As the NCAA Tournament tips off, Streak for the Cash rolls on with a pick or prop from every single game in the bracket today as 16 teams move on to round three. In case your bracket’s already busted (although I’m not sure how that could happen), there’s also picks from the NHL, NIT, an International Friendly soccer game, and the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill outside of Orlando.
I’ll try to give as many picks as I can with just a quick analysis and a gauge so you know how confident I am. Here’s the one’s I’m watching today:
Streak Picks for 3/21
8:05- Tiger Woods: Tiger has an incredible history at this event and is coming off a dominant win in his last start two weeks ago. In this prop he’s matched with Ernie Els who he’ll be playing the first two rounds of the Palmer Invitational with. It’s only a nine-hole prop, but I think this is about as confident as I could ever be giving the tie. Confidence Meter: 6
12:15- Valparaiso sin or single-digit loss: Bryce Drew hit one of the most memorable buzzer-beaters to win a NCAA Tournament game in history and he’ll look for the same success as he returns as a head Coach now for the Crusaders who were the regular season and tournament champs in the Horizon League. They did play a Big 10 school early in the season as they lost to Nebraska on the road but only by a pair. They’re 10 1/2 point underdogs today as they open the tournament against Michigan State. Although the Spartans are a solid team that I think will make a run deep into the tournament, they barely beat Iowa in their first Big 10 tournament game before losing to Ohio State. Valpo is a strong pick against the spread although I don’t think they’ll pull off the upset. Confidence Meter: 5
12:40- Butler: Butler definitely knows how to play in March and coach Brad Stevens will have them ready to go as they open with Bucknell. Bucknell runs almost all their offense through Mike Muscala and I don’t think they have the necessary depth to pull the upset. Vegas has Butler as 3 1/2 point favorites for whatever that’s worth. Confidence Meter: 6
1:40- Pittsburgh Panthers: Pittsburgh are four point favorites as they open against the Wichita State Shockers in Salt Lake City. Pitt won four in a row before losing to Syracuse in the Big East Tournament and played well coming down the stretch behind their star point guard Tray Woodall. The Shockers lost in their tournament championship game to Creighton by three. Pitt’s bigger and stronger and should be able to rely on their Big East-crafted physical style of play to get them into the next round where presumably they’ll face Gonzaga. Confidence Meter: 4
2:10- Saint Louis wins by Double Digits: The Billikens rolled through the Atlantic-10 and are 9 1/2 point favorites as they play their first game in the NCAA Tournament against the Aggies of New Mexico State. New Mexico State won their last five to get into the tournament and went 18-2 to close the season. The Billikens also finished well winning 15 of their last 16 only losing in overtime at Xavier. Their defense will present a challenge for NM State and ultimately I think Saint Louis pulls it out and barely covers due to their balanced scoring and gritty defense. Confidence Meter: 4 1/2
2:45- Saint Mary’s Gaels: Some sportsbooks have this as a straight up pick-em despite the fact that Saint Mary’s is an 11 seed and Memphis is a six. If you saw the first four game the Gaels played though, you can definitely see the potential for the upset. Saint Mary’s relies on Aussie Matthew Dellavedova who was led them to wins in 20 of their last 23 with their only losses coming to Gonzaga. Saint Mary’s is a solid scoring team that can hit threes and get rebounds so I think they can pull the upset and dispatch Memphis who cruised through Conference USA again this year but hasn’t played the toughest competition lately although they did have some tough non-conference games at the beginning of the year. Confidence Meter: 4
3:10- Marquette Golden Eagles: Marquette is favored by four as the #3 seed taking on the Davidson Wildcats who have served as Cinderella in the past. I don’t think they’ve got it in them this year, although they do shoot well enough that if they catch fire they can get the upset. More likely though, Marquette will use their size advantage inside and battle their way to a win in round one. Marquette closed their Big East schedule winning six of their last eight including wins over then-#16 Pitt, then-#12 Syracuse, and then-#21 Notre Dame. The Eagles have some ugly losses as well losing to Green Bay and Villanova on the road. It’s not a lock, but I think they’ll get the green and move on to round three. Confidence Meter: 5
4:10- Gonzaga by 20+: The #1-seeded Bulldogs are 22 point favorites against Southern and they should be able to blow them out like they have so many WCC teams throughout the year. Confidence Meter: 6
4:40- Oregon Ducks: The Ducks were a shockingly-low #12 seed and I think they’ll play with some motivation as they take down the Oklahoma State Cowboys. OSU is favored by two, but Oregon just won the Pac-12 tournament, and their point guard Dominic Artis is back from his injury which was the chief cause of their slide in the middle of the season. Oklahoma State’s backcourt is formidable to say the least and they could get the win behind their dynamic due of Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. I’ll fly with the Ducks though in what should be one of the more up-tempo and exciting evenly-matched games of the day. Confidence Meter: 2
For all tonight’s picks and a scoreboard that shows how my picks have done this month click the Continue Reading button below.