1-star (623) Western Kentucky +5 over USC. 11:30pm ET. When factoring in the full-season stats, these two teams are pretty even. USC has the slight offensive edge (No. 41 vs No. 48) while WKU has the slight defensive edge (No. 81 vs No.84). The value comes when you consider USC's two best players are out for this game in Bennie Boatright (13.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Chimezie Metu (15.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg). The Trojans now have a short rotation and questionable motivation (see double OT win over NC Asheville as significant favorite). WKU was very impressive in their first round win over a solid Boston College team and should be confident here considering the Hilltoppers have outright wins over Purdue and SMU (when SMU was healthy) and also impressive covers vs Villanova and Wisconsin.
Lean: (620) Utah -4.5 over LSU. 9:00pm ET. Huge home/away dichotomies here give some value on the Utes. Utah is 7-1 SU/5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 home games while LSU is 0-8 SU/0-6-2 ATS their last 8 games away from home. Now the Tigers are playing in altitude and Utah has the defensive edge (No. 78 vs No. 124). I would have had this pick rated stronger but the last time we backed Utah, the Utes had a very disappointing effort at home vs USC as one of our top plays.
Lean: (621/622) Washington/St. Mary's UNDER 143.5. 11:00pm ET. Washington has a poor offense (No. 160) but their unique zone defense (No. 62) creates problems for many of their opponents. The Huskies first round game vs Boise State was really misleading as it was 67-60 with just 1:20 left in the game (24 points scored in final 80 seconds). That creates value with a St. Mary's team that has seen the UNDER go 13-1-1 in their last 15 games.