March Madness Expert Picks for the Midwest Region R64Josh Bailey
The Midwest Region, like almost every region during this year’s NCAA Tournament, is deep. No. 13 Iona faces off against No. 4 Iowa State in a Thursday game that starts at 2:00 pm ET. No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock will try and make life difficult for No. 5 Purdue in the classic No. 12 versus No. 5 matchup in the Midwest Region. That game takes place on Thursday. Also on Thursday is one of the most anticipated matchups in the Round of 64. Pre-season Top 10 ranked Gonzaga, the No. 10 seed in the Midwest, battles Big East Tournament Champion Seton Hall, the No. 6 seed in the Midwest.
A Closer Look At My March Madness Winning Picks for the Midwest Region R64
No. 13 Iona vs No. 4 Iowa State
When: Thursday, March 17 at 2:00 pm ET
Betting Spread: Iowa State -7.5
The Selection Committee did a great job with this matchup. Iowa State averages 81.8 points per game off of 50.2% shooting from the field. Iona averages 79.6 points per game off of 45.6% shooting from the field. Iona shoots over 37% from three. Iowa State shoots 38% from three. These 2 teams should really go at it offensively on Thursday.
Who has the edge? As good as Iowa State’s team is, the Cyclones don’t have a single player on their squad that’s as good as Iona’s A.J. English. The 6’ 4” guard averages 22.4 points, 5 boards and 6.2 assists per game. He has 14 blocks and 41 steals on the season. English should be the difference maker in this game. I think Iona will win straight up. But, I’m taking the points.
No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock vs No. 5 Purdue
When: Thursday, March 17 at 4:30 pm ET
Betting Spread: Purdue -8.5
Purdue has an excellent front line. Forward Caleb Swanigan averages 10.4 points and 8.2 boards per game. Forward Vince Edwards averages 11 points and 5 boards per game. Center A.J. Hammons averages around 15 points and 8rebounds per game. The Boilermakers will rely on their front line during the NCAA Tournament. The problem against Arkansas-Little Rock is that Purdue might have trouble matching up with small guard Josh Hagins. Hagins averages 12.8 points, 4 boards and over 4 assists per game. He committed 46 thefts on the season. If Hagins is double-teaming down low and having success forcing mismatches, ALR could win this game straight up. The Trojans’ defense allowed 59 points per game on average. Purdue might be in some trouble in Round 1. Once again, I’ll take the points just to be safe.
Pick: Arkansas-Little Rock
No. 11 Gonzaga vs No. 6 Seton Hall
When: Thursday, March 17 at 9:57 pm ET
Betting Spread: Gonzaga -1
This one might be a no-brainer. Seton Hall has the much better guards in this match up. Seton Hall starting guards Isaiah Whitehead and Khadeen Carrington can flat out ball. Carrington had 23 points, 7 boards and dished 3 assists versus Xavier in the Pirates’ 87 to 83 upset win over the Musketeers in the Big East Tournament. Whitehead scored 24 against Creighton with 6 assists and 12 boards in the Pirates’ win. He had a 20 point, 8 assist and 5 rebound line against Xavier. Versus Villanova, Whitehead scored 26 points in the Pirates’ 69 to 67 Big East Tournament Championship win. Whitehead and Carrington should dominate Gonzaga on Thursday.
Pick: Seton Hall