South Regional Picks
March 27, 2013
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Can Florida Gulf Coast continue their Cinderella run?
#15 Florida Gulf Coast has been the story of the NCAA tournament so far and on Friday night they look to continue their Cinderella run to the Elite Eight with a win over their big brothers in the state; the Florida Gators. But the clock always strikes midnight for Cinderella and the only thing left to determine is if it will be Billy Donovan’s Gators to ring the bell.
Florida Gulf Coast (+13) vs. Florida (-13); Total set at 134
The Eagles have been the darlings of the tournament so far but there comes a point were too much media attention can be a very bad thing. These players have been living like rock stars on campus all week; doing national interviews, reading all their own press clippings and soaking in the spotlight. There is no doubt that these guys from “Dunk City” want to keep the good times rolling but after all this attention they are getting; the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have lost the biggest thing that got them to this point: the element of surprise.
There is no question that Georgetown took this team very lightly and was blown out because of it. San Diego State didn’t take the Eagles as lightly, but they still figured they would be able to show up and do enough to get the win. But San Diego State was also part of the fraudulent Mountain West Conference that has collectively sucked in the NCAA tournament and the Aztecs own flaws were put on national display by Florida Gulf Coast.
Now we have Florida. The Gators have quietly gone about their business and have got to be sick with all the attention this FGC “little brother” school has gotten these past seven days. There is ZERO chance the Gators take this team lightly and with one of the best defenses in the country and a week to prepare, Florida will burn down “Dunk City.”
The Gators are a perfect 2-0 ATS so far in this tournament and have won by double digits both times. The element of surprise is gone for FGC and laying 13 points in this spot won’t faze the Gators. They were one of the prohibitive favorites to win it all coming into the tournament and they will show it Friday night.
Lay the points with Florida.
Michigan (+2) vs. Kansas (-2); Total set at 136
Before that state of Florida game, we have a Michigan/Kansas game that should be one of the better games of the tournament so far. Both teams have elite level NBA talent on their roster but the deciding factor in this one will likely be experience.
Kansas’ starting five is four seniors and a no doubt lottery pick freshman in Ben McLemore. McLemore has had a dreadful tournament so far and the freshman nerves likely had something to do with it. Thankfully for Kansas fans he’s got plenty of veteran leadership around him and the Jayhawks finally played like they can in the 2nd half of that North Carolina game. Up until that point Kansas was playing some of the worst basketball they’ve played all year. But a big run out of the break got them back into that game and they ended up blowing out the overmatched, younger Tar Heels.
Michigan is definitely battle-tested having gone through a Big 10 schedule, but they are still a younger team that is prone to some “rookie” mistakes at times. They don’t have the benefit of playing in their home state this time around like they did in their opening rounds and haven’t covered the spread three times in a row since a stretch in late January where they played the dregs of Big 10 rivals.
This is a big step up in class for the Wolverines and when push comes to shove I expect the senior leadership on Kansas to step up and take over this game like they did in the 2nd have against UNC.
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