College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

College Knowledge

-- James Madison outscored Delaware 7-0 over last 2:51 to nip Hens by a point, get to first CAA final since 1997; JMU (+4.5) lost 66-64 Feb 20 at Northeastern, game they led by 4 with 7:32 left. Northeastern had bye Saturday, fell behind 28-4 to George Mason Sunday, rallied to win by a hoop, forcing 20 turnovers, making 7-11 behind arc in second half. Over last decade, a top-two seed has won CAA tournament every year. This is third night in row for JMU playing, just second for Huskies.
-- This is fifth year in row St Mary's-Gonzaga meet in WCC final, with teams splitting previous four; over last nine years, Zags went unbeaten in CAA three times, and won WCC tourney final all three years, by 13-1-25 points- they beat St Mary's in both games this year, by 5-17 pts. Gaels were 12-35 from arc in last meeting, 11-23 inside arc. Pretty sure St Mary's is in NCAAs even if they lost. Both teams had Sunday off.
-- Davidson is 16-3 in last 19 SoCon tourney games, winning title four of last seven years; Wildcats beat Charleston twice this season, by 9-16, as Davidson shot 57/58% inside arc in those games. Cougars are 12-6 in last 18 tourney games, but haven't won event in over decade, losing in finals three of last six years, by 10-11-7 points. Davidson was down 13 with 15:00 to play yesterday; they had three guys play 32+ minutes, while Charleston had four guys play 32+- their bench played only 35:00.
-- Iona won last four games, scoring 84.5 ppg after odd 1-6 stretch where they lost all six games by 3 or less points, or in OT; Gaels had only one starter play less than 36 minutes Sunday- they beat Manhattan by 8 in first meeting, then lost rematch in double OT, despite Jaspers going 10 of 21 from foul line. Manhattan won eight of last ten games after starting season 6-15; they turn ball over 25.6% of time, 3rd-worst in country.

-- Buffalo is 6-2 in this round last nine years, Central Michigan 4-1 in its last six. Bulls lost four of last five games; they turned ball over 24.4% of time, in bottom 10 in country. Buffalo (-7.5) beat Chippewas 91-73 at home Jan 30, making 67% inside arc, turning ball over 19 times. Central lost 11 of last 13 games; six of their last eight games went over the total. Over is 5-0-1 in last six Buffalo games; Bulls covered once in their last four games as a favorite.
-- Northern Illinois lost its last ten games, scoring 48.9 ppg; eight of its last nine games stayed under total. Huskies lost to Eastern Michigan in both meetings this year, 42-25/53-41-- they were 6-50 from arc in those games, trailed first meeting 18-4 at half. NIU is 1-9 in this event last nine years, with four of last seven losses by 6 or less points. Eastern is 3-6 in its last nine games, allowing 50 or less points in its last four wins- they won four of last five games in this round of MAC tourney.
-- Miami lost its last nine games and 13 of last 14; they split pair with Bowling Green this year, winning 63-60 (-3) at home, losing 52-44 (+7) in rematch here 12 days ago. Redhawks are 5-3 vs spread as road dog in MAC play; they're 1-4 in this event last four years, Falcons 2-7 in last seven. Last four Miami games stayed under total. Bowling Green's last seven wins were all by 8+ points; they're 4-1 as MAC home favorites.

-- IPFW ran Oakland off floor 91-79 Sunday, shooting 63% from floor, 12-20 behind arc vs worst defensive team in country; Mastadons lost to South Dakota State twice this year, 83-57 (+12) on road, 80-74 at home (+7.5). Jackrabbits had yesterday off; they're just 4-3 last seven games, but they covered last four games as Summit favorite. IPFW won last six games, covered last eight- they scored 82.5 ppg in last four, but hard to tell if offense is better, since three of those four were vs Oakland.
-- North Dakota State trailed at half, beat UMKC by 11 Sunday, but had to play all five starters 32+ minutes; Bison lost twice to Western Illinois this year, 50-42/49-36 after losing to Leathernecks by 5 in LY's Summit tourney. WIU won its last three games by total of six points with star Parks hurt; their last four Summit tourney games were all decided by 5 or less points. Western had yesterday off. Bison were 5-33 from arc in the two losses to WIU this season.
-- Western Kentucky/FIU both pulled upsets last night, winner here is probably headed to Dayton next week. Home side won both series tilts this year; WKU (-4.5) won 79-68 in first meeting Dec 1, then lost 87-82 at FIU (-2.5) 13 nights ago. Hilltoppers won this tourney LY, winning four straight days by 5 or less points after going 7-9 in league- they were 10-10 this year. Price was only WKU guy to play more than 31 minutes Sunday. FIU beat top-seed MTSU for fifth win in last six games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

