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Sunday NCAA News and Notes

Sunday NCAA News and Notes

Sunday's Action
Brian Edwards

Eight games are on tap for gamblers Sunday. Judd Hall has four of ‘em broken down, while I’ll take the other four. Let’s do it…

**Miami vs. Texas**

--Like a Coach K-Bobby Knight matchup or Billy Donovan-John Pelphrey, this is a showdown between mentor and protégé with Rick Barnes and Frank Haith. The UM coach was Barnes’ top assistant for many years and the two remain best friends.

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Texas (29-6 straight up, 16-12 against the spread) as a 7½-point favorite with a total of 139. As of Saturday evening, the Longhorns were 6½ (or seven) at most spots with the total in the 140-141 range. The Hurricanes are plus 240 (risk $100 to win $240) on the money line.

--Texas dominated Austin Peay from start to finish in its first-round game, capturing a 74-54 victory as a 15½-point ‘chalk.’ The 128 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 140½-point tally. A.J. Abrams paced the ‘Horns with 26 points, hitting 10-of-16 shots from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point range.

--Miami (23-10 SU, 16-7 ATS) advanced past St. Mary’s thanks to a brilliant performance from Jack McClinton, who erupted for 38 points to allow the Hurricanes to overcome a five-point deficit at halftime to take a 78-64 win as 1 ½-point underdogs.

--UM has won eight of its last 11 games, posting a 7-3-1 spread record in the process. The ‘Canes are 6-4-3 ATS in 13 games as underdogs.

--Texas has played 17 games against teams in the NCAA Tournament field, winning outright in 13 of those contests.

--The Longhorns are 7-4-1 ATS as single-digit favorites.

--The ‘under’ is 17-12 overall for Texas, 14-12 overall for Miami. Most importantly, the Longhorns have watched the ‘under’ go 9-3 in 12 games with the total in the 140s.

--Tip-off is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Eastern in Little Rock on CBS.

**Tennessee vs. Butler**


--As I’ve said several times since Selection Sunday, both of these schools were shafted by the selection committee. There’s no way a pair of 30-win teams should be meeting this early in the Tournament.

--LVSC opened Tennessee (30-4 SU, 16-14 ATS) as a 5½-point favorite with a total of 140. As of Saturday night, most sports books had UT at 4½ with a total of 139 ½. The Bulldogs are plus 170 to win outright.

--Bruce Pearl’s team hasn’t played a solid 40 minutes of basketball during the seven-game stretch since beating top-ranked-and-previously-undefeated Memphis. The Volunteers are 5-2 SU but 2-5 ATS during that stretch.

--UT got all it wanted from 15th-seeded American in the first round. The Vols won a 72-57 decision, but they never really threatened to cover the 19-point number. In fact, the Eagles pulled to within two at 53-51 with 5:45 remaining. Tyler Smith led UT with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but Chris Lofton struggled with his shot (1-of-7 FGA’s) and scored just five points.

--Butler (30-3 SU, 17-13 ATS) came out and made a statement in its tourney opener, mashing South Alabama from the get-go. After 40 minutes, the Bulldogs had an 81-61 triumph, but the game wasn’t even that close. They led by as many as 27 while lighting it up from 3-point range (15-of-28). Pete Campbell buried eight 3’s and scored a game-high 26 points in just 20 minutes of play.

--Butler has only been an underdog once this season, winning 57-55 at Southern Illinois as a one-point ‘dog. That fact is probably why the committee seeded Butler seventh, but I’m still not buying that thought process. For starters, the Bulldogs have most of the same nucleus that went to the Sweet 16 last year before losing a heartbreaker to eventual-champion Florida. Furthermore, it’s not as if the Bulldogs didn’t try to play a challenging schedule. After all, they posted wins against Michigan, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Bradley and Florida St.

--Butler’s lone losses? The Bulldogs lost by one at Wright St. by four at Cleveland St. and by seven to Drake on BracketBuster Saturday.

--These teams squared off against each last season on Nov. 22 in New York at Madison Square Garden. Butler collected a 55-44 win as a six-point underdog. A.J. Graves scored 15 points for the winners.

--The ‘under’ is 17-13 overall for the Vols, 16-16 for the Bulldogs.

--Tip-off in Birmingham is set for 2:30 p.m. ET.

**San Diego vs. Western Kentucky**


--Both of these teams put their respective programs on the national radar with thrilling wins in St. Pete on Friday afternoon. Both double-digit seeds needed overtime and game-winning jumpers in the final second. I chronicled crunch time of both games in this blog I dubbed Frenetic Friday.

--LVSC opened Western Kentucky (28-6 SU, 18-12 ATS) as a three-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 133. As of Saturday night, most books had the Hilltoppers at five or 5½ with the tally adjusted to 131. Most spots had USD at plus 200 (or more) on the money line.

