Friday Service Plays
Re: Friday Service Plays
Villanova +6 vs. Clemson
After splitting with our FREE college plays Thursday we've got a second winner coming tonight as we go with Villanova and grab the points against Clemson.
Clemson hasn't been in the Big Dance for 10 years so look for some nerves from the Tigers in this one and we like how Villanova closed the season. Look for this game to come down to the wire so take the points and the underdog Wildcats.
Villanova finished the season 6-3 and they are in the tourney for the fourth straight year. And this teams knows how to step up on a neutral site, going 13-4 ATS the last 17 times they've been 'dogs on a neutral court.
The Wildcats are tourney tested and their Big East schedule was brutal, playing the likes of Georgetown, Pitt, West Virginia and Louisville seemingly night in and night out.
Clemson didn't have a cakewalk in the ACC but this team relies on an up-and-down game too much and tries to get the game at a hectic pace and we all know NCAA games tend to slow down and become more of a halfcourt affair. The Tigers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight when favored on a neutral court.
Go ahead and grab the points and play Wildcats in this one.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Villanova vs. Clemson -6
A 1-1 split on my freebies yesterday as Pitt rolls but Byu fails to cash in.
Lay the points with Clemson tonight when they take on Villanova.
I didn't think Villanova deserved an invite to the Big Dance and you're going to see why after Clemson gets done with them.
The Tigers bring a lot of experience to the table, plus they get a big boost from their quick point guard Demontez Stitt and the sharp-shooting Terrence Oglesby.
Their presence has allowed the rest of the lineup to do their own things.
Clemson has also put forth a much better effort on defense this season, including a press that can wear down Villanova.
Villanova is 0-5 ATS in its last five appearances in the tournament. They are also just 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after a SU defeat.
Clemson is a solid 10-4 ATS in its last 14 non-conference tilts.
Lay the points as Clemson grabs the win and cover.
Arkansas +2 vs.Indiana
A split with my freebies yesterday as Pitt rolls to the easy win and cover but Byu comes up short.
Take Arkansas as the small dog in the East Regional over Indiana.
I know Indiana possesses the talent that could have led them to a higher seeding, but the forced resignation of coach Kelvin Sampson led to the Hoosiers undoing down the stretch. They lost three of their last four games, and covered only one of the six since Sampson stepped down.
Arkansas seemed to hit its stride down the stretch in the up tempo system of coach John Pelphrey.
Indiana forward D. J. White figures to have a tough time against the big frontcourt of Arkansas, which rolls out four players at least 6-10.
That will put more pressure on guard Eric Gordon to provide the offense from the perimeter, and the freshman struggled down the stretch, shooting just 34 percent with 31 turnovers in the last seven games
Take Arkansas as the small dog as their defense carries them tonight and they stay within the number.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Western Kentucky +4 vs Drake
Take the points and back the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers as they make their first tournament appearance in five years. Should be a great match up for this WKU team, as Drake likes to play a similar style of up and down, and shoot the three. Drake makes the tournament for the first time since 1971 after being picked to finish 9th in the preseason. Western comes in 12th in the country in scoring at 77 ppg, and features a very athletic bunch. The Toppers worse loss of the year came against Southern Illinois, which was a 10-point defeat. As for the Toppers other five losses, they came by a total of 21 points. As I stated Drake like to shoot the three, but WKU does pretty well against the three only allowing the opposition to make 33% of their attempts. What often makes the difference however in these tournament games is a team’s depth, and WKU holds this advantage. The WKU bench is averaging 26 ppg, and the Toppers feature two big men over 6-7 in the paint that will bottle up Drakes one big threat inside. Take the points and play WKU to stay tight.
St. Marys +1 vs Miami-Florida
Take the small point and lts play with the Gaels today when they take of the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes. St. Marys stumbled slightly down the stretch, but this does not deter me away from looking for them to pick this win and cover up here today. Miami after all has been one of the most inconsistent teams I have seen all year, and their stretch run was nothing impressive either as the Canes dropped three of their last six. Despite St Marys stumbles they still managed to post up an average of 73.0 ppg over their last five games, while Miami put up an average of 66.5 over the same span. St Marys likes to spread the court and if they are successful in doing this today they will be successful in the outcome as well. The Gaels are bigger overall, and more consistent I feel, and will win this game while covering.
3* ST MARYS
Re: Friday Service Plays
Maryland Baltimore County vs. GEORGETOWN -16'
Our overall comp play run stands at 120-99-4.
