March Madness Odds, Picks, Predictions: Stuckey’s 3 Best Bets for Friday Night’s NCAA Tournament (March 18)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Emanuel Miller.
- Betting on Friday night's NCAA Tournament games? Our college basketball betting expert Stuckey reveals his three best bets.
- Find out his picks and predictions based on the latest March Madness odds below, featuring Davidson-Michigan State and TCU-Seton Hall.
Well, we get to do yesterday all over again. The action will kick off once again at noon ET, but my three favorite bets all actually tip off in the late slot.
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Davidson +1.5 vs. Michigan State
9:40 p.m. ET on CBS
It’s the Foster Loyer revenge bowl.
This is not one of Tom Izzo’s best teams. The Spartans finished 21-12, but that record could’ve easily been a lot worse. In fact, per ShotQuality, they actually had a projected losing record of 16-17 based on the quality of shots taken by Michigan State and its opponents.
Many of their results were definitely driven by shooting luck. The Spartans led the Big Ten in both 3P shooting and 3P defense, so the regression monster could be looming here.
I’m just not a fan of the Michigan State offense, which relies on a lot of tough shots. The turnovers (many of them unforced) are also extremely worrying in a tournament setting. It doesn’t help that point guard Tyson Walker likely won’t be available or at 100%.
The defense also doesn’t force any turnovers (328th nationally), and I think it may struggle with Davidson’s uber-efficient motion offense.
The athleticism advantage for Sparty is a concern, but Davidson does a tremendous job on the defensive glass (8th nationally) and keeps teams out of transition by not crashing the offensive glass. Both are critical against a Michigan State offense that looks its best out in transition or when it can get on the offensive boards.
I actually have Davidson power rated higher than Michigan State, so I will happily take the points here with the Wildcats, who get to play this one not too far from home.
Colgate +7.5 vs. Wisconsin
9:50 p.m. ET on TBS
Colgate features an uber-efficient spread pick-and-roll attack with elite spacing that takes advantage of a bevy of shooters on the perimeter.
With Nelly Cummings running the show, the experienced Raiders were one of only two teams in the country to connect on over 40% of their attempts from beyond the arc. This team can shoot the lights out, and Keegan Records is efficient at the rim.
The Raiders will take on a Wisconsin team that is severely overrated compared to where I have the Badgers in my power ratings. They benefited from a lot of good luck during the regular season.
The Badgers do a great job of taking away 3s under Greg Gard, but Colgate ranks in the top 10 nationally in terms of both volume and efficiency on catch-and-shoot 3s. That’s what you want from a mid-major underdog.
Most importantly, Colgate won’t be overwhelmed athletically, which is generally a concern for a Patriot League school. It’s what burned it late in the second half against Arkansas in the tournament last year.
We also aren’t sure how healthy Johnny Davis will be after looking a bit off the last time we saw him in the Big Ten Tournament. I’m assuming he’s close to 100% by now, but it’s a factor that could only work in Colgate’s favor. I assume the Raiders will also double Davis, which has proved successful for other clubs of late.
Lastly, the Badgers should have a massive crowd advantage in Milwaukee. However, that could end up working against them if this stays tight throughout, as nerves could potentially build up.
Plus, Colgate has enough tournament experience on its roster where I don’t expect the stage to be completely overwhelming.
TCU +1 vs. Seton Hall
9:57 p.m. ET on truTV
This one should be a brawl between two teams with an abundance of size and physicality. It should be an absolute war on the boards for 40 minutes.
The differentiating factor for me is the TCU backcourt, led by star guard Mike Miles. I think he creates enough offense for TCU to pull this one out, while the injuries in the Seton Hall backcourt catch up to the Pirates.
I also have a hypothesis that the offenses in the Big 12 will look a lot better in the tournament after getting out of league play where they face elite gauntlet defenses night in and night out. Many of those defenses completely take away the middle, which isn’t ideal for a TCU offense that does not shoot or make many 3-pointers.
I think the Horned Frogs offense, which lives on the glass, will look a lot more fluid here.