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Ortiz’s Opening Week NCAA Tournament Picks

March Madness has finally arrived. The 2019 NCAA Tournament is already underway as the first four started on Tuesday night, however, the big games start Thursday. And don’t worry I have you covered. Below are my favorite picks that I believe will be playing over the weekend and when it comes to March Madness betting some books have much quicker payout times, beware of this and gamble responsibly.

#11 Belmont vs #6 Maryland:
Now I know what you’re thinking here. Belmont is an easy win as everyone has them as their Cinderella team. However, they’re wrong. Though they got their first win over Temple, 81-70, I’m still not sold on them. If you actually watched that game, Temple got to the hoop with ease, they just couldn’t finish. Temple finished 28-71, while Belmont finished 28-53. Temple couldn’t hit their free throws, while Belmont made 16. If Temple would’ve made their easy layups, then we’d be talking about them going up against Maryland.
My Pick: Over 147 and Maryland -4

#12 Murray State vs. #5 Marquette:
I’m not going to bore you with historical stats of how number 12’s matched up against number 5’s and as a matter of fact I will not bore you with any of that in this article. Because, it’s so irrelevant that it’s crazy that people still bring it up. But back to the game. Now I know Marquette’s Markus Howard is ready to go, but is he truly ready to go against presumably the number two overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft? I don’t think so. In their Big East Tournament loss to Seton Hall it looked as if Howard injured in his hand/wrist pretty badly.

Though, he’ll be a go for Thursday, I still have 100 percent faith in Murray State. For obvious reasons, Ja Morant, as anytime you have the best player on the court your chances of winning are pretty high. Though I really like the Racers because they’re truly a complete team. Senior guard, Shaq Buchanan is one of the best defenders in College Basketball.
My Pick: Murray State Money Line

#9 Baylor vs. #8 Syracuse:
To Syracuse basketball standards, this wasn’t the season that they were expecting. Though if you really dive into the numbers and take everything into consideration, this wasn’t that bad of a season. Losing a player in Taurean Thompson that the Orange were really counting on was a blow. But even with that some experts are actually comparing this Syracuse team to their Final Four team with Malachi Richardson. So with that being said it seems pretty obvious on who I’m going with. But before I tell you, I’ll leave you with this. Many teams practice against a man-to-man set, so when they face a 2-3 zone it’s essentially their second offense as teams barely practice against it.
My pick: Syracuse -2.5

#13 UC Irvine vs. #4 Kansas State:
I know what Kansas State did last year without Dean Wade and with a limited Dean Wade, but they didn’t open up against UC Irvine. UC Irvine is coming into the tournament red hot as they’re on a 16 game winning streak and finished their season with 30 plus wins as well. No this isn’t the team with the 7’6 guy on it, nope that’s UCF with Tacko Fall, but this UC Irvine team is very well balanced. With out of conference wins at Texas A&M and at Saint Mary’s, I like UC Irvine to get a win here.
My pick: UC Irvine Money Line

#12 Oregon vs. #5 Wisconsin:
I’m not picking on the 12-5 matchups this year, I promise. However, did anyone else watch Oregon’s amazing Championship run in the PAC-12 Tournament? Without watching you’d probably think that Bol Bol came back but he didn’t. This Oregon team is playing phenomenal together but they’re playing even better defensive as they’re one of the top defensive teams in this Tournament.
My Pick: Oregon Money Line

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