And then there were 4. North Carolina. Syracuse. Villanova. Oklahoma. Who will prevail? Nobody knows … except for me, and I’m about to tell you down below:
About 53% of the bets are coming in on the underdog Syracuse. I warned you during football season to beware of the public underdog, and the same applies here. The relatively high 9-point spread seems like Vegas is goading us into taking ‘Cuse, without them having to give up double digit points. North Carolina is 11-0, and has an average margin of victory of 15.8 points when playing on a neutral court this season. They have firmly established themselves as the best team in college basketball during this tournament.
Syracuse has enjoyed an exciting tournament run themselves, with great comeback victories vs. Gonzaga and Virginia. But I don’t see the same heroic effort happening vs. North Carolina tomorrow night.
The Pick: Take North Carolina -9, and bank on the double digit victory like Vegas is.
This should be one hell of a game. National fan favorite Buddy Hield leads the way for Oklahoma, and he has more than lived up to the hype in the tourney so far. But strong play from his supporting cast is the reason the Sooners have made it this far, and they will need to continue to play well in order to beat a strong Villanova squad.
Nova has been slept on for most of this tournament after several years of disappointing early exits, and they’ve made us all regret it in the form of our busted brackets (thanks Kansas). They have played like they were deserving of a #1 seed, and it is going to take a heck of an effort to knock them off.
The pick: I can’t deny I am a fan of Buddy Hield, and I have Oklahoma going all the way in my (3rd) bracket. I wouldn’t bet on this game, but if I did, I wouldn’t bet against Hield. Give me Oklahoma plus the 2 points.
*If these picks turn out wrong … April Fool’s!
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)