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We went 2-1 on the opening day but we're back and ready to win more! Here is our picks for day two!
Buffalo Bulls v Arizona St Winner
Buffalo is a strong offensive team. They average 84.8 points on 46.0% shooting, good for the nation’s 4th-best scoring offense. Arizona State can definitely score – they average 77.7 points on 44.7% shooting – but the Bulls are simply too high-octane for the Sun Devils to keep up with.
Moreover, Arizona State is hurting. Remy Martin, one of the Sun Devil’s leaders in points and assists, came out of their play-in game a little banged up. He will play today but might not be at 100%. Guard play is traditionally very important in the big dance and if Arizona State’s best guard is hobbled at all, it will spell trouble.
There’s also a bit of a “revenge” narrative for this game: Bobby Hurley, Arizona State’s coach, used to coach at Buffalo and brought them to their first ever NCAA tournament. Nate Oats, Buffalo’s coach, served as an assistant under Hurley during his tenure at Buffalo before being named the head coach. I think the Bulls will come out firing to show Hurley that mid-majors are just as good as the power conference teams.
1u - Buffalo -5 @ -110
Tennessee Volunteers v Colgate Winner
Everyone knows Tennessee can score in bunches. They’re top 10 in scoring (81.7 points per game), top 5 in shooting (49.5%), and field one of the more athletic teams in the tournament. What might surprise you is Colgate’s scoring prowess: 75.5 points per game on 47.8% shooting. Both these teams can put up points in a hurry.
If that’s not enough, consider this: every single one of Tennessee’s neutral site games this season has gone over 147 points. You read that right: every single one. Colgate hasn’t actually played any neutral site games this season, but each of their last 3 games and 7 of their last 10 have cleared this number.
What’s especially intriguing here is Colgate’s 3-point shooting: they hit 39.1% of their 3’s, good for 10th in the nation. In their last 3 games, the Raiders have somehow been even hotter, shooting 42.7% from deep. On the flip side, Tennessee is especially vulnerable to 3-point shooting – as evidenced in the SEC Tournament. They allow 34.4% shooting from beyond the arc (172nd in the country) and 38.2% in their last 3 games. Colgate relies heavily on their deep ball (36.1% of their points come from 3-pointers) and will probably be leaning on their 3-ball a little extra today. They shouldn’t run into too much trouble.
Colgate will have their work cut out for them if they want to advance to the second round. Their best path to victory? Turning this game into a high-scoring shooting clinic.
1u - Over 147 total points @-110
Utah St v Washington Winner
Utah State is a first half mismatch for Washington. The Aggies are the 12th ranked first half scoring team, averaging 39.1 points with an 8.2 scoring margin in the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the Huskies are 229th, averaging 32.4 points with a 1.1 scoring margin.
This scoring differential could be overlooked if Washington played significantly better defense than Utah State. Spoiler alert: they don’t. Utah State holds teams to 30.9 points per first half, 0.4 points better than Washington.
In Washington’s last 6 neutral site games, the Huskies have entered halftime with a lead only twice. On the other hand, in Utah State’s last 6 neutral site games, the Aggies have entered halftime with a deficit only once.
Utah State should come out of the gates much hotter than Washington.
1u - Utah State 1H ML @ -153
By Luke Greenberg