Sweet Sixteen Picks for Friday, March 24, 2023

By Mike Rose

And then there were 16! With two rounds of NCAA tournament betting in the books, we’re starting to get down to the nitty gritty. We churned out a memorable first weekend of the dance which included last Friday’s selections that included Saint Mary’s ousting VCU with a dominant defensive second half performance, FAU outlasting Memphis in a thriller, Michigan State getting the job done against USC, and Creighton surviving a career-game from Terquavion Smith to win and cover at PointsBet Sportsbook against NC State. Here’s to carrying that success over into Friday night’s Sweet 16 slate!


Bet College Hoops at PointsBet Sportsbook


San Diego State Aztecs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Date and Time: Friday, March 24, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST

Location: KFC YUM! Center, Louisville, KY

TV Coverage: TBS


The Alabama Crimson Tide enters this tilt winners of five straight which includes cruising to the SEC tournament title as well as the first two games of the Big Dance against Texas A&M-CC and Maryland. Nate Oats’ kids gave up 75 to the Islanders in the first round, but only allowed the Terps to get them for 51 in the Round of 32. Bama is undoubtedly one of the toughest and most well-rounded teams remaining in this tournament. That however doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to getting beat if they don’t bring their “A” game to the hardwood.


The Mountain West has endured some tough times in the NCAA tournament in recent seasons, but I think this year’s version of the Aztecs has it in them to go bracket busting. Its ability to lock the perimeter (No. 4) down makes this matchup must see TV in my opinion. While the Crimson Tide have shown it can still persevere if the shots aren’t falling from deep, it’s yet to show it on this stage in a game of this magnitude. Brian Dutcher has by far the most well-rounded group he’s overlooked since taking over the program back in 2017-18. Its ability to prevent Alabama from owning the offensive glass paired with the nation’s No. 15 ranked 3-point defense leads me to believe it’ll be a thorn in the No. 1 seed’s side all game long. I’m backing the Aztecs in the first half as well as the full game, and wouldn’t be shocked in the least if it found a way to win the game outright.




Miami Hurricanes vs. Houston Cougars

Date and Time: Friday, March 24, 2023 at 7:15 PM EST

Location: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO

TV Coverage: CBS


I couldn’t believe how easily Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes were able to dispose of Indiana in the second round. The 85-69 final made it laughable to think the Hoosiers actually went off the board short favorites to win the game. Isaiah Wong had a field day both stroking it from the perimeter and attacking the rim while Norchad Omier proved to be the glass cleaner by ripping down a game-high 17 rebounds while at the same time prevent Trayce Jackson-Davis from going HAM. I’ll pay up to see if the duo can do it again against a Cougars squad that looks to be many cuts above.


Points-Bet-Banner-Oct-04-2022-07-33-02-41-PMHouston had issues in the first half of both played games the first weekend of the tournament. It found a way to get the job done against Northern Kentucky in a non-covering effort, but went on to outscore Auburn 50-23 in the second half to score the 81-64 win and cover as 5.5-point favorites after trailing by ten at the break. That just goes to show how deadly Kelvin Sampson’s kids can be once they decide to flip the switch. The Coogs ability to clog the paint (No. 3) and lock down the perimeter (No. 2) will prove to be the death knell for the Hurricanes who will be forced to play catch up once Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead start hanging crooked numbers in spurts. With the offense hampered throughout, Miami’s sieve of a defense (No. 233) will be at the mercy of Houston all game long. Forcing the issue will create turnovers for the Cougars who will take advantage and advance by putting forth two complete halves in their best showing of the Dance.




Xavier Musketeers vs. Texas Longhorns

Date and Time: Friday, March 24, 2023 at 9:45 PM EST

Location: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO

TV Coverage: CBS


A fantastic matchup between the Big East and Big 12 closes things out Friday night when Xavier runs up against Texas. The Musketeers got their scare in the first round against Kennesaw State, but then wasted no time taking advantage of PITT’s leaky defense to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16. As for the Longhorns, they pounded Colgate into submission and then disposed of Penn State in a gritty defensive-oriented affair to get through the first weekend. This tilt pairs two of the best offenses in the country and I’m 100 percent there for it!


So where does the advantage lie? I got to go with the burnt orange there! UT’s ability to force turnovers (No. 19) against a not so great ball-handling Xavier squad (No. 99) is going to be an issue for Sean Miller’s kids. So too will be the limited answers the X-Men will have at stopping both Timmy Allen and Dylan Disu from doing pretty much as they please near the rack with it owners of the No. 93 ranked 2-point defense. This is the spot that Zach Freemantle’s services would’ve been sorely needed. Since giving up 81 and 75 points to Baylor and TCU on the road, Texas has only given up an average of 58.2 points in its last six games. The defense is locked in and that bodes terribly for a Xavier offense likely forced to play catchup a majority of the game. Most everyone clamored for Texas A&M/Texas in the second round. We didn’t get it. We will however get Houston/Texas in the Elite Eight and that’s just about as good as it gets!




Bet College Basketball Parlays at PointsBet Sportsbook