Sweet Sixteen: Friday Previews & Picks

College basketball betting fans will continue to enjoy the Sweet 16 in the East and Midwest Regionals on Friday night. The East will be played in New York where seats were a hot ticket while the Midwest will be played in Indianapolis.

East Regional Semifinal

Connecticut Huskies vs. Iowa State Cyclones

Friday, 7:15 PM ET

College Basketball Betting Odds: Iowa State -1.5

The Connecticut Huskies might be a number seven seed, and Iowa State might be a number three seed, but this game feels dead even, one that is destined to go down to the final possession. Iowa State is without forward Georges Niang, a player who did so much for the Cyclones all season long. Iowa State did get past North Carolina in the third round of the tournament on Sunday, but Iowa State was down and out in that game and needed a huge late rally to escape. Can Iowa State be able to play well enough on the boards to win this game? It’s going to be tough. Take Connecticut in New York, where the Huskies will have a lot of fans.

Pick: Connecticut +1.5

Midwest Regional Semifinal

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Thursday, 9:45 PM ET

College Basketball Betting Odds: Michigan -2.5

This is a game in which the seeds don’t matter, but even though Tennessee’s number 11 seed should not be given much of any attention, Michigan should have the advantage in this game. The Wolverines have been able to handle various kinds of matchups in the Big Ten Conference. They can deal with powerful teams such as Tennessee. They can use a 1-3-1 zone to confuse the Vols, but they can switch into man-to-man and win the battle of wits that could take place on the court. Michigan head coach John Beilein has guided his team to this point in the season without star center Mitch McGary, who has been injured since December. Michigan has become a great team in spite of the odds, so don’t think that Tennessee’s big man, Jarnell Stokes, is going to have his way with Michigan.

Pick: Michigan -2.5

East Regional Semifinal

Michigan State Spartans vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Friday, 9:45 PM ET

College Basketball Betting Odds: Michigan State -2

This is a game that is also going to be a photo finish. Both of the games in the East will be extremely competitive, or at least they’re likely to turn out that way. Michigan State is healthier than it’s been in quite some time, and that’s why a lot of people are high on the Spartans. It makes sense. Don’t underestimate Virginia, though. That’s something which  lot of people seem to be doing right now. The Cavaliers went 19-2 against the rest of the ACC this season when you factor in the three games Virginia won in the ACC Tournament just before the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers’ defense is so hard to crack, and since Michigan State has really struggled with turnovers this season, it’s easy to see Virginia winning this game with its defense on Friday night.

Pick: Virginia +2

Midwest Regional Semifinal

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals

Friday, 10:17 PM ET

College Basketball Betting Odds: Louisville -4.5

This is obviously going to be a very emotional game. The people from these two schools hate each other. It is very serious business, and the knowledge that two rivals are having a regular season rematch in the postseason will only make this game more important in terms of establishing bragging rights for the whole offseason. What will decide this game? Kentucky played at a very high level against Wichita State, and a big part of that for Kentucky was its perimeter shooting. The Wildcats have to know that they need to take good shots, but they also know that they will need to hit at least a few perimeter jumpers in order to keep Louisville’s defense honest. The feeling here is that Kentucky will not shoot well enough to win, but it will play defense well enough to cover the number on the betting lines.

Pick: Kentucky +4.5

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