This sports handicapper examines Wednesday’s NCAA Tournament 1st round game between Robert Morris & North Florida. Does either team hold the edge in this matchup? We share our picks.
First Round Winner to take on Duke
The Robert Morris Colonials (19-14) will meet the North Florida Osprey (23-11) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. The opening tip is slated for 6:40 PM ET and the game will be televised by ESPN. According to the college basketball betting odds at Heritage, North Florida is currently a 2.5 point favorite. The winner of this contest will be advance to play the South Region #1 seed Duke on Friday at 7:10 PM ET in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Skinny on Both Teams
Robert Morris finished tied for second place in the Northeast Conference regular season standings with a 12-6 record. The Colonials then went on to defeat St. Francis N.Y. in the conference tournament championship game, and captured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They did face a fairly tough nonconference schedule to start the season. They earned notable wins over the likes of Duquense (A-10), UL-Monroe (Sun Belt), Bradley (MVC), and Delaware (Colonial). Robert Morris relies on very solid guard play from the trio of Rodney Prior (15.2 ppg), Marcquise Reed (14.8 ppg), and Lucky Jones (14.3 ppg). The Colonials are also a very good shooting three point shooting team that’s converted on 38% of their attempts this season.
NCAA Basketball odds favor North Florida -2.5pts, as they were the regular season and conference tournament champions of the Atlantic Sun. Just a quick refresher course on the Atlantic Sun. It’s the same conference that Florida Gulf Coast came from during their magical run to the “Sweet Sixteen” in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Ospreys had some impressive showings during the nonconference part of their schedule. They were a shocking 73-70 upset winner at Purdue in early December. They also sustained a narrow 69-67 loss at Northwestern, gave Iowa all they can handle during a 80-70 defeat on the road, and were somewhat respectable in a 66-49 away loss to #10 ranked Northern Iowa. North Florida enters the NCAA Tournament on an eight game winning streak. This is also a team which ranks 20th nationally in three-point shooting efficiency, converting on 39.1% of their attempts, and they’re 25th in scoring at 75.7 points per game.
Although Robert Morris may have played a stronger overall nonconference slate than North Florida However, they went 0-3 this season versus teams that will be participating in “The Big Dance”, and those losses came by an average of 24.3 points per game. On the other hand, North Florida measured up pretty well versus some current NCAA Tournament teams as I alluded to earlier. I’m going to have a slight lean on the small favorite for one of my NCAA Basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Picks: Play on North Florida -2.5 over Robert Morris at The Greek