March Madness: The three games for Friday

The three games for today...

The three ACC games for today…

The Round of 64, or the real first round, began yesterday, with the Atlantic Coast Conference having thee programs playing. Of those a pair, newly arrived Syracuse and Pittsburgh, routed their opponent, while the third one, N.C. State, was doing the same and then let St. Louis back into the game and lost by three in overtime. In the second day of the Round of 64 we have another trio of teams from the conference playing, with two being from Tobacco Road and the third being the best team in the ACC for 2013-14.

So let’s check out the three games for today…

#3 Duke (26 & 8) vs #14 Mercer (23 & 7)

Time: 12:15 p.m. EST on CBS

Region: Mid-West

Venue: PNC Arena Capacity: 19,700. Built in: 1999 and is the home of the N.C. State Wolfpack.

If there is one thing that can be said about this game is that for Duke this is definitely not a far ride to get to the venue, where they are 2 and 0 in the Big Dance. With the duo of Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood the program is looking to make it three in a row in the venue when playing in March Madness. And while neither of the stars for the Blue Devils have never played in the NCAA Tournament, no one from Mercer have either. This should not be much of a problem, as the Duke is 12.5 points favorite, and the ACC squad should surpass that by plenty en route to an easy win.

In the game stats there is one for each of the teams to check out. For Mercer they have an advantage on the boards, 40.3 to 34.4, while for Duke they are better in not giving up the ball, 10.2 to 13.6. One thing seems for sure, both of the teams average over 85 points per game and that could make for a fun forty minutes of basketball.

My bracket pick: Duke

Pick with the spread: Duke

#6 North Carolina (23 & 9) vs # Providence (23 & 11)

Time: 7:20 p.m. EST on TNT

Region: East

Venue: AT&T Capacity: 18,581. Built in 2002.

For a full coverage of this game check out my post on ISPORTSWEB.

While for the most part UNC has the lead in all the game stats, the one that has to scare any and all Tar Heel fan is the free throws as the Friars have a 80.7% to 61.8% lead from the charity stripe. On the other hand Paige is close to 90% from the free throw line and handles the ball a lot.

My bracket pick: North Carolina

Pick with the spread: North Carolina

#1 Virginia (28 & 6) vs #16 Coast Carolina (21 & 12)

Time: 9:25 p.m. EST on TBS

Region: East

Venue: PNC Arena Capacity: 19,700. Built in: 1999 and is the home of the N.C. State Wolfpack.

While a lot of the analysts and so-called experts keep saying that college basketball has been watered down some, that there is more and more balance between major conference and mid-majors, the reality is that no 16 seed has won against a top seed. As far as I see it, that is not going to happen in this game either, as UVa could easily win it all if things align the right way for them. This is the third time ever for Coast Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, and they have yet to win a game. Virginia played, for the most part, great fundamental basketball, and if they do that today the game will be over before the two squads head for intermission. The spread has UVa 21 points favorite, and while that is a lot, I think the ACC team will cover it, but would not be surprised if they did not as the head coach puts in other players to save his starters  for the Sunday game.

The game stats for this game is pretty interesting. Coast Carolina being better in rebounding, 41.4 to 38.4 and in the free throws, 68.2% to 62.5%. On the other side UVa is better off in assists 13.2 to 10.8, TOs 13.2 to 16.1 and FG 46.3% to 40.8%. One thing has to be put into the mix however… the competion, and I would wager that is the lower seed played in a bigger conference the numbers would not be as good.

My bracket pick: Virginia

Pick with the spread: Virginia

Call me a positive poster, but just like yesterday, I have all three of the team from the ACC moving to the Round of 32. And while I am a Tar Heel fan, if there is one game that scares me is the one between UNC and Providence, as UNC has come out stagnant of late and can ill afford to do that in this game (or any other in this tournament). I look forward to all three games as I want to see how the freshman from Duke takes on the bright light of March Madness, how the duo from Chapel Hill reacts to being at the “one and done” part of the season and how the best team in the conference sets itself in the Big Dance.

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