The Mayhem of March – Day 4

March 24, 2024

NCAAM: (12) Grand Canyon vs. (4) Alabama

7:10 p.m. ET, TBS

Alabama -6.0 (-110) | O/U 170 (-110)

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 seed Grand Canyon is back in the NCAA tournament and finds themselves in the second round after taking down Saint Mary’s 75-66 in the first round of March Madness. GCU will now face No. 4 seed Alabama, who managed to score a whopping 109 points in their victory over Charleston on Friday. This game should be another high-scoring matchup as GCU can get the ball in the bucket consistently and features one of the most explosive players in the tournament in guard Tyon Grant-Foster. Alabama can score points at will, logging 100+ points in three of their last four games. We know both of these teams can score the ball, but the winner of this game will likely emerge due to a solid performance on defense. Alabama is not a very good defensive team, surrendering over 80 points per game on average for the season. While a lesser-known squad, GCU is a sound team on both ends of the floor.

Hoops Harlan’s Pick: Grand Canyon +6.0 

GCU has qualified for the tournament in three of the last four seasons and takes on a Bama squad that is overly reliant on their offense. Let’s look for GCU to keep this game within the number against a Bama team that could be looking ahead. Can the Lopes realistically become the Cinderella most of America wants them to be? Probably not, but they’re certainly capable of giving the Tide a good scare. Take the six points and look for a close game.


NCAAM: (5) San Diego State vs. (12) Yale

9:40 p.m. ET, TBS

San Diego State -5.5 (-110) | O/U 130 (-110)

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 seed San Diego State will look to return to the Sweet 16 when they take on No. 13 seed Yale in the final game of the Sunday slate. This is just the second time Yale has advanced past the second round, and they are a scrappy team that managed to come back against Auburn en route to the upset victory. This will be a much tougher task for the Ivy League squad as San Diego State is one of, if not the best, team in the Mountain West. While the rest of the conference has not fared well throughout the tournament, San Diego State advanced following a win versus UAB on Friday. The Aztecs are no stranger to playing in the pressure cooker that is March Madness, as they went on a run to the Final Four last season. This game will come down to defense and the zebras. Part of the reason Yale managed to come back and take down Auburn is because the Tigers committed a whopping 25 fouls. Yale also managed to shoot 46% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc, well above their 35% season average. The Aztecs are a much more refined team than Yale’s first-round opponent, and they are cool, calm and collected throughout their games. San Diego State boasts one of the best defensive units in college basketball, which should be on display for this game.

Hoops Harlan’s Pick: San Diego State -5.5 (-110) 

At the end of the day, Yale’s first-round victory was more about Auburn’s sloppy play. It’s a story as old as time – a gritty Ivy League team stuns a powerhouse early in the Dance, but then the universe returns to order and the fun comes to an abrupt halt in the next round. That oversimplification might sell Yale short, but history suggests that eventually their story will come to an end.  In this scenario, San Diego State is the better team; let’s look for the Aztecs to clamp down on defense and advance to the Sweet 16.