Afternoon action today in Raleigh, and while Maryland Baltimore and Georgetown are close in proximity, we feel that is about all they are close in.
Even though Georgetown is not known as a "blowout" team, the Hoyas will not want to give the Retrievers any kind of room for local "bragging" rights, so expect G-Town to bring it strong all afternoon long.
The Hoyas had won 7 in a row - covering 5 of those 7 - prior to their no-show against Pittsburgh in the Big East Championship Game. The matchups were all wrong for Georgetown in that one, as the Panthers are one of the few teams that can be physical with the Hoyas. That is not the case today.
In their lone meeting with a Big East school this season, the Retrievers were on the short-side of an 86-62 pasting at West Virginia. Georgetown just pasted West Virginia in the Big East Tourney.
This one will get ugly.
Play on Georgetown.
Re: Friday Service Plays
St. Mary's +1 vs. Miami-Florida
While Miami and coach Haith were excited to earn the 7th seed in the South Bracket, that excitement will be short-lived, as they face off against a strong St. Mary's squad this afternoon. Fact of the matter is this is a bad match up for the 'Canes for several reasons:
While you'll hear a lot about the Hurricanes Jack McClinton, its the Gaels' sensational freshman PG Patrick Mills that you'll remember after this contest. He may not have McClinton's long range touch, but he can penetrate and score (or dish) with the best of them. Don't sleep on Gales' G Todd Golden either, as he's a 3-point specialist (45% on the season), who'll make Miami pay for any defensive lapses.
The biggest issue Miami has is matching up with the Gaels frontline. 'Canes forwards can be maddeningly inconsistent, especially Dwayne Collins, who scores 26 points against Duke, and then disappears for the rest of the season... And he's their best post player!
Gaels, on the other hand, have three solid options in the frontcourt between Diamon Simpson (13 ppg, 9 rpg, 53 swats), Omar Samhan (10 ppg, 7 rpg, 40 swats), and Ian O'Leary (7 ppg, 4 rpg). All three match up well with the 'Canes forwards, and with the help of their superior point guard play (led by Mills), and a dead-eye 3-point specialist to open up the floor (Todd Golden), this game is St. Mary's for the taking.
Bottom line, the Gaels may be the lower seed, but the match ups dictate a much different story here. McClinton is the best scorer on the floor, but he has the tendency to ball-hog, all while the rest of the 'Canes just stand by and watch. Gaels offense is far more balanced and consistent, and that'll be the difference in this contest.
Take St. Mary's plus the points over Miami-Florida in this NCAA Tournament First Round match up.
3* ST. MARY'S
Re: Friday Service Plays
St. Joseph's +1 vs. OKLAHOMA
The G-Man gave you a winner last night on Texas A&M to make it a 6-3 run the last 9 days with my free plays
#11 vs. #6 tonight, and the line on this St. Joseph's-Oklahoma game tells me all I need to know about who is going to win.
The Hawks are the easy call in this one, as St. Joseph's owns a decided edge at the point, and they have the size and versatility with Ferguson, and Calathes to do damage to the defensive-minded Sooners in this neutral site game.
Oklahoma was not a very lucrative play away from Norman this season, as they went just 6-9 against the spread on the highway this season.
St. Joe's counters with a money-making 13-6 spread mark on the road this year, and the fact the Hawks twice beat Xavier in the closing days of the season tells the G-Man they can hang with this OU team tonight.
Oklahoma has been held in the 40's three times in their last seven games!
Limited offense proves to be a bad mix at this time of the year.
Take the Hawks.
4* ST. JOSEPH'S
Re: Friday Service Plays
St. Joseph's +1' vs. Oklahoma
Split our two FREE plays in the opening round of the tourney Thursday as UNLV delivered a winner for us but Arizona went down in the nightcap. Today we've got a complimentary winner with St. Joseph's as the Hawks take on Oklahoma.
What a run St. Joseph's made in the Atlantic-10 tourney, reaching the championship game by beating the likes of Fordham, Richmond and Xavier (3-0 ATS) before falling to Temple in the title game.
The Hawks went 4-1 on a neutral court this season and held the opposition to 59.4 points and 39.9 percent shooting on neutral courts. Meanwhile they shot 51.6 percent from the floor and averaged 70.4 points.
St. Joseph's also doesn't mind going on the highway, finishing this season 13-6 ATS away from home while Oklahoma was just 6-9 ATS in a strange environment.
