The madness is here. 13 states, 14 venues and just one final destination: Houston.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s action in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
West Virginia vs. Maryland: A highly anticipated matchup between the Big 12 and Big Ten. Edge to Maryland +2 1/2
Furman vs. Virginia: Betting Line is Virginia -5 ½. Pretty eye-catching. ACC power versus a mid-major. Beware!
Utah State vs. Missouri: The Mountain West runner-up against an up-and-coming SEC team. Toss-up.
Howard vs. Kansas: Quite a mismatch for the defending champion Jayhawks.
Charleston vs. San Diego State: This is a tough draw for the Aztecs. Charleston, formerly known as the College of Charleston, won 20 games in a row after being thumped by North Carolina in November. The Cougars want to score in the high 80s or low 90s. Lately, SDSU has scored in the 60s or 70s. The Aztecs’ defense is rock solid, and they play together well. I don’t think they cover the 5 ½, but I know they will win this game.
Other Games & Hunches
Arizona vs. Princeton: Tigers +13½
Auburn vs. Iowa: Over 152½
Oral Roberts vs. Duke: Made for television
Colgate vs. Texas: Beware of the Longhorns.
Penn State vs. Texas A&M: Don’t sleep on the Nittany Lions.
UCLA vs. UNC-Asheville: Bruins are masterfully coached under Mick Cronin. But losing Jaylen Clark was disastrous for the squad. The game is in Sacramento, which should be business as usual for UCLA, a solid road team throughout the regular season. Senior leadership makes the Bruins a tough out. I have watched almost their entire schedule and Cronin has them prepared for every game.
Will any team west of Texas win a national championship, a feat not accomplished since 1997? You do the math. And be on alert for upsets. Strange things have been known to happen during March Madness.