Samsung TV Plus
Roku TV
Amazon Prime Video
LG Channels
YouTube TV
Sling Tv
Sirius XM
Local Now
Rad TV
· 7 months ago

NCAA Tournament: Preview & Picks for Thursday’s Afternoon Games

David Connelly - SportsGrid

David Connelly - SportsGrid

NCAA Tournament: Preview & Picks for Thursday’s Afternoon Games

The opening-round madness is set to get underway on Thursday, and what is a better way to prepare you for it than by previewing every matchup on the docket? We look at all 16 games on Thursday’s slate and discuss which team we see advancing.

NCAA Picks: Early Games | Early Evening Games | Late Night Games

2:45 p.m ET | #16 Texas A&M Corpus-Christi vs. #1 Alabama | CBS

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi benefited from some incredibly poor free-throw shooting from SE Missouri State in the First Four to find their way into the field for a date against Alabama. Shooting 38.6 percent won’t be enough to take down the Crimson Tide, and it’s hard to see the Islanders putting up the incredulous shooting performance necessary to pull off this monstrous upset. The Tide should cruise into the Round of 32.

ATS Pick: Alabama -23.5

3:10 p.m ET | #12 Charleston vs. #5 San Diego State | truTV

A popular upset similar to Furman, Charleston will be picked by many to take down San Diego State. Outside of the 2020 team that didn’t get a chance to showcase in March Madness due to COVID-19, this feels like the best team the program has had since Kawhi Leonard was on campus in 2011. The defense is incredibly stifling and far from anything the Cougars have seen this season. The Aztecs avoid the popular 12 over 5 upset bid here.

ATS Pick: San Diego State -5.5

4:10 p.m ET | #15 Princeton vs. #2 Arizona | TNT 

Arizona’s offense ranks fourth in the nation per KenPom, but I just don’t see a world where the Tigers can string together enough stops on the defensive end to make this a game. Tosan Evbuomwan is a talented big for the Tigers, but Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo are too much for them to handle on the interior. Don’t see surprised if Princeton can keep it close to start with their balanced attack, but the Wildcats should pull away in this one.

ATS Pick: Arizona -13.5

4:30 p.m ET | #9 Illinois vs. #8 Arkansas | TBS 

If you showed someone this hypothetical NCAA Tournament matchup back in December, they would probably expect it to be in the Sweet 16. Instead, we get it as an 8/9 matchup where we expect one of these teams to wake up and reach its potential in March. Between Nick Smit, Anthony Black, and Ricky Council, the Razorbacks just have too much talent to fall here. Add their relatively stout defense, and Arkansas should prevail in an entertaining game.

ATS Pick: Arkansas -1.5