Andrew and I have cooled off a bit on our picks against the spread since a strong first day of picking the round of 32. I missed three of my four picks yesterday, though Andrew managed a much more respectable split. The lesson, as always: don't wager real money on what Andrew and I predict. We won't be held accountable, damnit. (Unless we nail our picks and you make a lot of money. . . at which point we'll demand two steak sandwiches.)
I'm woefully short of time today, so we'll have to sacrifice the more robust previews for some mininotes and our predictions. As we always say: take 'em or leave 'em.
This looks an awful lot like the Kansas-Southern Illinois matchup from last night, doesn't it? Butler will try to grind this game to a halt and keep the number of possessions for each team at a minimum. Butler's got a spiffy resume and have proven themselves capable of beating Big Conference teams, but Florida's a whole 'nother beast. I like the Bulldogs to keep this one respectable, but an upset here seems farfetched.
The Line: Florida -10.5
PB's Pick: Florida 68
AW's Pick: Florida 72
Final Score: Florida 65 Butler 57
This is a manageable draw for Georgetown, who will be looking to establish a nice, comfortable, deliberate pace while wearing down the Commodores. Assuming Vanderbilt can't trap the Hoyas into playing out of their style, Georgetown's well suited to advance this evening. The Hoyas have advanced two rounds through the tournament without even remotely approaching their peak level. If they improve their play even a little bit tonight, the Commodores are in big trouble.
The Line: Georgetown -7
PB's Pick: Vanderbilt 65
AW's Pick: Georgetown 70
Final Score: Georgetown 66 Vanderbilt 65
Both teams appear to be peaking right now, which makes for an interesting regional semifinal matchup. Oregon's offense is playing as well as anyone's right now, and their defense has improved of late. UNLV certainly has a chance to keep pace with the Ducks, though. I wonder if the perception of Oregon's not a little inflated right now. I'm taking the points, and picking the upset.
The Line: Oregon -3
PB's Pick: Oregon 74
AW's Pick: Oregon 66
Final Score: Oregon 76 UNLV 72
Ugh. It's almost hard to talk about, isn't it? Anyway, despite Texas' non-participation in this one, I'm intrigued by the matchup. USC's defense is legitimately good, and I think they have the athletes to keep from being out-athleted to death tonight. It's a longshot for USC to win, but I don't see the Tar Heels covering this spread.
The Line: North Carolina -8.5
PB's Pick: North Carolina 76
AW's Pick: North Carolina 73
Final Score: North Carolina 74 USC 64