HALF of the Sweet 16 is set and eight games today will help solidify the second half of the field. As teams crumble before our very eyes the madness is sure to continue on day four of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Don’t miss any of the NBA matches either with four huge games that will shape the playoff landscape!
Last Sunday Picks: 8 – 4
Overall: 478 – 347
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Oklahoma City Thunder (42-29) at Toronto Raptors (52-17)
WINNERS of 11 straight games and owning the league’s best home record has all signs pointing to Toronto taking down OKC on Sunday. Don’t let the numbers fool you though, I have a strange hunch/feeling that this could be where the Raps streak comes to an end.
Verdict: Thunder W
Image from si.com
Boston Celtics (47-22) at New Orleans Pelicans (39-29)
THE injury report will completely shape the outcome of this one. Irving’s status is questionable, but even if he and others stay on the sidelines, Boston is still good enough to get a road win over a Pels team that has lost four of it’s last five.
Verdict: Celtics W
Houston Rockets (55-14) at Minnesota Timberwolves (40-30)
DON’T assume this game will end with another Rockets W, the Timberwolves are peaking at the right time. Karl-Anthony Towns has stepped up big time since Jimmy Butler went down and they did take down the Warriors just a week ago. Still, this Houston team is another beast entirely copping just one loss since January 28th. Damn.
Verdict: Rockets W
Portland Trailblazers (43-26) at L.A. Clippers (37-31)
OH how wrong I was about the Blazers. With Damian Lillard looking like 2015-16 Steph Curry there’s no way you can stop Portland right now as they have steamrolled their way to 12 wins in a row and the 3rd seed out West. Sorry Clippers fans.
Verdict: Trailblazers W
Image from givemesport.com
#10 Butler Bulldogs (21-13) vs. #2 Purdue Boilermakers (29-6)
FRESH off easy first-round matchups Purdue and Butler meet with their sights set on round two. The Boilermakers win came at a huge cost though with senior Isaac Haas fracturing his elbow. His status is still questionable but I still have Purdue advancing over a pesky Bulldogs outfit.
Verdict: Boilermakers W
#11 Syracuse Orange (22-13) vs. #3 Michigan State Spartans (30-4)
‘CUSE upset TCU to make the round of 32 and their prize is a date with the juggernaut Michigan State Spartans. Ouch. I think Jim Boeheim’s men are in for a rough afternoon.
Verdict: Spartans W
#7 Texas A&M Aggies (21-12) vs. #2 North Carolina Tar Heels (26-10)
THE Aggies boast a bunch of big bodies in their frontcourt, big bodies that can make life hell for North Carolina. Texas A&M dominated the boards against Providence and even if they can impose their will on the Tar Heels I still think that North Carolina will hold on to win out.
Verdict: Tar Heels W
#7 Nevada Wolf Pack (28-7) vs. #2 Cincinnati Bearcats (31-4)
I’M staying vanilla for the fourth straight game and siding with the higher seed. Cincinnati is just too good not to beat the Wolf Pack and with the rest of their region crumbling before their eyes, they have a real shot at a Final Four place.
Verdict: Bearcats W
#5 Clemson Tigers (24-9) vs. #4 Auburn Tigers (26-7)
FINALLY, a lower seed beating the higher one! Auburn started the year on fire winning 21 of their first 23 but have looked shaky since. Clemson is battled tested after playing in the ACC all year and they claim the clash of the Tigers.
Verdict: Tigers W
#16 UMBC Retrievers (25-10) vs. #9 Kansas State Wildcats (23-11)
AFTER UMBC’s historic upset of No. 1 ranked Virginia it seems like anything is possible. Kansas State will be wary of the Retrievers momentum and I think they can end Cinderella’s night early.
Verdict: Wildcats W
Image from thestar.com
#9 Florida State Seminoles (21-11) vs. #1 Xavier Musketeers (29-5)
EXACTLY a year ago to the day No. 11 Xavier upset No. 3 Florida State in the tournament. Today, the Seminoles get a chance at revenge. After both posting relatively cruisy wins in the round of 64, the winner will earn the right to play Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. I’m predicting another upset with Florida State avenging their 2017 loss.
Verdict: Seminoles W
#13 Marshall Thundering Herd (25-10) vs. #5 West Virginia Mountaineers (25-10)
IT was nice that the Thundering Herd posted the schools first NCAA Tournament win over Wichita State in round one. That ‘good feeling’ won’t be coming around against West Virginia, who will suffocate Marshall in a blowout.
Verdict: Mountaineers W