NCAA West Region Free Picks - Ja Morant Looks To Steal The Show Again

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D.S. Williamson

March 22nd, 2019

The West Region features some extremely difficult matchups on Saturday.

Ja Morant will try to keep his hot hand ablaze when his Murray State Racers smash head first in to the FSU Seminoles. Meanwhile, the #1 Gonzaga tackles the resurgent Baylor Bears, upset winners over Syracuse in the first round. Can Baylor keep it going? Check out analysis and NCAA West Region free picks for the Round of 32 matchups!

[Saturday, March 23]

#10 Florida Gators vs #2 Michigan Wolverines -7.0 (5:15pm ET)

Florida played exceptionally well in the 70-61 upset over Nevada on Thursday. The Gators have been scorching in the sportsbook, going 5-0 ATS in their last 5. They face a team on Saturday who prefers to play the same way they do: slow it down and win on the defensive end.

The difference for Florida in this matchup compared to Nevada is how disciplined the Wolverines are. Michigan won’t allow Florida to get out on the break for easy buckets the way the Wolf Pack did. The Wolverines are excellent at getting back on defense. They only allow 58.5 points per and dominated Montana 74-55 in their first round victory.

Although most trends point to Florida covering, the Wolverines are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 and 5-2 ATS in their last 7. The only team Michigan’s failed to beat and cover the spread against are the Michigan State Spartans. The Wolverines should roll into the Sweet 16.

NCAA West Region Free Picks: Michigan -7.0

#12 Murray State Racers vs #4 Florida State Seminoles  -5.0 (6:10pm ET)

Ja Morant was everything we expected him to be. Those of us who hadn’t seen Murray State play marveled at the sophomore Racer on Thursday. He dominated Marquette with 17 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds while posting a very rare triple-double in the NCAA Tournament. Based on that performance, Murray State’s going to be a hot pick to not only upset Florida State on Saturday, but to also possibly make it all the way to the Final Four.

Those who believe the Racers can beat Florida State aren’t necessarily on the wrong track, but there’s something about Morant’s game that might push hoops handicappers towards FSU. While Ja was awesome with the triple-double, he also turned the ball over 7 times.

Although Florida State’s 76-69 win over Vermont wasn’t flashy, it showed that FSU can play within itself. The Seminoles forced 16 turnovers while only committing 7.

The trends most definitely favor Murray State, but FSU can keep up with the Racers’ pace. Not only that, the Seminoles are used to battling teams with major stars while Morant won’t overwhelm Florida State the way he did Marquette. FSU wins and covers.

NCAA West Region Free Picks: Florida State -5.0

#9 Baylor Bears vs #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (7:10pm ET)

The real Gonzaga Bulldogs showed up against Farleigh Dickinson in the Round of 64 in a dominating 87-49 win. Baylor’s much better than FDU, but the Bears probably won’t last long in this matchup.

Losing to St. Mary’s in the West Coast Conference Tournament might have been a blessing in disguise. After the Zags lost back-to-back to Tennessee and North Carolina earlier in the season, they ran off 21 games straight up. They covered in their first 7 games after the back-to-back losses.

The Zags are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 conference games while Baylor is 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7. Gonzaga will dominate from beginning to end.

NCAA West Region Free Picks: Gonzaga -13.5

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