St. Peter’s Peacocks vs. Purdue Boilermakers
The Peacocks are a great story. They beat Kentucky, they beat Murray State but they will not beat Purdue. The Boilermakers are loaded including star guard Jaden Ivey,7’ 4” Zach Edey, forward Trevion Williams and underrated role players Eric Hunter, Mason Gillis and Stefan Stefanovic. The Peacocks will not have an answer for the size of Edey, even if the Peacocks star KC NDefo is able to slow down Jaden Ivey they won’t be able to stop the post game of the Boilermakers.
The St. Peters offense has been playing above their level over the last two games, but ultimately they are a below average offense and they foul a lot on the defensive end. We know after Sunday that Purdue knows how to get to the line. They will do that a lot and they will dominate the interior. This fun is over for St. Peters, Purdue will win by twenty.
Pick: Purdue Boilermakers -12.5
Michigan Wolverines vs. Villanova Wildcats
Michigan was left for dead after their 4-3 start. If it wasn’t for their victories within conference the Wolverines may be playing in the NIT. Nevertheless the Wolverines find themselves in the Sweet 16 led by their All-American Hunter Dickinson. His 27 points and 11 rebounds led the charge in the upset versus Tennessee in the second round, his ability to control the paint while being able to shoot the three when needed makes him a matchup nightmare.
Villanova has the experience needed to go all the way. Collin Gillespie and company have been efficient on offense in week one of the tournament and should be able to take advantage of the inconsistent defense of Michigan. The Wolverines rank 170th in effective field goal percentage during the regular season, the Wildcat offense will try to slow them down and take advantage of open shots.
Michigan has top ten talent all through the roster. They have picked up their intensity on the defensive end especially holding down three point shooters. The Wolverines size will be a problem for Nova, they will not be able to get inside and that will cause them problems trying to connect from deep. Nova needs the three to drop consistently because Michigan will be able to control the boards with Dickinson and Freshman Moussa Diabete. The length and advantage on the glass will allow Michigan to keep this close. I would still take the points but I can see them pulling out the outright upset.
Pick: Michigan Wolverines +5
Houston Cougars vs. Arizona Wildcats
Elite defense vs. elite offense. Quick pace vs slow pace. The matchup between Houstona and Arizona is a complete mismatch of styles.
The Houston Cougars will look to grind it out and limit possessions. They have the 338th ranked tempo in all of college basketball. Despite their slow pace they are still a very efficient offense, ranking 9th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Houston is able to put themselves in great position to get the shot they want or at the very least grind down a defense which they take advantage of on the offensive glass. Houston is merciless on the glass, snagging offensive rebounds on 37% of possessions. This is going to be a problem for Arizona, coming off of a game where TCU was able to dominate the glass and put a scare into the #1 seed in the South.
Arizona found a way to get by TCU, whether it was a bad call or not the Wildcats still found a way to win behind their star Bennidict Mathurin and Cristain Koloko. The Wildcats are deep, they have multiple weapons that come off the bench and produce, if they can get the ball moving they will be able to wear out Houston. The key will be to make sure they clean up the defensive glass. When they get the ball they need to let Mathurin loose
The Houston defense has not given up over 68 points just once in their last ten games. They have not had to put up the numbers on the offensive end to keep up with teams. They rely too much on dominating the offensive glass. Arizona has the length and athletes to neutralize Houston’s biggest asset.
Pick: Arizona ML