NCAA TOURNAMENT FANTASY CHALLENGE


Three Review-Journal sports department members and three professional handicappers have been given $2,000 fantasy bankrolls to bet during the NCAA Tournament -- two picks per day of either sides, totals or one of each. Below are their bets for today, with a brief explanation as to their picks:

Adam Hill, Review-Journal

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $440

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Temple -2½ over Penn State

Comment: The Owls, led by Ramone Moore, had won 12 of 13 before dropping a tough contest to Richmond in the Atlantic 10 tournament. Look for them to get back on track against the offensively challenged Nittany Lions.

Bet 2: $220 on West Virginia -1½ over Clemson

Comment: The Mountaineers are a physical basketball team and will wear down the Tigers, who are playing with a strange travel schedule after finishing up Tuesday night's game around midnight and then playing early today.

Mal Van Valkenburg, Review-Journal

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $440

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Belmont +5½ over Wisconsin

Comment: Wisconsin is not playing its best basketball to end the season, and the Bruins have enough offensive firepower to make them an upset threat. Belmont is deep and well-coached.

Bet 2: $220 on UCLA +1½ over Michigan State

Comment: This is not going to be a pretty game, offensively. Both teams have struggled at times to score. This is not one of the better Spartans teams and should not be around the tournament very long.

Matt Youmans, Review-Journal

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $242

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $132 on Richmond +2 over Vanderbilt

Comment: The Spiders are riding a seven-game winning streak. Senior guard Kevin Anderson and senior forward Justin Harper are NBA prospects.

Bet 2: $110 on UC Santa Barbara +12½ over Florida

Comment: Orlando Johnson is a big-time scorer for the Gauchos, who rallied to win the Big West tournament. The Gators are overrated.

John Kelly, EOG.com

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $440

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on UC Santa Barbara +12½ over Florida

Comment: The Gauchos attack the dribble, challenge every shot and defend the paint and the rim. The double-digit head start is the key in a game that figures to be low scoring.

Bet 2: $220 on Utah State +2 over Kansas State

Comment: Utah State received no respect from the selection committee but plenty of admiration from the betting marketplace as the 12th-seeded Aggies are slight 'dogs to the fifth-seeded Wildcats. Take steady coach Stew Morrill over the irascible Frank Martin.

Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $440

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Wofford +8½ over Brigham Young

Comment: The Cougars have shown their vulnerability minus Brandon Davies. The veteran Terriers are hot and familiar with NCAA surroundings after last year's near-miss against Wisconsin.

Bet 2: $220 on Utah State +2 over Kansas State

Comment: Stew Morrill's textbook Aggies defense has lots of length on the perimeter and can lock down on Jacob Pullen. Explosive point guard Brockeith Pane adds a different dimension to Utah State's attack.

Ken Thomson, SportsXRadio.com

■ Bankroll: $2,000

■ Today: Betting $220

■ Today's plays

Bet 1: $110 on Belmont +5 over Wisconsin

Comment: Ian Clark and Jordan Campbell will launch a 3-point barrage as the Bruins exploit the Badgers' poor perimeter defense.

Bet 2: $110 on Princeton +13½ over Kentucky

Comment: The Tigers will drive the young, athletic Wildcats crazy with backdoor cuts and timely shooting late in the shot clock.

 

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