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NCAA basketball picks - Meet the March Madness party crashers

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/2/2014 10:07:21 PM

March Madness odds, those who bet sports will tell you NCAA basketball picks are among the toughest plays. Not only must you worry about the offshore sportsbook favorites, but there are always a few mid-major teams looking to hunt bigger targets. Here is a look at the top five outside the major conferences, beginning with one school that is already a national powerhouse.

NCAA basketball picks: Mid-majors always make tournament interesting

  • Memphis using C-USA as annual springboard
  • Xavier, Gonzaga perennial mid-major favorites
  • Butler, Dayton look to crash party

Memphis

The Tigers should consider a move to the SEC, as they’re absolutely destroying the Conference USA. As of Feb. 27, the Tigers had won 55 straight games and four consecutive C-USA titles. Memphis lost players like No.1 overall pick Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, but this year’s key is Tyreke Evans, the freshman who has blossomed since moving to point guard. With the ball in Evans’ hands, the Tigers can go deep into March.

Gonzaga

The Bulldogs are another team that could move to one of the big conferences and compete, as they’ve won eight WCC tournaments since 1999, failing only to win in 2003. Gonzaga is currently tops in the nation in opposition field-goal percentage, while the forward duo of senior Josh Heytvelt and sophomore Austin Daye leads them offensively. After two straight first-round exits in the Tournament, the Bulldogs are eager to far in March.

Xavier

The Musketeers are one of the toughest teams in the nation, coming out of the Atlantic-10 ranked fifth in rebounding margin and 11th in opposition field-goal defense. Xavier doesn’t score much, as its leading scorer, junior forward Derrick Brown, averages less than 14 points per game. But the Musketeers aren’t going to try to get into a shootout, instead preferring to grind it out. If there is a knock on the Musketeers, it’s that they commit a lot of fouls, and this undisciplined play could hurt them in the “Big Dance.”

Butler

The Bulldogs are aiming for their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, and they are similar to Xavier in that they are a gritty defensive team that doesn’t score a lot of points. They are led by sophomore forward Matt Howard, who shoots almost 55 per cent from the floor. Inexperience could hurt the Bulldogs’ March Madness betting chances; they have 10 freshmen or sophomores on the roster.

Dayton

The Flyers have flirted with the top 25 all season and are currently pushing rival Dayton in the Atlantic-10. Dayton is another team that tries to win with defense, as it ranks in the top 20 in opposition field-goal percentage, while sophomore forward Chris Wright puts up just over 11 points per game. An upset of Marquette early in the season let people know the Flyers were for real, so don’t be surprised to see them upend one of your NCAA basketball picks.

For more NCAA basketball picks as we head towards the tournament, visit the Betting Edge at betonline.com.

Washington Tucker was practically raised at Rucker Park. Though a freak knee injury cost him a major college basketball scholarship, his “sixth-sense” on the hardwood has translated into a spectacular career in basketball handicapping.

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