10 Providence (21-13) vs. 7 Texas A&M (20-12)
NCAAM: Friday, March 16th, 2018, 12:15 PM ET | Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Line and Odds: Texas A&M -3.5
FREE NCAABB PICK PROVIDENCE FRIARS VS TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Providence (21-13) is making their 5th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. The past two years they have played USC in the first game going 1-1 in those games. In those 4 years they have had their season ended twice by North Carolina, who of course is who they will probably play if they get past Texas A&M. In their last 6 tournament appearances they are just 1-6 with their lone win coming against before mentioned USC. The Friars come into this game off a an OT loss to Villanova in the Big East championship game. That was their third OT game in a row as they previously beat Creighton and Xavier. They are coming in with a lot of confidence after their runner up finish. They feel like they can play with about anybody right now after taking out 1 seed Xavier, a tough Creighton team and just barely losing to another 1 seed Villanova. Senior Rodney Bullock leads the team with 14.0 ppg. Providence does not score a lot of points as they are just 175th in the country averaging 73.7 ppg.
Texas A&M (20-12) is returning to the tournament after missing out on it last year. Two years ago they made it to the Sweet 16 before losing to Oklahoma. They had made the tournament 6 years in a row that ended in 2011 before finally making it back in 2016. The Aggies were tripped up in their first game of the SEC tournament against an Alabama team they beat by two the game before that. Texas A&M had won 3 in a row before that loss to the Crimson Tide. They have been a streaky team all year. They have traded win streaks with losing streaks all year. They did have back to back wins against Kentucky and Auburn earlier in the year, but most of their wins have come against the middle to bottom half of the SEC. Junior Tyler Davis leads the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg. As a team they don’t score a ton either averaging just 75.0 ppg.
FREE NCAAM PICK TEXAS A&M AGGIES VS PROVIDENCE FRIARS
Providence is a hot pick for the upset especially after the way they played in the Big East tournament. Hot picks can sometimes be dangerous picks in the tournament. They did play very well in the tournament but they did have to go to 3 straight OT games to do it. Texas A&M on the other hand was one and done in the SEC tournament. So they have zero momentum coming in to the tournament. Does that mean they won’t play well? Not always but it can hurt them. The schedules and strength of schedules are about the same. The SEC was up more this year but is still seen as a weaker conference than the Big East. Providence probably played a little tougher schedule though. I think this has all the makings of a close game. And if Providence would be riding a hot hand I may pick Texas A&M, but the Friars were really balanced in the Big East tournament and I think that bodes well for them in the big dance. Providence wins a close game and maybe even a 4th straight OT game to set up a another tournament match up with North Carolina. Take the Friars in this game.