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South Regional: Day 2 NCAAB betting preview

No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas vs. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (+13.5, 123.5)

After losing out on a No. 1 seed, second-seeded Georgetown faces a dangerous Florida Gulf Coast team in the NCAA Tournament’s South Region in Philadelphia. The Hoyas have won 13 of their last 15 games, but they dropped out of consideration for a top seed after losing to Syracuse in overtime in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast earned its first NCAA Tournament bid after beating Mercer in the Atlantic Sun Conference title game.

The Hoyas have been eliminated by a double-digit seed in four of the last five NCAA Tournaments, and they won’t want to underestimate the Eagles. Florida Gulf Coast defeated ACC champion Miami by 12 and were competitive in games against St. John’s and Iowa State. Georgetown features Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter Jr., but his supporting cast might be the key to a lengthy postseason run.

TRENDS:

* Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven neutral site games.
* Hoyas are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 13-4 in Hoyas last 17 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 9 Villanova Wildcats (+4, 143.5)

North Carolina and Villanova saved their best play for the season’s final six weeks and hope to continue their recent winning ways in the second round of the NCAA Tournament South Regional on Friday in Kansas City, Mo. Eighth-seeded North Carolina found itself 3-3 in the ACC on Jan. 27, but winning 11-of-14 games vaulted the Tar Heels into the ACC championship. Ninth-seeded Villanova had won seven of 10 before falling to eventual Big East champion Louisville in the conference quarterfinals.

North Carolina’s success is predicated by a balanced offensive attack, with three scorers averaging in double figures. The Tar Heels are third in the nation in assists and tied for 14th in scoring and rebounding. The Wildcats were 13-9 and 4-5 in conference play in early February, but posted victories over Marquette and Georgetown to bolster their case for an at-large bid. The Wildcats are back in the tournament after a seven-year streak of NCAA berths ended last season.

TRENDS:

* Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Tar Heels are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 4-0 in Wildcats last four NCAA Tournament games.

No. 3 Florida Gators vs. No. 14 Northwestern State Demons (+20, 141)

The last time Northwestern State reached the NCAA Tournament, the 14th-seeded Demons eliminated No. 3 seed Iowa on a 3-pointer right before the buzzer. It's one of the 16 times a 14 seed has beaten a No. 3 in the NCAA Tournament, and Florida is hoping lightning does not strike twice. The third-seeded Gators face the No. 14 Demons Friday in a second-round South Regional NCAA Tournament game in Austin, Texas.

Northwestern State, which last played in the NCAA tournament in 2006, wields an up-tempo assault that averages an NCAA-leading 81 points on 72.9 possessions. Florida hasn't allowed more than 80 points while ranking third nationally in scoring defense (53.7 ppg). The season-high 80 points the Gators yielded in a Feb. 5 loss at Arkansas marked the only time a Florida opponent has scored 70 or more.

TRENDS:


* Gators are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games.
* Demons are 1-5 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
* Over is 12-4 in Gators last 16 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners (+3, 133.5)

Lon Kruger is the first coach to guide five different schools into the NCAA Tournament and he will see a familiar face on the other sideline when 10th-seeded Oklahoma faces seventh-seeded San Diego State on Friday in a South Regional second-round game Philadelphia. Kruger and San Diego State coach Steve Fisher matched wits for seven seasons when Kruger was coaching Nevada-Las Vegas of the Mountain West Conference. Fisher had the edge in the matchups, going 13-5 against Kruger’s UNLV squads.

The Aztecs are part of the tournament field for the fourth straight season, the best such streak in program history. San Diego State struggled down the stretch, losing five of its last nine games and dropping a 10-point decision to powerful New Mexico in the semifinals of the Mountain West tourney. Oklahoma was one-and-done in the Big 12 tourney, falling to Iowa State for its third loss in five games. The Sooners are ahead of schedule with Kruger guiding the school back into the tournament in his second year on the job, ending a four-year drought for Oklahoma.

TRENDS:


* Sooners are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Aztecs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight non-conference games.
* Over is 5-2 in Aztecs' last seven NCAA Tournament games.

No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+20.5, 133)


An impressive run through the Big 12 tournament lifted Kansas to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it will take on Sun Belt champion Western Kentucky in the second round on Friday in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks find themselves on the top line for the third time in the last four years and will be trying to reach a second straight Final Four after falling in the championship game to Kentucky last April.

The 16th-seeded Hilltoppers are making their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth in the last six seasons. Western Kentucky has won at least its first game in its last three appearances, but will be challenged attempting to become the first No. 16 seed to knock off a top seed in the men’s tournament. Kansas has won 10 of its last 11 games since a slump at the beginning of February, and will attempt to push the tempo against a Western Kentucky club that got comfortable playing tight, low-scoring games in the Sun Belt tournament.

TRENDS:


* Hilltoppers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
* Jayhawks are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Under is 19-7 in Jayhawks' last 26 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 6 UCLA Bruins vs. No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers (-2.5, 134.5)

UCLA and Minnesota will meet for the seventh time Friday, going head-to-head in the opening round of the South Regional in Austin, Texas. The sixth-seeded Bruins won the Pac-12 regular-season title before losing to Oregon in Saturday’s conference championship game. The 11th-seeded Golden Gophers tied for seventh in the Big Ten before they were ousted in the first round of the tournament by Illinois. Minnesota posted some impressive wins along the way, however, knocking off then-No. 1 Indiana last month and also beating Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State when those teams were ranked.

Minnesota also beat Pac-12 schools Stanford (66-63) and USC (71-57) during the non-conference portion of its schedule. The Bruins won both meetings against Stanford and split with USC this season. The Golden Gophers last played UCLA in the Elite Eight at the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Minnesota won that game but later had to return the profits from its run to the Final Four after an investigation found massive academic fraud within the program. UCLA won the other five meetings, most recently in 1969.

TRENDS:

* Golden Gophers are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Bruins are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 6-1 in Bruins last seven NCAA Tournament games.

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