The Sooners failed to cover either game in the Big 12 tourney, beating Colorado 54-49 but coming up short as nine-point favorites and then they got drilled by Texas 77-49 as a 5 1/2-point 'dog. They are just 3-5 ATS in their last eight overall.
Here comes your classic upset in the Big Dance. Go ahead and grab the points and play St. Joseph's in this one, but don't be surprised when the Hawks win this one outright.
4* ST. JOSEPH'S
Re: Friday Service Plays
LA Clippers and POR Trail Blazers.
Take " POR Trail Blazers"
Portland had a great run early in the season, surprising for such a young team, but then cooled off. Well now this young team is offering value again, led by star guard Brandon Roy and fiery coach Nate McMillan. Portland is 4-0 Su/ATS the last 4 games as a favorite, and they are rested for this game. They take on an LA Clipper team that has packed in the season, on a 2-12 SU, 3-11 ATS run. The Blazers have sold out 19 games in a row at home and can give that crowd a blowout win over a very bad team.
MIA Heat and CHA Bobcats.
Take " CHA Bobcats".
Charlotte is home after a long road trip. The Bobcats have been under the radar, going 8-3 ATS the last 11 games. They.5?re a young team that struggles on the road, but at home they have winning records, both SU and ATS. Miserable Miami is 6-27 on the road and comes into this one in a terrible situational handicapping spot, playing their 4th game in 5 nights, while Charlotte is rested.
Re: Friday Service Plays
THE SPORTS REPORTER
(1) NORTH CAROLINA vs. (16) MOUNT ST. MARY’S
-- Tarheels were extended to win ACC tournament,staging second-half rallies to put
away Virginia Tech and Clemson. But sustained intensity’s lone question in this price
range, versus either possible play-in opponent, with Tyler Hansbrough operating inside,
Wayne Ellington sharpshooting, and a healthy Ty Lawson at the controls. Northeast
Conference tourney champs Mount St. Mary’s found way after beating Sacred Heart at
their place, but guards Jeremy Goode and Chris Vann were overwhelmed on the road
at Oklahoma (by 24), at American (by 19), at George Washington (by 15), and at James
Madison by a dozen! Play-in foe Coppin State won their four Mid-Eastern Athletic
Conference tourney games by a total of six points behind Tywain McKee, finishing with
12-1 run after opening 4-19! MEAC’s ATS history in Dance is >.500, though conference-
winning seventh seeds aren’t our preferred vehicles, baby.
NORTH CAROLINA 94 MOUNT ST. MARY’S 67
(8) INDIANA vs. (9) ARKANSAS -- The Hoosiers boast considerable core talent,
but shot-selection quality deteriorated after Dan Dakich took over, resulting in bad
losses to Michigan State, Penn State – and to Minnesota in the Hoosier’s one-and-done
tournament experience. Whether you’re going to see the best efforts of Eric Gordon, D.
J. White and Jordan Crawford in this spot seems problematic. John Pelphrey’s Hogs
overcame spotty guard play to make the SEC tournament finals, behind F Sonny
Weems, shooting guard Patrick Beverly, and C Darian Townes, taking out Tennessee and
Vanderbilt in the process. Their uptempo style can disconcert distracted Big 10 entry
with questionable focus.
ARKANSAS 71 INDIANA 70
(6) OKLAHOMA vs. (11) ST. JOSEPH’S – Power ratings have dictated Big
XII Sooners’ slight favoritism over A-10’s Hawks, but we beg to differ. Respect OU’s
road win at West Virginia, but St. Joe’s played most of their name opponents tough
before finally crashing over down the stretch to beat Xavier twice in eight days, including
in their conference tourney semis. “Bounce” losses to Dayton and Temple followed,
respectively, but loss to Owls was their fourth game in four days, and forgivable. 6’10”
Blake Griffin, 6’7” Taylor Griffin and 6’11” Longar Longar are formidable, but Hawks can
match up with 6’10” G/F Pat Calathes and 6’9” Ahmad Nivens. And I’ll take Phil Martelli
over Jeff Capel any day. Hawks’ stalwart man “D” keeps this tight, with points well
ST. JOSEPH’S 60 OKLAHOMA 56
(3) LOUISVILLE vs. (14) BOISE STATE – We’re looking at a pair of zonedefense
and 3-point-shooting adherents, here, and facing the Broncos, Rick Pitino’s
crew will be staring down a lesser defensive effectiveness. Earl Clark and David
Padgett can light it up, and if Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa do their part, doubt senior
forwards Reggie Larry and Matt Nelson can keep pace, Larry and Nelson’s free-throw
shooting is below par, which may hinder their staying in touch. 3 OT struggle in WAC
final may have lingering effects. Boise lost to the Ville in their last Dance appearance,
in ’94. Once more, with feeling.
LOUISVILLE 81, BOISE STATE 65
BJCC, Birmingham, AL
(7) BUTLER vs. (10) SOUTH ALABAMA -- South Alabama is a team with
serious talent – specifically 20 ppg scorer Demetric Bennett. Unfortunately, they won’t
be able to stretch their collective legs against the methodical Butler Bulldogs, who play
as efficient a game as any team in the country. South Alabama can score well, but they
are prone to turnovers, which is a killer against the surgical fellas from Indianapolis. If
they can limit the empty possessions, it will be a solid battle, but this Butler squad hit
the Sweet 16 last year and are even more confident this year.
(2) TENNESSEE vs. (15) AMERICAN -- Bruce Pearl’s squad will be seeing
red after losing in the SEC tourney. The Vols are a balanced, athletic bunch that will
have their way with the turnover prone Eagles. For American to keep it respectable,
they’ll need to hit double-digit threes. 40% of their shot attempts are from behind the
arc and they do hit at a 41% clip – but their best shooter is 5’11 Garrisson Carr who
will have trouble against the bigger Vol defenders. This is a tune-up for the #2 seed,
one that could help them prepare for Butler should it fall that way.
Tennessee wants to play South Alabama in the second round – not ‘cause their
Southern folk – but because they like to get up and down the floor. That said, Pearl’s
bunch is too experienced and talented for this group.
(1) MEMPHIS vs. (16) TEXAS-ARLINGTON -- After back-to-back trips to
the Elite 8, it’s the Final Four or bust for Calipari’s bunch. Both of these teams play an
up-tempo style – trouble for the #16 seed is that they turn it over more, don’t play as
much defense, and are smaller than the #1 seed. The Tigers frontcourt of Dorsey and
Dozier will be there to pick up the infrequent misses from their backcourt mates.
(8) MISSISSIPPI STATE vs. (9) OREGON - Under-achieving athletic teams
square off on Friday in Little Rock. The point guards will tell the story of this one.
Mississippi St.’s Jamont Gordon is a 6’4 225 lb. linebacker playing the one-guard spot
SEC clubs forced other players to beat them, so we’ll see if Ernie Kent and his staff go
to school on that. As Tajuan Porter goes – so go the Ducks. Porter could have trouble if
matched against the much bigger Gordon. As a team, the Bulldogs play better defense,
limiting opponents to under 39% shooting on the season. Oregon will struggle keeping
Gordon out of the lane, meaning that he’ll be able to create and wreak havoc. Bulldogs
win it late.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 74-70
Alltel Arena, Little Rock, AR
(7) MIAMI-FL over (10) ST. MARY’S - St. Mary’s boss Randy Bennett
learned a valuable lesson in a disgusting loss to USD in the WCC semi-final – his team
ain’t good playing half-court hoops. He’s in luck – Miami wants no part of a half-court
game either. The Gaels are flying a bit under the radar after their late season fold, but
make no mistake, they have talent. Frosh guard Patty Mills can handle, create, and
score (just ask Oregon, he hung 37 on them). The ‘Canes are just okay on D and would
rather expend their breath taking shots. With 44% of Miami’s points coming from their
guards, the guards need to be on. If they’re not – they’ll shoot their team right out of
the game. The Gaels play good defense, so backboards beware. Miami does crash the
offensive glass with force, but St. Mary’s frontcourt goes 6’11, 6’7, 6’7, so it won’t be
easy picking. It’s easy to take the ACC team over the west coasters who didn’t make
their conference tourney final. Resist the urge.
ST. MARY’S 73-65
(2) TEXAS vs. (15) AUSTIN PEAY - Texas’ guards are the engine that drives
this machine. The Governors will find that guarding Augustin and Abrams is really
tough. They had trouble playing defense in the Ohio Valley for goodness sakes. Austin
Peay also does not rebound well – a strength of Rick Barnes’ team. The Longhorns are
not big or deep – so for that reason the #15 seed could hang for a while. Remember –
Texas is coming off of a late Sunday game – so Barnes will look to play guys that only
see the floor in practice. Beware of the backdoor cover.
