NCAA Tournament Picks: Back Wichita State To Cover -2 vs. Miami

Doug Upstone

Friday, March 18, 2016 7:36 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 18, 2016 7:36 PM GMT

Could be wrong, but I do not recall for NCAA Tournament , a First Four team being favored in a round of 32 game and if so, I find it impossible to believe it was against a team seeded like Miami-FL.

Doug's Record: 5-1-1 sides and 3-4 totals

Yet this is the case with the Wichita Shockers, opening as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 130 for NCAA Tournament odds. Though Wichita State is not close to the same offensive team that went to the Final Four three years ago, defensively, they are "strangling the breeze" (thanks Rob Zombie), in holding last seven opponents under 40 percent shooting and to just 54.7 points a game.

So should the Hurricanes even both to show up? Though college coaches will never talk about point spreads, if one of their assistants were to casually mention to team leaders they are underdogs as ACC team, who is further down the line in seeding, that would probably be fine.

This is the 12:10 Eastern opener Saturday on CBS.

 

The Betting Numbers
Wichita State

SU and ATS Record - 20-12, 20-11 ATS

Away Record - 13-7 and 12-9 ATS

Favorite Record - 23-7 and 19-11 ATS

Off a SU Win - 19-6 SU and 15-10 ATS

 

Miami-FL
SU and ATS Records - 26-7, 18-14 ATS

Away Record -11-6 and 7-10 ATS

Underdog Record - 2-3 and 2-3 ATS

Off a SU Win - 9-8 SU and 6-8 ATS

 

The Game Scoop
Here is the remarkable part about what Wichita State has done in the first two games of the tournament. Fred Van Vleet and Rob Baker, there two best shooters from the perimeter, continue their late season shooting slumps and are 4 for 17 from behind arc after two games, both double digit victories.

Having great talent always matters, but assemble with it outstanding coaching like Gregg Marshall, who also happens to be breakdown film masterfully on opposing teams, and convey that knowledge to veteran team leaders who understand how to execute and you have a winning formula.

Miami also has its talented collection of veteran guards who have been through the rigors and a coach in Jim Larranga who knows a little something about the game. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan know how to play and they proved that against Buffalo, combining for 44 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

The Miami frontcourt of Kamari Murphy and Tonye Jekiri presents a different challenge than what Wichita State has seen thus far, being far more athletic and active and playing on a team that truly thinks they can win.

Because both backcourts are so close on the surface, this game could easily be decided by what team gets the most out of its frontcourt. This is all areas, scoring, rebounding and defense. Realistically, this should be one heck of a way to kick off a Super Saturday!

Sagarin Spread - Miami -Fl. -0.63

 

Spread Winner and Totals Lean
Even when making NCAA Tournament picks, it would be real easy to get caught up in the emotion of riding the Wichita State bandwagon. However, when using my power ratings, it proves the oddsmakers are not wrong as I have the Shockers favored by -3, -3 and -2.5 points, which tell me the line is correct.

As far as the breakdown, I keep waiting for Van Vleet and Baker to bust out and this could very well be the contest. With McClellan, he is the constant, but Rodriguez tends to be more choppy, which could be the difference.

I would be shocked (intentional play on words) if the Hurricanes had many chances to run, but not surprised at all if the Shockers got eight fastbreak points.

In the end, Wichita State moves to 8-0 ATS when seeded 9 through 12 in the NCAA Tournament in a low scoring affair.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Wichita State -2
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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