2013 NCAA Tourney Picks - Play-In Games

Posted Mar 20, 2013

Predicting and projecting every NCAA Tournament game - The Play-Ins

2013 NCAA Tournament Picks

Play In Games

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Team Breakdowns
Play-In Games | South - Top Half | South - Bottom Half 
East - Top Half | East - Bottom Half
Midwest - Top Half | Midwest - Bottom Half
West - Top Half | West - Bottom Half

Last Year's Tournament Picks: Straight Up: 43-24  ATS: 42-24-1

2013 Tournament Picks So Far: Straight Up: 2-0  ATS: 1-1

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're College FOOTBALL News, but like everyone else we're into hoops this time of year. Back by popular demand after rocking last year, here are all the picks against the spread with a reason why each team should be picked in your bracket. We'll make the picks round by round and we'll keep track as we go.  

No. 16 North Carolina A&T (19-16) vs. No. 16 Liberty (15-20) Line: A&T -2.5
Why To Pick North Carolina A&T: It should be a defensive slugfest, and the Aggies do it better. This is a strong, physical team that likes to keep scores low and games from getting out of hand – they're built to beat mediocre teams that can't score.
Why To Pick Liberty: The Flames can't handle anyone with offensive scoring punch, and that's not A&T. With defense that shortens the game and limits opportunities, don't expect too many runs. This will be close late.
The Pick: North Carolina A&T 64-60. Turn away if you like shootouts, but this should be gripping with both defenses taking center stage.
FINAL SCORE: North Carolina A&T 73-72

No. 11 Middle Tennessee (28-5) vs. No. 11 St. Mary's (27-6) Line: St. Mary's -3
Why To Pick Middle Tennessee: Talk about a chip on the shoulder, the Blue Raiders are Exhibit A for those screaming about the need for schedules to matter. The offense has the upside and ability to go on a run that St. Mary's won't be able to counter.
Why To Pick St. Mary's: The Blue Raiders give the ball up way too much. This is a sloppy team that makes way too many mistakes; the Gaels will own the boards.
The Pick: St. Mary's 72-67. A late rally by the Blue Raiders won't be enough. Turnovers will be the difference.
FINAL SCORE: St. Mary's 67-54

No. 16 LIU Brooklyn (20-13) vs. No. 16 James Madison (20-14) Line: LIU -1.5
Why To Pick LIU Brooklyn: Speed, speed, speed. The Blackbirds play fast, quick and with plenty of offensive punch with a frenetic and thrilling up-and-down style. Speed could beat toughness.
Why To Pick James Madison: The Dukes should wipe up the glass. They might not be able to keep up the pace with LIU, but they'll erase mistakes and should live off of second chance points.
The Pick: James Madison 78-75. The defense of the Dukes will be stronger than the offense of the Blackbirds down the stretch.

No. 13 Boise State (21-10) vs. No. 13 La Salle (21-9) Line: Boise State -1.5
Why To Pick Boise State: Bombs away. The Broncos can shoot their way out of any jam and should be able to hang around with anyone in any sort of a shootout. They'll have no problems with the La Salle D.
Why To Pick La Salle: This could be a case of can you top this? The Explorers can gun, too, and while they don't make a slew of big mistakes, they should make up for any problems by matching Boise State three pointer for three pointer.
The Pick: Boise State 78-73. The Broncos can't handle teams with a good frontcourt and toughness on the boards. That's not La Salle.