St. Mary's vs. Gonzaga: What Bettors Need to Know
By Covers.com

Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s (-5.5, 137.5)

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s had to work harder than anticipated to reach the West Coast Conference tournament final for the fifth straight season Monday night in Las Vegas. The top-ranked Bulldogs weren’t able to put away ninth-seeded Loyola Marymount until midway through the second half of Saturday’s semifinal. The No. 23 Gaels needed overtime to beat sixth-seeded San Diego in the other semi. 

Gonzaga won both previous meetings this season against Saint Mary's, a five-point victory Jan. 10 at Saint Mary’s and a 17-point win a month later in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs feature three players who made the all-WCC first team. Kelly Olynyk, a 7-foot junior center, averages a team-high 17.3 points. He’s backed by 6-8 senior forward Elias Harris (14.8) and 6-2 sophomore guard Kevin Pangos (11.8). Saint Mary’s is led by 6-4 senior point guard Matthew Dellavedova, the school’s all-time career scoring leader who averages 16.2 points and 6.4 assists.

ABOUT GONZAGA (30-2): Olynyk had a rare off night in the semifinals, scoring eight points on 3-for-10 shooting. He hasn’t been held to single digits in back-to-back games this season or shot under 55 percent from the floor in consecutive games. He scored 31 points when these teams first met and came back with 17 points in the second game. Saint Mary’s is very familiar with Olynyk, but it doesn’t mean the Gaels have anyone who can stop him. Brad Waldow, a 6-9 sophomore forward, will likely draw that assignment for Saint Mary’s.

ABOUT SAINT MARY’S (27-5): Waldow scored a career-high 23 points and matched his career best with 16 rebounds in the semifinal win against San Diego. He showed his toughness during the game when a front tooth was knocked out during the second half and he attempted to hand it off to coach Randy Bennett while continuing to run the floor. He eventually had to be taken out to stop the bleeding. The player who needs to step up for the Gaels is junior guard Stephen Holt, who was held to three points on 1-for-7 shooting against San Diego.

TRENDS:

* Bulldogs are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS loss.

* Gaels are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Monday games.

* Bulldogs are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.

TIP-INS:

1. Gonzaga has won 30 games for the first time in school history.

2. The Bulldogs have reached the title game 18 consecutive seasons.

3. With his next start, Dellavedova will break the school record for games started at 134. Omar Samhan set the current mark from 2006-10.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s

Another season and another WCC Tournament finals featuring Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga battling for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. These bitter rivals will clash once again Monday night in Las Vegas at The Orleans Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

BetOnline.com opened Gonzaga (30-2 straight up, 16-12-2 against the spread) as a five-point favorite.

Mark Few’s team advanced to the finals by overcoming a sloppy first half to turn it on in the final 20 minutes en route to a 66-48 win over Loyola-Marymount. The Lions took the cash for the fourth straight time in four nights as 21-point underdogs. They trailed by only one at halftime, setting up an easy winner for those (like me) who took Gonzaga as an 11.5-point favorite for second-half plays (-12.5 adjusted). Elias Harris was the catalyst, needing only nine shots from the field to produce 21 points. Harris also pulled down eight rebounds, made two steals and blocked a pair of shots. Kevin Pangos was also in double figures with 14 points.

Saint Mary’s (27-5 SU, 15-13-1 ATS) needed overtime to stave off San Diego’s upset bid in Saturday’s semifinals showdown. The Gaels prevailed 69-66 but never threatened to cover the spread as 15-point favorites. The Toreros had a double-digit lead at the under-12 television timeout, but Brad Waldow turned in a career-best performance to lead Randy Bennett’s team back. Waldow finished with a career-high 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Beau Levesque scored 19 points before fouling out. Gaels’ star guard Matthew Dellavedova had an awful shooting night (2-of-12 from the field, 1-of-7 on 3’s) but did dish out 12 assists.

Gonzaga has won 13 consecutive games and hasn’t tasted defeat since getting beaten by a buzzer beater at Butler on Jan. 19. The Bulldogs’ only other loss this season came to Illinois at home.

Gonzaga has been a single-digit favorite eight times this year, compiling a 4-3-1 spread record.

Although many seem to think that Gonzaga is going to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I do not. If Saint Mary’s wins this game, I think the Bulldogs will be a No. 2 seed. Remember, folks, the AP Top 25 has zero significance compared to the selection committee. Gonzaga is No. 12 in the RPI Rankings, going 5-2 against the RPI Top 50 and 11-2 against the RPI Top 100.

Saint Mary’s has won six in a row, going 3-3 ATS over that stretch. The Gaels have been underdogs twice, posting a 2-0 spread record with one outright win at BYU (on a buzzer beater by Dellavedova).

Saint Mary’s hasn’t lost to a team not named Gonzaga since dropping an 82-75 decision at No. Iowa on Dec. 23. The Gaels’ two other defeats came on a neutral court to Ga. Tech and Pacific. They are 33rd in the RPI, posting a 1-2 record against the RPI Top 50 and a 6-3 ledger versus the RPI Top 100.

Gonzaga won both regular-season meetings between these schools, including a 77-60 win at Saint Mary’s as a 1.5-point road underdog. Gary Bell Jr. scored a team-high 20 points for the Bulldogs, while Pangos had 18 points and six assists without committing a turnover. Dellavedova scored a game-high 22 points for the Gaels.

The ‘under’ is on an incredible 13-1-1 run in Gonzaga’s last 15 games to improve to 18-8-1 overall. In the Bulldogs’ 16 games played on the road or on a neutral court, the ‘under’ is 12-4.

The ‘under’ is 12-10 overall for Saint Mary’s, 4-2 in its last six games despite seeing back-to-back ‘overs.’

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

With its never-a-doubt 69-53 pimpslap win Saturday night at North Carolina, I think Duke is a No. 1 seed even if it loses early at the ACC Tournament. UNC saw its 7-0 ATS surge halted but the ‘under’ did connect in a sixth straight game for the Tar Heels.

Even though Cincinnati needed overtime to win 61-53 Saturday vs. South Florida, the 114 combined points still stayed ‘under’ the 116-point total. The Bearcats have now seen the ‘under’ cash at an amazing 20-4 overall clip.

On the flip side, the 'over' has hit in 13 consecutive games for Iowa St., which has seen the 'over' cash at an incredible 19-3 overall rate.

With yet another cover in Saturday’s gut-wrenching loss at Alabama, Georgia improved to 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games. Trailing by 14 at halftime as a 7.5-point road underdog, Mark Fox’s team rallied to get ahead of the number and actually tied the game in the final minute on a trey from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. UGA had the ball with a chance to win at the end of regulation but committed a turnover on a drive to the basket with a few ticks remaining. Alabama point guard Trevor Releford had enough time for a few dribbles before launching a desperation heave from halfcourt. Fittingly in terms of how the Bulldogs have been beaten in heartbreaking fashion so many times this year, Releford’s shot got nothing but net to lift the Crimson Tide to a 61-58 home win.

Assuming Auburn makes the no-brainer decision (never a given on The Plains) to jettison Tony Barbee out of town, I believe the looming coaching search should revolve around two veterans who might be realistic ‘gets:’ Minnesota’s Tubby Smith or Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy. The Gophers are still going to the NCAA Tournament, but they have been the nation’s most inconsistent team this year and the locals aren’t happy. The last time things got like this for Smith, he bolted Kentucky for Minnesota. Auburn isn’t a great job by any means but it does have a new arena, is a two-hour drive from the rich recruiting fields of Atlanta and isn’t exactly facing a murderer’s row of opponents when you think about the rest of the SEC. I’m told Eustachy loves Colorado and he has a very solid Rams squad that could play deep into March. With that said, he established a lot of recruiting contacts in the South during his eight-year tenure at So. Miss, and he would certainly listen to Auburn if it came strong with a lucrative offer.

