TCU Horned Frogs vs. UCF Knights
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NCAA Tournament Odds: TCU -2.5, O/U 130
TCU vs. UCF TV Coverage: ESPN
TCU's season was always an interesting one. This team was on the fringes of the bubble for the NCAA Tournament for much of the season before ultimately falling flat a bit in February and falling off. The Horned Frogs did beat Kansas in the quarterfinals of the Big XII Tournament, but that really never helped materialize an at-large bid for the dance. That said, that might have really sparked this team in the right direction for a run in the NIT.
The Horned Frogs have dismissed Fresno State, Iowa on the road and Richmond at home, and there are a lot of signs that they've been one of the more dominant teams in the nation's second leading tournament. TCU was -8 against a really good Richmond team that pushed VCU to the brink in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Spiders can play ball, and the fact that TCU dismissed them by 18 in a game where they were comfortably favored like few others are this time of year is a sign that this team is headed in the right direction.
UCF though, has been the best story of this tournament. The Knights took care of business against Colorado then went on the road and edged out a really good Illinois State team that many figured should have danced this year. But it was that home game against Illinois, one that only came around because the State Farm Center had a prior event booked in it, that made this program.
Remember that this is coach Johnny Dawkins' first year with the program. This football program has been growing and growing over the years, but the basketball program has largely been left behind. No longer. There are only seven scholarship players on this team, but Dawkins has made the most out of it all and now has his team on the cusp of the NIT championship.
We keep bringing this up with every UCF game, but someone has to figure out how to defend Tacko Fall. Fall is 7-foot-6, the tallest player in Division I basketball and is a man who has really build an offensive game around his pure height. He had 10 points, 10 boards and three blocks against the Illini in the quarterfinals of this tournament, and though it's going to be a little awkward for him going up against a team that loves to stretch the floor with its bigs, rebounding and dominating in the paint should be a breeze.
TCU vs. UCF Free Picks
The Knights are just playing with such confidence right now on the defensive end of the floor that it's hard to lay points against them. Even if Dawkins' crew doesn't win, we still have that out of a couple points on our side. Matt Williams and B.J. Taylor have been knocking down crucial shot after crucial shot along the way, and if these two keep that up, not even a team as good as TCU should be able to figure out how stop the "Knightmare" from taking over the Big Apple.
TCU vs. UCF ATS Pick: UCF +2.5 at BookMaker.eu
TCU vs. UCF Score Prediction: UCF 66, TCU 61