How Sweet It Is.

The first weekend of the tournament is one of the most exhausting and mentally draining four days of the year. After Sunday night you are ready to go lay in a cave for a week. But then when Monday afternoon comes around you are fiending for more basketball. So the layoff has not been easy but the Sweet 16 is finally here.

It was a really good opening weekend of the tournament. A healthy mixture of upsets with still a lot of good Sweet 16 matchups on the board. Unfortunately for me, it was a dreadful weekend of betting. There were so many bounces that just didn’t go my way. I lost multiple bets by a single point on a missed free throw and so many other bad breaks but that is just the way it goes sometimes. Here are the records:

Round of 64: 15-17 Overall, 2-3 Best Bets

Round of 32: 7-9 Overall, 1-2 Best Bets

Round to 67-0: 22-26 Overall, 3-5 Best Bets

The road to 41-26 though is still very much alive which would be an amazing record. Now, let’s get into the games.

Thursday

Michigan State (-2) vs. Kansas State o/u 137.5

This Kansas State team keeps getting doubted at every turn (including by me against Kentucky) but they just keep winning. Markquis Nowell has major Kemba Walker vibes and Keyontae Johnson is one of the best stories in America. Izzo proved he is still Mr. March by making it to another Sweet 16 but I think the Wildcats are just the more talented team here. Markquis Nowell is making his return to New York City as Mr. New York City and I think he will put on a dazzling display. Cats by 90.

Pick: 1u Kansas State +2

Arkansas (+3.5) vs. UConn o/u 139.5

Both of these teams are on fire. Muss proved that he is Mr. March Jr. by making another Sweet 16, this time as an 8-seed. On the other side, Danny Hurley finally got the monkey off of his back by winning a tournament game and is now favored to make the Elite Eight. I think Arkansas has had a great run but it ends here. UConn will stop them from getting to the rim and should dominate the paint on both sides of the court. Huskies march on.

Pick: 1.5u UConn -3.5

FAU (+5.5) vs. Tennessee o/u 130.5

FAU is a very popular underdog here and I know that I’m probably the sucker but I’m buying the Tennessee stock. Without Zeigler I wasn’t sure how they would look but they really impressed against Duke. During the regular season you usually like to fade a team after a performance like that but in this tournament I like to ride the teams playing their best ball. I will be in the building at MSG for this game rooting on the Vawls.

Pick: 1u Tennessee -5

Gonzaga (+2.5) vs. UCLA o/u 145.5

This is maybe the most highly anticipated matchup of the round from a neutral perspective. It’s a rematch of the 2021 Final Four game that Gonzaga won and I think Mick Cronin gets his revenge here. UCLA is another team that I had questions marks around due to injury but they have looked really solid in this tournament. They have a ton of experience and I think they will find a way through. Drew Timme and Mark Few kept their Sweet 16 streak alive so now they can lay down and let the Bruins move on.

Pick: 1u UCLA ML (-120)

Friday

SDSU (+7.5) vs. Alabama o/u 137

This is the scariest bet of the weekend but I am betting the Aztecs. They have gotten over the Mountain West in March hurdle and they now have nothing to lose against the title-favorites. I do think Bama will find a way to win but SDSU will keep it tight by playing hard in the paint on both ends of the court.

Pick: 1u SDSU +7.5

Miami (+7) vs. Houston o/u 137.5

I have sold the Canes so far but I am buying them here. Houston has had slow starts in both games so far and I think Miami will exploit that weakness. They also have guards that can hang with Houston’s guards and they can rebound with them. I think Miami will hang around and have a real chance to win here.

Pick: 1u Miami +7

Princeton (+10) vs. Creighton o/u 140.5

The Princeton run has been fun and I backed them in both games but it ends here. Creighton is playing really really well and I don’t think Princeton can get in their way. We are due for a blow out and I think it comes here.

Pick: 1u Creighton -10

Xavier (+4.5) vs. Texas o/u 149

This is my other favorite bet of the Sweet 16 along with UConn. I liked Texas a lot entering this tournament and have backed them so far. I think they take care of this Xavier team that I think is playing over their abilities so far in this tournament.

Pick: 1.5u Texas -3.5