March Madness Elite Eight Predictions For SaturdayTrevon Lewis
Eight teams are remaining in the 2017 March Madness tournament and that only means the busted bracket will see two more teams eliminated on Saturday. There are two games, both on TBS and both are fascinating matchups.
Gonzaga and Kansas are the favorites as they were listed as number one seeds, but in March that doesn’t mean much. These are the March Madness Elite Eight Predictions for Saturday:
(11) Xavier Musketeers vs (1) Gonzaga Bulldogs
- When: Saturday, March 25, 2017
- Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
- Game Time: 6:09 PM ET
- Spread: Gonzaga -8.5
- Game Total: 145.5
- TV: TBS
It’s not every day you come across with a Cinderella story like Xavier. The Musketeers are putting the Big East on top after the failures of the rest of the Conference; including the still champs, Villanova Wildcats.
Xavier has been named the underdogs by the pay per head bookie in all three games they have played during March Madness. But they have also won straight up all meeting to get to an improbable Elite Eight spot. Of course, it’s not a surprise to see the bookie business make them an underdog again. They jump as an 8.5-point dog facing Gonzaga for a place in the Final Four.
Xavier is the eighth team in March Madness history seeded 11th or lower to reach the Elite Eight round. Only three of those 11 seeds have gone on to the Final Four in NCAA tournament history: VCU (2011), George Mason (2006) and LSU (1986).
Each of the Musketeers’ win in the tournament has been more impressive than the last. They opened with a 76-65 victory over Maryland. It was an upset, but those happen regularly in the first round. The second round saw Xavier took down one of the most athletic teams in the nation. Their 91-66 win over South Carolina was a stunner on every level.
However, their comeback win against Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen it’s perhaps the best. The Musketeers were down 64-71 with 2:52 to play. Then, they scored the next nine points to steal a win the pay per head sportsbooks were not expecting.
Gonzaga will be up next. The Bulldogs have been anything but impressive as a one-seed in the tournament. They are yet to cover the March Madness betting spread after three games. And they were so close to losing to West Virginia; a team who showed no offense in the second half of their 61-58 victory.
The Bulldogs have beaten San Diego State (66-46), Northwestern (79-73) and the mentioned win against West Virginia. All good results, but none had a jaw-dropping performance. If they underestimate the momentum of Xavier just because the Musketeers are the 11th seed, they would be in for a world of trouble.
Yes, Gonzaga is 35-1 entering this game, but that record is overblown by a lousy conference. To become a bookmaker, it’s important to know if teams are for real or not. Gonzaga doesn’t look to be for real.
The Bulldogs are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games, 1-3-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games as a favorite, and 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
The Musketeers are 15-2-1 ATS in their last 18 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win, 24-5-1 ATS in their last 30 NCAA Tournament games, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, and 30-10-1 ATS in their last 41 neutral site games as an underdog.
March Madness Predictions: Xavier +8.5.
(3) Oregon Ducks vs. (1) Kansas Jayhawks
- When: Saturday, March 25, 2017
- Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
- Game Time: 8:49 PM ET
- Spread: Kansas -6.5
- Game Total: 156.5
- TV: TBS
I like what the Oregon Ducks have done so far in the tournament. I do. But I think they will run out of luck in the next stage. Kansas is too good of a team to expect anything but a Jayhawks win on Saturday Night. The pph sportsbook made Kansas a 6.5-point favorite in the College Basketball betting spread. It’s a little low after seeing what the Jayhawks did to Purdue.
Let’s stay on Oregon for a second. The Ducks took down Michigan in a 69-68 thriller on Thursday Night. After beating Iona Gaels and the Rhode Island Rams in the first two rows, the victory against the Wolverines makes the Ducks a legit team to bet in the Elite Eight round. The first two games were against inferior squads. But Michigan was one of the hottest teams in the nation, and they knocked them out.
The biggest problem I see for Oregon is staying on pace with Kansas. Sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey has been a star for the Ducks during the tournament. He scored 24 points against Iona, 27 against Rhode Island and 20 more against Michigan He even went 5-7 from beyond the arc against the Wolverines. He’s the real deal. But the Ducks don’t have a consistent secondary player to help them get to the next level. And that’s particularly important against such an offensive team like Kansas.
The Jayhawks are averaging 96.0 points per game during their 2017 March Madness run. It’s an insane number on every level. But it’s even crazier to think they have won all three games by an average of 30 points.
Kansas looked like an NBA team in the 98-66 win over Purdue in the Sweet Sixteen. The Jayhawks are destroying pay per head services, and the sports bookies don’t know what to do with them at this point.
Kansas has three NBA-type of players in their starting lineup. Senior guard Frank Mason III scored 26 points against the Boilermakers, and so did junior guard Devonte’ Graham. Freshman guard Josh Jackson who might be the best of these three added 15 points and 12 rebounds. These guys are no joke.
The NCAAB betting trends say the Ducks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win, 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record, and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Also, the Jayhawks are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up win, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
March Madness Picks: Kansas -6.5.
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