March Madness by the Numbers: Sweet Sixteen Best Bets

Jason Paglia

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 4:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2019 4:34 PM UTC

And then there were 16. The first weekend of North America’s biggest sports tournament went off without a hitch, and we are down to the Sweet Sixteen.

<p><strong>The next round will be played this Thursday and Friday the 28<sup>th</sup> and 29<sup>th</sup>. We’ve got you covered with a couple soft spots to take advantage of so let the madness begin.</strong></p><p><strong>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;iframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/8s6-8MlmEec\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;"}[/]</strong></p><h2><strong>TENNESSEE (31-5) vs PURDUE (25-9)</strong></h2><p>On Thursday the BIG 10 takes on the SEC when the Purdue Boilermakers off an impressive beatdown of the defending National Champions takes on the Volunteers of Tennessee. In the 2<sup>nd</sup> round Purdue won convincingly in a twenty-six point route over Villanova to earn there way to the sweet sixteen. That marks the second consecutive game that Purdue has covered the spread in this tournament, but things have not been that easy for Tennessee. The Volunteers, who were ranked #1 in the nation for half the regular season struggled in the first round against Colgate but managed to get the win. In the second round they had a substantial lead for most of the game but could not close Iowa out down the stretch. The game would eventually go to overtime where once again Tennessee would escape with the win, but failed to cover the spread for the second time in as many games. Let’s look at Thursday’s matchup by the numbers.</p><table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:586px;" width="586"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p> </p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p><strong>Tennessee</strong></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>Purdue</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Scoring Defense</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>68.9pts</strong><em>. (109<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>66.1 pts</strong> <em>(46<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Scoring Offense</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>81.1 pts</strong>. <em>(20<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>75.7 pts</strong>. <em>(93<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Field Goal %</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>49.7%</strong> <em>(7<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>44.6%</strong> (162<em><sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Field Goal % (D)</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>39.9%</strong> <em>(18<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>42.1%</strong> <em>(68<sup>th</sup>in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">3pt Field Goal %</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>36.4%</strong> <em>(81<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>36.2%</strong> <em>(95<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">3pt Field Goal % (D)</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>34.3%</strong> <em>(188<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>33.8%</strong> <em>(151<sup>st</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">(D) Rebounds</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>47<sup>rd</sup></strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>18<sup>th</sup></strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">(O) Rebounds</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>154<sup>th </sup></strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>39<sup>th</sup> </strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Free Throw %</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>76.2%</strong> <em>(17<sup>th</sup>in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>73.2%</strong> <em>(89<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center">Fewest Turnovers</p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>119<sup>th</sup></strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:27px;"> <p align="center"><strong>38<sup>th</sup> </strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:195px;height:9px;"> <p> </p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:9px;"> <p> </p> </td> <td style="width:195px;height:9px;"> <p> </p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p> </p><p><img alt src="https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/USATSI_12101172-718x490.jpg" style="width:600px;height:409px;" /></p><p>When I first saw the opening line on this game, I literally took a double take. If I was a bookmaker, I would have opened this line at Tennessee -4.5 not a pick. College basketball is not necessarily a what have you done for me lately type of sport. While it can be at times, often if you look at a team’s full body of work throughout a season they usually tend to regress to the mean. Tennessee has not looked great this past week and Purdue might be playing as good as they’ve played all year in this tournament, but I still have to back the Vols here. Offensively Purdue is ridiculously reliable on the scoring of Carsen Edwards. He averages more then double the amount of points then the next two scoring leaders on the team combined. If he doesn’t have an epic scoring performance in this game, Purdue will lose and by margin. I trust Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden to contain the scoring of Carsen Edwards. The only other player on Purdue that I am even remotely concerned with offensively after Edwards is Ryan Cline. He is a knock down three point shooter but the athleticism of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield alone will make it tough for him to catch any type of rhythm. On the flip side, Tennessee is a top 20 offensive team that will not have a problem scoring on a defense that is mediocre at best. Purdue might hang around early, but at some point in the second half Tennessee should take control of this game and not look back. Tennessee advances into the Elite Eight.