--I talked to LVSC President Kenny White on Saturday and asked if the move of the number from three to five had anything to do with USD’s Brandon Johnson apparently suffering a leg (or groin) injury in overtime. However, White indicated that that was not the case, as there was no injury information on Johnson impacting the line. For those that didn’t watch, Johnson never left the game – until fouling out, that is – but was noticeably slowed by the malady.

--San Diego (22-13 SU, 22-9 ATS) has won six in a row SU and five straight ATS. The Toreros knocked off UConn 70-69 in overtime thanks to De’Jon Jackson’s game-winning jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining. They hooked up money-line backers with a return of about 7/1 (I saw money-line prices anywhere from plus 600-800) and easily took the cash as 12 ½-point underdogs.

--Western Kentucky led fifth-seeded Drake by double digits for a substantial portion of their first-round game, but the Bulldogs mounted a furious rally to force overtime. In the extra session, Drake’s Jonathan Cox knocked down a pair of free throws for a 99-98 advantage with 5.7 seconds left. Next, Tyrone Brazelton quickly pushed the ball up, only to be well defended and therefore dish to senior Ty Rogers, who had trailed behind Brazelton on the play and instantly caught the pass and released. The 28-30 footer splashed the nets as the horn sounded, conjuring up memories of past NCAA heroics from the likes of players like Tate George, Christian Laettner (twice), Tyus Edney, Richard Hamilton, Mike Miller and others.

--Brazelton finished with 33 points, five rebounds and five assists. As ESPN (temporary) analyst Bobby Knight keenly pointed out, Brazelton’s pass was the epitome of an unselfish, trust-your-teammate sort of play. Most players who had scored 33 in a given game would’ve forced up a shot in traffic, but Brazelton unselfishly dropped the ball off for Rogers who had a much better look at the basket.

--The nation might be hearing all about Brazelton and Rogers, but Western’s premier player is Courtney Lee, who had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the victory.

--San Diego owns an incredible 15-4 spread record as an underdog this season.

--Both squads have watched the ‘under’ go 17-13 overall.

--VegasInsider.com handicapper James Manos, who leads VI in college hoops money (+3545) this season, offered this take on USD-WKy.: “I really like this San Diego team that’s been outstanding as an underdog. Western Kentucky is a team that wants to run, but I’m not sure that San Diego will let ‘em. UConn loves to run and wanted too, but San Diego controlled the pace the entire game.”

--Tip-off is slated for 2:40 p.m. ET.

**Davidson vs. Georgetown**


--Most of the nation might have been unfamiliar with Davidson before Friday, but zero loyal readers of this space were surprised by what transpired in Raleigh on Friday afternoon. Davidson, my “blind” first-round pick since December and favorite selection of the first-round games, came through by virtue of an 82-77 win over Gonzaga.

--The Wildcats cashed tickets as two-point favorites thanks to the heroics of sophomore Stephen Curry, who erupted for 30 points in the second half and finished with 40 even though he took only 22 shots. The son of Dell Curry, who shot 40.2 percent from 3-point land and scored 12,670 points in a 16-year NBA career, Stephen buried 8-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc.

--Just as I stated in my blog Friday, Gonzaga was well prepared for Curry and played solid defense against him. That’s how NASTY Curry was against the ‘Zags. After the game, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said, “We did everything ... and, you know, we actually guarded him probably as well as we could."

--Davidson (27-6 SU, 20-11 ATS) has won 23 consecutive games and hasn’t tasted a defeat since a 66-65 loss at N.C. St. (this same venue) on Dec. 21.

--Georgetown (28-5 SU, 18-16 ATS) advanced to the second round by thumping UMBC 66-47 as a 17-point ‘chalk.’ Jonathan Wallace and Roy Hibbert scored 13 points apiece for the Hoyas.

--Davidson lacks the size to match up with Hibbert, but I was super-impressed with the play of Andrew Lovedale (12 points and 13 boards) against Gonzaga. He makes up for his lack of height with plenty of muscle and tons of heart. As critical as the play of Curry is for Davidson, the most important thing in this game – at least to me – is for Lovedale not to get into foul trouble. If he does, the Wildcats will have an immense problem contending with Georgetown’s size.

--Great matchup of points guards in this contest: Wallace vs. Jason Richards. Both players are great free-throw shooters who can also stroke it from 3-point land, but they are best known for their passing ability. Richards leads the nation in assists (8.0 per game) and had 15 points and nine dimes Friday.

--Bob McKillop’s team is a perfect 4-0 ATS as an underdog this year, cashing tickets in ‘dog spots against North Carolina, Duke, UCLA and N.C. St.

--The ‘under’ is 19-11 overall for the Hoyas, 18-13 overall for the Wildcats.

