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2017 March Madness Round of 64 – Northwestern Wildcats vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

2017 March Madness Round of 64 – Northwestern Wildcats vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt Preview

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena – Salt Lake City, UT

When: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – 4:30 PM ET

Line: Northwestern Wildcats (+1.5) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (-1.5) – total: 130.0 – view all NCAA Basketball lines

TV Broadcast: TBS

College Basketball News and Previews

Betting on the Northwestern Wildcats (23-11, 10-8 Big Ten)

Point Spread: +1.5

This will be the school’s first invite to the dance and they have a bunch of underdogs leading the pack, so that 76-48 thrashing from the Badgers in the Big Ten championship was nothing. Northwestern is still one of the best – if not the best – stories heading into this year’s NCAA tournament.

Adding to that is the desirable strengths they posses on the court – aggressive defense (18th in overall in blocks), ball movement (38th overall in assists), and great offense from main guys Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, and Vic Law. The three provide majority of the scoring punch and they are responsible for over 40 of the team’s 71.1 points per game – McIntosh, as you may know, is not just headlining the team in points (14.5 PPG), he’s also their most efficient facilitator (5.2 APG).

NU’s not exactly known for outside shooting, but the trio, along with Nathan Taphorn, who chips in 1.2 threes per contest despite only seeing 12.3 minutes every time he plays, will have to go mano y mano at some point against Vanderbilt’s three-point happy crew.

The Wildcats are 11-7 in their last 18 games (SU and ATS).

Betting on the Vanderbilt Commodores (19-15, 10-8 SEC)

Point Spread: -1.5

Head coach Bryce Drew’s debut year for Vanderbilt basketball has exceeded most expectations. He inherited a team that lost key guys (Wade Baldwin and Damian Jones), but was able to quickly build a new identity for the team.

With Drew himself being known as a three-point specialist during his time, he turned Vandy into one of the deadliest sharpshooting squads in all of college basketball, as evidenced by them ranking seventh in the nation in treys (10 per game).

The Commodores’ current team stats mirror a few of Northwestern’s numbers, as their 71.3 PPG on 43.1 percent shooting averages are both just decimals apart from the Wildcats’ own stats.

However, they separate themselves well on their ability from beyond the arc. Matthew Fisher-Davis (13.6) and Luke Kornet (13.2 PPG) headline the scoring and shooting barrage of Vandy, and would also have a handful of other guys on the team who can also knock down trifectas, which can’t be said on NU’s side.

Vandy is priced at +25,000 to win the national championship, but they will enter the game with good momentum (7-2 SU, 8-1 ATS). Also, and they have some interesting upset wins during their regular season, as they beat SEC’s top teams – Arkansas, Florida (thrice), and South Carolina – and almost embarrased Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

Writer’s Prediction

Vandy (-1.5) comes out on top after a game-long, back-and-forth affair, 75-73.

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Written by JE

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis