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Jolo’s picks for Friday’s March Madness games

Joe Lotano

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7 Texas A&M vs. 10 Providence – 12:15 on CBS

The Aggies can hit the glass better than any team in the country, but Providence is just too hot right now after taking a trip to the Big East final.

2 Purdue vs. 15 CS-Fullerton – 12:40 on truTV

Purdue played really well down the stretch and despite their tournament woes in the past, they are too strong to give up an upset to Cal State Fullerton.

4 Wichita State vs. 13 Marshall – 1:30 on TNT

Wichita State played close with Kentucky last year, and that same team is back playing the Thundering Herd. Experience wins it for the Shockers.

2 Cincinnati vs. 15 Georgia State – 2:00 on TBS

The Bearcats went almost 10 minutes without a made field goal against Houston on Sunday. Cincinnati often struggles come March and Georgia State’s red-hot offense will pull off the upset of the day.

2 North Carolina vs. 15 Lipscomb – 2:45 on CBS

Lipscomb: a team with no tournament experience. North Carolina: has made a trip to the title game two straight years. This is easy: UNC wins it.

7 Arkansas vs. 10 Butler – 3:10 on truTV

This is not the Butler team of years past, and they will struggle facing a gritty Arkansas team. No Gordon Hayward to save the Bulldogs this time.

5 West Va. vs. 12 Murray State – 4:00 on TNT

Murray State warrants some attention, running an impressive offense and stellar defense. But in reality, they are just a shell of what West Virginia brings to the table and will come up short to “Press Virginia.”

7 Nevada vs. 10 Texas – 4:30 on TBS

Texas’ size will surely be an issue for the Wolf Pack, and Nevada’s end-of-season slide has been uninspiring. However, I believe in Eric Musselman’s group of stud transfers to win this one and beyond.

8 Creighton vs. 9 Kansas State – 6:50 on TNT

Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas are just too much for the Wildcats to handle. Creighton should edge Kansas State in an up-tempo scoring battle.

3 Michigan State vs. 14 Bucknell – 7:10 on CBS

Bucknell has formed Cinderella-worthy teams year after year. Unfortunately, the Spartans are too much for the Bison to handle.

1 Xavier vs. 16 NC Central/Texas Southern

(play-in played after press time) – 7:20 on TBS

Trevon Bluiett will be Trevon Bluiett. Whoever wins this First Four game between North Carolina Central and Texas Southern doesn’t stand a chance.

4 Auburn vs. 13 Charleston – 7:27 on truTV

Auburn fires on all cylinders, but this is a young team that doesn’t have any tournament experience. Charleston has been one of the better mid-major teams all season, and has the tools to win this one.

1 Virginia vs. 16 UMBC – 9:20 on TNT

The number one overall seed in the tournament WILL NOT lose in the opening round.

6 TCU vs. 11 Arizona State/Syracuse

(play-in played after press time) – 9:40 on CBS

Whether it’s Arizona State or Syracuse (who should not be in the tournament by any means), the winner of this First Four game will knock off TCU.

8 Missouri vs. 9 Florida State – 9:50 on TBS

Based on how McDonald’s All-American Michael Porter Jr. played in his return against Georgia in the SEC Tournament, most may write off Missouri from the get-go. But I believe Porter shines in March and kicks off the Tigers’ Cinderella run with a victory over the sliding Seminoles.

5 Clemson vs. 12 NM State – 9:57 on truTV

Clemson has played surprisingly well without their leading scorer for the majority of the season, yet New Mexico State is finally going to end its nine-year NCAA tournament drought.

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