NCAA Basketball Friday Best Bets: NCAA Tourney First-Round Totals
NCAA Basketball Friday Best Bets: Friday, March 17th
Our resident college hoops expert Ej Garr has been chomping at the bit for March Madness to get here, and finally, we have arrived at the big dance! Ej grew up just 2 miles from the Iona campus in New Rochelle and he attended college at UConn so he is all over that Southeast Regional first-round matchup on Friday. In addition, Kent State and Indiana will meet in the late game of the night for the right to move on to the second round in the East Region.
Both of these games will be featured on the TBS Network, so let’s take it to the court and make some money today!
In this article:
- Connecticut Huskies vs Iona Gaels Preview
- Connecticut Huskies vs Iona Gaels Best Bet
- Indiana Hoosiers vs Kent State Golden Flashes Preview
- Indiana Hoosiers vs Kent State Golden Flashes Best Bet
Connecticut Huskies vs Iona Gaels Preview
March 17, 21:30 (UK time)
Well, look what I have here. I grew up in Larchmont on the border of New Rochelle, and the Iona campus was quite literally 2.1 miles from my house until I left for college… TO GO TO UCONN!! HA!
When this 4 V 13 matchup was announced on Sunday night, the smile on my face was so big you could have seen it across the Atlantic if you looked hard enough. I am going to say one thing first and then I will give you more to go with… POINTS!
This total at 141 is absolutely hysterical to me, and we are on that tip like white is on rice! We can look at all of the numbers and stats that show you Iona’s totals are only 15 – 19 this season, but let’s be clear about the MAAC. I have been following the MAAC since I was born because of where I lived, and I just turned 54 last week so what does that tell you? I have attended 13 MAAC Conference Tournaments in my life and I would bet that no one knows this conference as I do. Listen, those totals this year are all against a lot of junk MAAC outfits that had no idea how to put the ball in the basket. There were so much bad hoops being played in the conference this season, and it was a tough year to handicap all of the less-than-mediocre programs that are there.
UConn got off to that crazy start to the campaign, reaching as high as #2 in the country before the decline just suddenly changed the whole dynamic, and it came in hard! Coach Hurley has seemingly lost his team’s attention for a spell, but luckily, he found a way to motivate everyone back in shape for the end of the campaign.
After losing 6 of 8 games from December 31 to January 18, the Huskies won 9 of their next 10 games including a first-round win in the conference tournament. Marquette proved to be too much for the Huskies, and we all know that those Eagles are soaring to great heights at the moment.
Iona brings a 14-game win streak into the tournament after clinching another MAAC Tourney title, and the Gael offense is putting up 76.6 PPG this campaign. I don’t expect them to hit that number against UConn, but I do expect the Huskies to find a ton of success inside in this tilt. The Huskies have 6 players averaging over 4 boards a game,
Adamo Sanogo is certainly the most recognizable name in blue and white, averaging a team-high 16.9 PPG, 7.2 RBG, and he is just an animal in the paint. Jordan Hawkins also brings in over 16 PPG for UConn, but he is probably not in the best frame of mind at the moment. His showing against Marquette in the AAC tourney was simply a poor effort shooting 2 for 11 from the floor and 1 for 8 from behind the arc. His confidence should improve tonight with an Iona defense in front of him.
Connecticut Huskies vs Iona Gaels Best Bet
This total is on your board because the score will be 86 – 75. You know, like over 160-something!
- Selection: Over 141
- Best odds: 1.91 (William Hill)
- Stakes: 4/10
More Connecticut Huskies vs Iona Gaels Tips
Indiana Hoosiers vs Kent State Golden Flashes Preview
March 18, 02:55 (UK time)
And once again I am about to point you to another total for Friday. How many points will be scored in this game? Wait, I answer the questions around here, stop it now, HA!
The Indiana totals are 20 – 13 Over this campaign, and it helps when you have the 12th-ranked shooting offense from the floor. The Hoosiers convert 48.9 of their shots from inside the arc and 37.6% from beyond the arc which is good enough to be ranked 28th in the nation from distance.
The Kent State offense ranks higher than the Hoosiers as they put up 76 PPG to Indiana’s 75.3 PPG, but let’s talk competition next. As you probably know, the Big Ten and the MAC are two completely different leagues, so comparing who these teams have played to get here is pointless. That’s what makes these tournament games, like bowl games, tough to decipher because these are teams that are not normally playing each other and the level of competition they play against is also much different.
Indiana beat Michigan twice and came away with a win over Purdue before the end of the regular season ended. And Kent State can’t come close to matching that kind of conversation. It was certainly impressive how the Golden Flashes plowed their way to a MAC Conference Tournament title, and the 93 points against Toledo to wrap that up was equally impressive.
For me, I just don’t see why Kent State should feel like the Indiana defense is anything to fear, and the Flashes scored no less than 76 points in their last 6 games before arriving at the big dance.
Whether we have to respect the level of competition or not, the MAC was a good place to be battle-tested and I think the Flashes are going to give Indiana all they can handle and then some tonight. The +4.5 on the handicap says as much, but we don’t have to sweat out who wins or loses this game because we’re on the total.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Kent State Golden Flashes Best Bet
With a similar number to my first bet, this total falls a half-point shy of that tip at 140.5. That is sold!
I see this as a race to 80 points and I expect a tight game so we can expect more like 150-something to crash this total hard!
- Selection: Over 140.5
- Best odds: 1.91 (William Hill)
- Stakes: 4/10
Odds as of 9:00 am March 17, 2023. Odds may now differ.
More Indiana Hoosiers vs Kent State Golden Flashes Tips