March Madness Picks: Take Texas, Auburn, Texas Tech on spread bets

The goal for Friday's NCAA men's basketball tournament bets is to win some money and avoid enough chaos as possible.

Typically, the first round has one chaotic day and one rather average day of competition. Friday would fit into the latter category after four double-digit seeds landed in the second round from Thursday's games.

Four teams seeded second or third tip off in the afternoon and they could all bring some stability to the Big Dance after the Thursday upsets.

Duke, Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin headline the night slate in which there could be some close games, but a handful of blowouts are expected.

NCAA Tournament Picks

Overall Record: 8-12 (6-10 Thursday)

No. 10 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 7 Ohio State (Under 132.5) (12:15 p.m. ET, CBS)

Ohio State ranks 289th in adjusted tempo and Loyola Chicago is 310th in that category.

Both teams rank in the top 65 in two-point defense and Loyola has no problem playing a slow defensive game in the low 60s.

Loyola could dictate the pace a bit and Ohio State's offensive inconsistencies from previous games could hurt them throughout the game.

It is not ideal to start the day with an under, but the matchup dictates that.

No. 15 Jacksonville State vs. No. 2 Auburn (-15) (12:40 p.m. ET, truTV)

Auburn should clear its first hurdle with relative ease.

The Tigers have an extra bit of motivation to succeed on Friday after falling to Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. They should have a similar mindset as Providence did on Thursday.

Jacksonville State may have trouble with Auburn's length. The Gamecocks only have one player 6'10" or taller. That could be an issue dealing with Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler.

No. 14 Montana State vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (-15) (1:45 p.m. ET, TNT)

Texas Tech can smother any team's offense with its strong defense.

The Red Raiders are first in defensive adjusted efficiency and 13th in two-point defense among other impressive numbers.

Montana State could struggle to deal with Texas Tech's defensive intensity and it may fail to take the next step up from dominant mid-major conference winner to double-digit seed with upset potential.

No. 13 Yale vs. No. 4 Purdue (Over 145) (2 p.m. ET, TBS)

Purdue's efficient offense should be aided by Yale's pace for the over to hit.

The Boilermakers rank second in offensive adjusted efficiency and fourth in both effective field-goal percentage and three-point offense.

Yale ranks 91st in adjusted tempo and it could take advantage of Purdue's average defense. The Big Ten side is 102nd in defensive adjusted efficiency.

No. 15 Delaware vs. No. 2 Villanova (Under 133.5) (2:45 p.m. ET, CBS)

Villanova plays at the 345th adjusted tempo and it likes to smother opposing offenses.

The Wildcats can do that to Delaware, who ranks 200th in adjusted tempo.

Villanova held its last seven first-round opponents in the NCAA tournament under 65 points.

The Wildcats won their three Big East tournament games by scoring fewer than 70 points, which makes this a grind-it-out type of matchup.

No. 10 Miami (+115) vs. No. 7 USC (3:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

USC is stumbling into the tournament with three losses in its last four games.

The Trojans can't be trusted right now and their poor free-throw shooting makes them even more vulnerable in a close game against Miami.

USC ranks 333rd in free-throw shooting. Miami is 87th in free-throw shooting and it ranks in the top 30 in three other offensive categories.

I trust the Hurricanes more than the stumbling Trojans.

No. 11 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Alabama (-4) (4:15 p.m. ET, TNT)

Alabama is remarkably inconsistent.

However, the Crimson Tide got an ideal matchup with Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish had to travel from Dayton to San Diego after a double-overtime battle with Rutgers in the First Four.

Alabama can outrun Notre Dame with its 12th-ranked tempo. If its guards make shots early, the Irish could struggle to keep pace as their legs tire out.

No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 6 Texas (-1.5) (4:30 p.m. ET, TBS)

I'm not falling into the Virginia Tech trap.

For a few months, the Hokies were an average at best team in the middle of an awful ACC.

Texas comes in on a four-game losing streak, but it is battle tested from the Big 12 and has a coach in Chris Beard that has Final Four experience.

I think those intangibles combined with Texas' defense power the Longhorns through to the second round.

No. 13 Chattanooga vs. No. 4 Illinois (-8) (6:50 p.m. ET, TNT)

I'm going to put trust in Illinois.

The Illini are 24th and 33rd in offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. Chattanooga has decent numbers in those categories, but they are not as strong as Illinois' metrics.

Illinois has two X-factors in Alfonso Plummer and Trent Frazier who can step up to complement Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo to put away the SoCon champion.

No. 15 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 2 Duke (Over 145.5) (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

Duke's offense will be the star of the show on Friday night.

The Blue Devils should have some extra motivation to erase the ACC tournament loss to Virginia Tech. They can take out that frustration on Cal State Fullerton.

Duke scored in the 80s in six of its last eight games and it should easily get to that point. All the 15th-seeded Titans need to do is score around 60 points for the over to clear.

No. 11 Iowa State (+160) vs. No. 6 LSU (7:20 p.m. ET, TBS)

LSU Is a dead team walking.

The Tigers fired head coach Will Wade last week and they are 3-4 in their last seven games with two of those victories coming against Missouri.

Iowa State has not been great recently, but it does have a star player in Izaiah Brockington that can take over and push it into the second round.

No. 16 Wright State vs. No. 1 Arizona (Over 156.5) (7:27 p.m. ET, truTV)

If you love offense, this game is for you.

Arizona hit the 80-point mark in each of its last 10 victories.

Wright State plays at the 86th-ranked tempo and just hung 93 points on Bryant in the First Four.

Arizona could get to the 90-point mark to help the over hit in what could be the highest-scoring game of the first round.

No. 12 UAB (+8.5) vs. No. 5 Houston (9:20 p.m. ET, TNT)

I don't think UAB will win, but the Blazers can keep the game with Houston relatively close.

UAB is sixth in three-point offense and Houston is 323rd in free-throw shooting.

Those numbers could be important in the final few minutes as the spread gets figured out.

No. 10 Davidson vs .No. 7 Michigan State (-115) (9:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

I have no other explanation for this bet other than Tom Izzo in March.

I understand Davidson is the popular pick, but I'm not straying from a team coached by one of the best coaches in the sport.

I would also love to see Izzo vs. Coach K in the second round for narrative's sake.

No. 14 Colgate vs. No. 3 Wisconsin (-8) (9:50 p.m. ET, TBS)

Wisconsin has one of the best home-court advantages in the first round.

The Badgers are playing in Milwaukee at the end of a four-game day and I think that gives them a massive edge.

The key in this matchup is Wisconsin's defense. The Badgers rank 39th in defensive adjusted efficiency, while Colgate is 203rd in that metric.

No. 9 TCU (-105) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall (9:57 p.m. ET, truTV)

I'm following the same logic with TCU as I did with Texas.

The Horned Frogs are battle tested from the Big 12 and they rank first in the country in offensive rebounding.

Seton Hall's 10 losses are telling for how it will perform in the Big Dance. The Pirates lost five Big East games to Providence, Villanova and UConn and fell to Ohio State in nonconference play.

TCU recently beat Texas Tech and Kansas in consecutive games and that experience could help the Horned Frogs in a close game.

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