Michigan State forward Aaron Henry dunks  during practice Wednesday  (Charlie Neibergall)
Michigan State forward Aaron Henry dunks during practice Wednesday (Charlie Neibergall)|Associated Press
NCAAB

NCAA Thursday: Staff Selections

Our writers give you a uniform look at Thursday’s NCAA Tournament action

Bob Vetrone

Bob Vetrone

Each day, our writers will give you a uniform look at a single-day’s NCAA Tournament action so you can compare and contrast their selections . . . A few of them will have even more selections posted separately here . . .

Our Staff Glance at the NCAA Tournament Games of March 21, 2019

MARK ECKEL

> Best Bet
Yale (+7.5) over LSU
> Next Three Best Bets
Auburn (-5.5) over New Mexico State
Syracuse (-1.5) over Baylor
Murray State (+ 3.5) over Marquette
> Best Over Bet
LSU-Yale (157)
> Best Under Bet
Kansas-Northeastern (143.5)
> The Skinny
Watch out for the Ivy League champs. They can score with the best of them and you expect them to play a smart game. LSU is also kind of a mess right now . . . Auburn looked really good in the SEC Tournament. Can the Tigers keep it going? I think they can for at least a round or two . . . Syracuse beats Big 12 teams. Baylor doesn’t beat ACC teams . . . Marquette, with the way it played the last month of the season, had no right getting a No. 5 seed. Now, they get bounced.

MIKE KERN

> Best Bet
Wofford (-2.5) over Seton Hall
> Next Three Best Bets
Murray State (-3.5) over Marquette
Louisville (-5) over Minnesota
Bradley (+18.5) over Michigan State
> Best Over Bet
Kentucky-Abilene Christian (132)
> Best Under Bet
Michigan-Montana (130)
> The Skinny
Just feels like Seton Hall might have been all-in in Big East tourney and may not have a whole lot left . . . Marquette hit a big wall in the last few weeks. So this is more of a play against the Golden Eagles. And while they have Markus Howard, the Racers can counter with Ja Morant. If nothing else it should be a show . . . Just a hunch, but not sure banged-up Michigan State is going to blow this one completely out coming off the Big Ten title run. . . John Calipari’s club could score 80-plus themselves . . . The defending runner-ups are the best defensive team in the nation for a reason.

GREG FRANK

> Best Bet
Yale (+7.5) over LSU
> Next Three Best Bets
Northeastern (+6.5) over Kansas
Belmont (+3) over Maryland
Syracuse (-1.5) over Baylor
> Best Over Bet
New Mexico State-Auburn (146)
> Best Under Bet
Montana-Michigan (130)
> The Skinny
Yale
pulled an upset three years ago as a double-digit seed against Baylor, has an NBA prospect in Miye Oni ready to shine on the big stage and laying points with LSU amidst the Will Wade scandal isn’t smart . . . If there’s ever a time for Kansas to lose its first game in the dance, it would be with this team . . . Belmont keeps the recent trend of First Four teams winning multiple games in the tournament going . . . Syracuse beats an unproven Baylor team by double digits and Jim Boeheim gets another tournament win . . . Jared Harper and Auburn scored with ease in the SEC Tournament and we’re thinking New Mexico State has a chance to pull an upset here which means the over is a good play . . . Michigan was as inconsistent offensively as any team you’ll find in the Big Ten which gives us good value on the Under.

BEN GEIER

> Best Bet
Gonzaga (-27.5) over Farleigh Dickinson
> Next Three Best Bets
Belmont (+3) over Maryland
Florida (+2.5) over Nevada
Syracuse (-1.5) over Baylor
> Best Over Bet
Marquette-Murray State (149.5)
> Best Under Bet
Saint Mary’s-Villanova (130)
> The Skinny
FDU
earned its spot in the tournament. However, it was by no means a cake walk. If the Knights struggled against Prairie View, then it should be a blood bath when they face the Zags . . . Belmont holding a top tier offense should overtake a Maryland team that has struggled to find its identity . . . Florida holding a top tier defense could overwhelm Nevada, as it’s the best defense it has faced all season . . . Syracuse is just underrated and are under seeded . . . Marquette-Murray State should be “first team to 80 points wins” . . . The Saint Mary’s offense hasn’t reached 70 points since Feb. 16 and Villanova hasn’t been racking them up as they were in the middle of the season.

HOWARD GENSLER

> Best Bet
Kentucky-Abilene Christian (Over 132)
> Next Three Best Bets
Kansas (-6.5) Over Northeastern
Auburn (-5.5) over New Mexico State
Michigan State (-18.5) Over Bradley
> Second Best Over Bet
Yale-LSU (157)
> Best Under Bet
New Mexico State-Auburn (146)
> The Skinny
Kentucky
generally comes out to play in its first round games and Abilene Christian has only faced one Top 100 team all season (an 82-48 loss to Texas Tech) . . . Kansas got a little scare from Penn last year near home. I think they’ll be more focused on the road . . . Auburn rolled through the SEC tournament. Unless they lost their mojo in transit, they should win by double-digits . . . Against comparable teams this season Michigan State has piled on the points. And Bradley hasn’t seen any D close to the Spartans . . . The last time Yale was here in 2016, it put up 79 on a very good Baylor team. That Yale team was a little better than this one, but both like to push it and the coaching turmoil at LSU may may lead to a shootout. . . . I don’t like any of the Under bets but this one seemed the safest.

BOB VETRONE JR.

> Best Bet
Yale (+7.5) over LSU
> Next Three Bets
Kentucky (-22) over Abilene Christian
Gonzaga (-27.5) over FDU
Marquette (-3.5) over Murray State
> Best Over
Villanova-Saint Mary’s (130)
> Best Under
Montana-Michigan (130)
> The Skinny
Yale’s Miye Oni
is the real deal and so are the Eli. Oni was 18-for-18 from the foul line in the Ivy Tournament, and you know how much we love free-throw shooting . . . Kentucky may be irked from having not been in much of the No. 1 seed discussion coming down the stretch . . . FDU needed a big comeback (down 13 in second half) Tuesday after traveling from Teaneck to Dayton and now it’s off to Salt Lake City. They may just want to keep the airplane engines running . . . We keep hoping the Marquette of January/early February show up, simply because they were so much fun to watch . . . It appears Villanova’s three-point slump as a team is over (37.1% over last five games; 29.8% over the eight games before that) . . . Michigan was Under in all three of its Big Ten tournament games.

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