--LVSC opened the Hoyas as 4 ½-point favorites with a total of 132. As of Saturday night, most books had G-town at five with the total adjusted to 130. The Wildcats are plus 190 on the money line.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Five teams that should be ashamed of themselves:
1-Vanderbilt
2-South Alabama
3-Kent State
4-Indiana
5-Clemson

--I called for two big second-round upsets earlier in the week. I hit my first (West Virginia) and have my second going today. Again, I say with confidence: Mississippi State beats Memphis outright.

--I know Villanova has a quality squad, but you can’t give up an 18-point lead like Clemson did – at least not this time of year.

--I know his floor game remains outstanding, but D.J. Augustin has got to start shooting the ball better if the Longhorns are going to make a deep run.

--My final Coach of the Year thoughts:
1-Keno Davis (Drake)
2-Bo Ryan (Wisconsin)
3-Bruce Pearl (Tennessee)
4-Matt Painter (Purdue)
5-Bob McKillop (Davidson)

--Wisconsin continues to fly under everyone’s radar, but I’m sure Ryan and Co. are just fine with that. The Badgers dominated K-St. in Saturday’s second-round victory.

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Re: Sunday NCAA News and Notes

Sunday's Second Round Action
By Judd Hall

Friday afternoon was full of upsets. Friday night, on the other hand, went a little more according to Hoyle. The favorites went 5-3 straight up and 4-4 against the spread in the late session, with the ‘over’ going 5-3.

Two of those three upsets came in Tampa, where Sienna took Vandy to task and Villanova rallying in the second half to send Clemson packing.

The last eight tickets to the Sweet 16 will be punched before the end of Sunday, so let’s break down four of the matchups on CBS.

No. 12 Villanova vs. No. 13 Siena (Midwest – Tampa, Florida, 12:10 pm EDT)


Siena was a popular pick to upset the Commodores on Friday night and it didn’t disappoint as a 7 ½-point underdog, winning 83-62. Of course, you should expect to win your opening round contest when you shoot 56.5 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free throw line.

The Wildcats looked every bit the part of a 12th seed in the first half against Clemson, trailing 39-27. Villanova knew it needed a big game out of Scottie Reynolds in order to have a shot at advancing and he came through in the clutch, connecting on seven of 12 shots and four of five from beyond the arch to have a game-high 21 points.

‘Nova also helped itself by stifling the Tigers’ offense to 38.3 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 percent from three-point land. Considering that Clemson normally shoots 45.8 percent from the field and 37.7 on the perimeter, you can see it was going to be a long night.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the line on this donnybrook with the ‘Cats as 5½-point favorites and a total of 145. In other words, the ‘books are expecting another close game at the St. Pete Times Forum and so should you.

Including its win over the Tigers, Villanova is now 6-7 SU and ATS against tourney teams this season. The Wildcats have seen the ‘under’ go 8-5 during this stretch as well.

No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 8 Mississippi State (South – Little Rock, Arkansas, 4:45 pm EDT)

Memphis never had problems in dispatching the 16th seed Mavericks in the opening round as a 26-point favorite, 87-63. The Tigers shot 52 percent from the field and saw five players come away with double-digit points. Chris Douglas-Roberts led the way with 23 points, while Derrick Rose added 17 points towards Memphis’s cause.

The Bulldogs hung tough after trailing to Oregon at halftime, 38-28. It’s more fair to say that Mississippi State came out alive with a 76-69 win as a 1 ½-point favorite over the Ducks because they couldn’t shoot a three-pointer to save their lives. Ernie Kent’s squad, which shot a Pac-10 high 40.1 percent during the year, made just nine of their 38 attempts from beyond the arch last Friday.

Miss. State also got a career night out of Charles Rhodes, who tallied 34 points and nine boards to keep his team in the game. He shot 10 of 12 from the field and 14 of 18 from the charity stripe. The rest of the ‘Dogs combined to nail 35.8 percent of their field goals.

The oddsmakers at LVSC are expecting a decent tilt this between these two schools as Memphis is just an 8 ½-point favorite, with a total holding tight at 140.

History is favoring the Tigers here as well since they’re 12-5 SU and 9-8 ATS when playing against teams from the Southeastern Conference. You may want to parlay that with the ‘under’ as well given it is 11-6 in the last 17 matches.

No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (East – Birmingham, Alabama, 5:00 pm EDT)

The Cards flew right out of the gates to a 10-1 lead against Boise State and never looked back in their victory as 14 ½-point favorites, 79-61. Louisville was vicious when defending the three-point line, forcing the Broncos into shooting four of 17 from the perimeter…BSU normally hits 39.7 percent during the season.

Oklahoma survived a second half surge by the Hawks on Friday in its 72-64 win to move onto the second round of the NCAA Tournament. David Godbold made sure his Sooners didn’t have a short postseason run this year, leading all scorers with 25 points. Meanwhile, Longar Longar had a great game by providing defensive pressure all match long to go along with 14 points.

LVSC has made Louisville a 7 ½-point “chalk” for this tilt, while the total is holding steady at 132.

