Wofford guard Fletcher Magee lets out a yell Thursday (Stephen B. Morton)
Wofford guard Fletcher Magee lets out a yell Thursday (Stephen B. Morton)|Associated Press
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NCAA Saturday: Staff Selections

Round of 32 Commences at Noon . . . 

Bob Vetrone

Bob Vetrone

MARK ECKEL

> Best Bet
LSU (-2) over Maryland
> Next Three Best Bets
Gonzaga (-13.5) over Baylor
Michigan State (-10) over Minnesota
Kansas (+2) over Auburn
> Best Over Bet
Villanova-Purdue (137)
> Best Under Bet
Michigan State-Minnesota (142)
> The Skinny
LSU
looked great most of the season, then the scandal hit, the coach was replaced and who knew what was next? Well, the Tigers put it together and played pretty well in the opening-win over Yale and that might have been just what they needed. I haven’t liked Maryland all year and still don’t . . . Gonzaga is 9-3-1 against the spread in ts last 13 games against the Big 12 and Baylor isn’t even one of the best teams in that league. Th Zags keep rolling . . . Michigan State beat Minnesota by 24 during the season, so even if they win by half of that this time, they cover. The Spartans have also covered four of the last five times they have faced the Gophers . . . Auburn should have lost in the first round to New Mexico State. It will lose to Kansas in the second round.

MIKE KERN

> Best Bet
Auburn (-2) over Kansas
> Next Three Best Bets
LSU (-2) over Maryland
Kentucky (-5.5) over Wofford
Murray State (+4.5) over Florida State
> Best Over Bet
Michigan-Florida (123)
> Best Under Bet
Villanova-Purdue (137)
> The Skinny
Kansas has made it to at least the Elite Eight each of the last three seasons. But the Jayhawks lost in the second round the two years before that. If they advance they would get to play the Sweet 16 in Kansas City. Auburn hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 since 2003 . . . Maryland had lost three of its previous four before beating 11th-seeded Belmont by two in the opening round . . . Florida State lost to Michigan last year in the Elite Eight, by four points. The Seminoles haven’t made it past the second round in back-to-back years since 1992-93. In 12 previous NCAA appearances, this is only Murray State’s second trip to the Round of 32. The Racers have never made it to a Sweet 16.

GREG FRANK

> Best Bet
Wofford (+5.5) over Kentucky
> Next Three Best Bets
LSU (-2) over Maryland
Minnesota (+10) over Michigan State
Florida (+6.5) over Michigan
> Best Over Bet
Murray State-Florida State (144.5)
> Best Under Bet
Villanova-Purdue (137)
> The Skinny
Wofford’s one of the better upset candidates on Saturday with P.J. Washington still sidelined for Kentucky and just to reiterate what Ian Eagle told us on Thursday, Fletcher Magee is not human . . . LSU is significantly superior to Maryland in talent and now that both teams dodged trendy upset bids in their first games, it should get easier for talent to start to take over . . . Minnesota looked pretty good against Louisville and do you really have confidence in Michigan State covering a double-digit number after a subpar performance against Bradley? . . . Another pretty convincing 10 seed on Thursday was the Florida Gators controlling the game most of the way against Nevada and Mike White’s team also beat LSU twice this year so we’d give them a good chance to beat Michigan . . . Murray State and Florida State might be the most entertaining game of the day and given how easily the Racers were scoring against Marquette, we like both teams in the upper 70s . . . Villanova is now 20-12-2 to the under this season and you know Purdue would love another rock fight like it plays all the time in the Big 10.

BEN GEIER

> Best Bet
Murray State (+4.5) vs. Florida State
> Next Three Bets
Gonzaga (-13.5) vs. Baylor
Villanova (+3.5) vs. Purdue
Auburn (-2) vs. Kansas
> Best Over Bet
Wofford-Kentucky (138.5)
> Best Under Bet
Auburn-Kansas (147.5)
> The Skinny
Ja Morant
was a one-man show in the thrashing of Marquette. Morant’s success should continue as Florida State had some struggles against Vermont . . . Baylor defeating Syracuse was a surprise. However, Gonzaga is just too good offensively for Baylor. I’m relying on experienced leadership from Jay Wright to guide Villanova in an upset. Auburn-Kansas is going to be low-scoring, but the Tigers have shown more consistency on offense. Wofford showed it can hold its own and Kentucky is, well, Kentucky! I think this matchup should be a classic David vs. Goliath matchup.

HOWARD GENSLER

> Best Bet
LSU (-2) over Maryland
> Next Three Best Bets
Villanova (+3.5) over Purdue
Michigan State (-10) over Minnesota
Wofford (+5) over Kentucky
> Best Over Bet
Gonzaga-Baylor (148.5)
> Best Under Bet
Michigan State-Minnesota (142)
> The Skinny
LSU
shook out the cobwebs against Yale. Maryland will see a whole different level of athleticism than they faced against Belmont. . . . I’m sticking with Villanova until somebody beats them. . . Even if we have to turn Coach Tom Izzo back up to 11, he’ll get Michigan State to cover against the Gophers . . . Keep shooting, Wofford. Keep shooting. . . . .

BOB VETRONE JR.

> Best Bet
Kentucky (-5.5) over Wofford
> Next Three Bets
Minnesota (+10) over Michigan State
Gonzaga (-13.5) over Baylor
Villanova (+3.5) vs. Purdue
> Best Over Bet
Florida-Michigan (123)
> Best Under Bet
Villanova-Purdue (137)
> The Skinny
It appears to these weary eyes that the Kentucky and Minnesota lines should be reversed, but don’t tell anybody until I get to the window . . . Villanova is 6-2 against Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament since 1978, including wins in the Championship years of 1985, 2016 and 2018. I won’t believe the magic is gone until it is proven on the scoreboard . . . Gonzaga is not messing around. The Zags scored 53 points in the first half against FDU. The Knights finished the game with 49 . . . A buck-twenty-three is something you pay for a bottle of soda at Wawa, not an Over/Under total . . . Villanova-Purdue is the only one of these match-ups in which both teams are coming off an Under.

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