Before the seedings for the Big Dance are announced, we share our top NCAA Basketball picks of the day for Michigan State/Wisconsin Badgers & Connecticut Huskies/SMU Mustangs.
Expected to Be Here
While Frank Kaminsky and the defensive oriented Wisconsin Badgers were expected to be in the Big-Ten Finals, the Michigan State Spartans, who possess double-digit losses, were not. This is a huge game for both teams. For Wisconsin, seedings are on the line and for Michigan State seedings are also on the line, but they don't want to be clustered together with teams that are on the bubble.
The Spartans are coming off of a huge win over the #8 Maryland Terrapins. This is a win that will look good on their resume and will also provide some momentum when facing the the Badgers, who have only lost 3 times this season.
Michigan State was able to ovecome a first half deficit to pick up the victory. One player that they will need to rely upon against the Badgers is point guard Travis Trice.
The senior could be feeling some urgency and has elevated the level of his play. For the season, Trice is averaging slightly above 15 points per game, but in his last 5 games, Trice is averaging 20.4 points and against top level competition. Trice has been putting up a ton of shots, but has been fairly reliable where knocking down the 3-ball is concerned.
Michigan State will get another crack at the Badgers as these teams have met on March 1st. In that game, Wisconsin came out on top, but Michigan State was competitive, 68-61. One player that the Spartans will have to focus on is Frank Kaminsky.
Player of the Year?
Frank Kaminsky has gotten progressively better during his tenure at Wisconsin and is setting himself up for the NBA quite nicely. At 7 foot, 234 pounds, Kaminsky has the size and the offensive and defensive skills to go with it. For the season, Kaminsky is averaging 18.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. That said, he's coming off of a weak game against Purdue. Look for Kaminsky to right the ship as this game is for the Big-Ten Title.
While NCAA Basketball odds underdog Michigan State might not be the team that they've been in the past, they are very well coached and I expect them to put forth a good showing against the superior Badgers.
NCAA Basketball Pick- Michigan State +11.5 at 5 Dimes
Connecticut Huskies (20-13,10-8) at #20 SMU Mustangs (26-6,15-3)
Can Connecticut Do it Again?
It seems like every time that the Huskies have faced the brink of elimination, this team comes through in the clutch. They've won championships with Kemba Walker and more recently with Shabazz Napier. Connecticut had a huge tournament run in the Big East Conference if you all remember. Is this team's Connecticut team another team of destiny?
After overcoming a 10 point deficit in the 2nd half against 2nd seeded Tulsa, Connecticut was able to get to the AAC Finals, 47-42. In order for the Huskies to succeed in this game, Ryan Boatright will need to put up another 20 point performance. Head coach Kevin Ollie, has asked a lot from his senior as Boatright has played the entire 40 minutes in his last 2 games.
Boatright had 21 of Connecticut's 47 points against SMU on 5 of 9 shooting from the 3-point range. Place your NCAA basketball pick with confidence on Boatright to have a huge game as he fits in perfectly in the history of Connecticut where championship guards are concerned.
That said, the Huskies will need to be focused on AAU Player of the Year, Nick Moore.More is coming off of a very disappointing 7 point effort in the victory over Temple in which he shot just 3 of 14 from the field, but this is a multi-faceted player that can do many things well. One of those things includes 3-point shooting. Moore is averaging 41.9% from 3-point range this season.
When all is said and done, Moore hasn't been shooting well while hoisting up a ton of shots. This looks like the perfect spot for the Huskies to upset the Mustangs and have a chance at defending their title.
NCAA Basketball Pick- Connecticut +3 at Pinnacle