NCAA basketball tournament has begun as the 7 seed Wildcats will take on the 10th seed Broncos. This is the first round of the NCAA tournament which will take place in Sacramento, California in the West bracket. It’s one and done here in post-season play. Who will win and have another shot to advance in the Big Dance?
A lot of Big Ten fans were surprised to see what the Northwestern Wildcats were able to accomplish in the regular season. A top 3 team in conference play, knocking off preseason favorite IU in Assembly Hall and finishing with a 21-11 record. Chris Collins, the son of NBA player/coach Doug Collins, deserves a ton of credit as a great coach with what he’s accomplished in Evanston, Illinois. He’s turned the program from a laughing stock to a straight competitor in the Big 10.
Northwestern starts with their guards. Boo Buie and Chase Audige have been the offensive firepower for the Wildcats all year. Not exactly Shabazz Napier and Kemba Walker but good enough to make a solid postseason run. If you’re unable to contain them, especially from deep, then the Wildcats have just as good of a chance as anyone to survive and advance.
That is probably what the Boise St Broncos are feeling right now. Not a lot of people are watching the Mountain West Conference and giving a lot of credence to what the Broncos have been able to do the last couple of years. Coming in as an at-large bid, the Broncos have proven their body of work is NCAA tourney worthy. Now they need to show the rest of basketball country exactly what they can do on the nation’s biggest stage.
The Broncos attack the opposition from a team standpoint. Their leading scorer is only averaging around 12 points per game. They don’t have the same attack that the Wildcats do, but their defense can be stingy. They’ll need a team effort to win this game, but a lot of people believe they should be favored and Vegas only giving up 1.5 points think it's closer than the general populous.
Head to Head
This is the first time these teams have met this year and it’s not very often the Big Ten and Mountain West clash. This is an opportunity for the smaller conference to show what kind of product they are able to produce. Will they?
In this matchup, I’m taking the Northwestern Wildcats to win and cover the 1.5. I like going with teams that have individual difference-makers at this point in the season. The Wildcats have two and that can be the difference.
The over under is sitting at 127.5. Middle of the road for a college game. Give me the under. Opening games can be about nerves and poor shooting and execution. That leads to lowere scores and I think that is what we see in this one.
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