I'm still reeling from Gonzaga -4.5. It's probably not the best mindset to be in as I sit down to write a newsletter in which I give out gambling advice for tonight, but it's the truth. Overall, I had an excellent first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. After a rough start on Thursday, I was in the zone on Friday. Winners were following winners, and my fun idea to bet the moneyline of every 13, 14, 15 and 16 seed paid off (thank you, FDU, Princeton and Furman!).

But despite all the winners that came, for the weekend to end the way it did felt like a punch in the gut. For those of you who didn't stay up until the end of Sunday night's final game, and have no idea what I'm talking about, see for yourself.

That's not just a bad beat; it's a vibe-killer. That's how you get knocked out of the zone. I have three days to get my act together before the tournament resumes Thursday night. Perhaps reading these stories will help take my mind off things and help me recenter.

All right, let's splash some cold water on our face and get back to the grind.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Bulls at 76ers, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

  • Key Trend: The Sixers have covered eight of their last nine games against the Bulls.
  • The Pick: 76ers -8.5 (-110)

I've spent the last few weeks diving deep into college basketball. Nearly all my prep work of late has been focused on teenagers missing jump shots and which ones would miss less frequently. Now I have to jump back into the NBA, a league that's become harder to figure out with each passing season. It's impossible!

Thankfully, tonight we have an old reliable to fall back on: the 76ers spanking the Chicago Bulls.

Joel Embiid has been in the NBA since the 2017-18 season and is 12-0 against the Bulls. He averages 29.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.6 blocks per game against Chicago. Now he gets to face them during one of the hottest stretches of his career. Embiid is averaging 36.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while shooting nearly 50% from three over the last eight games. Each of which Philadelphia has won.

It has flown under the radar a bit that the Bulls have been pretty good since the All-Star Break. The Sixers rank first in the league in net efficiency at 10.2 in that time. The Bulls are second at 8.4. However, things have dipped for Chicago recently. If we simply look at March, Philly is still first by a mile at 13.6 (Cleveland is second at 7.5), while the Bulls are eighth at 3.3. There has never been a good time for the Bulls to face the Sixers since Embiid entered the league, but tonight may be the worst of them all.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model is avoiding the spread tonight and focusing on the total.

💰 March Madness futures

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-St. Mary's vs UCONN

The Pick: UConn to win national title (+1000) -- I took UConn to win the national title at +1800 before the tournament started, and I'm a little surprised to see them still sitting at +1000. I don't think this number has adjusted enough. UConn won't be facing Kansas in the Sweet 16. It's facing Arkansas, a team that has been imperfect all season.

The Huskies have been one of the best teams in the country for over a month now. If they get past the Hogs, they'll face the winner of UCLA and Gonzaga -- two good but imperfect teams. In short, while they aren't the most likely team to win it all, there isn't a team left in this thing I don't think UConn can beat. They're certainly more capable of taking it all than these odds suggest.

The Pick: San Diego State to win South Region (+525) -- Here's a bit of a longshot. San Diego State plays Alabama Friday in Louisville. As I write this, the Aztecs are eight-point underdogs, and they're listed at +285 on the money line. Using implied odds, +285 suggests San Diego State should beat Alabama 25.97% of the time, but for the sake of brevity, we'll round to 26%. If Friday night is one of the 26%, the Aztecs will move on to face the winner of Creighton or Princeton.

San Diego State would be favored by a lot against Princeton. Facing Creighton would be more of a coin flip (though I'd bet the market would force Creighton to be favored). I don't hate those odds, not at +525. The Aztecs are a veteran team filled with seniors and juniors up and down the depth chart. They defend like crazy. In a tournament that's already seen two No. 1 seeds fall and has a No. 15 seed in the Sweet 16, it's not insane to believe the Aztecs can pick up two more wins.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Matt Severance is the hottest NBA handicapper going right now, and he has a play for tonight's game between the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz.