From 68 to 16: March Madness 2017 First Weekend Primer

9 of 17

Pod #4 – Salt Lake City, Utah

Colors Location Record RPI
#2 Arizona Wildcats Cardinal, Navy Tuscon, AZ 30-4 2
#7 St. Mary’s Gaels Navy, Red Moraga, CA 28-4 17
#10 VCU Rams Black, Gold Richmond, VA 26-8 19
#15 North Dakota Fighting Hawks Kelly Green, White Grand Forks, ND 22-9 144

#7 Saint Mary’s vs. #10  VCU — Thursday, 7:20 p.m., TBS

Line: Saint Mary’s (-5)

FiveThirtyEight: Saint Mary’s (75%)

Saint Mary’s is a bit of a wildcard. They’re 0-3 against their only top 25 opponent, Gonzaga, and there is little else to tell us how good this team is, but they only give up 56.5 points per game. VCU is in the tournament for the seventh straight time, but hasn’t advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2011. They also play good defense, but lost to Baylor in their only top 25 matchup.


#2 Arizona vs. #15 North Dakota —Thursday, 9:50 p.m., TBS

Line: Arizona (-16.5)

FiveThirtyEight: Arizona (95%)

All four of Arizona’s losses came to teams who earned top-four seeds. Allonzo Trier and Lauri Markkanen combine to become one of the top scoring duos in the country and the team shoots 47.6% from the floor and 39.8% from the beyond the arc. North Dakota, playing in its first NCAA Tournament, have won ten of its last 11 games and has their own scoring duo in Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall. Arizona should be able to simply outscore the Fighting Hawks, but there could be a lot of points scored in this game.

Second Round Outlook

Arizona is the only proven team in this pod and is definitely the favorite. Saint Mary’s or VCU could pull off an upset, but their lack of matchups with top-tier opponents makes them tough to pick to make a run past the Round of 32, especially against a very strong Arizona team.