USA Today Sports
Lafayette capped its stunning run to the Patriot League title with a 65-63 victory over American on March 11. The 16th-seeded Leopards finished in a tie for fourth in the regular season with a 9-9 league mark but rode the hot hand of sophomore guard Nick Lindner to the title. The Leopards last won a league tournament title in 2000 and are 0-4 in NCAA Tournament play.
The Wildcats edged Providence in the Big East semifinals with the help of a controversial call, but they needed no aid in throttling Xavier in the final to win their second conference crown and the first for veteran coach Jay Wright. Josh Hart won the Big East’s sixth man award and enters the tournament on a roll after averaging 17.7 points in the tournament while shooting 72.4 percent from the floor in the past three games.
* Wildcats are 1-6 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 6-1 in Wildcats last seven neutral site games.
* Wildcats are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
(9) LSU Tigers vs. (8) North Carolina State Wolfpack (-2, 140.5)
The Tigers’ strength is on the interior, ranking seventh nationally with 6.2 blocked shots per game and 12th in the country in total rebounding (39.2). Jordan Mickey was slowed by a bruised shoulder late in the season but led the SEC in double-doubles (15) and the SEC in rebounding (9.8), and Jarell Martin averaged 22 points in his final six games.
Trevor Lacey finished sixth in the ACC in scoring at 15.8 points and had reached double figures in 16 consecutive games before finishing with just four against Duke. Ralston Turner, who played two seasons at LSU before transferring, averages 13.2 points while Anthony Barber scored 17.6 points per game in a 10-game stretch before suffering a neck injury against the Blue Devils (he has been cleared to return).
* Under is 6-0 in Tigers last six vs. Atlantic Coast.
* Tigers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
* Wolfpack are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall.