The NCAA Tournament’s original field of 68 is down to 66 following Tuesday’s first two First Four games in Dayton. In Wednesday’s SportsBIT show, Teddy Covers and Pauly Howard will continue their Big Dance region previews with the South, arguably the strongest region of the four, and the Midwest.
Kansas Or Louisville In Midwest?
The NCAA won’t let schools play NCAA Tournament games in their own gyms. The University of Kansas is in Lawrence, but the Jayhawks’ basketball team’s second home is Kansas City, and KU will play there in the Sweet 16 and potentially Elite Eight if the Big 12 regular-season champions last through this weekend in the Midwest Region. Coach Bill Self’s top-seeded team is Teddy’s pick to win the region, but Pauly is leaning No. 2 seed Louisville. Both like a first-round upset of No. 10 Oklahoma State over Michigan. The Wolverines just won the Big Ten Tournament title, but UM could now have some heavy legs after four games in four days. That could be an issue against the Cowboys’ national-best offense led by Juwan Evans.
South Region Is Loaded
The South has the three top blue-blood schools in college basketball in No. 1 seed North Carolina, No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 UCLA – they also happen to be 1-2-3 in the most Final Four appearances in NCAA history. The Heels have 19 and the Wildcats and Bruins with 17 each. UNC was the regular-season champion of college basketball’s best conference, the ACC, but Coach Roy Williams’ team isn’t the pick in the South. Teddy likes UK, while Pauly is leaning UCLA. Those two could be on a collision course for an epic regional semifinal next weekend. For a first-round upset, Teddy sees No. 6 Cincinnati going down, while Pauly projects No. 13 Winthrop over No 4 Butler.
Which Coaches To Back ATS?
Teddy and Pauly both like Michigan to lose in the first round despite the fact that Wolverines coach John Beilein is a stellar 14-5 against the spread in his NCAA Tournament career and 9-1 ATS as a favorite dating to 2005 and his time at West Virginia. Arizona’s Sean Miller is 16-9 ATS but only 8-8 ATS since leaving Xavier for Tucson. On the flip side, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey is 5-11 ATS. Gonzaga’s Mark Few, looking for his first-ever trip to the Final Four, is 11-14 ATS.
Play Of The Day
Southern Cal at -2.5 over Providence. These two No. 11 seeds in the East Region face off in the First Four on Wednesday in Dayton. Both were obviously two of the last at-large teams to get a bid. It’s a rematch of one of the best games of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, a 70-69 Friars first-round win on a last-second layup. However, PC isn’t near as good as last season after losing Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil to the NBA, and the Pac-12, USC’s conference, was vastly superior to the Big East all season.