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March Madness 2017: Second of Four 1st Round West Region Matchups

First Round March Madness 2017 West Region PicksWe have four more First Round March Madness 2017 West Region picks. There are eight games being played on Friday in the West. The rest of Friday includes four games in the East, two in the Midwest and two in the South. Our initial article on First Round West games featured those being played in the afternoon.

The four games in this piece start at 6:50 p.m. ET or later. Two big matchups have #11 Xavier at #6 Maryland at 6:50 p.m. and #14 Florida Gulf Coast at # 3 Florida State at 9:20 p.m. Also up are #10 VCU at #7 St. Mary’s. The final game, which is at 9:50 p.m. features #15 South Dakota at #2 Arizona. Here’s a look at these games. Yes, we do expect an upset as far as the point spread is concerned. Which teams won’t cover?

#11 Xavier at #6 Maryland

6:50 PM TNT
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

Maryland Plays Iowa College Basketball Free PickThe Xavier Musketeers were seventh in the Big East with a 9-9- conference record. The Musketeers went on a six-game skid from Feb. 11 through Mar. 1. In the Big East tournament they won their first two, including beating #18 Butler 62-57, before losing to Creighton 75-72. Three pkayers will need to be on their game for Xavier to have a chance of winning. Guard Edmund Sumner is a playmaker, sound rebounder, and essential scorer. He’s averaging 15.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG.

The Terrapins, who finished third in the Big Ten, came down the stretch playing inconsistent basketball, which included being upset by Northwestern in the conference tournament 72-64. Guard Melo Trimble leads the team in points, averaging 17.0 PPG. In the paint, forward Justin Jackson is taking down 6.1 RPG while scoring 10.4 PPG.

First Round March Madness 2017 West Region Pick: Xavier at +2.0 and under 142.5

#10 VCU at #7 Saint Mary’s

7:20 PM TBS
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Virginia Plays Boston College Basketball Free PickThe VCU Rams finished second in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Rams won 10 of their last 12 games and then won their first two tournament games before losing to Rhode Island 70-63. The Rams will need guard JeQuan Lewis and forward Justin Tillman to score a lot of points. Lewis is averaging 14.7 PPG and 4.6 APG while Tillman is at 12.4 PPG and 8.8 RPG.

The St. Mary’s Gaels finished the regular season second to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. At the end of the regular season, St, Mary’s ran off four straight wins. In the tournament, they beat Portland and BYU, losing to #4 Gonzaga 74-56. If center Jock Landale brings his game, the Gaels will have a solid chance of winning. He’s averaging 16.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. He’s a 61% shooter. Guard Emmett, a solid shooter, will be setting up plays from the perimeter.

First Round March Madness 2017 West Region Pick: VCU +4.5 and over 129.5

#14 Florida Gulf Coast at #3 Florida State

9:20 PM TNT
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

Florida Gulf Coast finished tops in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 12-2 record. In the very tough ACC, Florida State finished second to North Carolina with a 12-6 conference record. The Eagles finished the season with seven wins in a row.Florida Gulf Coast is scoring 79 PPG and hitting 50% of their shots. Guard Brandon Goodwin is averaging 18.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 4.0 APG. He’s a 52% shooter. Forward Demetris Morant is a 76% shooter who’s good foe 10.7 PPG and 8.0 RPG.

The Seminoles struggled near the end of the season going 5-5 for their last 10 regular season games. In the ACC tournament, they beat Virginia Tech before losing to #22 Notre Dame 77-73. Florida State is averaging 82 PPG while connecting on 48% of their shots. Guard Dwayne Bacon is good for 16.9 PPG while forward Jonathan Isaac is grabbing 7.6 RPG and scoring 11.9 PPG.

We think the Eagles will keep up with the Seminoles for part of the first half. By the second, we see Florida State pulling away.

First Round March Madness 2017 West Region Pick: Seminoles at -12.0 and over 147.0

#15 North Dakota at #2 Arizona

9:50 PM TBS
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

North Dakota finished at the top of the Big Sky with a 14-4 record and then won three straight in their tournament to take that crown. The Fighting Hawks are a very fine shooting team, scoring an average of 81 PPG while hitting 48% of their shots and 39% of their threes. Guards Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall are good for 19.1 PPG and 15.6 PPG respectively. Forward Conner Avants is connecting on 57% of his attempts from the floor.

Arizona finished first in the PAC-12 with a 16-2 record. The Wildcats’ last loss was 77-72 to UCLA on Feb. 25. They then won their final regular season game and ran off three wins, beating Colorado, #3 UCLA, and #5 Oregon to take the PAC-12 tournament. Guard Allonzo Trier is averaging 17.3 PPG while grabbing 5.0 RPG. Forward Lauri Markkanen is punching in 15.6 PPG while taking down 7.1 RPG.
We like the over at 147.5 and North Dakota at +17.0. We think they will keep it close.

First Round March Madness 2017 West Region Pick: North Dakota at +17.0 and over 147.5

Final Word: First Round March Madness 2017 West Region Picks

That’s it for our First Round March Madness 2017 West Region picks. All of the initial games in the West will be played tonight and then we’ll know who’s moving onto the weekend where eight West Region games will be played.


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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