So here goes, all games for Thursday, broken down and analyzed. And failing that, we'll flip a coin or just bet against the team we hate.
Davidson (13) vs Maryland (4) -7
I can't figure this Maryland team out. They suck at the beginning of the season, get hot near the end and then lose to Miami in the ACC tournament. Davidson, a mid-major obviously trying to make a statement here. I don't think they do.
The pick: Maryland -7
Texas Tech (10) vs. Boston College (7) -3
Gene Wojciechowski wrote a great piece about watching the selection show in Las Vegas after spending the day with them. This is what he repeatedly said about Texas Tech and Boston College:
"I'm shocked they got in," when Texas Tech is named a No. 10 seed. …
"[Boston College] and Texas Tech -- both of those teams are so weak," said Coach
of the first-round matchup.
Ringing endorsement huh? BC at least wasn't a "I'm shocked they got in" scenario.
The pick: BC -3
Stanford (11) vs Louisville (6) -5
I think the Pac-10 is one of the most overrated conferences in the land, and I think the Big East doesn't get enough respect. Go to covers.com trends for this game and you'll see that Stanford sucks as a dog, and Louisville is solid as a favorite. That's good enough for me.
The pick: Louisville -5
Oral Roberts (14) vs. Washington State (3) -6.5
Wazzou isn't really an offensive machine, winning most of their games because of their defense. That to me says that 6.5 is too much to give to a team that beat Kansas outright earlier this season.
The pick: Oral Roberts +6.5 (In reality I just wanted to type "Oral" again)
Butler (5) vs. Old Dominion (12) +1
Arguably the hottest topic in the first round. ODU vs Butler. The public opinion I'm reading is very pro-ODU. At that point, and with that issue, I think I'm leaning the other way.
The pick: Butler -1.
Belmont (15) vs. Georgetown (2) -16.5
Hoya Paranoia is back. Belmont defends the 3 very well but the Hoyas are just physically dominant at almost every position. You don't need to throw up from behind the arc when you have this much of an advantage physically. Look for Belmont to hang for 5 min, but its not going to last.
The pick: Georgetown -16.5
Penn (14) vs Texas A&M (3) -13.5
Its tough picking against what seems to be an always semi-competitive Ivy League, but A&M has the defense to stymie Penn, and the explosiveness in Acie Law to score in bunches.
The pick: A&M -13.5
George Washington (11) vs Vanderbilt (6) -3.5
Vandy beat Florida which is impressive, however less so when you look at the fact that at one point Florida put the season in cruise control and let down their guard for a bit. GW can defend, Vandy is hit or miss offensively.
I say they miss.
GW +3.5 is the pick here.
Duke (6) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (11) +6.5
People think VCU will be overlooked by some in this match up, and its quite possible that they will be nationally. But as much as it kills me to say, Duke typically doesn't overlook teams. I think Duke wins this one easily. Lay the number.
The pick: Duke -6.5
Central Conn. St vs. Ohio State -21.5
Ohio State can blow you out, and Central Connecticut State is ripe to get blown out.
This one hits 30.
The pick: OSU -21.5
Michigan State (9) vs. Marquette (8) +1.5
The Big 10 is overrated and Marquette is a phenomenally coached team that still played well without arguably their best player.
Weber State (15) vs. UCLA (2) -19
Weber State was actually a good team against the spread this year (17-7). That says something this time of year. I think UCLA is playing with a chip on their shoulder after a disappointing end to their season. Unfortunately for them, I think UCLA is looking ahead to the 2nd round, if not the sweet 16 already.
Weber State keeps it close in the first half, and loses by 16.
The pick: Weber State +19
BYU (8) vs. Xavier (9) -1.5
Xavier seems to always win their first round game. I don't see them winning by 1.
The pick: Xavier -1.5
Wright State (14) vs. Pitt (3) -10
I don't have a ton of analysis for this one. Call it a hunch. Dashaun Wood does enough to keep Wright State closer than the number.
The pick: Wright State -10
Eastern Kentucky (16) vs. UNC (1) -26
I actually think its going to be difficult for the Tar Heels to keep it close even with emptying the bench. UNC covers this one.
The pick: UNC -26
Gonzaga (10) vs. Indiana (7) -1.5
IU has enough to cover the number against a Gonzaga team that is still being viewed as if they're anything close to the solid team they were in the past. That's not the case though.
Good luck to all.