Malik Tz | Wed 15/03/2017 - 17:37 EDT

NCAA Bracket Picks Round 2 2017

NCAA Bracket Picks Round 2 2017

Virginia Tech +5.5 vs. Wisconsin +5.5

My Team's Next MatchVirginia Tech Hokies

In a great matchup that features two big conference teams with contrasting styles, this game will be a tough read for many sports bettors, but we think there's value in this line. Both teams shoot the three well, but aside from that, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech have opposing strengths. Virginia Tech likes to play fast and get to the free throw line with an attacking style of offense, while Wisconsin is an excellent defensive team most comfortable in the half court setting.

Wisconsin is the bigger team and that could play a part in this game, but Virginia Tech is plenty battled-tested having competed in the nation's best conference against the likes of UNC, Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, etc all season. The Hokies finished the year winners of 6 out of their final 9 games and coach Buzz Williams has a knack for imposing his tempo on teams. If the Hokies can induce a fast-paced game, get a few turnovers and limit the Badgers three-point successes, we think they cover this number easier than people might expect. 


UNC Wilmington +7 vs Virginia -7

My Team's Next MatchNC-Wilmington Seahawks

This is the type of under-the-radar game we love to bet in college hoops. The public will largely recognize and respect the Virginia name along with its ACC conference affiliation, but the Cavaliers have habitually underperformed in the NCAA tournament despite outstanding recent regular seasons under head coach Tony Bennett. This Cavs team is nowhere near as good as the Virginia teams of the last two seasons and they are even more susceptible to offensive woes.

While UVA is a lockdown defensive team, this UNC Wilmington squad shoots well from the outside and has multiple scoring threats including C.J. Bryce (17.6 ppg), Chris Flemmings (15.8 ppg) and Denzel Ingram (14.5 ppg). That balance allowed UNC Wilmington to win 29 games this season and we feel this is a bad matchup for a Virginia team that limped to the finish line this year and has trouble scoring. It will be difficult for Virginia to lay 7 points, and the Cavs may find themselves in a dogfight late in this one. 


Florida State -12 vs. Florida Gulf Coast +12

My Team's Next MatchFlorida Gulf Coast Eagles

Florida State is as impressive athletically as any team in the country with 6'10 freshman Jonathan Isaac and rangy guard Dwayne Bacon leading the charge. While traditionally a defensive-minded team under head coach Leonard Hamilton, this FSU team is prolific on the offensive end averaging 82.5 points per contest. Florida Gulf Coast has proven itself as a sleeper in recent appearances, but they've yet to see anything as deep and talented as this Seminole team. Look for a close game in the first half, with FSU taking over in the second to win comfortably and cover the 12. 


Louisville -20 vs. Jacksonville State +20

My Team's Next MatchLouisville Cardinals

Like many top seeds facing heavy underdogs from lesser conferences, this is a true David vs. Goliath scenario. Jacksonville State surely feels fortunate to be a part of the big dance after springing a pair of Ohio Valley conference tournament upsets in successive days against top-seeded Belmont and second-seed UT Martin. The Gamecocks finished the year 20-14 and are riding a season-best four game winning streak. Meanwhile, Louisville has been a top 10 team for most of the year and comes into the 2017 tournament as hungry as anyone following a 2016 season where the Cards had to sit out due to self-imposed sanctions.

Louisville dropped its ACC tournament opener to a red-hot Duke team after squandering a 12-point second half advantage. The Cards will be ready to play after a full week of practice and they have hammered lesser opponents all year long. There's simply no way Jacksonville State can matchup physically or athletically with Louisville, so this is a game where we feel comfortable laying a ton of points. Louisville gets it done in a big way against an outmatched opponent. 


Miami -2.5 vs. Michigan State +2.5

My Team's Next MatchMichigan State Spartans

Michigan State and head coach Tom Izzo carry plenty of cachet when it comes to winning in the NCAA tournament and that's great for the folks who want to bet that way, but here's the reality: this Spartan team isn't very good. What's likely to be forgotten in this matchup is the length and versatility of Miami who battled its way to respectability against a brutal ACC conference schedule. Then there's Miami coach Jim Larranaga who has been quite successful in the tournament in his own right taking George Mason to the Final Four and leading Miami to the Sweet 16 last year. The Hurricanes provide plenty of matchup problems for the Spartans and Larranaga is one of the few coaches in America who isn't at a tactical disadvantage when playing Izzo and Michigan State. This line is a gift in our opinion - particularly laying less juice at +105. 

MIAMI -2.5 +105

2017 March Madness Round 2 Breakdown

The second round of the March Madness is a basketball bettor's dream with so many quality matchups to choose from. It's important to remember that conference play and seasonal statistics can be rendered useless as teams step away from the nuances of playing familiar foes and into emotionally-charged, neutral court games against teams they've never seen before.

After watching hoops from around the country this year, we are inclined to give the ACC a big edge when facing other conferences. Oddsmakers face a difficult task when trying to set the lines for these games based on their metrics, so that's where the "eye-test" takes over. Games like the ones above jump out based on factors involving personnel and matchups that cannot be analyzed by computers relying on data collected from dissimilar conditions.

Simply put...there's nothing like the tournament for astute players who understand the game of basketball outside of its statistical measures. 

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