There are intriguing matchups in the East Region for my 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament expert picks. No. 5 Indiana, the Big Ten Regular Season winner, takes on No. 12 Chattanooga in the dreaded No. 5 vs No. 12 game on Thursday, March 17. Also on Thursday is one of the more intriguing games in the East when No. 9 Providence battles No. 8 USC. Friday’s matchup in the East Region between No. 10 Pittsburgh and No. 7 Wisconsin also made my Winning Picks for the East article.
A Closer Look At My East Region R64 March Madness Expert Picks
No. 12 Chattanooga vs No. 5 Indiana
When: Thursday, March 17 at 4:10 pm ET
Betting Spread: Indiana -12
The Hoosiers went 12 and 5 ATS at home while going 4 and 6 ATS on the road. Indiana has a dynamite offense that yields 82.3 points per game from 50% shooting from the field and 41.5% shooting from three. But, Chattanooga has an offense that’s comparable to Indiana’s. The Mocs average close to 76 points per game while shooting close to 46% from the field. Chattanooga truly excels on defense where the Mocs allow a low 32% three-point success rate. Chattanooga’s ability to shut down Indiana’s three-point shooting could lead to a 12 over 5 moneyline upset. I’m taking the points just to be safe.
No. 9 Providence vs No. 8 USC
When: Thursday, March 17 at 6:50 pm ET
Betting Spread: Providence -2.5
USC started out the season hot. The Trojans won their first 15 out of 18 straight up. Then, Pac 12 play started in earnest and the Trojans sort of imploded. USC ended up losing 8 out of its final 13 games. On Thursday, USC faces one of the top point-guard to big men duos in all of college hoops with Providence’s Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. Dunn averages 16 points, 5.5 boards and 6.4 assists per game. Bentil averages 21 points and close to 8 boards per game. USC has nobody that can match up with either Bentil or Dunn. Providence should easily cover the spread on Thursday, I think.
No. 10 Pittsburgh vs No. 7 Wisconsin
When: Friday, March 18 at 4:10 pm ET
Betting Spread: Wisconsin -1
Pittsburgh isn’t a bad team. The Panthers did beat Syracuse 3 times this season. But Pitt goes into the NCAA Tournament cold after going 0 and 4 ATS in their last 4 games. Wisconsin has gone 3 and 2 ATS in their final 5 games going into the Tournament.
The Badgers looked terrible in an 80 to 91 loss to Purdue on March 6. They looked horrifyingly bad in a 58 to 70 loss to Nebraska on March 10. At least Pittsburgh put up a fight for a half versus North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. Wisconsin laid down to Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament. I think that the Badgers are too tired to stick with the excited Pittsburgh Panthers on Friday. I’m going with Pitt.