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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

Friday - Session 2

South Region (Columbus, OH)
No. 15 Colgate vs. #2 Tennessee (CBS, 2:45 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Tennessee -17 ½, 148

The Volunteers (29-5 SU, 17-15-1 ATS) had a nice stretch as the top-ranked team in the country during conference play. Tennessee started the SEC slate at 11-0 before falling at Kentucky on February 16 in an 86-69 defeat. The Vols went 4-3 down the stretch in the regular season to drop to the third seed in the SEC tournament, but still managed to reach the championship game as they were blown out by Auburn, 84-64.

Tennessee posted a 5-8 ATS record in the last 13 games, while compiling a 1-3 ATS mark as a double-digit favorite in the last four opportunities. The Volunteers racked up plenty of quality wins away from Knoxville this season, including beating Gonzaga, Kentucky, Florida, and Ole Miss, while losing in overtime to Kansas and LSU.

Colgate (24-10 SU, 18-14-1 ATS) captured the Patriot League title for the first time since 1996 after topping Bucknell in the conference tournament, 94-80. The Raiders are riding a 7-2 ATS run the last nine games, while eclipsing the 80-point mark in all three victories in the Patriot tournament. Colgate didn’t rack up any great wins on its resume, while losing to Syracuse, Penn State, and Pittsburgh on the road by double-digits.

Tennessee reached the round of 32 in last season’s tournament before getting bounced by Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago in a one-point setback. The Volunteers did cruise in their first round matchup against Wright State in a 73-47 blowout as 11 ½-point favorites. Colgate is in the Big Dance for the third time ever (1995, 1996), as the team that the Raiders eventually lost to each fell in the Sweet 16 those two years.

South Region (Columbia, SC)
No. 16 Gardner-Webb vs. #1 Virginia (truTV, 3:10 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Virginia -21 ½, 129 ½

The Cavaliers (29-3 SU, 23-9 ATS) have seen this movie before and left disappointed as UMBC shocked UVA in the 1/16 game last March, 74-54. The Wahoos have another shot as a top seed in the NCAA tournament this time around after finishing tied with the best record in the ACC at 16-2 alongside North Carolina. The only two losses in conference play came at the hands of Duke, while Virginia was knocked out in the semifinals of the ACC tournament by Florida State.

Virginia covered its first seven conference games before prior to a 1-4 ATS run in early February. The Cavaliers cashed in five straight games prior to a non-cover in the regular season finale against Louisville as 12-point favorites. UVA put together a solid 12-6 ATS mark as a double-digit favorite this season, while closing as a 20 ½-point favorite in the surprising setback to UMBC last season.

Gardner-Webb (23-11 SU, 17-14 ATS) is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament after taking the crown of the Big South tournament. The Runnin’ Bulldogs finished third in the regular season conference standings, but knocked off the top two teams in the Big South tournament by defeating Campbell and Radford in the underdog role. Gardner-Webb has covered in seven of its past eight games, while its signature win this season came at Georgia Tech as a 13-point underdog in a 79-69 victory in December.

West Region (Tulsa, OK)
No. 11 Arizona State vs. #6 Buffalo (TNT, 4:00 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Buffalo -4 ½, 167

Last season, Buffalo (31-3 SU, 18-14-1 ATS) made headlines in the first round of the NCAA tournament by routing Arizona, 89-68 in the 4/13 matchup to make a name for itself. Now, the Bulls take on another Pac-12 squad in the Big Dance opening game as Buffalo faces old head coach Bobby Hurley, who left for Tempe in 2015 after a solid two-year stint in the MAC.

The Bulls rolled through the MAC this season with a 16-2 conference mark, while the only two losses came by a total of six points at Bowling Green and Northern Illinois. Buffalo started the season at 11-3-1 ATS, but finished at 7-11 ATS the final 18 games, although seven of those ATS defeats came as a double-digit favorite. The lone loss out of conference occurred in late December in a 103-85 setback at Marquette, while winning at Syracuse and West Virginia.

Arizona State (23-10 SU, 18-14-1 ATS) lost in the First Four round last season to Syracuse, but atoned for that defeat by holding off St. John’s in this year’s First Four, 74-65. The Sun Devils cashed as 1 ½-point favorites, as ASU limited the Red Storm to 32% shooting to rebound from a 79-75 overtime loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 semifinals.

ASU had several nice wins in non-conference play by beating Utah State, Mississippi State, and Kansas, but also lost at Vanderbilt by 16 points and was upset by Princeton as 14 ½-point home favorites. The Sun Devils posted a 6-5-1 ATS mark in the underdog role, which included conference wins at Arizona, Oregon State, Utah, and UCLA.

South Region (San Jose, CA)
No. 12 Oregon vs. #5 Wisconsin (TBS, 4:30 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Wisconsin -2 ½, 116 ½

The Ducks (23-12 SU, 20-15 ATS) have been living on the edge the last three weeks, but Oregon hasn’t lost a game since February 23 at UCLA. Oregon is riding an eight-game winning streak, capped off by a pair of wins over Pac-12 regular season champion Washington. The Ducks crushed the Huskies to capture the tournament championship and automatic tourney bid, 68-48, while finishing off a run of four wins in four days in Las Vegas.

Wisconsin (23-10 SU, 16-16-1 ATS) finished fourth in the Big 10 this season behind Michigan State, Purdue, and Michigan at 14-6. The Badgers were knocked out of the conference tournament semifinals by the eventual champion Spartans, 67-55 to fall to 2-7-1 ATS in the last 10 games. Wisconsin started Big 10 play at 3-3 before running off six consecutive wins, including handing Michigan its first loss of the season on January 19.

Oregon has clamped down on opponents during this eight-game hot stretch by allowing 54 points or fewer six times and cashing the UNDER seven times. The Ducks are on a 12-2 UNDER run since late January, as Oregon is two years removed from making it all the way to the Final Four in 2017.

Oregon and Wisconsin hooked up in the NCAA tournament in 2014 and 2015 as the Badgers eliminated the Ducks each time in the round of 32. Wisconsin won its tournament opener from 2014-17 before not qualifying last season, as the Badgers were last eliminated in the first round by Ole Miss in 2013.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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