NCAA Scores 2021: Odds, over-Under Predictions and Betting Advice for Saturday

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

Colorado's McKinley Wright IV (25) plays against California in an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The Georgetown Hoyas are the sentimental favorite to make a deep run in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Georgetown is coming off a fantastic run in the Big East tournament inside the arena that head coach Patrick Ewing called home for most of his NBA career. The Hoyas' postseason magic could end Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Buffaloes, who were one win away from capturing the Pac-12 tournament title.

The Buffaloes present a bad matchup for Georgetown, and they should showcase why they are a six-point favorite in the day's first round-of-64 contest.

Colorado's conference mate the Oregon Ducks have a chance to make a statement in Indianapolis as well Saturday. An argument can be made that the Ducks are a much better team than a No. 7 seed, and the experience they carry could push them past the Virginia Commonwealth Rams.


NCAA Tournament Saturday 1st-Round Schedule

No. 5 Colorado (-6) vs. No. 12 Georgetown (Over/Under: 137.5) (12:15 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 4 Florida State (-10.5) vs. No. 13 UNC Greensboro (O/U: 144.5) (12:45 p.m. ET, truTV)

No. 3 Kansas (-10.5) vs. No. 14 Eastern Washington (O/U: 146) (1:15 p.m. ET, TBS)

No. 8 LSU (-2) vs. No. 9 St. Bonaventure (O/U: 144.5) (1:45 p.m. ET, TNT)

No. 1 Michigan (-25.5) vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (O/U: 142.5) (3 p.m. ET, CBS) 

No. 5 Creighton (-7.5) vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara (O/U: 138) (3:30 p.m. ET, truTV)

No. 2 Alabama (-16.5) vs. No. 15 Iona (O/U: 147) (4 p.m. ET, TBS) 

No. 6 USC (-6) vs. No. 11 Drake (O/U: 135) (4:30 p.m. ET, TNT) 

No. 2 Iowa (-14) vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon (O/U: 145.5) (6:20 p.m. ET, TBS)

No. 7 UConn (-3.5) vs. No. 10 Maryland (O/U: 129) (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 4 Virginia (-7) vs. No. 13 Ohio (O/U: 131) (7:15 p.m. ET, truTV) 

No. 8 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Missouri (-0.5) (O/U: 140) (7:25 p.m. ET, TNT)

No. 1 Gonzaga (-33) vs. No. 16 Norfolk State (O/U: 153.5) (9:20 p.m. ET, TBS)

No. 6 BYU (-4) vs. No. 11 UCLA (O/U: 138.5) (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 3 Texas (-8.5) vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian (O/U: 139.5) (9:50 p.m. ET, truTV)

No. 7 Oregon (-5.5) vs. No. 10 VCU (O/U: 137.5) (9:57 p.m. ET, TNT)

Predictions against the spread in bold.


Betting Advice

Colorado (-6) vs. Georgetown

Georgetown deserves credit for winning four games in four days at Madison Square Garden, but when you look at that run, the team received plenty of breaks.

The Hoyas caught the Marquette Golden Eagles on one of their worst shooting games in program history, beat a depleted Villanova Wildcats side and knocked out an average Seton Hall Pirates squad that was on the wrong side of the bubble.

The dominant performance in the Big East tournament final against the Creighton Bluejays was a pure butt-kicking, but the other three victories could be viewed differently because of the circumstances.

Despite the surge in New York, Georgetown is an average basketball team that finished the Big East regular season with a 7-9 mark. Colorado should feast on the talent disparity between the rosters Saturday, starting with point guard McKinley Wright IV.

Wright leads the 22-8 Buffaloes with 15.5 points per game, and he is a 48.8 shooter from the field. The senior had 42 points in his last two games at the Pac-12 tournament. Colorado's top scorer eclipsed the 20-point mark in three of his past five games and has at least four rebounds and three assists over his past five appearances.

Tad Boyle's team can neutralize Georgetown's paint presence through Evan Battey and Jeriah Horne, who both average more than 10 points and five rebounds per game. If Battey and Horne contain the threats of Jamorko Pickett and Qudus Wahab, it could open the path for Wright to star on a national stage.

Pickett and Wahab turned in solid four-game stretches in New York, but both struggled at times against the Big East's best teams. They combined for seven games with 12 points or fewer against Villanova and Creighton.

Georgetown needs to get more production out of them to beat Colorado, which may not happen with Battey and Horne occupying the paint.


Oregon (-5.5) vs. VCU 

Oregon head coach Dana Altman knows how to win in March.

The 62-year-old led the Ducks to the Sweet 16 in their past three NCAA tournament appearances. He boasts Elite Eight and Final Four berths during that stretch.

Oregon has the scoring depth and experience to go on another run in the West Region. The Ducks boast five players who average more than 10 points per game and shoot over 40 percent, led by Chris Duarte.

Duarte fills all the requirements of an experienced guard who can carry a team through March Madness. The senior only had two single-digit point performances this season, one of which was in a blowout win over the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Pac-12 tournament.

Duarte had nine 20-point performances, and he knocked down at least three shots from three-point range in eight of those games. The 43 percent three-point shooter has four other upperclassmen around him in the starting lineup, so they should not be fazed by much, even a press-heavy defense from VCU.

The Rams have their own star in Nah'Shon Hyland, who averages 19.5 points per game, but the Ducks could home in on him to take away the offense of the Atlantic 10 squad.

In the A-10 tournament final, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies got Hyland into foul trouble early and held him to 4-of-11 from the field. The only reason he had 21 points is his 11-of-12 day from the free-throw line.

If Oregon contains Hyland, VCU should be handcuffed on the offensive end since it has one other player that averages in double figures.

Since the Ducks returned from a pause February 4, they have held eight opponents under 70 points in 11 victories. If they bring that same defense to the floor Saturday, they should eliminate VCU.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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