NCAA Bracket 2019: Picks, Updated Odds Ahead of Friday's 1st-Round Schedule

Jake RillCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 15: Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts after a play against the Florida State Seminoles during their game in the semifinals of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Thursday was filled with exciting college basketball action. Expect more of the same on Friday.

The NCAA tournament continues Friday with another full slate of 16 first-round matchups. After Thursday's 16 games, the field is down to 48 teams. It will be at 32 entering second-round games on Saturday.

Thursday featured four games in which the higher seed won—No. 9 seed Baylor, No. 10 seeds Minnesota and Florida and No. 12 seed Murray State were the victors in those matchups. Gonzaga was the only No. 1 seed to play, as it beat Fairleigh Dickinson, while three No. 2 seeds—Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State—all won to advance to the second round.



Friday Schedule, Odds (Picks in Bold, All Times ET)

No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 7 Cincinnati (-4), 12:15 p.m., CBS

No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Ole Miss (-1.5), 12:40 p.m., truTV

No. 14 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (-13.5), 1:30 p.m., TNT

No. 13 UC Irvine vs. No. 4 Kansas State (-4.5), 2 p.m., TBS

No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Tennessee (-17.5), 2:45 p.m., CBS

No. 16 Gardner-Webb vs. No. 1 Virginia (-22), 3:10 p.m., truTV

No. 11 Arizona State vs. No. 6 Buffalo (-5), 4 p.m., TNT

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 5 Wisconsin (-2), 4:30 p.m., TBS

No. 9 Washington vs. No. 8 Utah State (-3), 6:50 p.m., TNT

No. 16 North Dakota State vs. No. 1 Duke (-27), 7:10 p.m., CBS

No. 14 Georgia State vs. No. 3 Houston (-12), 7:20 p.m., TBS

No. 12 Liberty vs. No. 5 Mississippi State (-6.5), 7:27 p.m., truTV

No. 16 Iona vs. No. 1 North Carolina (-23), 9:20 p.m., TNT

No. 9 UCF (-1) vs. No. 8 VCU, 9:40 p.m., CBS

No. 11 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Iowa State (-5.5), 9:50 p.m., TBS

No. 13 Saint Louis vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech (-10.5), 9:57 p.m., truTV


Friday Preview

Three No. 1 seeds, all from the ACC, will begin their NCAA tournament runs on Friday, as Virginia, North Carolina and Duke, the No. 1 overall seed, will all be in action against No. 16 seeds.

Don't expect to see any of these ACC powerhouses upset, however.

Virginia will be looking to avenge last year's team, which was the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed when it fell to UMBC. The Cavaliers are looking to keep that from happening again when they face Gardner-Webb.

Duke enters March Madness with a lot of momentum. After star freshman forward Zion Williamson missed the final five games of the regular season, he returned to lead the Blue Devils to the ACC tournament championship and the No. 1 overall seed. They'll play North Dakota State, which was one of the four schools to win a game in the First Four round.

North Carolina may have lost in the ACC tournament semifinals—just like Virginia—but it will have a good opportunity to get back on track when it plays Iona.

Although several higher seeds notched upset wins on Thursday, Friday's schedule doesn't have as many appealing upset picks as the first day of the round.

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Among the schools that are seeded No. 11 and higher, No. 11 seed Arizona State appears to be the team most likely to win on Friday. The Sun Devils beat St. John's in the First Four round and now will take on Buffalo, the winner of the Mid-American Conference tournament.

Buffalo may have only three losses, but its schedule was less difficult than Arizona State's. Also, the Sun Devils could be building momentum after their First Four victory.

"I'm going to say we didn't pack for just one game," Arizona State senior forward Zylan Cheatham said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "We're really locked in. We're really focused. And obviously this is a big step in the right direction. But we're not content by any means. We're hungry for more. We want to take this season as far as it can go."  


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