Friday Madness Picks

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Friday, March 20.

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Portland State at Xavier, 7:25PM ET

There was once a time when Xavier was a small school from a small conference trying to gain credibility in the NCAA tournament.

Having made the tournament eight of the last nine years, the Musketeers can consider themselves established.

Xavier (25-7) opens its fourth straight tournament appearance Friday against Big Sky Conference champion Portland State in the East Regional.

The Musketeers are the No. 4 seed despite losing two of their last three, a seed that shows just how much of a reputation the private, Jesuit university has built.

NCAA Free Pick: Xavier View Game Matchup | Best Line: -10.5 SPORTSBETTING.COM

Wisconsin at Florida State, 9:55PM ET

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The last time Florida State made the NCAA tournament, Bobby Bowden was only 68.

Yes, it has been quite a while - 11 years, to be exact - since the Seminoles grabbed some headlines on the hardwood.

Such is life when you're a basketball team playing at a football school - a middling program duking it out with Florida in your own state, to say nothing of Duke, North Carolina and the rest in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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``I've always known this was doable,'' coach Leonard Hamilton said, as his fifth-seeded Seminoles prepared to play Wisconsin on Friday in the East Regional. ``It was just a matter of finding the kind of players who like what we have and vise versa. It's finding the right fit.''

NCAA Free Pick: Florida State View Game Matchup | Best Line: -2.5 SPORTSBETTING.COM

Robert Morris at Michigan State, 9:50PM ET

Up until selection Sunday, Big Ten player of the year Kalin Lucas had no idea where Robert Morris was located.

In fact, Michigan State's speedy point guard didn't even know the school existed.

``I don't think I did,'' Lucas said on Thursday. ``I don't think this team did, either.''

That's understandable, considering there are plenty of people in the Pittsburgh area who really have no idea what Robert Morris is all about.

The commuter school of about 5,000 students in the Pittsburgh suburb of Moon Township, Pa., is swallowed whole by Pitt's shadow, which has never been more encompassing than this season.

``I think this is going to give the school a lot of attention,'' said Jeremy Chappell, the Colonials' do-everything guard. ``We are playing in Pitt and Duquesne's shadow. But this gives us a chance to give Robert Morris a name, nationally. This is a great opportunity for us.''

NCAA Free Pick: Michigan State View Game Matchup | Best Line: -16.5 SPORTSBETTING.COM

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Posted: 3/20/09 9:00AM ET


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