The Cardinals have been a solid team to back this year against tournament programs, posting a 10-5 SU and 10-4-1 ATS record. The ‘under’ has gone 10-5 in this stretch, too.

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Arkansas (East – Raleigh, North Carolina, 5:15 pm EDT)

The Tar Heels had no issues in dispatching Mount St. Mary’s as 26-point favorites, 113-74. North Carolina had five players score in the double-digits and shot an impressive 60.6 percent from the field on Friday night. The Heels usually hit about 48.2 percent of their shots, but to be fair, they were hitting a lot of high-percentage shots within two to three feet of the bucket.

Arkansas rode on the back Sonny Weems’s 31 points to push past the Hoosiers as a three-point ‘dog, 86-72. The Razorbacks shot 54.2 percent from the field as a team; Weems was 12 of 14 in field goal shooting. The Hogs also hit 26 of their 33 free throw attempts to put the game out of Indiana’s reach.

The sportsbooks aren’t thinking too much of the Razorbacks chances in this tilt, making North Carolina an 11-point favorite and a total of 156.

Roy Williams’ team is 14-1 SU and 7-8 ATS when favored by 11 or fewer points this season. The ‘over’ is 9-6 in the same situation.

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Re: Sunday NCAA News and Notes

NCAA TOURNAMENT

MIDWEST REGION

(10) Davidson (27-6, 20-11 ATS) vs. (2) Georgetown (28-5, 14-16 ATS)


Georgetown systematically took apart Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round Friday, winning 66-47 and cashing as 17-point favorites, limiting the Retrievers to 16-for-50 (32 percent) shooting. The Hoyas, who won the Big East regular-season title for the second straight season, are looking for back-to-back trips to the Final Four for the first time since 1982-83.

Davidson continued the nation’s longest active winning streak with its 23rd in a row (15-8 ATS) in an 82-76 win over Gonzaga Friday, cashing as a one-point chalk as the lower seed. Guard Stephen Curry put on a show in the victory, scoring 40 points and going 8-for-10 from the 3-point line. The Wildcats, who are back in the Big Dance for the third straight year, rolled through their conference tournament, winning three games by margins of 33, 30 and 16 points.

These teams have a recent history with Georgetown getting the best of the Wildcats, 76-51 as 5 ½-point ‘dogs in 2004 and 71-53 as and 11-point home favorite in 2003.

Georgetown is 8-1 SU in its last nine and 6-3 ATS. The Hoyas are also 6-2 ATS in their last eight against winning teams and 4-1 ATS against teams from the Southern Conference. They are on ATS slides of 4-9 on Sundays and 3-11 following an ATS win.

The Wildcats boast a bunch of positive ATS trends, including 41-19-1 overall, 6-1 at neutral sites, 5-1 in non-conference play, 8-3 as a favorite and 24-9-1 against winning teams.

For Davison, the under is on streaks of 7-2 overall and 7-2 at neutral sites. The under is on runs for Georgetown of 53-26 overall, 14-6 in non-conference games, 10-2 in the NCAA Tournament, 48-21 as a favorite and 12-5 as a neutral-site favorite.

ATS ADVANTAGE: GEORGETOWN and UNDER


(13) Siena (23-10, 18-13 ATS) vs. (12) Villanova (21-12, 13-17 ATS)

Siena not only pulled off the upset of Vanderbilt on Friday, the Saints crushed the Commodores 83-62 as 6 ½-point ‘dogs. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament champs shot 56.5 percent from the floor Friday and hit 88 percent of their free throws to put away Vanderbilt. The win increased Siena’s win streak to seven (5-2 ATS) and all five spread-covers have come in double-digit routs.

Villanova, one of the final at-large bids into the Big Dance, rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Clemson in the opening round Friday 75-69 and get the cash as six-point pups. The Wildcats turned up the defense and held the Tigers to 38.3 percent shooting and 9-of-33 shooting from the 3-point line. They improved to 7-3 SU and ATS in their last 10.

These teams squared off back in 2003 in an NIT game with Siena dominating the Wildcats 74-59 as a 1 ½-point home favorite.

With Friday’s win, Villanova is still mired in a 1-5 ATS slump in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are also just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 as a favorite and 1-6 ATS on Sundays. On a positive note, Jay Wright’s squad is 5-2 ATS following a SU win, 4-1 ATS in their last five overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five against MAAC teams.

Siena is 2-6 ATS in its last eight neutral-site contests, but 27-10 ATS in its last 37 as an underdog, 6-1 ATS against Big East foes, 22-7 ATS on Sundays and 7-3 ATS as a neutral site underdog.

The over is 5-1 in the Saints’ last six as an underdog and 4-1 against the Big East. However the under is 5-0 in their last five, 5-1 on Sundays and 6-2 in non-conference games.