</p><p><em><strong>THE PICK – Tennessee ML at 10/11 (1.90) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18" target="_blank" title="NCAAB Betting Odds">Bet365</a></strong></em></p><p><strong>MICHIGAN STATE (30-6) vs LSU (28-6)</strong></p><p>The Michigan State Spartans will play their seventh sweet sixteen game in the last ten years. Under Tom Izzo they have been a perennial power in this tournament the last twenty years and this year is no different. This season they were dominant in the Big 10, winning both the regular season conference championship and the conference tournament championship. They’re opponent LSU also had a strong season this year. Tremont Waters and Naz Reid led Louisiana State to their first SEC regular season conference championship in a decade. Can they keep the momentum going? Let’s break it down, by the numbers.</p><table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:583px;" width="583"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p> </p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>Michigan St.</strong></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>LSU</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Scoring Defense</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>65.1 pts</strong><em>. (34<sup>st</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>72.9 pts</strong> <em>(216th in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Scoring Offense</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>78.7 pts</strong>. <em>(43<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>80.9 pts</strong>. <em>(23<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Field Goal %</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>48.6%</strong> <em>(15<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>46.2%</strong> (74<em><sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Field Goal % (D)</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>37.8%</strong> <em>(3<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>43.6%</strong> <em>(168<sup>th</sup>in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">3pt Field Goal %</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>38.4%</strong> 22<em><sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>36.4%</strong> <em>(81<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">3pt Field Goal % (D)</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>31.5%</strong> <em>(37<sup>st</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>34.3%</strong> <em>(188<sup>st</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">(D) Rebounds</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>3<sup>RD</sup> </strong><em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>157<sup>th</sup></strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">(O) Rebounds</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>112<sup>th</sup> </strong><em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>9<sup>th</sup> </strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Free Throw %</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>75%</strong> <em>(35<sup>th</sup>in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>75.4%</strong> <em>(232<sup>th</sup> in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center">Fewest Turnovers</p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>299<sup>th</sup> </strong><em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> <td style="width:194px;height:26px;"> <p align="center"><strong>234<sup>th</sup> </strong> <em>(in Nation)</em></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p> </p><p><img alt src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/UpMUYbLxwUjWVJmbfsJQcOhTZoE=/0x0:3450x2456/1200x800/filters:focal(1266x950:1818x1502)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63289176/1137802382.jpg.0.jpg" style="width:600px;height:400px;" /></p><p>Let me start off by saying I think Michigan State is a very good basketball team. Anytime you beat an in-state rival that happens to be a top 10 team in the nation 3 times in one year, you are legitimate. Both teams are fully capable of winning this game Friday. Michigan State has a very experienced team that has been there before and knows how to close games out down the stretch. Ward, Winston and Langford are all studs that can take the game over if need be. LSU also has game changing players in the purple and yellow. Like Michigan State, Tremont Waters, Naz Reid and Skylar Mays are fully capable of taking a game over. So what is the difference here? One team has a Hall of Fame coach in Tom Izzo coaching them and the other team……well, sorta kind of has a coach? LSU Head Coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely at the beginning of March for being wire tapped in a ‘Pay to Play’ investigation. For now, interim Head Coach Tony Benford has been given the task of leading his kids to a national championship. Before the suspension was handed down , I was very bullish on LSU. I thought they were a dark horse to win the chip. After the suspension we started reading reports that the loss of coach Wade was causing the LSU locker room to fracture. Welp, they look stronger then ever. It seems to have rallied this team around a common goal and it shows. If I was setting this line it would be Michigan State -1.5, not -6. Since February 9<sup>th</sup> LSU has beat 3 teams that are currently in the sweet sixteen. That is almost a quarter of the field. Three possessions may not seem like a lot but trust me, it is a lot of points to lay against a talented team even if you may be slightly better. That much has already been proven in this tournament. Take the points. (note: I would monitor this line. Michigan State is a public side, you may be able to get more then +6 closer to game time. Keep an eye on it, but for the purpose of this article, we will take the 6.</p><p><em><strong>THE PICK – Louisiana State University +6 at 10/11 (1.90) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18" target="_blank" title="NCAAB Betting Odds">Bet365 </a> </strong></em></p>
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