Sweet Sixteen Picks for Thursday, March 23, 2023

By Mike Rose

The Field of 68 has been whittled down to 16 with the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament treating our bottom line very kindly at PointsBet Sportsbook. Big wins last Thursday included Furman’s upset over Virginia, Penn State taking the wood to Texas A&M, San Diego State getting the job done against Charleston, and Maryland battling back from numerous double-digit deficits to outlast West Virginia. Let’s see if we can’t mimic that same type of success with a trio of investments to be made in Sweet 16 betting!


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Michigan State Spartans vs. Kansas State Wildcats

Date and Time: Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

TV Coverage: TBS


For the life of me I can’t comprehend why Sparty opened favorites to win this matchup against K-State and the betting market has piled on making Tom Izzo’s kids an even bigger Big Apple favorite. I get that Michigan State has come up with some nice wins at the tail end of the season, but not a one of them came against the type of opponent it will oppose in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night. Jerome Tang is in the midst of leading one of the greatest stories to ever come out of Manhattan, Kansas and I don’t foresee Markquis Nowell and his mates allowing this journey to end on Thursday night.


I’m just not buying MSU as the favored side in this matchup. On top of participating in the much tougher of the two conferences, Kansas State simply rates out better in a number of key areas that will ultimately decide the victor of this contest. It sports the better defense, does an excellent job getting to the free throw line (No. 48) and takes care of business when it gets there (No. 58), isn’t reliant upon the 3-ball to succeed with it ranked No. 69 in 2-point offense, and it locks down the perimeter (No. 12) which will hamper what MSU does best offensively. Wrong team favored alert – hit that moneyline!




Arkansas Razorbacks vs. UConn Huskies

Date and Time: Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7:15 PM EST

Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

TV Coverage: CBS


A hat tip goes out to the Arkansas Razorbacks for battling back from a double-digit deficit halfway through the second half to score the 72-71 upset win over the Jayhawks and punch a ticket to the Sweet 16. Kansas doesn’t have much in the way of a rim protector. Its biggest threat was K.J. Adams and the sophomore was marred in foul trouble throughout last Saturday night. This allowed Davonte Davis and Co. to attack the rim with success all game long. The Hogs won’t be as fortuitous in this matchup with Adama Sonogo just one of many big bodied interior players that will clog the paint. That spells ultimate doom for Arkansas who will be forced to execute offensively further away from the rack.


The Razorbacks become as pedestrian as it gets when you take their ability to do damage close to the rim out of the equation. This team can’t shoot the 3-ball to save its life (No. 301), and it’s just a bad jump shooting team. That’s not the case with the Huskies who’ve proven to be readily able to do damage both close (No. 50) and away from the hoop (No. 63). The 1-2 punch was just on full display against St. Mary’s with Sanogo going for a team-high 24 points and Jordan Hawkins going HAM from beyond the arc (4/5). Look for UConn’s defense to once again set the tone early before the offense takes over late to punch the team’s ticket into the Elite Eight with a win by margin.




Points-Bet-Banner-Oct-04-2022-07-33-02-41-PMGonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins

Date and Time: Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 9:45 PM EST

Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

TV Coverage: CBS


If UCLA was 100 percent healthy, I’d have no issues laying a good amount of chalk with Mick Cronin’s squad in this mega revenge bout with the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with Jaylen Clark done for the year, David Singleton likely to play on a bum ankle after severely spraining it at the tail end of the win over Northwestern, and big man Adem Bona playing with an injured shoulder and face mask. Something tells me bodying up Drew Timme for as long as he can is going to lead to an early departure. The kids just not right.


While I’m not at all sold on this year’s version of the Zags making much noise moving forward, a less than 100 percent Bruins outfit is a pretty darn good matchup for them. If ever a team would be able to dissect one of the nation’s top-10 scoring defenses, it would be the one from Spokane, WA. Gonzaga’s attack ran like a finely tuned machine through last weekend, and it’s going to bring the pain in this NCAA tournament rematch with all the pertinent parts working in rhythm with one another. I think this is another case of the wrong team being favored – you know what to do!




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