The dogs keep barking and we hope all our Point Spread Weekly readers keep cashing! I went 2-0 ATS Thursday with my best bets in this week’s PSW with Kansas St. and Florida St. not only both covering as 5.5-point underdogs against Kentucky and Gonzaga, respectively, but both pulling off the outright upsets. That improved our NCAA Tournament best bets in PSW and these VSiN.com weekend updates at 10-4 ATS (71.4%) – we also gave Loyola-Chicago and Michigan as leans, so they’re not included in that record, but hopefully some of you went ahead and hit the 4-team parlay – pending our lone Friday play on Syracuse plus-11 against Duke.
So let’s get right into Saturday’s Elite 8, aka the regional finals, with the unlikely matchup of No. 9 Kansas St. vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago in the South (South? Kansas St. and Chicago?) and No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 9 Florida St. in the West (Wait…What? Michigan and Florida St. in the West?). I haven’t been this geographically confused since Steve Perry sang about a city boy from South Detroit, though maybe this is somehow appropriate as “Don’t Stop Believin’” could be the theme song for any of these four teams and their fan bases.
Here’s our takes on Saturday’s doubleheader:
ELITE 8 (Saturday)
(513) Loyola-Chicago pick ‘em vs. (514) Kansas St. (o/u 127)
6:09 p.m. ET/3:09 p.m. PT (TBS)
Tuley’s Take: Someone asked me on Twitter what I thought this line would be and I replied that I had it at pick ‘em, so I see this as a total toss-up and wouldn’t take either team as a dog of just a point. Both teams are very similar in offensive and defensive efficiency on kenpom.com and obviously both playing consistently better than they have all season. I think it’s funny that while Loyola ousted No. 3 Tennessee and Kansas St. knocked off No. 5 Kentucky, both have also benefitted by other teams doing their dirty week in the South Regional: Buffalo knocking No. 4 Arizona, UMBC beating No. 1 Virginia and Nevada ousting No. 2 Cincinnati, yet none of those teams are still dancing. While I don’t really like a side, I do like this to go Over 127 points. Since I expect this to be a close game, I also expect the starters to play late and for no one to be running out the clock at the end (and late fouls in a tight game can also help push it over). Yes, I know both teams are 3-0 with the under so far in the NCAA Tournament (with Loyola on an 8-game under run overall), but this is where the oddsmakers have finally caught up with them by setting this total so low. I have this in the upper 130s. Best Bet: Over 127; lean: Loyola-Chicago pick ‘em.
(515) Florida St. plus-4.5 vs. (516) Michigan (o/u 143)
8:29 p.m. ET/5:29 p.m. PT (TBS)
Tuley’s Take: Is any team playing better than Michigan amidst all the madness? The Wolverines are on a serious roll, winning 12 straight games including winning the Big Ten Tournament title and then obviously winning their three games in the Big Dance. They’re also an impressive 10-2 ATS during that run, so can we really fade a team like that? Yes, I believe we should. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the Wolverines right now as I passed in going against them with Montana in the first round or with Texas A&M in the Sweet 16. What about the other game? Well, I did take Houston plus the points in their second-round meeting and got the cover and nearly the outright upset. I feel Florida St. matches up with Michigan even better than Houston did, especially with the way the Seminoles have played on their equally impressive 3-0 SU & ATS run in March Madness, including upsets of No. 1 Xavier and No. 4 Gonzaga. If that doesn’t convince you they’re legit, nothing will. There’s no marquee star and they go 10-deep to make up in quantity in what they lack in Grade A quality. Florida St. should also push the pace quicker than what the Wolverines are comfortable playing; sure, Michigan will hit some 3-pointers in transition, but also likely to have more turnovers. Even if Florida St. gets behind by more than the spread, the Wolverine’s poor free-throw shooting can help the Seminoles get right back in the game. I made this line Michigan -2, so I expect this to come down to the final buzzer. Best Bet: Florida St. plus-4.5.