If there was ever a game where I encouraged a sentimental March Madness Sweet 16 betting pick, the game between UConn and Iowa State would be it. Either you love Shabazz Napier or you’re totally enamored with DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim. Both teams are good bets, and this should be an exhilarating game.
If you’ve been reading my March Madness betting picks and breakdowns this year, then you know that I’ve been rooting for Shabazz Napier on a personal level. I’m a huge fan of his game. Napier averaged 17.8 points per game this year and dropped 25 in a dominant win over Villanova that I honestly didn’t see coming. The issue with UConn is that the supporting cast shows up in full force, like they have in recent games, or they don’t show up at all which has been the case in their two recent losses to Louisville. The Huskies are also brutal when it comes to rebounding because they just don’t have any frontcourt size.
You can rest assured that Napier is going to deliver, but I’m not sure if the rest of the Huskies are ready to bolster a take in Sweet 16 betting picks to be fully honest. This is a team that barely beat St. Joseph’s and were lucky that Villanova came out flatter than a punctured tire. Part of the reason this betting line is so small is because UConn is a pretty hefty public bet, and it’s routine for them to succeed as a one man army.
Still, Iowa State is favored – even marginally – for a very good reason. A decisive victory over NCCU was forthcoming, but outlasting UNC in an all out war completely turned the tables on my preconceived notion about the Big 12 Champs. During a surreal 5-0 SU and ATS run, the Cyclones have swirled through the Tar Heels, Baylor Bears, Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State Wildcats. In short, they’re not afraid of anyone.
BONUS MARCH MADNESS SWEET 16 BETTING PICKS
- Stanford -3.0 vs. Dayton (STAN -3.0)
- Wisconsin -3.5 vs. Baylor (BAY +3.5)
- Florida -4.5 vs. UCLA (FLA -4.5)
- Arizona -6.5 vs. San Diego State (ARI -6.5)
- Michigan -2.0 vs. Tennessee (TEN +2.0)
- Louisville -5.0 vs. Kentucky (UK +5.0)
- Michigan State -1.5 vs. Virginia (MSU -1.5)
That fearlessness is a trait that is building a huge bandwagon following for Iowa State that’s completely justifiable at this point. Melvin Ejim is the Big 12 player of the year, which is saying a lot considering that he was in a conference with Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. Ejim and Kane power a ferociously aggressive team that hammers the boards and shoots really well as a team while suffocating opponents defensively.
I think UConn and Napier have a fighting chance in this one, but not enough of one to take them as slight dogs in my March Madness Sweet 16 betting picks, especially since they can’t compete in the battle for the boards against Iowa State. That will be the difference here.