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March Madness 2023: Best bets (Utah State!) in the South Region

By Blake Schuster,

2023-03-14
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The South Region of the men’s NCAA tournament bracket is an absolute gauntlet.

Aside from No. 1 overall seed Alabama, there’s No. 4 Virginia, No. 3 Baylor, No. 2 Arizona and No. 6 Creighton lurking and ready to fight their way to the Final Four.

So how do you make sense of who to bet on in such a stacked region? We’ve got you covered.

Here are three of the best bets you can make on 16 teams who will have to go through Louisville if they want to make it to the national championship in Houston.

No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 N.C. State: Over 147.5

Creighton and N.C. State each boast top-40 offenses, per KenPom’s metrics. But while the Bluejays defense ranks No. 15, the Wolfpack are all the way down at No. 85.

Translation: There will be points. The over has hit in four of Creighton’s last five games while N.C. State’s games have hit the over in 13 of its last 20.

No. 3 Baylor to reach the Elite Eight (+270)

Are these the most enticing odds on the board? No. Does it still feel like a reasonably safe play? Absolutely.

Let’s first remember Baylor is two years removed from a national title and returns a team full of veterans like Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba. Now add in a stud freshman guard like Keyonte George and you have a roster that will give any opponent it faces some serious trouble.

The backcourt of Flager and George averaged a combined 31.3 points per game while shooting 37.6 percent from three this year.

The Bears should get past UC Santa Barbara and the winner of N.C. State-Creighton without issue and the rest of their half the bracket doesn’t feature too many other threats besides Arizona. It’s no surprise KenPom gives Baylor a 21 percent chance to reach the Elite Eight.

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No. 10 Utah State (-130) over No. 7 Missouri

This will be an upset by seeding only. Utah State is a little disrespected as a No. 10 seed. Missouri has overachieved all year. This game features one of three spreads that favors the lower seed in the first round of the tournament.

KenPom ranks Missouri No. 51 overall in college basketball. Utah State is No. 18.

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