Thursday, March 28, 2013

NCAA Picks - Sweet 16 Thursday Night

Another Thursday in March means another round of March Madness, and this time March Madness comes to the North Country, airing live on 1410 CBS Sports Radio (WENU-AM) starting at 7PM both tonight and tomorrow night.

In celebration of the Sweet 16, let's pick the four games that will be coming our way tonight.

East: (3) Marquette vs. (2) Miami (FL) - 7:15PM
For the most part, these two teams put up similar stats, although Miami holds a defensive rebounding advantage.  This game could come down to who cleans the glass efficiently.  Miami can be a more dangerous team behind the arch, shooting 36% compared to Marquette's 30%. This could become an issue in a late game situation if Marquette finds themselves down.

Pick: Miami (FL), 74-62

West: (6) Arizona vs. (2) Ohio State - 7:47PM
This game should be a battle between a defensive team and an offensive team.  Ohio State's 70.3 points per game is less than Arizona's 73.5 points per game, but where Ohio State excels is their defense.  At 58.8 points per game, the defense has shut down many teams, forcing them to shoot less than 40% from the field and less than 1/3 conversion rate on the 3 pointers.  Deshaun Thomas has not scored fewer than 10 points in any game this season, including a 19 point effort when Ohio State played U-Albany on November 11th.  Mark Lyons will be a threat for the Wildcats, scoring 15.4 points per game this season, including his season high of 27 when the Wildcats ended the Cinderella story of Harvard last week.  It should be a close match throughout.

Pick: Ohio State, 66-64.

East: (1) Indiana vs. (4) Syracuse - 9:45PM
Syracuse is another under 60 points per game defensive team, but will have to find a way slow down a hot Indiana Hoosier team that puts up nearly 80 points per game.  The Hoosiers can shoot nearly 49% from the field and 40% from behind the arch.  Although the Orange may have a good defense when it comes to stopping the 3, doing so may open the door for the high percentage shots.  Syracuse has one of the better offensive rebound figures of the 16 teams in the tournament, but ultimately it will come down to stopping Indiana's key scorers, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford.  C.J. Fair will be put to work in this game for the Orange.

Pick: Indiana, 76-61.

West: (9) Wichita State vs. (13) LaSalle - 10:17PM
The Cinderella run of LaSalle now brings them to Los Angeles where they will have to face Wichita State.  LaSalle is a team that can hit well from the field, but doesn't defend too well within the arch, allowing about the same percentage as they shoot themselves.  This will become an issue if Wichita State gets hot, shooting 44% from the field.  Rebounding could become an issue, as well, with Wichita State outrebounding LaSalle by a wide margin.  Ramon Galloway is a strong player on the court for the Explorers, scoring 17.4 points per game, and has three other weapons he can distribute the ball to for an even scoring attack.  Cleanthony Early also needs to be watched for the Shockers, scoring 13.9 points per game in only 24.5 minutes per game.  

Pick: LaSalle, 71-70.

Be sure to listen along with 1410 CBS Sports Radio and join us on Facebook as we talk about the games all night.  And be sure to tune in tomorrow for these great games:

Midwest: (12) Oregon vs. (1) Louisville - 7:15PM
South: (4) Michigan vs. (1) Kansas - 7:37PM
Midwest: (3) Michigan State vs. (2) Duke - 9:45PM
South: (15) Florida-Gulf Coast University vs. (3) Florida - 9:57PM

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