Northwestern vs. Boise State: 2023 NCAA Tournament Odds, Preview & Predictions

Mar 12, 2023 - 11:30 PM

March Madness is officially here! The 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been announced, and the teams are lining up for the Big Dance. Let’s take a look at the early odds, previews, and predictions for the 2023 NCAA Tournament Round 1 game: Northwestern vs. Boise State.

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2023 NCAA Tournament Guide (March Madness)

2023 March Madness Odds, Preview & Predictions: Northwestern vs. Boise State

Northwestern vs. Boise State Odds, Spread & Match Up Overview

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Northwestern 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

The Northwestern Wildcats have to be considered one of the biggest surprises of the season. Chris Collins did an elite job in leading the Wildcats to a 2-seed in the Big Ten Tournament and now an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. What goes understated is the addition of assistant coach Chris Lowery, who led some incredible defensive teams at Southern Illinois in the early 2000s. His defensive expertise has clearly had an impact this year, with NU jumping from a 73rd-ranked defensive program last year to a top-25 defensive team this year despite losing solid players in Ryan Young and Pete Nance. Northwestern allows almost nothing in the interior and lulls teams to sleep with its slower pace, forcing turnovers with a steal more than once every 10 possessions.

While Northwestern’s defense excels, its offense doesn’t. Ranking outside of the top 100, Northwestern does take care of the ball well, with a preference for the perimeter look. Boo Buie and Chase Audige make up a solid backcourt within the Big Ten, but I am not so sure it’s good enough to lead this team on a deep tournament run. It should be noted, however, that since Jan. 1, NU has had a top-75 offense, showing improvement as the season has gone along. Iowa State had a similar makeup last year and made it to the Sweet 16. Northwestern has the same sort of potential, but Collins has only made the tournament once before.

Expectations are the highest they’ve ever been for the Wildcats, but this is still, respectfully, a pretty average team. If Northwestern draws an opponent that prefers interior scoring, the Cats can string two or three wins together. If they draw teams that shoot the three at a high rate, the Cats might be packing their bags early.

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Boise State 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Hidden way out in Idaho is a team capable of surprising the entire nation with its ability to make a deep tournament run. The Boise State Broncos execute an effective defensive game plan that denies the outside look and takes away opponents’ second-chance opportunities.

After starting the season slowly, wins over Colorado and Texas A&M propelled Boise State through the rest of the year and into the NCAA Tournament. This is an experienced squad led by Marcus Shaver, one of the best guards in the Mountain West with his ability to drive in the lane, dish out assists, and pick opponents’ pockets. Offensively, the Broncos struggled on the road but always seemed to show up at home, winning every home conference game. They shoot well from beyond the arc and take care of the ball. What the Broncos lack is depth, ranking outside the top 300 in bench minutes.

Facing a fast-paced team that draws contact would not bode well for Boise State, and I am not sure this team is talented enough to adjust. But I do trust the Broncos’ defense, and the Mountain West did not get enough credit for how good the conference was this year. After an awful showing last year, don’t be surprised if the Broncos string together a couple of wins this March.

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