Villanova has been a strong “under” team, staying low in 19 of its last 27 overall, five of its last seven NCAA Tournament games, five of its last seven non-conference outings and four straight as a favorite.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


WEST REGION

(13) San Diego (22-13, 22-9 ATS) vs. (12) Western Kentucky (28-6, 18-12 ATS)


Western Kentucky provided the opening round’s magical moment when Ty Rogers hit a 26-foot 3-pointer as time expired in overtime to lead the Hilltoppers over Drake 101-99 Friday and get the outright win as four-point ‘dogs. The Sun Belt Conference tournament champs hit 50 percent of their 3-pointers against Drake for their seventh straight victory (6-1 ATS) and 18th in their last 19 games.

San Diego, the No. 13 seed, pulled off its last-second victory over UConn when De’Jon Jackson hit a 17-foot shot with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to lead the Toreros to a 70-69 win as 11 ½-point underdogs. San Diego is 14-2 SU in its last 16 (13-3 ATS) and beaten powerhouses St. Mary’s, Gonzaga and UConn in its last three outings.

Western Kentucky is on pointspread runs of 37-15 in non-league play and 7-0 at neutral sites, 5-0 as a favorite and 5-0 following an ATS win.

During their current 14-3 ATS run, the Toreros have cashed in seven of their last eight road games and nine straight contests as an underdog. For the season, USD is 15-4 ATS as a pup. Going back further, the Toreros are on ATS streaks of 21-7 overall, 38-14 after a victory, 36-16 in non-conference action and 36-17 as an underdog.

The under is 14-7 in Western Kentucky’s last 21 overall. However, the over is 13-3-1 in the Hilltoppers’ last 17 neutral-site games, 10-3 in their last 13 non-conference contests and 9-2-1 as a neutral site favorite.

The over is 5-1 in USD’s last six overall, 6-1 for the Toreros on Sundays and 46-20-3 in their last 69 following an ATS win.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


EAST REGION

(7) Butler (30-3, 17-13-2 ATS) vs. (2) Tennessee (30-4, 16-14 ATS)


Tennessee turned up the defense in its opening-round win over American Friday, limiting the Eagles to 36.2 percent shooting in the Vols’ 72-57 win. Tennessee failed to cover as a 19-point chalk and has gone 0-3 ATS and 2-5 ATS down the stretch.

Bruce Pearl’s squad is still 15-2 SU in its last 17 games, and came within a whisker of reaching the Elite Eight last year, blowing a big lead against top-seeded Ohio State in an 85-84 loss as a 4½-point underdog.

Butler jumped all over South Alabama in the first half Friday opening up a 17-point halftime lead and cruising to an 81-61 victory as a four-point favorite. The Bulldogs shot 53.6 percent from the 3-point line and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line to get the easy win. Butler has won 14 of 15 overall (7-7-1 ATS).

These two met in 2006 in the preseason NIT semifinals in New York and the Bulldogs got the 56-44 win as six-point underdogs.

Tennessee is 14-7-1 ATS in its last 22 non-SEC contests and 7-3-1 ATS on Sundays. However, the Vols are stuck in pointspread ruts of 7-21-1 at neutral sites, 4-18-1 as a neutral-site chalk and 1-6-1 as an NCAA Tournament favorite.

The Bulldogs finished last year’s Big Dance 3-0 ATS, and are riding ATS streaks of 6-1 in the Tournament, 21-6 in non-conference games and 6-1 at neutral sites.

The over is 12-5 in Tennessee’s last 17 neutral site games, and 4-1 as a neutral site favorite, however the under is 4-0 in their last four non-conference games and 4-0 on Sundays.

The under is 4-1 in Butler’s last five NCAA Tournament contests. Otherwise, the over is on runs of 5-1 following an ATS win for the Bulldogs, 4-1 in non-conference games and 20-7 when playing a team with a winning percentage .600 or better.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BUTLER


(6) Oklahoma (23-11, 15-15 ATS) vs. vs. (3) Louisville (25-8, 18-12-1 ATS)

Louisville jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead and polished off Boise State 79-61 and getting the cash as a 14-point favorite. The Cardinals are on a 10-2 SU run and 15-4-2 ATS roll including 10-2 ATS in the last 12. The second round is where Rick Pitino’s squad fell last year, losing 72-69 to Texas A&M as a 2½-point ‘dog.

Oklahoma put on a shooting clinic against St. Joseph’s on Friday, hitting 57.1 percent of its shots and leading wire-to-wire in its 72-64 win as a one-point chalk. The Sooners have won eight of their last 11 (6-5 ATS).

Louisville is 2-4 ATS in its last six neutral-site games and just 3-6 ATS in its last nine non-league games. The Cardinals are on ATS streaks of 5-0 on Sundays, 4-0-1 as a Big Dance favorite and 16-5-1 overall in their last 22.

The Sooners are on ATS upswings of 6-1 in non-conference games and 4-1 against teams with a winning record. They’re on ATS slides of 2-5 against the Big East, 6-17-1 as an underdog and 5-16 in neutral site contests.

