NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Top Bets for Thursday
March 22, 2023

Below are the top bets for the first day of the NCAA Sweet 16.

San Diego State (+7.5, 145.5) vs. Alabama

Alabama looked much more formidable in their defeat of Maryland in the second round. Brandon Miller, showing no signs of the reported groin strain that apparently slowed him the opening round when he didn’t score, and there was also another Jahvon Quinerly sighting vs. the Terps, scoring 22 for the second time in three games.

Physically, however, San Diego State is going to provide more of a challenge than Maryland, especially along the perimeter where the Aztecs close down on shooters as well as anyone in the country, speaking to their high ranking in three-point defense (only 29% triples allowed).  With so many options on the perimeter, Brian Dutcher will try to wear down the Crimson Tide perimeter. As always with SDSU, we wonder about the scoring, but the Aztecs have been shooting three-pointers better lately, and top scorer Matt Bradley usually gets help from one of two others from among Lamont Butler, Adam Seiko, or transfers Micah Parrish and Darrian Trammell.  The Aztecs may not have enough to get by Alabama, but they should be able to keep it close.

We like San Diego State +7.5.


Arkansas (+4.5, 139.5) vs Connecticut

Connecticut has put a shaky patch of the season behind them and have looked great so far in the tournament. UConn started the season by winning 14 straight games but then went into a slump and lost five out of six.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have also looked good with two impressive wins of their own. They beat Illinois 73-63 in their opening game and then stunned defending champions and first seeds the Kansas Jayhawks 72-71 in the round of 32.

The Huskies have been fielding one of the top defenses in the tournament, allowing an average of just 59 points per game, while scoring 78.5 points per game themselves. Their leading scorer is Adama Sanogo, who is averaging 26 points per game and they have converted at least 44% of their three-point attempts in each game.

Arkansas has benefited from solid guard play with Ricky Council IV and Davonte Davis topping their scoring chart, but they will have a tougher assignment against UConn’s defense. UConn’s success at knocking down shots from downtown, coupled with its solid defense can be the key to another victory and a third cover of the tournament.

We like UConn -4.5.