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Friday March Madness Picks
San Diego State Aztecs (6) v NC State Wolfpack (11)
It appears all that NC State needed to rejuvenate their program was the right coach. Mark Gottfried led the Wolfpack to a 22-12 record which was good enough for fifth in the ACC. His team enters the NCAA Tournament as the 11 seed of the Midwest Region after losing by 2 points to rival North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. They will face the 6 seed San Diego State Aztecs. San Diego State is making their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. They earned a record of 26-7 and shared Mountain West conference championship honors with New Mexico.
Look out for sophomore C.J. Leslie on North Carolina State. The big 'fella averages 14.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG. Prior to the loss to North Carolina where he scored 22 points, Leslie had a double-double in four consecutive games. Sophomore G Jamaal Franklin is the man for the Aztecs. He averages 17.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG. He got TCU for 33 points on March 3 in an overtime victory.We missed the boat on this one as the line moved from pk to NC State -2.5 but we still feel NC State is the right side. NC State -2.5
Memphis Tigers (8) v St. Louis Billikens (9)
It has been since the 02-03 season since coach Rick Majerus ventured to the NCAA Tournament. He left Utah where he achieved his greatest success, after a couple of bad seasons. St. Louis took a chance on him and they have been rewarded for doing so. His Billikens were 25-7 this year which earned them a second place finish in the Atlantic 10. They will face a Memphis team that has finished 26-8 and earned the top spot in Conference USA.
Sophomore G Will Barton is the best player for Memphis. He gets 18.1 PPG and 8.1 RPG. Barton knows how to play well in a big game. He was 14-19 for 28 points in a loss to Louisville this year. St. Louis is a very balanced team that doesn't have one standout player, but keep a look out for Brian Conklin. The senior forward is an excellent shooter and averages 13.9 PPG. Memphis -3
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7) v Xavier Musketeers (10)
Known for their March antics, the Musketeers were ranked as high as #8 before a fight against cross town rival Cincinnati. The wheels fell off after that and they lost 6 of their next 7 games on the way to a 21-12 record. They will face a Notre Dame team that lacks their top scorer, Tim Abromaitis, to an injury in the month of November.
Xavier will rely on the guard tandem of Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons. They are one of the best guard combinations in America and they combine to score 32.5 PPG. Holloway is a great free throw shooter and the senior was a preseason All American. Notre Dame needs good play from junior F Jack Cooley. He averages 12.4 PPG and 9 RPG. He will do battle with the hot and cold Kenny Frease for Xavier. Upset - Xavier +2
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