5) CLEMSON vs. (12) VILLANOVA -- Forged in the heat of the harshest
ACC fires, Tigers scarcely ready to toss in their Dance cards yet, after beating Duke
off 22 losses to the Blue Devils and subsequently giving the ‘Heels a giant headache
before yielding grudgingly. This tourney run was no fluke, as should be demonstrated,
here. ‘Cats are in, since Big East opening-rounder vs. the Cuse served as a playin
game, but guards Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham are the heart of the
offense, and don’t expect those ‘Cats to survive the defensive onslaught Cliff
Hammonds, K. C. Rivers and James Mays will bring on. At the least, ‘Cats offensive
rhythm will be severely affected, to their detriment. Non-physical Big East team
(3) VANDERBILT vs. (13) SIENA -- Saints alive! Commodores have
enjoyed a quality campaign, but appeared to wear down a tad physically, in the late
going, and the pride of Loudonville, NY should be in this, throughout. You catch Vandy
away from that trick home court of theirs, and you have a shot, and with decent
guards like the Saints’ Edwin Ubiles and Kenny Hasbrouck, you have more than that.
The Metro Atlantic champs caught Stanford at the tail-end of an odd Eastern trip, and
rolled by 12, and traveled to Boise State and demolished them in Bracket Busters.
Some bad losses are evident, yes, but the near-term focus will be there for HC Fran
McCaffery, and with Vandy staring into the barrel of Clemson/Kansas should they get
past this, this spot for this dog is most-alluring, against a team which lives and dies
with the “3.”
RBC Center, Raleigh, NC
(7) GONZAGA vs. (10) DAVIDSON -- The Zags are a household name every
March – but you can live on your rep for only so long. Davidson was tourney ready
last year, but drew a tough match up against an ultra-athletic Maryland team. The
tourney committee was a bit nicer this year. Davidson sophomore guard Stephen
Curry is a scoring machine (25 ppg) who can get his shot at any time. His supporting
cast can play some ball as well and will give Mark Few’s team fits. As for the
Bulldogs – they simply are not as good as they have been in the past for two main
reasons – (1) lack of productive big men – Kuso looks lost in the low post and
Heytvelt would rather hang out at the top of the key; and (2) no pure shooter – several
guys can hit the three at times, but they can hit scoring droughts against more
athletic defenders. Point guard Pargo may have to expend his energy defending
Curry, leaving less for the offensive end.
(2) GEORGETOWN vs. (15) UMBC -- The Hoyas struggle against teams
that defend the perimeter and rebound well. Enter UMBC – a team that struggles on
the defensive end and can’t keep teams off of the offensive glass. They can score
with the best of ‘em, but the Hoyas are allowing opponents to hit only 40% of 2’s and
30% of 3’s on the season. The Retrievers of UMBC may need a St. Bernard to dig
them out of the RBC Center when this one is over.
5) DRAKE vs. (12) WESTERN KENTUCKY -- Too bad Bulldogs were
dealt another mid-major blessed with considerable heart, rather than a fat powerconference
reputation team ripe for the plucking. We’d have to lay fewer points. But
amazing Drake’s blessed with seniors Adam Emmenecker (a former walk-on!) and
Klayton Korver, providing priceless leadership for HC Keno Davis. This team can drive
and kick the ball out with the best of them. They only have two guys over 6’6” but
they ravaged the Missouri Valley, went to Butler and throttled them on Bracket Buster
Saturday, and are capable of surprising feats. WKU emerged from the Sun Belt
Tournament, as we suspected they would, but they’ll be facing bright people, playing
basketball as it should be played.
(4) CONNECTICUT vs. (13) SAN DIEGO -- UConn missed the Dance last
year, but Jim Calhoun had ably laid the groundwork for a comeback campaign, and
once the Big East schedule commenced, the improvements became apparent. But
there were character issues, which forced the lengthy absence of the likes of talented
G Jerome Dyson. Abundant talent abounds (G A. J. Price, and stalwart defensive C
Hasheem Thabeet, etc., etc.), but the ball-control is frequently unsteady. This is
unlikely to hinder the cause against San Diego, who were blessed by the West Coast
Conference playing their tournament on the Toreros’ home court, and took full advantage.
The class difference, here? Too much. But Drake matches up splendidly against
Re: Friday Service Plays
Game: Siena vs. Vanderbilt
Siena(22-10) prepares to face a strong Vanderbilt(26-7) team that some of the pundits have chosen , as possible dark horse contenders. Im in disagreement, as Im thinking their opponents today are very capable of upending their SEC opponents the Commodores in surprising fashion. This Siena Saints basketball program, has a history, of pulling off upsets, as was the case 19 years ago when they upset Stanford in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Look for the Saints , to figure out a way to keep , Vandy super star guard Shan Foster , under wraps, and for this well coached intelligent group , to give us the cover. Final notes & Key Trends: Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and are 8-2 ATS L/10 as a 6.5 or less. Play on Siena
Re: Friday Service Plays
1 Unit on Davidson -2
Davidson has won 22 games in a row. How’s that for momentum? This is a Wildcats team which took North Carolina and Duke down to the wire in the non-conference season. I like Davidson to move on against a Gonzaga team which isn’t nearly as good as it’s been in years past. Davidson is 31-10 ATS when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 80%) after 15 or more games since 1997 and 6-0 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games this season. The Wildcats are 11-1 ATS versus good teams - outscoring their opponents by 4+ points/game this season and 7-0 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over the last 2 seasons. The Cats can score and they also play great defensive. I like Davidson here.
Re: Friday Service Plays
San Diego vs. Connecticut
Few teams enter the tournament as hot as the Huskies. UConn won 13 of their final 15 regular season games and if the Big East was not competitive enough, they added in a quality road win at Indiana in late January and a 12 point win over Georgia Tech in early February. All of this with third leading scorer Dyson (returned for last five games) missing nine games due to suspension. The Huskies lead the nation in blocked shots per game. Their superior size, strength, and athleticism figure to give San Diego fits. The Toreros have no business being in the dance, but parlayed home court advantage and a miracle comeback win in 2OT over St Mary's to upset Gonzaga in the WCC final. Before the WCC tournament USD went 2-8 (avg loss by 11.25 points) vs teams playing in the postseason, with one of those wins coming at Kentucky when the Wildcats were struggling and San Diego got four 3's from a walk-on freshman. UCONN rolls behind their veteran head coach.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Little Rock, AR
Memphis over Texas-Arlington by 21
If you want to take a shot against Memphis, you gotta like that Arlington has three players
in its top six minute-getters who go 6-9, 260, 6-7, 230 and 6-5, 250. No undersized
group of three-point chuckers will be hanging around against the Tigers. You want a
group like North Texas last season who are big enough to bump with Dozier, Dorsey
and Taggart, not foul out, and force Memphis to the line (just 59.5% on free throws)
while hoping that Calipari goes to his bench early and often while looking ahead to
either Oregon or Mississippi State. MEMPHIS, 78-57.
Oregon over Mississippi State by 1
Rick Stansbury, or Ernie Kent in a high-profile Tournament game? Cruel, cruel choice.
Mississippi State can clog the lane on defense with Varnado and Rhodes, cutting off
Oregon dribble penetration by some quick guards. Even lanky Ducks? forward Maarty
Leunen likes to get in the lane when he can. But with that particular option covered,
Oregon becomes a pretty dull halfcourt bunch with 5-5 Tajuan Porter dribbling around
like a fool and chuckin? it like there was no tomorrow. Problem is, there is no tomorrow
and the kid sometimes gets in a zone, plus he and several teammates can give State
guard Ben Hansbrough windburn. Speaking of zone, the Mississippi State coaches
haven?t taught a guard how to play effectively against one since they arrived there. OREGON,
Villanova over Clemson by 1
Sure, Clemson is an upperclassmen-laden team from the ACC that has a bunch of
impressive blowout wins, beat Duke last weekend and nearly beat North Carolina
twice. Wonderful. But they only know how to play one way, which doesn?t figure to
cause Villanova much grief. Go ahead and pressure Scottie Reynolds. Zip-zip, layup for
a teammate. Villanova has guards with good-sized bodies on them and their forwards
size up well with Mays and Booker on the Tigers. Villanova will refuse to be intimidated
on the floor, and Jay Wright isn?t overmatched in the coaching match-up. Clemson
is a spotty 3-point shooting team, poor from the free-throw line. Villanova is also spotty
from 3, but good from the free-throw line. VILLANOVA, 74-73.
