Kansas guard Christian Braun
Texas Southern guard AJ Lawson, left, and forward Yahuza Rasas, second from right, defend as Kansas guard Christian Braun, second from left, works to shoot in the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, March 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Patrick Werkmeister

Creighton (+11.5) vs. Kansas
For this round of 32 matchup, the one seed Kansas Jayhawks will face off against the nine seed Creighton Blue Jays. The opening line for this contest had Kansas as 10-point favorites and they are currently favored by 11.5 points. While Kansas is an impressive 5-0 ATS in their last five games, Creighton is also a solid 5-1 ATS in their past six contests. Led by star big man David McCormack, among a talented overall roster, Kansas is looking to at least do better than their second-round exit from last year. Similarly, the Creighton Jays are a formidable Big East opponent where they are led by an array of three-point shooters with a 23-11 overall record. Last game out, Kansas easily handled Texas Southern whereas Creighton defeated the eight seed San Diego State Aztecs. Although the Jayhawks are loaded with talent, Creighton has the weapons to keep it close with the top dog in the tournament. Take the Jays to cover against Kansas.

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Michigan vs. Tennessee (-6.5)
In this second-round contest, the 11 seed Michigan Wolverines take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The opening line for this match had Tennessee as five and a half-point favorite and they are currently favored by six and a half-points. While the Volunteers are a solid 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played, Michigan is an average 5-5 ATS in their past 10 matches. Led by an array of sharpshooters from three-point range, Tennessee has followed up their upset loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year with an impressive 27-7 record in the competitive SEC. Conversely, the Wolverines struggled during the regular season, but they have put themselves in a great position to reach the Sweet Sixteen with a record of 18-14. Last game out, Michigan pulled off a stunning upset over Colorado State in a 75-63 victory, whereas Tennessee blew out the Longwood Lancers, 88-56. While the Volunteers have been on fire, Michigan found themselves in a dog fight early in their game. Take the Vols minus the points to handle Michigan.

Saint Mary’s vs. UCLA (-2.5)
For this matchup between a four and five seed, the UCLA Bruins take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels. The opening spread for this contest had UCLA as two and a half-point favorite and that is where this line currently sits. While UCLA is a solid 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games, St Mary’s is a subpar 5-4-1 ATS in their past 10 matches. Out of the challenging WCC conference, the Gaels have had a stellar year with their 26-7 record. Similarly, the Bruins are looking to repeat their Final Four run from last year, led by their 26-7 record. Last game out, the Gaels were able to easily handle the Indiana Hoosiers whereas UCLA defeated Akron, 57-53. UCLA Bruin Johnny Juzang scored just 9 points in the victory, so a better performance from him could be all they need to take down the Gaels. With more signature wins over quality opponents, UCLA is the more battle-tested squad so they should find a way to secure a victory. Take the Bruins minus the points to cover against St. Mary’s.

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