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Sweet 16 West Betting – It’s Time To Make Our Sweet Sixteen Picks In The West

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 2:35:55 AM

Sports betting players looking to wager on the Sweet Sixteen will find three programs who are used to this stage of the NCAA Tournament, while one team is making their debut, but they have a coach who has led other teams to this point. When it comes down to it, we should see the top two seeds in the region battling in the Elite Eight.

UConn San Diego State Betting – Thursday, 7:15 PM ET

The third-seeded Huskies are favored by a single point in Anaheim against the second-seeded Aztecs, who won the first Tournament game in their history against Northern Colorado, and then they needed double overtime to take down Temple. Some complained that the Huskies were too high of a seed, but UConn thumped Bucknell and handled fellow Big East team Cincinnati to set up this showdown. The Huskies are powered by national Player of the Year candidate Kemba Walker, who slumped in the middle of the season, but has been brilliant from the beginning of the Big East tournament to this point. The Huskies have also gotten off to good starts in the Tournament as they led Northern Colorado by 17 points at halftime, and they were up on Cincinnati by eight at the break. It makes things a lot easier if you’re not chasing a game in the second half, especially if you have a go-to guy like Walker.

The Aztecs have as much size as any mid-major team in the country, and the trio of Kawhi Leonard, Billy White and Malcolm Thomas has been a force for San Diego State. They combined for 45 points and 31 rebounds in the win over Temple, and they’ve outrebounded their opponents by an average of 10.5 boards in the Tournament. The frontcourt has had to be good, though, because D.J. Gay is struggling from the field. The guard is 5-of-24 over the first two games, and even though Chase Tapley has stepped up, San Diego State needs Gay to make some big shots to counter Walker on the perimeter.

UConn is going to the edge in terms of NCAA basketball betting odds, based on their pedigree as the Huskies are making their 16th appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, while San Diego State is here for the first time. However, we’re going with the Aztecs, who have the length to bother Walker, which means there is pressure on Jeremy Lamb to step up. UConn’s Alex Oriakhi is going to have his hands full in the post, and he needs some help. We also forget that the Aztecs are coached by Steve Fisher, who led Michigan’s Fab Five to a pair of appearances in the title game and even though San Diego State obviously isn’t that talented, Fisher knows all about the pressure of this time of year.

Betting Edge: San Diego State Aztecs +1

Arizona Duke Betting – Thursday, 9:45 PM ET

NCAA basketball betting odds have the defending champion and top-seeded Blue Devils as an 8.5-point favorite in Anaheim against the fifth-seeded Wildcats, and both of these programs are used to the pressure of the Sweet Sixteen: Duke has been here 26 times, while Arizona makes their 15th appearance. The Wildcats are no stranger to closer games as their last four games have been decided by five points or less, and they beat Memphis and Texas by a combined three points. Derrick Williams had gotten some attention all season as being a good player, maybe even very good, but he’s stepped up on the national stage with a game-saving block against Memphis, and then his three-point play gave Arizona their final points in the win over Texas. Williams is a bonafide star and could be the No.1 pick in the NFL draft, and he gets help from a rotation of role players like Lamont Jones, Solomon Hill and Kyle Fogg.

The Blue Devils rolled over Hampton before they were pushed to the limit by Michigan, and the big news in the Duke camp is the return of freshman Kyrie Irving, who has missed the majority of the season with a toe injury. Irving played well against Hampton, and he was aggressive against Michigan, going 9-of-10 from the foul line. But the Blue Devils are going to go as far as Nolan Smith takes them, because you can’t expect Irving to just come back into the team and carry Duke. Smith sat back in the Hampton game and let Irving get his feet under him, but he took over with 24 points against the Wolverines. The Blue Devils also need more out of Kyle Singler, who hasn’t been his All-American self all season, and if he isn’t going to score, he’s going to go up against Williams on the defensive end, although the Blue Devils can throw Miles and Plumlee at him as well.

We think the Blue Devils will come away with the win to head to the Elite Eight, but the 8.5-point spread isn’t giving the Wildcats any respect. Where the Blue Devils really have the edge is on the perimeter with Smith, Irving and Seth Curry, but Williams is a one-man wrecking crew, and Hill is coming off a 16-point effort against Texas, so he is capable. Also, the Wildcats may have a slight edge in terms of crowd support, given their proximity to Anaheim, but the Duke contingent will be out in full force as well. Duke would be the smart straight-up bet, but the Wildcats are tough enough to cover the online betting spread.

Betting Edge: Arizona Wildcats +8.5

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