March Madness Straight Up Picks

March Madness Straight Up Picks

Let the Madness commence! The 2014 NCAA tournament has already seen defending champion Louisville pushed to the limit, a pair of No. 5 seeds fall, Wisconsin humiliate American U by 40, and mighty Duke dumped by the pesky Mercer Bears. Hard to fathom why it took so long for college football to figure out a “playoff” system is a good and profitable thing. Nevertheless, Friday’s action features several enticing matchups to enjoy. Here’s a breakdown.


The Colonials are only 4-10 in their tournament history. They last won a game in 2006 and haven’t appeared since 2007. They boast a balanced roster with five players who average double-digits in scoring, led by senior guard Maurice Creek, who is hitting 40.6% from three-point range. The Tigers are led by the senior guard duo of Joe Jackson and Michael Dixon Jr., although neither played well in the loss to Connecticut in the American Athletic tournament. These 8 vs. 9 games are always a toss up, but Memphis has the experience.

Bet Memphis SU


The Friars had little shot of making the Field of 68 until they upset Creighton in the Big East Finals. Senior guard Bryce Cotton can flat out score, and he needs to because Providence has absolutely no depth; only six players saw the court in the Big East championship. The Tar Heels suffered two straight defeats coming into the tournament, but don’t blame Marcus Page, who totaled 51 points. UNC is a classic Jekyll-Hyde team. If they are on, they can hang with anyone as evidenced by early season victories over Louisville and Michigan State.

Bet North Carolina SU


The Lumberjacks are making only their second appearance in the Big Dance. They cruised through the Southland going 18-0 in conference play, and haven’t lost since November 23rd. Along with Wichita State and Florida, they have been one of the most dominant teams in the field. The backcourt of Desmond Haymon and Deshuant Walker are downright deadly from beyond the arc. Shaka Smart and VCU are no strangers to tourney pressure, having won three straight opening round games. Guard Treveon Graham has an NBA skill-set and he will have to assume a larger role on offense with sophomore Melvin Johnson sidelined by a sprained knee. No. 5 seeds are 1-2 thus far.

Bet Stephen F. Austin SU

(13) TUSLA VS UCLA (4)

The Golden Hurricane began the season 1-6 and were a bubble team before seizing the Conference USA title. They have won 11 consecutive and sophomore guard James Woodard has scored at least 18 points in his last five starts. Beware the Bruins. They boast two of the country’s most versatile players in forward Kyle Anderson and guard Jordan Adams; the pair combined for 40 points and 19 rebounds against Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game. UCLA can shoot, score, and ranks fourth in the nation in steals. First-year head coach Steve Alford has a roster capable of reaching the Final Four, but consistency remains a concern.