AS daunting as the task may be, I’m going to be sinking my teeth into the NCAA tournament round of 32 this Sunday. Mixed with eight NBA games this week’s Sunday Picks is HUGE compared to the six game total from last week. Here we go.
Last Week: 4-2
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Dallas Mavericks @ Brooklyn Nets
FRESH off an embarrassing loss to the 76ers the Mavs will be out for blood. Expect them to take care of the 13-55 Nets.
Verdict: Mavericks W
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers
WHILE it’s cute to toy with the idea of Philadelphia winning here the Celtics have too much to play for to not get the W. After the Cavs loss last night they only hold a 1.5 game lead for the top seed in the East. Boston are coming.
Verdict: Celtics W
Phoenix Suns @ Detroit Pistons
IF Detroit are serious about a playoff spot this year, they need to beat Phoenix. Sitting in the seven seed at the start of the week the Pistons have lost three straight, and are currently 9th at 33-36. I’m predicting a big Devin Booker game will put them to 33-37 though.
Verdict: Suns W
Image from pba-online.net
Minnesota Timberwolves @ New Orleans Pelicans
THE Boogie-less Pelicans put together their most impressive game since the All-Star break by defeating Houston. Cousins said he should be good to go against Minnesota, but New Orleans may prefer him to sit. The Pels are 5-7 since signing Cousins and 2-0 when he doesn’t suit up. Squaring off against KAT and the young Wolves should be a win on paper, but things don’t always go according to plan.
Verdict: Timberwolves W
Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors
The Raptors and Pacers haven’t played each other since meeting in a seven game series last playoffs. With three meetings still remaining this season, both playoff bound squads will be out to improve their standing as much as possible. The home court advantage gives the Raps a slight edge.
Verdict: Raptors W
Portland Trailblazers @ Miami Heat
MIAMI are a team on a mission right now. Seemingly bound for a top five pick a few months ago, they have shot all the way to the seventh best record in the East and they aren’t done yet.
Verdict: Heat W
Image from miamiherald.com
Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs
TWO and a half games now seperate the Spurs and the Warriors for the top seed in the West. San Antonio needs to win as many as possible down the stretch if they want the top rung.
Verdict: Spurs W
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Los Angeles Lakers
CLEVELAND rested their big three against the Clippers last night. Regardless of whether they rest again or not, the Lakers aren’t winning here.
Verdict: Cavaliers W
#7 Michigan Wolverines vs. #2 Louisville Cardinals
WITH a Sweet Sixteen spot on the line the Wolverines and Cardinals could go either way. I predicted that the Cardinals have a deep run in them, so expect them to move on.
Verdict: Cardinals W
Image from cowboysrideforfree.com
#10 Wichita State Shockers vs. #2 Kentucky Wildcats
MUCH like the Wolverines and Cardinals game, you can make a case for either team here. The freshmen factory that is Kentucky should advance though.
Verdict: Wildcats W
#9 Michigan State Spartans vs. #1 Kansas Jayhawks
KANSAS dominated in their first round win, but the easy part is over now. They meet a hungry Spartans team who showed they belong in a win over Miami recently. The Jayhawks are just to talented not to make it past the Spartans.
Verdict: Jayhawks W
#8 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
WHILE anything is possible come tournament time a North Carolina loss is the most unlikely thing to happen on Sunday.
Verdict: Tar Heels W
#11 Rhode Island Rams vs. #3 Oregon Ducks
DILLON Brooks is the ultimate tournament player. Full of swagger and confidence we have seen what he is capable of this season, but reputations are formed and made in March. Expect the junior guard to lead the Ducks onto the round of 16.
Verdict: Ducks W
Image from registerguard.com
#11 USC Trojans vs. #3 Baylor Bears
USC is hot right now and while a #3 vs #11 matchup looks simple to choose a winner on paper, seeding will play very little impact here. Baylor has looked a step slow in the last month and I’m expecting the Trojans to keep rolling.
Verdict: Trojans W
#7 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. #2 Duke Blue Devils
HERE it is, the upset. We saw some of the top seeds start to drop yesterday, with Villanova and Florida State watching from the couch now. The Blue Devils will join them after they clash with Sindarius Thornwell and South Carolina.
Verdict: Gamecocks W
#6 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. #3 UCLA Bruins
THE last game of Sunday will conclude the round of 32. Cincinnati hasn’t been to the Sweet Sixteen since 2012, while UCLA are trying to make it for the third time in four years. I don’t think it will be a blowout, but expect the Bruins to get over the line.
Verdict: Bruins W