Finally. Today’s the day that we get a bracket on our screens and begin breaking it down. Of course, it’s not quite the same as when the day started with the ACC championship, but can’t win them all.
Of course, I almost did win them all yesterday, going 4-1 on my basketball picks, with the lone exception coming when Dayton dropped in an otherwise meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer to lose 68-64 to Richmond and push the total to 132, one point too many. Thanks so much for that, Flyers. I’m not going to be upset at all to see you shipped to the NIT.
But that near-miss was nothing compared to my wife’s. Mrs. Angell doesn’t make picks often, but when she does, she’s amazing at guessing. Based off nothing more than her gut, she picked 11 games and got ten of them correct. If Arkansas had shown up against Texas A&M and won, she’d have turned $10 into $6,100.
Instead, what could have been an unbelievable day turned into a merely good day, which I’m not complaining about. Here are my plays for March 13.
RICHMOND +4.5, -120
Meet the bid stealer. The Spiders are playing their best basketball at the perfect time and have plenty of momentum as they head into the Atlantic 10 final. Richmond must win to make it to the NCAA tournament and has more motivation than anyone else playing today. The last time these teams played, they combined to score 171 points, so the over is also a solid play.
TEXAS A&M +6.5, -110
Nobody wants to face the Aggies right now. Texas A&M has turned it on as of late and is very capable of upsetting Tennessee and snagging a bid of their own. The Aggies destroyed a good Arkansas team and had no problems with Auburn; the only question here is whether they have enough left to handle Tennessee on day no. 4. Given that the Volunteers don’t run, there’s a good chance.
PURDUE -2.5, -110
It’s hard to go against Iowa right now. But the Hawkeyes didn’t cover against Indiana and the Boilermakers have made the plays they’ve needed to close things out against Penn State and Michigan State, and without the Indiana fans in the building, Purdue will have a huge home crowd on its side. The Boilers are the better team and should claim the Big Ten title.
MEMPHIS +3.5, -110
I have no idea why the Tigers aren’t favored in this game. The metrics absolutely love Houston, but the Cougars are not the same team that built those impressive numbers. Memphis has been getting better every game in the second half of the season, and injuries have sapped Houston of several of its strengths. The Cougars are still a good team, but they’re not dominant, and they should not be giving points here.