The Daily Sweat: The NCAA tournament begins in Dayton with a pair of first four games

Photo of author

No one should be in favor of expanding the NCAA tournament. However, bumping it from 64 to 68 didn’t change the event much, and it gives us some Madness appetizers.

[Free bracket contests for men’s & women’s tourneys for shot at $25K]

The NCAA tournament officially begins with two first four games in Dayton on Tuesday. Here Are Selected Picks With Spreads from betmgm,

Southeast Missouri State (+3.5) Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi is the better team, and rightfully the favorite. But there was one major injury blow for the Islanders.

Guard Terian Mardix went down with a knee injury in the Southland Conference championship game and will be out the rest of the season, Islanders coach Steve Lutz told SportsRush 1440’s James Espinosa, This is a big blow. Mardix, a senior guard, was the conference defensive player of the year. He also averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 assists. The Islanders won the conference title game after Mardix lost the first half, so maybe they can win another game without him against an inferior opponent. The Islanders are a strong shooting team from the free-throw line and 3-point range. But it’s a big hit this time of year, so I’ll go with SEMO.

Mississippi State (-2.5) over Pittsburgh.

This game is a great example of why the NCAA tournament should not be pushed forward. Neither team is very good, although it should be a close game.

Pitt had a brief stretch in which it led the ACC, but eventually ran out of luck in close games. Pitt went 3-4 down the stretch. Pitt isn’t a bad team, but it also doesn’t do anything particularly well.

See also  March Madness: Providence's Clifton Moore misses one in a million free throws vs. Kentucky

There is a 28-spot difference in KenPom’s rankings between the teams (Mississippi State is No. 49, Pitt is No. 77). Much of this is due to Mississippi State’s defense. The Bulldogs are a big team that plays slow and will wear you down on defense. The offense is bad—they’re dead last in Division I in 3-point percentage—but they entered the tournament having won a lot of rock fights. And I think they can win another match in Dayton.

Pittsburgh guard Nike Sibande (22) and his team face Mississippi State on Tuesday night. (Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here is the rest of the slate for Tuesday:

nuggets slump amid nba angles

The Denver Nuggets were rolling west, then somehow lost three straight to the Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls and Nets losses were home. The Nuggets look to turn things back around to face the Toronto Raptors. Toronto is favored by 1.5 points.

There are eight NBA games on the schedule. Another worth a look is the Milwaukee Bucks in the Phoenix Suns. Milwaukee leads by 1.5 points after a nice win Sacramento on Monday night.

there are 12 games in the nhl

It’s a big night with some good matchups on the ice. The top matchup is probably the Tampa Bay Lightning New Jersey Devils (-135). Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (-175) is another game worth watching.

What’s the best bet?

I’ll go with the nuggets. It’s hard to pick a team on a bad losing streak, but Denver has been a top team all season long and this loss could be a wake-up call. I don’t think the Nuggets have suddenly collapsed, and they will start to turn things around with a win on Tuesday night as a small crew.

See also  What David Miller Said About Prospect Of Facing Anrich Nortje In South Africa's T20 League | Cricket News