Thursday’s first-round NCAA Tournament action was pretty uneventful. We saw some games go down to the wire, but ultimately only a pair of lower seeds advanced with 12-seed Middle Tennessee beating 5-seed Minnesota and 11-seed Xavier eliminating 6-seed Maryland.
And the Middle Tennessee game wasn’t even technically an upset. The Blue Raiders were actually a 1.5-point favorite over the Gophers. The Vegas pros were all over that one, while also hitting UNC-Wilmington +7.5 vs. Virginia.
So who do the Vegas sharps like in Friday’s action?
Eight-seed Miami (-2.5) over 9-seed Michigan State,
Here’s a bit about each team:
Michigan State: The Spartans had the roughest road stretch of any major-conference team in November, but it could pay dividends now. MSU’s four-man freshman rotation has come into its own, led by must-see stud Miles Bridges. At this point, anything from a first round exit to an Elite Eight run shouldn’t be surprising.
Miami: Tremendously athletic but only occasionally dominant, Miami had a tendency to play to its level of competition. Wins against North Carolina and Duke show the Canes can beat anyone, but over the course of the season they were very much a middle-of-the-pack ACC team. Freshmen Bruce Brown and Dewan Huell are future pros, but the key to a run will be seniors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy.