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March Madness 2017: First Round East Region’s First Four Games

In the 2017 version of March Madness four East Region games tipoff on Thursday. The first game, which starts at 12:40 p.m., features #12 UNC Wilmington at #5 Virginia. Later in the day, it’s #13 East Tennessee State at #4 Florida. We’ve got our 2017 March Madness East Region free picks for these games and two others.

At 7:10 p.m., #16 Mount St. Mary’s will have it’s hands full as they play #1 Villanova. #9 Virginia Tech is at #8 Wisconsin for the final game in the East. This is a major matchup that could go either way. Tipoff is 9:40 p.m.

#12 UNC Wilmington at #5 Virginia

12:40 PM truTV
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

The UNC Wilmington Seahawks took the Colonial Athletic Association title. At the end of the season and into their tournament, they ran off seven straight wins, including three in a row for the tournament championship. Guards C.J. Bryce and Chris Flemmings are each grabbing 5.5 RPG while scoring 17.6 and 15.8 points per game respectively. Forward Devontae Cacok is taking down 9.6 RPG while scoring 12.3 PPG.

Virginia struggled at the end of the season going 4-4 in their final regular season games. They lost to Notre Dame in the second game of the ACC tournament. Guard London Parrantes and forward Austin Nichols bring a lot of offense, scoring 12.5 and 11.0 PPG respectively.

We like the Seahawks and their dynamic offense at +8.0 and the over at 133.0.

2017 March Madness First Round East Region Pick: UNC at +8.0 and over 133.0

#13 East Tennessee State at #4 Florida

3:10 PM truTV
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

In the Southern Conference, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers went 6-1 for their last seven regular season games. They then went on to win the conference championship beating UNC Greensboro 79-74 in the final. Stop guard T.G. Cromer, who’s averaging 19.1 PPG, and you stop East Tennessee. In the frontcourt, Tevin Glass is taking in 6.2 RPG while scoring 8.9 PPG.

The Gators were on quite a run and then they lost two of their last three games. That included a 73-71 loss to Vanderbilt. In the Southeastern Conference tournament they were out after one game, losing to Vandy 72-62 in OT. They are vulnerable. Guard KeVaughn Allen leads the team, scoring 13.9 PPG. Across from him, Canyon Barry is averaging 12.1 PPG. In the frontcourt, Devin Robinson and Kasey Hill add points and Robinson taking in 6.1 RPG.

We like East Tennessee at +10.5 in this one. And we’re going with the under at 149.5.

2017 March Madness First Round East Region Pick: East Tennessee at +10.5 and under 149.5

#16 Mount St Mary’s at #1 Villanova

7:10 PM CBS
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York

2017 March Madness First Round East Region PicksIn the Northeast Conference, the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers won four straight to end the regular season. Then they met New Orleans in a First Four contest, beating them 67-66. Now here they are playing Villanova. They will look to Elijah Long, Junior Robinson and Miles Wilson to put points on the scoreboard.

Nova has been impressive in the stretch, winning 16 of 17 of their final regular season games and winning the conference. Villanova then ran off three straight wins to also take the Big East tournament. They will be tough to stop with Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Kris Jenkins pouring in points.

Despite the 25.5-point spread, we’re going with the Wildcats and we are taking over 131.5

2017 March Madness First Round East Region Pick: Villanova at -25.5 and over 131.5

#9 Virginia Tech at #8 Wisconsin

9:40 PM CBS
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York

Here’s a game that could go either way. The Virginia Tech Hokies were up and down in the ACC. They finished seventh in the conference. This team has some dead-on shooters, including forward Zach LeDay at 53% from the field while averaging 16.3 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Four other guys are averaging 10 or more points per game.

Wisconsin ended up third in the very tough Big 10 Conference. But like their opponents, they were up and down. If forward Ethan Happ can control the boards, the Badgers will win. Happ is pulling down 9.1 RPG while scoring 13.9 PPG. Forward Nigel Hayes, who’s averaging 13.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG, should not be overlooked. Guard Bronson Koenig offers 14.1 PPG.

We like the Hokies at +5.5 and the over at 136. This should be a good one.

2017 March Madness First Round East Region Pick: Virginia Tech at +5.5 and over 136

2017 March Madness First Round East Region Picks

Those are our 2017 March Madness First Round East Region picks for Thursday. We’ll have four more for Friday. And then more madness on Saturday and Sunday as half of the field will be gone. It’s going to be a crazy few days.


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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