NCAA Bracket 2018: Picks, Odds Advice, Schedule After Tuesday’s First 4 Games
The First Four will conclude Wednesday night with a second consecutive doubleheader in Dayton, Ohio, that will give the competing teams an opportunity to enter the main part of the NCAA Tournament draw sheet.
Sixteenth seeds North Carolina Central (19-15) and Texas Southern (15-19) will meet at 6:40 p.m. ET, and once those two teams finish their games, Syracuse (20-13) will face Arizona State (20-11) in a battle of No. 11 seeds.
The winner of the North Carolina Central-Texas Southern game will face Xavier, the No. 1 seed in the West region. The winner of the second game will play sixth-seeded TCU in a Midwest regional game.
Radford got the best of LIU-Brooklyn 71-61 in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader behind Carlik Jones. He has 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Highlanders.
St. Bonaventure followed with a 65-58 victory over UCLA in the second game. Junior forward Courtney Stockard led the Bonnies with 26 points.
Texas Southern should have an edge on North Carolina Central because they had a much tougher schedule than the Eagles. The Tigers played Ohio State, Syracuse, Texas and Clemson. They lost those games, but the competition helped make them a better team despite their losing record.
While Texas Southern has an unimpressive record, it comes into the NCAA tournament with a seven-game winning streak. The Tigers are led by sophomore guard Demontrae Jefferson, who is scoring 23.4 points per game and shooting 81.1 percent from the free-throw line. Senior guard Donte Clark is adding 18.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per night.
North Carolina Central comes into the tournament having won five games in a row. The Eagles have a pair of double-digit scorers in Raasean Davis and Pablo Rivas. The former is scoring 15.0 points per night and connecting on 66.7 percent of his shots from the field, while the latter is contributing 11.8 points per night and shooting 50.2 percent.
Texas Southern is a five-point favorite, according to OddsShark.
Syracuse was the last team to make the NCAA tournament, and head coach Jim Boeheim should have his team prepared to play a competitive game against Arizona State.
Boeheim and his team let out a war whoop when they saw they had made the tournament during the NCAA Selection Sunday Show, and while the Orange have lost four of their last six games, they have been given new life with their entry into the tournament.
Tyus Battle leads Syracuse with an average of 19.8 points per game, while Frank Howard is scoring 15.0 points per night. Oshae Brissett is scoring 14.7 points and collecting 8.8 rebounds per game.
Arizona State has also been struggling coming into the tournament, having lost five of its last six games. Tra Holder is the Sun Devils’ leading scorer with an average of 18.4 points per game, while Shannon Evans II is averaging 16.6 points per night.
The Sun Devils are 1.5-point favorites in this matchup.
Look for Texas Southern to get the best of the matchup with North Carolina Central. The Tigers have been steeled by the competition they have faced and have found themselves during the seven-game winning streak. Look for them to win and cover the five-point spread.
Syracuse will likely wear the “last team in” description as a badge of honor. The Orange will get the best of this matchup and advance to the main draw and a meeting with the TCU Horned Frogs.
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March 14, 2018 at 01:50AM