Four teams have to fill out the Elite 8 bracket, and we are looking at those for Sunday from the East and West regionals. Within these regions, we are honing in on two specific games for college basketball picks.
Like everything from last March to this March, it is not normal. While we are slowly seeing signs of normalcy, we have not gotten to where we used to be. Case in point, the NCAA Tournament. For years, the Sunday before the Final Four was reserved to fill out the last two teams of the remaining four. Not this year.
This go-round takes us to the Elite 8, not finishing it off. We are not complaining because it beats the heck out of a year ago when we were doing, well, nothing.
We’ve studied the odds at the best sports betting sites and made a decision on what kind of parlay we want to put together for Sunday. Now you can see what we were thinking!
UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Sunday, March 28, 2021 – 7:15 PM EDT at Hinkle Fieldhouse
It’s become fascinating to watch and attempt to figure out how the First Four teams gain entry to the Round of 32, the Sweet 16, or beyond. Most any season, when a college basketball team or teams have to play two games in three days, if they are losing, the announcers usually chime in, “Team X looks tired and is not playing with emotion.” We accept what we hear and move along.
How is it then that a club like UCLA (20-9, 15-14 ATS), can play three high-stress contests away from home, win and beat the spread, and look as fresh as an apple just picked off the tree? The Bruins offense has been as crisp as the first bite into an apple, shooting over 46 percent in all three outings and committing only 20 turnovers in 124 minutes of basketball.
However, Alabama (26-6, 17-15 ATS) is a different kind of team. The Crimson Tide is fast, they are pumping three’s or running a layup drill, and they are unrelenting. Alabama's defense holds teams to 40.8% shooting and 28.9% from distance, but they have lapses, and sometimes opposing teams get comfortable, and like a punch in the nose, the Tide rolls and goes 10-0 or 12-2 and all the sudden the hole is deep to extract from.
Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans
Sunday, March 28, 2021 - 9:45 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Besides the Big Ten having as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Summit League, the next biggest shocker about the participants was the Pac-12 having four squads get this far. Half of this contingent will collide in a conference clash.
Each team arrives like a NASCAR running hot. Oregon (21-6, 15-12 ATS) has won seven of eight (6-2 ATS) and avoided a first-round tournament matchup with VCU having a virus issue. After losing three of four, USC (24-7, 17-14 ATS) is 5-1 (3-3 ATS). To borrow from rocker Rob Zombie to describe the Trojans defense, they are “strangling the breeze”, having held three opponents in their last half dozen starts to below 30% shooting.
The way the schedule worked, these clubs met just once, which was in Los Angeles, where USC ousted Oregon 72-58 as 3.5-point home favorites on Feb. 22. Most sportsbooks have a tight two-point spread, with USC the favorite.
Each team’s offense is brimming with confidence. Both shot over 47% on the season, and they have easily surpassed that in their past five contests, reaching over 51% collectively. Who then has the edge for our picks?
Parlay Pick and Why
As you might have determined, Alabama is one of the choices. The Tide’s defensive skills match up well against UCLA, able to contain their proficient three-point shooting (37.4%) and possibly rattle them into more turnovers, where they are excellent in converting to points swiftly. Under coach Nate Oats, Bama is 12-4 ATS after a game where they made 13 or more three-point shots, with Bruins 1-9 ATS in the Sweet 16 round.
The Pac-12 rumble offers great intrigue and should be a fantastic conflict to close out the Elite 8. USC defense could be the difference in the outcome. Still, it’s amazing when you follow the numbers currently or historically. The Trojans are the No. 6 and the Ducks are No. 7 in the West Regional, and when seeds below No. 5 collide at this point, the lower seed is 10-4 SU and ATS.
Additionally, in this tournament, favorites of -3.5 or less are 5-10 and 4-11 ATS, which cannot be ignored. Thus, with our NCAAB picks, we’ll choose Bama and Oregon for Sunday’s parlay.
NCAAB Picks: (visit our Sportsbook Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.