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NCAA basketball picks – Huskies fighting off Tigers in the West

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/2/2014 10:16:56 PM

The March Madness betting giant of this year’s NCAA basketball picks is the Big East, and Connecticut is one of three Big East teams to claim a No. 1 seed, taking the West region to be held in Glendale, Arizona.

However, the Huskies will face stiff competition from Memphis of the C-USA, and the Big 12’s Missouri has also emerged as a solid NCAA basketball pick of this year’s 2009 March Madness combatants.

NCAA basketball picks: No. 2 Memphis looks like the right choice

  • Huskies favored to ride big man to Final Four
  • Memphis aims for back-to-back Final Fours
  • James’ injury kills Marquette chances

CONTENDERS: No. 1 Connecticut Huskies, No. 2 Memphis Tigers, No. 3 Missouri Tigers, No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers

The Huskies are favorited to win the West with March Madness odds of +190, and they are anchored by junior center Hasheem Thabeet, who can change a game with his shot-blocking ability. With senior forward Jeff Adrien helping Thabeet, the Huskies are sixth in the nation in rebound margin. Jim Calhoun has won a pair of national championships, so there won’t be much that will take the legendary coach by surprise.

The Tigers also have a great coach in John Calipari, who has molded Memphis into a perennial title contender. Memphis has reached the Elite Eight three straight years, and only an inability to shoot free throws stopped it from winning last year’s championship game against Kansas. The Tigers lead the nation in opposition field-goal percentage and are fourth in points allowed, while freshman Tyreke Evans has blossomed since moving to the point. With sportsbook odds of +225, and an improved team free-throw percentage, the Tigers are a solid bet on NCAA basketball picks.

Missouri is tops in the nation is assists and seventh in points scored, and it has solid March Madness odds of +575 to win the West this year. The Tigers flew under the radar for most of the season, but online betting fans can’t ignore them after winning the Big 12 tournament. The senior forward duo of DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons is as good as any in the country.

The Boilermakers wrap up the list of contenders with March Madness odds of +825 in the West, and they won the Big Ten title with a scrappy defense that is 11th in the nation in opposition field-goal percentage. Sophomore Robbie Hummel does a variety of things well for the Boilermakers on both ends of the floor, and a trip to the Sweet 16 is not out of their reach.

SLEEPERS: No. 4 Washington Huskies

Washington took the Pac-10 crown but still isn’t garnering a lot of national attention. Behind freshman guard Isaiah Thomas, Washington is 13th in the country in points scored, but it still turn the ball over too much. The Huskies have also drawn a tough first-round opponent in SEC champion Mississippi State, and Washington could have the toughest draw in the entire bracket. But an early win breeds confidence, and these Huskies are worth a consideration in your NCAA basketball picks.

PRETENDERS: No. 6 Marquette Golden Eagles, No. 7 California Golden Bears

The Golden Eagles were one of the March Madness betting favorites all season, and then senior guard Dominic James went down in a loss to UConn. Marquette has lost five of six since its leader went down, and while it still ranks 14th in the country in points scored, its inability to stop anyone could lead to a first round exit. Momentum is a good thing to have at this time of year, but not if it’s the negative kind.

The Golden Bears are in the same boat, as they lost three of their last four games. California, led by junior sharpshooter Jerome Randle, is 56th in the nation in points scored, but 184th in points against. Cal is a hard team to bet sports on, as it beat Washington twice, but was swept by UCLA and split a pair of meetings with Arizona State and USC, along with losses to Florida State and Missouri. Unstable teams like this are the types of teams that March Madness betting players should avoid.


For more daily analysis of March Madness betting and NCAA basketball picks, bookmark the Betting Edge today.

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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