For Oklahoma, the under is on streaks of 7-1 overall, 6-1 following an ATS win and 5-2 at neutral sites. The over is 6-1 in the Sooners’ last seven non-conference games and 5-1 against Big East foes.

The over is 5-2 for Louisville following an ATS win, but the under is 4-1 in the Cardinals’ last five non-conference games, and 14-5 following a SU win.

ATS ADVANTAGE: LOUISVILLE


EAST REGION

(9) Arkansas (23-11, 12-16-1 ATS) vs. (1) North Carolina (33-2, 21-11 ATS)


The top-ranked Tar Heels won their 12th straight game with Friday’s 113-74 rout of Mount St. Mary’s as North Carolina shot 60.6 percent from the floor in the easy victory. The Tar Heels are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall and just 1-5 ATS as a favorite.

Arkansas used its team speed to shoot 54.2 percent from the floor and upset Indiana 86-72 in Friday’s first round, winning as a two-point underdog. The Razorbacks are 4-1 SU and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games and got past the first round for the first time in three years with Friday’s victory.

Despite their recent 2-5 ATS slump, the Tar Heels are still 39-17-1 ATS in their last 57 non-conference outings (13-1 this season), 6-2 ATS on Sundays, 37-14-1 ATS following an ATS win and 6-0 ATS against SEC competition.

Arkansas is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, but a miserable 2-9 ATS as an underdog, 1-4 as an underdog of seven to 13 points and 1-4 in NCAA tournament games.

Over the last two years, double-digit favorites are an astounding 16-6-1 ATS (9-4 ATS this year).

The over is 21-11-1 in North Carolina’s lined contests this year, including 6-2-1 in the last nine and 9-4 on the road. The over is also 6-2 in the Heels’ last seven non-conference contests.

The over is 8-2 in the Razorbacks’ last 10 as an underdog and 5-2 in their last seven overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


SOUTH REGION

(7) Miami, Fla. (23-10, 16-7-3 ATS) vs. vs. (2) Texas (29-6, 16-13 ATS)

Miami (Fla.) had a big second half Friday night, outscoring St. Mary’s by 19 and pulling away for a 78-64 win as a 1 ½-point underdog. The Hurricanes’ defense held the Gaels to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor. Miami has gone 4-3 in its last seven (3-3-1 ATS) after going 4-0 SU and ATS in its previous four.

Texas opened up a 15-point halftime lead and blew out Austin Peay 74-54 as a 15 ½-point favorite on Friday. The ‘Horns’ defense held the Governors to 28.8 percent shooting from the field, 26.1 percent shooting from the 3-point line and they managed just 66.7 percent from the free-throw line. Texas is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games, but followed up an 8-0 ATS roll by going 2-5 ATS in the last seven.

Rick Barnes’ squad is just 3-7 ATS in its last 10 Tournament games and got bounced from last year’s event in the second round, getting demolished by USC 87-68 as 2 ½-point favorites.

Texas is 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 neutral-site outings, 7-3-1 ATS as a favorite, 4-1 against ACC opponents and 9-4-1 in its last 14 overall.

The Hurricanes boast ATS runs of 18-7-3 overall, 6-1 at neutral sites, 9-0 in non-conference action, 4-0 on Sundays and 12-4-1 following a SU win. However, they’re 0-4 ATS the last four times they’ve seen a Big 12 squad.

The under is on runs of 7-2 for Miami in non-conference play and 4-1 at neutral sites (all as a favorite). However the over is 4-0 for the ‘Canes as an underdog, 4-0 on Sundays and 4-1 in neutral site games.

For Texas, the under is on hot streaks of 4-1 overall, 6-2 as a neutral site favorite, 6-2 in the Tournament and 9-3 as a favorite of seven to 13 points.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


(8) Mississippi State (23-10, 15-15 ATS) vs. (1) Memphis (34-1, 15-18-2 ATS)

Memphis turned in a workmanlike performance in the opening round, ousting Texas-Arlington 87-63 but failing to get the cash as 25 ½-point favorites. The Tigers have won eight straight but they are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine with eight of those coming as double-digit favorites.

Mississippi State rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit Friday night to beat Oregon 76-69 as 2 ½-point favorites and advance to today’s second round. The Bulldogs held the Ducks to 34.4 percent shooting en route to their 18th win in their last 23 games.

The Tigers are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games as a favorite of 7 to 13 points, 32-14-2 ATS in their last 48 when coming off a victory of 20 points or more, and 5-3 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament contests as a favorite.

Mississippi State is in the Tournament for the first time since making it four straight years from 2002-05. The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last five in the Big Dance, 9-3-1 ATS as an underdog of 7 to 13 points and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better. However they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven neutral site contests.

