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2017 NCAA Tournament bracket: Expert picks for Saturday's second-round games

March 18,2017 16:18

Bracket Central · Expert Picks · Latest odds. Saturday's Round of 32 schedule of the NCAA Tournament features eight games. It starts early with West Virginia-Notre Dame and ends late with Purdue-Iowa State. Here's some analysis coupled with predictions ...

 

 

 

 


Download the CBS Sports App today and get instant tournament news and alerts, plus get the latest picks and upsets from SportsLine! Saturday’s Round of 32 schedule of the NCAA Tournament features eight games. It starts early with West Virginia-Notre Dame and ends late with Purdue-Iowa State. Here’s some analysis coupled with predictions -- both straight up and against the spread -- for every matchup. And if you want to keep track throughout the day, just head over to the updating live bracket or our LIVE updating scoreboard. Good luck and enjoy.12:10 p.m. (CBS) Straight-up pick: Notre DameATS pick: Notre DameThis is an interesting matchup featuring the team that creates turnovers at a higher rate than anybody else in the country (West Virginia) against the team that turns the ball over at a lower rate than anybody else in the country (Notre Dame). My guess is that the Irish take care of the ball well enough to make things too difficult for West Virginia. I have Mike Brey headed to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. 2:40 p.m. (CBS) Straight-up pick: VillanovaATS pick: VillanovaThe Badgers are 3-4 vs. top-25 RPI teams and 4-6 against top-50 RPI teams — meaning they lose to quality opponents more often than they beat them. Villanova, clearly, is a quality opponent. So this isn’t a good spot for Wisconsin. And I think Jay Wright’s Wildcats will win this game comfortably and then be just four more victories from back-to-back national championships. 5:15 p.m. (CBS) Straight-up pick: GonzagaATS pick: GonzagaThe Zags struggled for a half against South Dakota State. But that doesn’t concern me. It happens. Remember, Villanova also struggled for a half against Mount St. Mary’s. Worth noting: Northwestern is 1-5 vs. top-25 RPI teams. So the Wildcats are a great and compelling national story, undeniably. But I don’t believe they’re equipped to challenge Gonzaga on a neutral court. The dream ends here.
6:10 p.m. (TNT) Straight-up pick: Florida StateATS pick: Florida StateLeonard Hamilton has made only two Sweet 16s in 29 years as a head coach. But he’s now on the verge of a third. And the only thing between Florida State and the second weekend is a Xavier team that’s 4-7 in its past 11 games. Put me down as somebody who thinks the Seminoles will win, cover and advance to San Jose. 7:10 p.m. (TBS) Straight-up pick: ButlerATS pick: Middle Tennessee This is a total toss-up game, in my opinion. No outcome would surprise me. Two good teams with two good coaches. So I’ll take Butler to win, I guess. But from a gambling perspective, just give me the four points. Because I don’t think either team will win by more than four points. 7:45 p.m. (CBS) Straight-up pick: ArizonaATS pick: Saint Mary’sWhat if Saint Mary’s is a legitimate top-10 team that just doesn’t matchup well with Gonzaga? Are we sure that’s not the case? Either way, Arizona is one of the eight teams I believe can win the national championship. So I’m taking the Wildcats to advance. But I’ll trust Saint Mary’s to stay within the number. And I do not think an upset is completely off the table. 8:40 p.m. (TNT) Straight-up pick: VirginiaATS pick: VirginiaFlorida got past East Tennessee State pretty easily in the Round of 64. Impressive. But I still think the Gators are overvalued in this bracket sans John Egbuno. Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong. I’m not ruling that out. But I’ll take the team with the nation’s best defensive efficiency rating (Virginia) over the team with the nation’s fourth-best defensive efficiency rating (Florida).
9:40 p.m. (TBS) Straight-up pick: PurdueATS pick: PurdueCaleb Swanigan and Monte Morris play different positions. But they’re two of college basketball’s best players. So it’ll be cool to have them on the same court. Yes, I know Iowa State is 10-1 in its past 11 games and playing really well. That’s not lost on me. But I’ll take the Boilermakers, behind a monster performance from Swangan, to win what should be a tight game in the final minutes.

 

 

 

 

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