Kansas State Wildcats vs. Creighton Bluejays
Friday, March 16, 2018, 6:50 pm ET


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My projections see Creighton defeating Kansas State by at least five points Friday in their NCAA Tournament first-round meetings. The Bluejays also are winning the matchup in 68 percent of simulations. Creighton is 7-2 ATS in its last nine against Big 12 opponents, and also 32-12 ATS when coming off a straight-up loss.

SportsLine Expert: Stephen Oh (9-4 in last 13 CBB O/U picks)

Bucknell Bison vs. Michigan State Spartans
Friday, March 16, 2018, 7:10 pm ET


Bucknell averaged 81 points per game during the regular season, but the Bison haven’t faced a defense like Michigan State’s, one of the best in the nation. The Spartans led the nation in field-goal percentage defense (36.6) and also in rebounding margin (10.4). Look for Michigan State to make things extremely difficult on Bucknell, leading to a score that goes under the total.

>>MORE: NCAA Tournament Coverage

SportsLine Expert: Micah Roberts (28-17 in last 45 CBB picks)

Texas Southern Tigers vs. Xavier Musketeers
Friday, March 16, 2018, 7:20 pm ET

OVER 160.5

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At the dawn of the season, Xavier rang up 101 points apiece against Morehead State and Rider, then 96 against Hampton. All are comparable teams to Texas Southern, which could get smacked around after a quick turnaround from Wednesday’s win in Dayton. The X-Men are seventh in the Pomeroy Ratings’ offensive efficiency. The Tigers yielded a staggering 114 points to Kansas, plus 99 to Baylor, 97 to Gonzaga and 91 to TCU during their notorious 0-13 start to the season. If Xavier hits the century mark, Texas Southern need only reach the 60s to bring this home.

SportsLine Expert: Mike Tierney (17-11-2 in last 30 CBB picks)

Charleston Cougars vs. Auburn Tigers
Friday, March 16, 2018, 7:27 pm ET


The No. 13 seed has only beaten the No. 4 seed just 26 times in 132 all-time meetings and went 0-4 last season, but Auburn has the look of a wounded gazelle in the serengeti. After a 21-2 start, they started to run out of gas down the stretch going 4-5, including losses in their last four away games and going 0-4 ATS in their last four overall concluding with a one-and-done SEC Tournament appearance. Charleston has won 14 of its last 15 games and had the fourth fewest turnovers in the nation. They also have three players each averaging 17 ppg or more. The Cougars have a great shot here to be the story of the first two days.

SportsLine Expert: Micah Roberts (28-17 in last 45 CBB picks)

UMBC Retrievers vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Friday, March 16, 2018, 9:20 pm ET

UMBC +22

Virginia was delivered some deflating news Tuesday. G De’Andre Hunter, the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year, was diagnosed with a broken wrist that will sideline him for the NCAA Tournament. Hunter’s 9-2-point average is fourth on the team — he led Cavaliers’ scorers six times — with 3.5 rebounds raked in per game. Three of their last four NCAA-opening wins have been reasonably close: Coastal Carolina by 11, Belmont by 12 and, last year, UNC-Wilmington by five. Another slow tournament start bodes well for UMBC.

SportsLine Expert: Mike Tierney (17-11-2 in last 30 CBB picks)

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