Vanderbilt over Siena by 9
It would be easier to like underdog Siena if they hadn?t earned the MAAC auto-bid by
beating a string of depth-shy opponents on their own home floor. In the title game,
Rider was missing two injured starters. Head coach Fran McCaffrey has been to the Big
Dance with Lehigh and NC-Greensboro and got waxed each time, but this team sports
the nation?s fourth-best offensive turnover ratio (only 15.4% of possessions) against a
Vandy defense not known for taking it away. Siena can try to out-quick the
Commodores playing three guards while Vandy center Oglivy is on the floor in his first
NCAA Tournament, and 6-6 Edwin Ubiles might be quick and shifty enough to score
on him. Siena?s home win vs. Stanford will receive much pre-game play: They shot 32
free throws to Stanford?s 3. How does that happen? VANDERBILT, 85-76.
North Carolina over Mt. St. Mary?s by 24
Name That Score! Mount St. Mary?s gets 14.5 points and 5.3 assists per game from toosmall
soph point guard Jeremy Goode -- 5-9, 170. In his own conference, Goode has
been able to get to the free-throw line a lot, but he can?t shoot 3s. That chore goes to 6-
0 senior Chris Vann and 6-4 soph Will Holland (only 8.8 points per game). Coppin
State gets only .89 points per possession. For the season, Coppin shoots only 39.8%
overall, just 31% from 3-point range. They feasted on turnovers within a conference
rated as the second-weakest in the nation. NORTH CAROLINA, 85-61 / 88-55.
Arkansas over Indiana by 1
Arkansas? pressure could get to Indiana, which didn?t face much of it against the abundance
of sluggish Big Ten foes. Hoosiers ball-handlers Bassett and Gordon will have
stuff thrown at them that has disrupted the normal offensive flow of many opponents,
giving those opponents less time to operate within the allotted 35 seconds. As a freshman
possibly going pro soon, Gordon might be inclined to shot-hog the Hoosiers out
of the game in his ?one shining moment.? Arkansas is a senior-laden team whose guards
have long been on-again, off-again on three-pointers but are supported by three senior
big men to do plenty of dirty work inside against overrated Hoosier forward D.J.
White. ARKANSAS, 79-78.
St. Joseph?s over Oklahoma by 5
The Oklahoma offense consists of big men Blake Griffin and Longar Longar chasing
down missed three-pointers for offensive rebounds, a fresh 35 seconds, entry passes, a
miss, and a put-back. St. Joe?s is a good candidate to put a stop to this nonsense. The
Hawks can usually score well out of their offense, and Sooners? head coach Jeff Capel
last five seasons have been spent in the CAA and Big 12. Getting ready for this particular
A-10 team on short notice is a tough task, a lot tougher than St. Joe?s has it because
St. Joe?s just needs to do its usual decent job of boxing out and running their sets to prevail
in this game. Oklahoma?s offense is a 40-ish outing waiting to happen. ST.
Louisville over Boise State by 10
Louisville has a wave of physical guards who, in most match-ups, can wear out the other
side over the course of a game with pressure defense and constant hounding. The range
and passing skills of 6-11 Scott Padgett enables him to be the midrange connecting
force for the offense. But Boise is a double-digit dog with some lengthy players that can
score, never something to sneeze at. Louisville has been crying to run, escaping the
physical Big East foes gives them the opportunity, but that could open a door for a
stranger that refused to lose on New Mexico State?s home floor in order to get here.
Butler over South Alabama by 2
Ultimately, USA of the Sun Belt figures to fall via lack of depth to play good enough
defense for 40 minutes against Butler?s clock-milking motion offense. But since they
can score (75.5 points per game) have a nice, positive assist-to-turnover ratio and the
top eight minute-getters are upperclassmen, they?ll compete. Butler?s offensive efficiency
is not as sharp as it was last season and the first-year head coach (ex-assistant) is
favored in his first NCAA game as boss-man, against multi-tourney vet Ronnie Arrow.
Tennessee over American by 22
American?s two leading scorers are 5-11, 165 and 5-9, 175 guards Carr (from 3) and
Mercer (on the dribble-drive). As a group, they are neither big nor deep. The bench
doesn?t score much. At the pace they play (slow, 60.9 possessions per game), they have
shot effectively. Can they get their preferred tempo here? Tennessee plays at a top 20
pace ? 72.4 possessions per game, and Tennessee is one of the most stubborn teams
going, Eneregizer Bunnying it for better or worse. Against this caliber, probably for better.
*Orlando over Philadelphia by 16
Since Jan. 30, the Magic have scored at least 100 points in 19 of their last 22 games
through March 16. The 76ers are 3-21 when surrendering 100 or more points through
March 18. The 76ers had problems recently against Kevin Garnett and could face the
same difficulties trying to control Dwight Howard inside. Orlando has defeated
Philadelphia in six of the past eight meetings. The 76ers could still be without Willie
Green (check status). ORLANDO 114-98.
