Villanova the pick, but not Notre Dame as the NCAA tourney swings into high gear

Colby Dant, Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s (SGPN) college basketball expert, is in his glory with March Madness on tap for the most dynamic three-week run in sports.  Here’s a selection of Friday picks – including Villanova — against the spread and he’ll be back next week to keep everyone in the know as the tournament intensifies.  The host of the College Basketball Experience Podcast calls every single game, so there’s more if you want it.  All SGPN picks are free at

Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State (Pick ‘em) – Friday, 12:15 PM ET

This game is a pick ‘em and with great reason. I know Loyola Chicago is listed as a #10 seed but I actually believe they are the flat-out better team than Ohio State and it appears Vegas knows that too. The Buckeyes have been awful down the stretch of the season and Loyola Chicago is experienced in NCAA Tournament play. Plus, Loyola has the best transition defense in the country and stands 15th in the nation in FG percentage and 8th in 3 point percentage. I’ll take Sister Jean and Ramblers to dance yet again.

Yale vs Purdue (Yale +16) – Friday, 2:00 PM ET

The Boilermakers lost their first-round matchup last year against North Texas and must avoid the upset this year. Purdue has been a top 10 team all season but its defense has had every college basketball expert concerned. Yale pulled off the upset against Princeton to win the Ivy League Tournament and will have a chance to cover the big number against such a bad defensive team. Purdue avoids the upset but Yale covers the hefty spread.

Delaware vs Villanova (Villanova -15.5)  – Friday, 2:45 PM ET

Villanova is experienced and the Wildcats lead the nation in free-throw shooting. They also shoot the 3 ball at a high level (26th in the nation) and have the nation’s 18th best overall offense. Delaware was a great story within the CAA Conference Tournament, but they are 234th in overall defense and don’t stop opposition shooters at the 3 point line well. Give me Jay Wright and Villanova to win easily and while covering the big number.

Notre Dame vs Alabama (Alabama -4) – Friday, 4:15 PM ET

Notre Dame survived a wild, double-overtime game against Rutgers in Dayton Wednesday night and now must take on the most unpredictable team in college basketball, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Notre Dame is 300th in overall pace of play and Alabama is 16th. The Crimson Tide is also more athletic at every single position and they are 7th in the nation in the offensive rebounding metric.  Rebounding is a Notre Dame weakness. Take the Crimson Tide minus the points.

Tenn-Chattanooga vs Illinois (Tenn-Chattanooga +8) – Friday, 6:50 PM ET

Illinois is extremely talented, but when it comes to the postseason they have had their struggles. To be favored by 8 against a Chattanooga team that is top 40 in overall field goal percentage and 20th in offensive rating is a bit concerning. Mix that in with the fact that Chattanooga has a big man transfer from Kansas in Silvio De Sousa who can guard Illinois standout Kofi Cockburn and I’m all over Chattanooga.  Take the points and don’t be afraid to bet Tenn-Chattanooga to win the game outright.

TCU vs Seton Hall (Pick ‘em) – 9:57 PM

This should be a good one between two pretty even teams. Seton Hall closed the season well and is a top 70 squad when it comes to defense. TCU is more battled tested with the Big 12 conference schedule and their defense also charts at 80th. TCU’s Jamie Dixon is the more proven head coach and I loved the way TCU played down the stretch. And the Horned Frogs are an elite rebounding team, too. Give me TCU to chalk up the win and move on to Sunday.

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