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2017 NCAA Tournament Betting Guide: Thursday, March 16

Wouldn’t you trust a betting guide with a photo of Oscar and Brent? (You shouldn’t.)

Brent Musburger And Al Bernstein Unveil Broadcasting Studio For VSiN Sports Gambling Information Network Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

During football season, the Crimson Quarry College Football Betting Guide gave you opportunities to make a killing when giving it right back the next week, get so far in the hole you thought about changing your name just make an epic comeback, and reasons to feel either great or terrible about yourself.

Well, you don’t have to wait until August for those feelings and experiences to come rushing back. We are proud to introduce the sure-to-fail, never-to-be-trusted CRIMSON QUARRY 2017 NCAA TOURNAMENT BETTING GUIDE:

Round 1, Thursday, March 16

All lines current as of 3:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 15.

(5) Notre Dame (-6.5) vs. (12) Princeton, O/U 134, 12:15 p.m.

Can you smell the pretentiousness reeking off this game? If not, congratulations on graduating from Notre Dame or Princeton.

The Ivy League has had a good run in the NCAA Tournament with the recent successes of Harvard and Yale. Princeton has had its own success in the big dance. That said, Notre Dame is under-seeded, good, and experienced. That’s a bad recipe for a Princeton team that hasn’t played a tournament team since December 22 and has no player over 6’5” who plays more than 20 mpg.

Pick: Notre Dame (-6.5)

(5) Virginia (-7.5) vs. (12) UNC-Wilmington, O/U 134.5, 12:45 p.m.

Honestly, this one could go either way. Virginia simply isn’t as good as they have been the past few seasons, and it seems that they have gotten a pass all season based on that recent success. UNCW, on the other hand, is very good under coach Kevin Keatts, and the Seahawks could give the Cavaliers a run for the money. But of course, UNCW hasn’t played anyone and Virginia could just grind one out, resulting in death by a thousand paper cuts for UNCW.

One thing is a lock, though. There’s no way these teams combine for 135.

Pick: Under 134.5

(4) Butler (-11) vs. (13) Wintrhop, O/U 145, 1:30 p.m.

Winthrop hung tough for a while with both Florida State and Dayton early in the season, but Butler is just in a different class.

Pick: Butler (-11)

(1) Gonzaga (-22) vs. (16) South Dakota State, O/U 156, 2:00 p.m.

Gonzaga oughta come out playing with purpose, hellbent on proving everyone wrong. And I mean everyone. Because there’s not anybody in their right mind that thinks this is the year that Gonzaga isn’t overvalued and is going to make the Final Four or win the whole thing.

South Dakota State isn’t any good, I’m guessing, based on the fact they got a 16-seed and play in the Summit League. . . What’s that? IPF-who?

Pick: Gonzaga (-22)

(4) West Virginia (-14) vs. (13) Bucknell, O/U 147.5, 2:45 p.m.

Look at you, sitting there wanting to pick Bucknell. Are you really thinking about them over Huggy Bear because they beat Kansas a decade ago?

Press Virginia is a Final Four-quality club, which, if it gets past Notre Dame, could give Gonzaga more than the Zags can handle.

Bucknell can’t make lightning strike twice. They can’t keep this one close either.

Pick: West Virginia (-14)

(4) Florida (-10) vs. (13) East Tennessee State, O/U 147.5, 3:10 p.m.

Florida faces a tough first-round opponent in the Indiana Hoosiers East Tennessee State Bucs. Hanner Mosquera-Parea and ETSU will match up well size-wise with the Gators.

East Tennessee State is also a good defensive team, which should allow them to hang around and perhaps cover, if not pull an upset. On the other side, Florida has a GREAT defense.

Two good defenses and an over/under that’s gone up 5.5 points since it opened?

Pick: Under 147.5

(5) Minnesota vs. (12) Middle Tennessee State (-1), O/U 136.5, 4:00 p.m.

This one is interesting. Minnesota opened at -2 earlier in the week, but the sharks are on the Blue Raiders, and by evening (when we made these selections), MTSU was the favorite.

Since Selection Sunday, I’ve thought MTSU was the 12-seed to pick. Apparently everyone else does too. But something about the massive movement allowing Minnesota to play as an underdog really makes me think the Gophers come out and will themselves to victory.

Plus, MTSU can’t pull off a miracle two years in a row, right?

