The four top seeds in the West Region of the NCAA basketball tournament marched on to the Sweet 16.
That should make for excellent basketball on Thursday. In the first matchup, Florida State-Gonzaga should be a run-and-gun throwdown with both teams possibly scoring close to 80 points. The second game should be the exact opposite with defensive-minded squads Texas Tech and Michigan battling it out. Odds, analysis, and free picks await!
[Thursday, March 28]
#4 Florida State Seminoles vs. #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs -7.5 (7:09pm ET)
Florida State ended Murray State’s Final Four run before it even got off the ground. After the Racers dominated Marquette, many believed Ja Morant would lead Murray State to the Final Four. Not so. In its 90-62 win over Murray State, FSU showed why it’s a serious contender to win the West Region.
The Seminoles have been hot for a while. The only two losses in their last 10 were to UNC and Duke. They’re only 3-2 ATS in their last 5, though. Like Florida State, the Zags are only 3-2 ATS in their last 5 as well.
The difference is that Gonzaga has shown it’s a complete team after beating Fairleigh-Dickinson 87-49 and sending Baylor packing 83-71. In both games, the Zags dominated on the offensive end while holding down their opponents on defense. FDU shot 30% from the field and 28.6% from three. Baylor shot 41.7% from the field and 19% from three.
The trends point to Florida State covering, but the Seminoles won’t run Gonzaga ragged the way they did Murray State. The Zags are just as effective in a half-court game as they are running and gunning. Gonzaga wins and covers.
NCAAB Free Pick: Gonzaga -7.5
#3 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. #2 Michigan Wolverines -2
Two of the best defensive teams in college basketball take to the court in the West Region’s second Sweet 16 battle. Texas Tech allows 59.2 points per game from 36.8% shooting from the field and 30% shooting from three. Michigan allows 58.2 points per game from 39.6% shooting from the field and 29% shooting from three.
Both coaches prefer to play a half-court game as well, meaning the smallest difference could be what leads to one team beating the other. When it comes to those small differences, Texas Tech appears to have the edge. The Red Raiders average 36.6% from three, while Michigan only shoots 34.9% from behind the arc.
The trends certainly point to a Texas Tech victory against the spread. The Red Raiders are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 overall, 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NCAA tournament games.
Although Texas Tech looks like an easy play against the spread, they might be worth backing on the moneyline. The Red Raiders scored 78 against Buffalo. That tells us they’ll take their chances in the run game if Michigan lets them. Not only that, but in a seemingly impossible game to handicap against the spread, why not take the better moneyline odds on the dog?
NCAAB Free Pick: Texas Tech moneyline
For the full NCAAB betting board, head to our New Jersey sportsbook!