Can Fairleigh Dickinson do it again? Spread picks on Sunday
Everyone remembers Maryland-Baltimore County beating Virginia in the first seed No. 16 to No. 1 all-time. Nobody remembers the next game of UMBC.
In the second round, UMBC lost 50-43 in an ugly game to Kansas State. They covered a 12 point spread.
That’s not much of a sample size, but there isn’t much history from #16 seeds playing in the second round. Fairleigh Dickinson will be the second to do so after a stunning upset against top seed Purdue. The Knights draw number 9 Florida Atlantic in the second round. FAU probably didn’t explore Fairleigh Dickinson much in advance.
Here are the tips for Sunday’s games with odds from BetMGM:
Pitt (+5.5) via Xavier
Pitt could be a team that needed to get out of the ACC game. The Panthers have done well in both of their tournament games. You can keep this game close.
State of Kansas (+2.5) over Kentucky
Maybe Kentucky is that rare team that underperforms all season and turns it on in the postseason. But that’s pretty rare. Usually, a mediocre team is mediocre for a reason. It’s not time to trust UK yet.
Marquette (-2.5) over Michigan State
This line is a bit strange. Michigan State looked good in the first round, but it was against a mediocre USC team. Marquette was one of the hottest teams in college basketball. Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach, but he doesn’t have the kind of team to run deep. Marquette does.
UConn (-4.5) over St Mary’s
St. Mary’s is good and that line is a little high, but UConn is one of the top-ranked teams in the advanced metrics for a reason. The Huskies started slow in their first round matchup but made strong progress and they should continue that momentum.
Creighton (+1.5) over Baylor
This should be a great game. Creighton didn’t live up to the preseason hype, but they’re a good team with balance. Baylor’s defense can be a liability and that will make the difference.
Fairleigh Dickinson (+15.5) via Florida Atlantic
Not only was the FDU the worst team on the NCAA tournament field, the Knights were the worst by a fairly wide margin. Even after defeating Purdue, they’re still only ranked 275th on the KenPom rankings. But momentum is a fun thing. And while Florida Atlantic is very good, it’s still surprising to see a 9th-seeded 15.5-point favorite. Might as well race with FDU and all those points.
Miami (+1.5) via Indiana
The Big Ten haven’t been bad in this tournament, other than losing the entire No. 1 seed to a No. 16 thing. There’s still some trepidation, and maybe Miami is a little underrated. The Hurricanes have a first class backcourt.
Gonzaga (-4.5) over TCU
Gonzaga has been playing at a very high level for many weeks. The Bulldogs have flown under the radar because they’ve set the bar high in recent years and suffered some losses earlier this season. Gonzaga could end up in a Final Four.
Second-round picks record on Saturday: 3-5
Tournament so far: 18-26