a National Player of the Year candidate, are among the two best individual one-on-one offensive players in the nation.
If there’s one concern with Kansas, it’s a smallish and thin frontcourt. That could be a problem against the Boilermakers. Big Caleb Swanigan (18.5 ppg, 12.6 rpg) was the Big Ten Player of the Year and led the country in double-doubles. Like Mason, Swanigan is a finalist the Wooden Award.  Swanigan is dwarfed by 7-foot-2, 290-pound teammate Isaac Haas. Needless to say, Purdue is one of the nation’s best rebounding teams.  It crushed Iowa State on the boards in the Round of 32. This game is all about backcourt vs. frontcourt.

No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 3 Oregon
The Wolverines haven’t shown any fatigue after winning four games in four days to claim the Big Ten Tournament. They are one of the most efficient offenses in the country led by senior guard Derrick Walton Jr. Michigan doesn’t turn the ball over, either, and makes its free throws. The Wolverines scored 92 points against an Oklahoma State squad that ranked first in adjusted offensive efficiency entering the NCAA Tournament. Then they had 1.18 points per possession against a Louisville defense ranked among the Top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Oregon routed No. 14 Iona to open the tournament but then had its hands full with No. 11 Rhode Island, rallying for a 75-72 victory. If there was a Most Outstanding Player of the first two rounds, Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey might be the betting favorite. He is 18-for-23 from the field for 51 points. He hit the tying and winning 3-pointer against the Rams and became one of only three players in the last 26 years to score at least 27 points on 90 percent shooting in a NCAA Tournament game, joining Blake Griffin and Christian Laettner. Oregon is 0-4 all-time vs. Michigan. The teams last played in 2014.

NBA Play Of The Day
San Antonio is a 5-point favorite according to SBR odds when visiting Minnesota. The Spurs have beaten Minnesota 10 straight times – including five in a row at Target Center since the Wolves' 110-91 victory on Apr. 8, 2014 Teddy and Pauly’s top play of Tuesday is ‘over’ the total of 205 on that Western Conference matchup. The Timberwolves have lost three straight and their defense allowed 117, 123 and 123 points in them. So much for Coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive genius. It’s still all about the players. Meanwhile, four straight Spurs games have gone ‘over’ as Coach Gregg Popovich tinkers with his lineups ahead of the postseason.