Seattle over *Los Angeles Lakers by 1
Just when you think the Lakers are the best team in basketball they turn around and
lose to a bad team like they earlier this month at home to the Kings as 13 _-point
favorites. The Sonics had covered nine of their past 12 road games through March 15.
The Lakers are in a precarious situational spot and could overlook Seattle. Los Angeles
just concluded a tough four-game road trip on Thursday at Utah and has a home-andaway
series on Sunday and Monday versus Golden State up next. SEATTLE 111-110.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Game 821-822: Villanova vs. Clemson
Dunkel Ratings: Villanova 67.969; Clemson 69.703
Dunkel Line: Clemson by 2
Vegas Line: Clemson by 6
Dunkel Pick: Villanova (+6)
Game 823-824: Siena vs. Vanderbilt
Dunkel Ratings: Siena 60.179; Vanderbilt 67.841
Dunkel Line: Vanderbilt by 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Vanderbilt by 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Vanderbilt (-6 1/2)
Game 825-826: Western Kentucky vs. Drake
Dunkel Ratings: Western Kentucky 62.191; Drake 67.496
Dunkel Line: Drake by 5 1/2
Vegas Line: Drake by 4
Dunkel Pick: Drake (-4)
Game 827-828: San Diego vs. Connecticut
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego 60.611; Connecticut 69.831
Dunkel Line: Connecticut by 9
Vegas Line: Connecticut by 12
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+12)
Game 829-830: Mt. St. Mary's vs. North Carolina
Dunkel Ratings: Mt. St. Mary's 52.313; North Carolina 77.299
Dunkel Line: North Carolina by 25
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A
Game 831-832: Arkansas vs. Indiana
Dunkel Ratings: Arkansas 67.084; Indiana 65.500
Dunkel Line: Arkansas by 1 1/2
Vegas Line: Indiana by 2 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arkansas (+2 1/2)
Game 833-834: MD-Baltimore Co. vs. Georgetown
Dunkel Ratings: MD-Baltimore Co. 54.196; Georgetown 73.771
Dunkel Line: Georgetown by 19 1/2
Vegas Line: Georgetown by 16 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Georgetown (-16 1/2)
Game 835-836: Davidson vs. Gonzaga
Dunkel Ratings: Davidson 68.713; Gonzaga 69.468
Dunkel Line: Gonzaga by 1
Vegas Line: Davidson by 2
Dunkel Pick: Gonzaga (+2)
Game 837-838: TX-Arlington vs. Memphis
Dunkel Ratings: TX-Arlington 49.040; Memphis 77.692
Dunkel Line: Memphis by 28 1/2
Vegas Line: Memphis by 25
Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-25)
Game 839-840: Oregon vs. Mississippi State
Dunkel Ratings: Oregon 68.481; Mississippi State 66.608
Dunkel Line: Oregon by 2
Vegas Line: Mississippi State by 2
Dunkel Pick: Oregon (+2)
Game 841-842: Austin Peay vs. Texas
Dunkel Ratings: Austin Peay 54.452; Texas 73.773
Dunkel Line: Texas by 19 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas by 16
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-16)
Game 843-844: St. Mary's (CA) vs. Miami (FL)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Mary's (CA) 63.976; Miami (FL) 66.315
Dunkel Line: Miami (FL) by 2 1/2
Vegas Line: Miami (FL) by 1
Dunkel Pick: Miami (FL) (-1)
Game 845-846: American vs. Tennessee
Dunkel Ratings: American 51.974; Tennessee 74.519
Dunkel Line: Tennessee by 22 1/2
Vegas Line: Tennessee by 19 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tennessee (-19 1/2)
Game 847-848: South Alabama vs. Butler
Dunkel Ratings: South Alabama 61.363; Butler 65.701
Dunkel Line: Butler by 4 1/2
Vegas Line: Butler by 4
Dunkel Pick: Butler (-4)
Game 849-850: Boise State vs. Louisville
Dunkel Ratings: Boise State 56.443; Louisville 73.378
Dunkel Line: Louisville by 17
Vegas Line: Louisville by 13
Dunkel Pick: Louisville (-13)
Game 851-852: St. Joseph's vs. Oklahoma
Dunkel Ratings: St. Joseph's 63.925; Oklahoma 69.000
Dunkel Line: Oklahoma by 5
Vegas Line: Oklahoma by 1
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma (-1)