The over is 4-1 in Mississippi State’s last five Tournament games, 6-1 following an ATS win and 4-0 on Sundays. Conversely, the under is 5-0 in Memphis’ last five Sunday games, 11-5 in the Tigers’ last 16 neutral-site games, 9-4 in their last 13 against the SEC and 6-2 in their last eight in Tournament contests.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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Re: Sunday NCAA News and Notes

March Madness Gameday

Friday’s tournament winners hit the hardwood again on Sunday looking to advance to the Sweet 16. Here’s a look at one interesting matchup from each of the regions.

West Region

San Diego (13) vs. Western Kentucky (12)


The Toreros stunned Connecticut 70-69 in overtime as a 12-point underdog on Friday. De’Jon Jackson nailed a jumper from just inside the three-point line with 1.2 seconds remaining in OT to give San Diego the win. Gyno Pomore scored a team-high 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting for San Diego, while Brandon Johnson had 18 points in the upset.

The Hilltoppers pulled off an amazing upset in the opening round by knocking off No. 5 Drake 101-99 in overtime as a 4-point underdog. Ty Rogers was the hero for Western Kentucky, as he hit the game-winning three-pointer as the buzzer sounded in overtime. Tyrone Brazelton led the Hilltoppers with 33 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Courtney Lee chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Hilltoppers are a 5-point favorite in this contest.

South Region

Miami (7) vs. Texas (2)


The Hurricanes got 38 points from Jack McClinton on Friday in their 78-64 win over No. 10 seed St. Mary’s as a 1-point underdog. McClinton was a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line for Miami, while James Dews and Jimmy Graham each netted nine points in the win.

The Longhorns ran over No. 15 seed Austin Peay 74-54 in their opening-round game as a 16-point favorite. A.J. Abrams led Texas with 26 points, which included shooting 6-of-10 from three-point range. Connor Atchley had 12 points for the Longhorns, and Dexter Pittman poured in 11 points in the easy win.

The Longhorns are a 6-point favorite in this game.

East Region

Butler (7) vs. Tennessee (2)


The Bulldogs had no trouble with No. 10 seed South Alabama in the opening round, as they ripped the Jaguars 81-61 as a 4-point favorite. Pete Campbell netted a team-high 26 points for Butler, which included eight three-pointers. A.J. Graves added 18 points, and Matt Howard deposited 11 points.

It took a while for the Volunteers to find their footing in their opener versus No. 15 seed American, but once they found their shot in the second half they rolled to a 72-57 win as a 20-point favorite. The Smith boys each had a solid game for Tennessee, as JaJuan Smith scored a team-high 19 points and Tyler Smith added 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Tennessee leading scorer Chris Lofton struggled throughout the game, and he had only five points on 1-of-7 shooting.

The Volunteers check in as a 4.5-point favorite in this one.

Midwest Region

Davidson (10) vs. Georgetown (2)


The Wildcats stormed through No. 7 seed Gonzaga 82-76 as a 1.5-point favorite in the opening round behind a sensational effort from Stephen Curry. Curry nearly scored half of Davidson’s points in the win, as he poured in 40, which included eight three-pointers. Jason Richards added 15 points for the Wildcats, and Andrew Lovedale delivered 12 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.

The Hoyas mangled UMBC 66-47 as a 17.5-point favorite on Friday. The 15th-seeded Retrievers had trouble stopping seven-footer Roy Hibbert, who dropped in 13 points for Georgetown. Jonathan Wallace also scored 13 points for the Hoyas, and Austin Freeman added 11 points.

The Hoyas are a 5-point favorite against the upstart Wildcats.

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Bettors in danger of losing seed money

If you ever needed to know why the NCAA men's basketball tournament can be so wacky for bettors, just check out the point spreads for Villanova's games in the first two rounds.

After being eliminated by Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, the Wildcats were considered an NCAA bubble team and got in as the 12th-seeded team in the Midwest Regional.

Villanova then opened the tournament as a six-point underdog against Clemson, which was coming off an impressive run in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

And guess what? The Wildcats proved Las Vegas oddsmakers wrong and won, 75-69, to earn a spot in today's second-round game.

Normally, an underdog first-round winner stays in that role throughout a seeded tournament. But that's not true for Villanova, which is listed as a 5 1/2 -point favorite in the second round.

That's because the Wildcats will not face another single-digit seeded opponent today. Instead they will play 13th-seeded Siena, which upset Vanderbilt, 83-62, despite being listed as a 6 1/2 -point underdog in the first-round game.

March Madness at its best.

There's more. In the West Regional, 12th-seeded Western Kentucky was a four-point underdog for its first-round game against fifth-seeded Drake and won, 101-99, in overtime.

As a second-round reward, the Hilltoppers have been made 5 1/2 -point favorites over 13th-seeded San Diego, which pulled off its own first-round upset over No. 4-seeded Connecticut.

The Toreros were 11 1/2 -point underdogs but defeated the Huskies, 70-69, in overtime.

