NCAA Sweet 16 Preictions, Betting Odds and Picks

Eddie AdamsContributor IMarch 22, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals during the championship of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament was a profitable one for us over at Odds Authority, as our March Madness picks covered the point spread in four out of five games.

Now let’s see if we can keep the profitable run going as we analyze this week’s Sweet 16 point spreads provided by online betting giant Sportsbook.com.

 

UConn vs. SDSU preview and pick

The Connecticut Huskies are absolutely smoldering, having won seven straight games and covered the point spread in each of their last seven games. Even more impressive is the fact that they are covering the point spread by 10.2 points per contest.

The San Diego State Aztecs were very fortunate to still be alive as they needed double overtime to beat the Temple Owls. Steve Fisher’s Aztecs have a 34-2 record—impressive, without a doubt. However, their schedule wasn’t very challenging.

In all, they played two teams that were ranked—Gonzaga and BYU.

Jim Calhoun’s Huskies, on the other hand, have played 15 Top-25 teams thus far, winning nine of those games.

Everyone already knows about Huskie All-American point guard Kemba Walker. But don’t overlook freshman swingman Jeremy Lamb and his 10.5 points per game. Lamb has scored in double figures in each of the games on their current seven-game win streak. This isn’t a new trend by any means; for the season, UConn is 18-3 when Lamb scores at least 10 points.

It seems like a meaningless trend, but it really isn’t. Early in the season, it was obvious that Walker needed a teammate to step up to take on some of the scoring load—Lamb emerged as that player.

Coach Calhoun is at his best come tournament time, evidenced by his 11 Sweet 16 appearances.

It's no coincidence that the Huskies also excel in covering the point spread in tournament-style play. They are a flawless 10-0 against the spread in tournament games this season.

Go with the hot and proven hand; take the Huskies (-1).

 

Marquette vs. UNC preview and pick

Eleven Big East teams get a bid to the NCAA tournament, and the surprising Marquette Golden Eagles are just one of two that are still alive. The No. 11 seed Golden Eagles are 4.5-point underdogs against the No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels.

Personally, I’m kind of surprised that this number isn’t closer to 6.5 or seven points.

When comparing these teams, the biggest advantage the Tar Heels have is on the boards. Marquette averaged just 36.2 boards per game as a team this season, ranking 104th in college hoops.

The Tar Heels, on the other hand, are the top rebounding team in NCAA basketball, hauling in 42.5 rebounds per game.

UNC’s height could really pose some difficulties for Marquette. Their front line features 7’0'' Tyler Zeller, 6’10” John Henson and 6’9” Harrison Barnes—and all three ooze talent.

Sportsbook currently has the Tar Heels as 4.5-point favorites. Hop on that number now, as this line will only move one way. The Tar Heels are too big and too talented for the Golden Eagles.