NCAA TOURNAMENT FANTASY CHALLENGE


Three Las Vegas 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 of their picks:

Adam Hill, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $2,419 Thursday: Won $35 Today: Betting $352

Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Baylor -4½ over Saint Mary's

Comment: Epke Udoh blocks nearly four shots per game and is the best interior defender Omar Samhan has seen this season.

Bet 2: $132 on Michigan State -1 over Northern Iowa Comment: Tom Izzo is one of the best postseason coaches in the business, and he'll find a way to overcome the injury loss of star guard Kalin Lucas.

Mal Van Valkenburg, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $1,790 Thursday: Lost $660 Today: Betting $770

Today's plays

Bet 1: $440 on Michigan State -1 over Northern Iowa

Comment: Give me Tom Izzo with four days to prepare, even without Kalin Lucas. Northern Iowa is basically a one-trick pony.

Bet 2: $330 on Baylor-Saint Mary's over 142 Comment: Both teams have been averaging 70 points a game, and they should top this total unless the 3-point shooters are off the mark.

Matt Youmans, Review-Journal

Bankroll: $2,336 Thursday: Won $200 Today: Betting $352

Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Duke -8½ over Purdue

Comment: Expect the Boilermakers to hang tough for a while, but Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler will extend the margin for Duke.

Bet 2: $132 on Baylor -4½ over Saint Mary's

Comment: The Bears' long-range gunners and inside strength will prove too much for the Gaels to overcome.

John Kelly, EOG.com

Bankroll: $3,950 Thursday: Won $750 Today: Betting $550

Today's plays

Bet 1: $275 on Ohio State -4½ over Tennessee

Comment: The Volunteers play fast and loose -- too loose. Look for the Buckeyes' Jon Diebler to post big numbers.

Bet 2: $275 on Baylor -4½ over Saint Mary's

Comment: The Bears' LaceDarius Dunn should dominate the game. The Gaels' Omar Samhan will be limited by Baylor's quality front line.

Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet

Bankroll: $2,512 Thursday: Lost $240 Today: Betting $660

Today's plays

Bet 1: $330 on Northern Iowa-Michigan State over 121½

Comment: Don't expect many style points, but there's enough offensive competence on both sides to push this game into the 60s.

Bet 2: $330 on Duke -8½ over Purdue

Comment: Robbie Hummel's absence finally catches up with the Boilermakers. Remember, Duke won easily at Purdue last year in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Paul Stone, VegasSportsAuthority.com

Bankroll: $1,405 Thursday: Lost $125 Today: Betting $440

Today's plays

Bet 1: $220 on Saint Mary's +4½ over Baylor

Comment: Gaels big man Omar Samhan has 61 points in two NCAA tourney games, and Mickey McConnell leads a cast of Saint Mary's sharpshooters.

Bet 2: $220 on Northern Iowa +1 over Michigan State

Comment: Northern Iowa does not beat itself and is playing with loads of confidence. The Spartans are certain to feel the sting of losing Kalin Lucas.