Pro basketball

After failing to cover the spread in four consecutive games, the money-making Lakers have covered in their last three games heading into tonight's matchup against Golden State at Staples Center.

The Lakers, who are favored by seven points over the Warriors, have been a solid bet throughout the season, putting together an impressive 42-25-1 record against the spread.

Golden State, which is coming off a three-point loss at home to Houston on Friday, has failed to cover the line in four of its last five games. The Warriors are also 3-13 against the spread in their last 16 games against Western Conference opponents.

The best bet for tonight's game may be the over/under, which opened with a combined point total of 230.

The over is 5-1 the last six times the Lakers have played the Warriors at Staples Center, and in the Lakers' last 26 home games in which they have been favored by between five and 10 1/2 points, the over is 21-5.

The over is also 8-1 in the last nine games in which Golden State has been an underdog.

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Re: Sunday NCAA News and Notes

Tar Heels & Tigers draw tough on Sunday
By: Chance Harper

No. 1’s North Carolina and Memphis are in for early challenges on Sunday, as Arkansas and Mississippi have the personnel to hang with the best. Georgetown will also have its hands full, drawing No. 10 Davidson after the Wildcats knocked off Gonzaga in the opening round on Friday afternoon. After Friday's Dog Day, are more upsets in store for Sunday's close to the first round?

No. 10 Davidson vs. No. 2 Georgetown (-5, 130)

Stephen Curry was absolutely magical in Davidson’s 82-76 win over No. 7 Gonzaga in the first round of the Midwest Regional on Friday. Curry dropped 40 points, including 30 in the second half as Davidson (27-6, 20-11 ATS) cashed in as 1-point favorites.

Public bettors are worried that Georgetown (28-5, 14-16 ATS) is simply too big for the Wildcats, but wise guys know that won’t be the difficulty. The problem for Davidson backers is G-Town has in Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp two of the best defensive guards in the nation. If Curry needed to go for 40 for the Wildcats to get by the Zags, I’m worried about a Davidson cover if the sharpshooter goes for only 20 or even 30 points.

You have to handicap Davidson’s current 22-game winning streak, even though most of those wins came against the likes of Wofford and UNC-Greensboro. They’re a confident bunch, which means a lot at Tourney time when momentum and a hot shooter can carry a team deep into the Dance.

Expect the Hoyas to slow it down and try to drag out a win, because that’s exactly what Georgetown did in its 66-47 payday over No. 15 UMBC as 17-point faves on Friday. Roy Hibbert went for 13 points and seven rebounds as the teams played under the 131½-point total listed by oddsmakers.


No. 8 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Memphis (-9, 138)

Memphis (34-1, 15-18-2 ATS) hasn’t been a good bet lately, which is partly a function of being overvalued by the public. It’s also because the Tigers can’t shoot free throws worth a lick, which often means the difference between a payday or not.

The Tigers shoot only 59.7 percent from the line, which has contributed to Memphis’ 3-7 ATS mark over its last ten games. It’s not enough of a problem that they’ll lose straight up to Mississippi State (23-10, 15-15 ATS), but it could mean that Memphis backers will feel this one in their wallets.

Nothing jumps out statistically when looking at the Bulldogs, but one thing is for sure: Senior power forward Charles Rhodes is playing the best basketball of his career. Rhodes had 34 points and nine boards in Mississippi State’s 76-69 victory over No. 9 Oregon on Friday night as 2.5-point faves, while manning the paint on the defensive end with authority.

If Memphis is giving more than five points, which it should be, then I’m confident that Mississippi State will keep this one close before bowing out down the stretch.

No. 9 Arkansas vs. No. 1 North Carolina (-11, 158)

Don’t put too much stock in North Carolina’s performance in its 113-74 drubbing of No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s on Friday night – look at whom UNC (33-2, 21-11 ATS) was playing. What you should take away from the Tar Heels’ payday is two things: Ty Lawson looks healthy and North Carolina will be essentially playing a home game against Arkansas (23-11, 12-16-1 ATS) on Sunday.

It’s bloody blue murder that the Tar Heels have set up shop at the ‘neutral site’ in Raleigh, home of the North Carolina State Wolfpack. This is the closest thing to a home game outside of playing at Chapel Hill for the Tar Heels, who are 7-0 SU in neutral site games this season. To make matters worse for Razorbacks bettors, Lawson looks like he’s finally recovered from the ankle injury that forced the point guard to miss much of the ACC regular season.

Normally I would predict an Arkansas cover against the number here, but the aforementioned factors are a deadly combination. If the Razorbacks are going to pull this off, they’ll need to play like the team that defeated Tennessee and Vanderbilt and less like the squad that lost to Georgia and Alabama.

They have the horses to cash – Sonny Weems is an athletic swingman and Patrick Beverley is a budding star at the college level, but Arkansas is far too inconsistent to risk losing your money. This is especially true when the Razorbacks are going up against the best team in the nation in their own backyard.

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