Pick: Minnesota (+1)

(8) Northwestern vs. (9) Vanderbilt (-1.5), O/U 130, 4:30 p.m.

Northwestern has been a really nice story. But the Wildcats, who struggled down the stretch, are playing a Vanderbilt team that has won nine of its last 14.

Given Vandy’s better play late in the season and Northwestern’s inevitable just-glad-to-be-here outlook, give me the Commodores, big.

Pick: Vanderbilt (-1.5)

(6) Maryland (-2) vs. (11) Xavier, O/U 142.5, 6:50 p.m.

These are two teams that just don’t make you feel real comfortable about picking either way. I wouldn’t touch this game in real life. But since I’m playing with fake money, I’d bet against Maryland and Melo Trimble. It seems like the Terps just sucked a little less than everyone else in the Big Ten all season long, and were able to rack up a dozen wins because of the rest of the league’s incompetence.

The way Maryland bowed out against Northwestern was embarrassing. The way Xavier beat Butler was impressive. I’ll take the way Xavier played last week over the Maryland played.

Pick: Xavier (+2)

(1) Villanova (-27) vs. (16) Mt. St. Mary’s, O/U 133.5, 7:10 p.m.

That’s a lot of points. But in a 1-16 matchup, it’s incredibly difficult to judge the big lines. What’s not as hard to judge, here, is is the over/under. Villanova has the second most efficient offense in the country according to KenPom. Mt. St. Mary’s can’t guard a trashcan.

Nova may hang 90+, which means Mt. St. Mary’s just needs to be competent to hit the over.

Pick: Over 133.5

(7) St. Mary’s (-4.5) vs. (10) Virginia Commonwealth, O/U 130, 7:20 p.m.

VCU will be a popular upset pick given the name recognition that comes with some tournament success. But St. Mary’s is good, folks. They have four losses. Three of those are to Gonzaga. They have beaten Nevada and Dayton and thoroughly thrashed everyone they have played in the last two months except for the Zags.

VCU, on the other hand, struggled with other tournament teams down the stretch, losing to Dayton and twice to Rhode Island.

This is one that the popular upset pick appears to be wrong.

Pick: St. Mary’s (-4.5)

(4) Purdue (-9) vs. (13) Vermont, O/U 134.5, 7:27 p.m.

Alright, time to piss little brother off. Purdue has shown no ability to do this NCAA Tournament thing right. Recent losses to Cincinnati and Arkansas-Little Rock have put immense pressure on Matt Painter and the Boilers to get just a single win.

Truth be told, I think they do this year. But not without really sweating it out. Vermont is playing with house money. They’ll hang tough and keep it close enough to cover, even if Purdue does breakthrough to the second round for the first time since 2012.

Pick: Vermont (+9)

(3) Florida State (-12) vs. (14) Florida Gulf Coast, O/U 146.5, 9:20 p.m.

Florida State may have its best basketball team ever this season. But something about them leaves me devoid of confidence that they can win in the NCAA Tournament.

This isn’t the Dunk City Florida Gulf Coast team that you’ll tell your children about one day, but it’s not a pushover either.

FGCU is good enough to keep this close and cover.

Pick: Florida Gulf Coast (+12)

(8) Wisconsin (-5.5) vs. (9) Virginia Tech, O/U 136.5, 9:40 p.m.

I imagine this will be an extremely pissed off Wisconsin team. The Badgers, after finishing 3rd in the Big Ten, got an 8-seed, while worse Big Ten teams were over-seeded, like Minnesota (5) and Michigan State (9).

Wisconsin is probably one of the best 20 teams in the country and if they win their opener, they get to play the overall No. 1 seed, Villanova. Virginia Tech drew the short straw on this one.

Pick: Wisconsin (-5.5)

(2) Arizona (-17) vs. (15) North Dakota, O/U 147.5, 9:50 p.m.

This doesn’t seem like nearly enough points for North Dakota to cover against an Arizona team that just rolled through the Pac-12 Tournament.

Pick: Arizona (-17)

(5) Iowa State (-6) vs. (12) Nevada, O/U 156, 9:57 p.m.

Nevada is really good. But six points doesn’t seem like quite enough for them to cover against an Iowa State team that just won the Big 12 Tournament. That said, if this line moved a few points, I’d be on the Wolfpack.

Pick: Iowa State (-6)