2017 March Madness Picks of the Day: Sunday, March 19th

Baylor Bears players gathered around

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 19, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

With a winning season practically in the bag, I’m not changing my methods and analysis style now. Let’s cash some tickets fading the Pac-12 as the first weekend of the Big Dance wraps up on Sunday.

    USC vs. Baylor

East Region. Sunday, 8:40 PM ET

This is where I saw the end of the road for Bennie Boatwright and the USC Trojans when I filled out my bracket. Now that I’ve seen the line I am going to fade them ATS as well.

Baylor has a distinct roster advantage coming into this game, as they rotate 9 players into their lineup. A deep shooting team, all of those 9 players shoot more than 40% from the floor as the team averages 47.5% from the field on the season. Baylor is led by 6’ 10” forward, Johnathan Motley, who averages nearly a double-double per game with 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. Their deep rotation also helps Baylor on the defensive front, as the increased energy levels they can sustain is sufficient to hold opponents to an average of 63 points per game this year.

Coming in as the play-in 11 seed, this will be USC’s third game of the tournament. I took them to beat the mercurial squad from SMU, and they covered as a 7-point dog as well as winning that game straight up, 66-65. They are led by 6’ 10” forward, Bennie Boatwright, who has missed time this year due to injury but is still responsible for 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. USC used basically a 6-man rotation in that game against SMU.

I see these teams as having a roughly even matchup in the top 3 scorers from each team, but it is Baylor’s depth that will give them an advantage on the bench. Any foul trouble for USC would be a death knell, but I don’t think it will even come to that as I’m taking Baylor -6.5 as one of my Sunday college basketball picks.


Free NCAAB Pick: Baylor -6.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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   Rhode Island vs. Oregon

Midwest Region, Sunday, 7:10 pm E.T

I had Rhode Island over Creighton in my bracket, but the win was more impressive than I thought it would be. I can’t figure out who will win this game, which is my default situation to take any available points.

Rhode Island brings a balanced attack into this game against the Ducks, along with a 7-1 ATS winning trend. Rhode Island’s starting five all scored in double digits against Creighton, with 6’ 3” guard, Jeff Dowtin, leading the way with 23 points. The skinny freshman (170 lbs.) exploded for those points after not scoring in double digits for 11 games straight. The Rams won by 12 as a 2-point favorite, even after they hit only 4-21 from beyond the arc (19%), well below their season average of 33.5%.

I picked against Oregon in their last game and they covered by one point over Iona, winning 93-77 as a 15-point favorite. Forwards Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks made up for the loss of Chris Boucher in the front court, scoring 17 and 18 points in the game, respectively. 6’ 4” guard, Tyler Dorsey, slashed and dashed his way to his 4th 20+ point performance in a row in that game. Oregon broke an ATS losing streak with that

Rhode Island is a scrappy team, and I see them matching up well with the more finesse Oregon out of the Pac-12. I like getting any points in this relatively even matchup, so even if Oregon may win, I’ll rest easy getting 5.5-points over at 5Dimes.


Free NCAAB Pick: Rhode Island +5.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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