Free March Madness Picks Today For First Round 2023: Houston Cougars vs Northern Kentucky Norse 3/16/23

Free March Madness Picks Today For First Round 2023: Houston Cougars vs Northern Kentucky Norse 3/16/23
Thu 16th March 2023

The No. 1 seed Houston Cougars (31-3, 19-2 AAC) take on the No. 16 seed Northern Kentucky Norse (22-12, 17-6 Horizon) Thursday at Legacy Arena in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Northern Kentucky squeaked by the Cleveland State Vikings 63-61 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 7 in the Horizon League Tourney Championship, their fifth win in a row. With 18 points, Marques Warrick was the scoring leader. Sam Vinson added 16 points.

Houston lost in the American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday at Dickies Arena, falling to the Memphis Tigers 75-65. Jamal Shead led the team in scoring in defeat with 16 points.

With 12 points and 20 rebounds, J’Wan Roberts also played a part. Warrick is averaging 19.1 points per game to lead the Norse in scoring this season. Meanwhile, Chris Brandon is grabbing 9.8 rebounds per game, and Xavier Rhodes is dishing 3.7 assists.

Marcus Sasser’s 16.6 points per game have powered the Cougars on offense. Roberts is posting 7.8 rebounds per game, and Shead is doling out 5.4 assists. Half-court execution will be of utmost importance in this matchup that features two of the NCAA’s slowest-paced teams, as the Norse are 344th in possessions per game while the Cougars are 340th.

In the last 10 games, Northern Kentucky is 7-3 with an average margin of +4.8 (69.7-64.9). Houston has gone 9-1 over the last 10, scoring 74.1 points per game on average while holding opponents to 58.7 (+15.4 margin).

NORSE HOT/COLD

(Last Five | Season Average | Differential)
Points + Rebounds + Assists:
Imanuel Zorgvol: 1.4 | 5.3 | -3.9
Points per game:
Sam Vinson: 15.0 | 11.7 | +3.3
Rebounds per game:
Chris Brandon: 12.4 | 9.8 | +2.6

COUGARS HOT/COLD

(Last Five | Season Average | Differential)
Points + Rebounds + Assists:
Ja’Vier Francis: 1.8 | 8.2 | -6.4
Points per game:
Jamal Shead: 17.0 | 10.3 | +6.7
J’Wan Roberts: 7.0 | 10.4 | -3.4
Rebounds per game:
J’Wan Roberts: 9.8 | 7.8 | +2.0
Assists per game:
Marcus Sasser: 2.0 | 3.1 | -1.1

SportsTips’ College Basketball Pick:

Northern Kentucky +18.5 (-110)

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