When Tourney Time rolls around, I think about what (if any) elite players have the ability to put their teams on their back and carry them for six games. Danny Manning did it for Kansas in 1988, Carmelo Anthony did it for the ‘Cuse in 2003 and Kemba Walker did it for UConn in 2011. Does Creighton’s Doug McDermott have the stones/talent/heart to pull off a similar act? I don’t know the answer to that question but after watching the Bluejays beat a very solid Wichita St. team Sunday in the MVC Tourney finals, I know that his supporting cast is capable of big things. Although McDermott doesn’t have Larry Brown on the sidelines, he certainly has as much talent around him as Manning had with ‘The Miracles.’ Gregory Echenique gives Creighton a big guy that can bang with any post player in America. Grant Gibbs is a terrific shooter (53% from the field, 40% from deep) with an excellent 202/71 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Ethan Wragge is another guy who can stroke it, making 44 percent of his 3’s and 94% from the free-throw line. One more key stat to keep in mind with the Bluejays is that six of their best players shoot 74 percent or better from the charity stripe.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

Monday Cliff Notes
By Dave Essler

Central Michigan at Buffalo: I get from a stat standpoint why Buffalo is so heavily favored, and I get that Central is just super young. But this is a Buffalo team that turns the ball over almost as much as anyone in the nation, and aside from beating Akron have really just feasted on the bottom of the MAC this season. It's a sub-.500 team overall, for the season and in the conference, which certainly makes it hard to lay these points. The upside to perhaps taking the points is that although CMU is young, Kyle Randall, their do-all guy, is a Senior. Buffalo beat them badly early in the year, but for the last few weeks they've been in most of their games. What I do like about CMU is that although they're primarily an outside shooting team, they do get to the line a fair bit and shoot well over 70%. CMU doesn't turn the ball over, but I'm certainly not going to trust their pitiful defense on the road, yet, because as a matter of principle I won't lay chalk with a sub-.500 team that turns it over, home or not.

St. Mary's at Gonzaga: Clearly the uber-public Zags, for whom we are going to pay the price for playing. Gonzaga doesn't have any weaknesses, so we need not go there. For them it's simply a matter of is their eye on the bigger prize or do they really want to win the Conference Tournament as well. I suspect so, but clearly they've got the target on their back. St. Mary's only two Conference losses were to Gonzaga, and they were destroyed at home, so they DO have some motivation here. That could be why they struggled against San Diego, looking ahead to this game. Clearly opening at only -5 it seems they're begging for Gonzaga money early. St. Mary's has certainly got the experience, but not the length nor the balance. Their one weakness has been defending the three ball, but that's certainly not what Gonzaga really want to do offensively. I do love that St. Mary's is actually the better rebounding team, and that will certainly be the point of emphasis here as in that blowout loss at home they were seriously outrebounded. Although they contained Olynyk, they let Pangos go off, and they themselves hit 12-35 from deep. Last year, they beat Gonzaga in OT in this Tournament, so clearly that's got to be something Few uses as motivation, I would think. But, I guess if you want to give me a Top-25 (or so) team with points, I'd have to take them. The only thing stopping me at this point is that because they blew out LM, nobody for the Zags played a ton of minutes. That SHOULD mean fresher legs and perhaps better defense, so I do lean under in this one.

Miami OH at Bowling Green: The first thing that struck me was that Miami had played the toughest schedule in the MAC. But, Bowling Green played the second toughest. Miami did beat them earlier this season, and actually played them fairly tough at BG, so I would rule out taking the 3-13 team that aside from the Akron loss was actually in most of their games down the stretch. Apparently I wasn't the only one thinking this way, since the line opened at -8 at CRIS is fairly quickly is at -7. BGSU's two home losses were to Akron and Ohio. They (BGSU) may be a little more keen in this game because last year they lost at home in the first round to CMU, which was clearly an embarrassment. But, they are simply not the same team this season without Scott Thomas and Dee Brown. My issue here is that Miami lost Roberts, one of their best and only outside threats, to a season ending injury, as well as Drew McGhee, who although playing sparingly, was a big man. The issue with that, for me, is that BGSU score about 60% of their points inside. However, they don't get to the FT line that much, indicating softness, perhaps. The game will be played fairly slow, and although BGSU plays great team defense, they don't create a ton of turnovers, while Miami is almost the opposite. They gamble a fair bit and DO create turnovers, but have a terrible overall defense in Conference. We'll have to see what shakes out as far as line move confirmation, but it's already lost some. This is yet another case of me simply not laying three possessions with a sub-.500 team against a team that has nothing at all to lose. If BGSU weren't quite so experienced, I'd have already been all over Miami.

Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan: I know Northern Illinois has a hard time scoring, but in a game that will be played at a snails' pace and perhaps not see 100 points, there is no chance of laying those points, I don't care how big or how experience Eastern Michigan is, or how young Northern Illinois is. They scored a mere 25 points when last these teams met, so there's certainly nowhere to go but up for them. They almost beat Ball State on the road Saturday, and gave Buffalo a game on the road, so I would contend it's EMU that might have more pressure here, and that's just not something I can back. EMU losing their final home game to Toledo fairly solidly just cannot be a good thing headed into this game, so it's the (gulp) Northern Illinois or nothing here.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Monday, March 11

WCC Title Game Preview
By Sportsbook.ag

SAINT MARY'S GAELS (27-5) vs. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (30-2)

Winners of 13 in a row, No. 1 Gonzaga will face Saint Mary's in the finals of the WCC Tournament on Monday night.

Gonzaga hasn't dropped a game to a WCC opponent this year, going 17-0 SU (9-6-2 ATS), and beating these conference foes by an average of 19.4 PPG. The Bulldogs were unable to cover the 21-point spread in Saturday's semifinal win over Loyola Marymount, leading by just one point at halftime before blowing the game open and prevailing 66-48. The Gaels also tore through the conference, going 15-2 SU, but were even ATS at 8-8-1. Both WCC losses were to Gonzaga, which is the only team to beat SMC since Christmas. The Gaels covered in Spokane on Jan. 10, losing by just five as nine-point underdogs, but were clobbered by 17 at home on Valentine's Day. Saint Mary's needed overtime to squeak past San Diego 69-66 in the WCC semifinals, failing to cover as a 15-point favorite. These two teams are meeting in the conference championship game for the fifth straight season, splitting the four matchups with two titles apiece. The first three of those contests were decided by 12+ points, but the rivals played a thriller last year with Saint Mary's pulling out a 78-74 win in overtime. Overall, the Gaels have struggled on neutral courts this year, going 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS. Gonzaga, by contrast, is 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS. And the Bulldogs aren't No. 1 in the nation by accident, ranking third in the nation in FG Pct. (50.3%) and holding opponents to a pithy 38.2% FG. And it doesn't help the Gaels that they're playing on short rest, as they're 1-6-1 ATS this season with less than two days of rest. But the Zags are just 3-6 ATS with one day off in between games, and neutral-court teams revenging a double-digit loss versus an opponent after three straight conference wins, are an impressive 40-14 ATS (74%) in the past five seasons.
   
SMC senior PG Matthew Dellavedova (16.2 PPG, 6.4 APG) is the heart and soul of the Gaels offense and is coming off a 12-assist performance on Saturday to make up for his dismal 2-for-12 shooting. He hasn't shot well against Gonzaga this season either, going 11-of-30 (37%) from the field with nine assists and six turnovers. But Dellavedova led his team with 22 points (and seven turnovers) in last season's WCC title game victory over Gonzaga. He is joined in the backcourt by SG Stephen Holt (11.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG) who also struggled against San Diego, going 1-for-7 from the floor and finishing with just three points in 42 minutes of action. But Holt has been stellar against the Zags this season with 20.0 PPG on 57% FG. Six-foot-9 F Brad Waldow (10.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG) paces the team down low, but cedes a significant size advantage to Gonzaga's big men. But if he plays anything like he did Saturday-going for 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks-Saint Mary's will be in great shape. Fellow forward Beau Levesque (10.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG) also stepped up in that game, going for 19 points and six boards before fouling out. At 6-foot-6, he is also undersized, but makes up for it with his shooting accuracy, hitting 47% of his three-pointers this season.

Gonzaga is led by 7-foot C Kelly Olynyk (17.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG), who puts up big stats despite playing just 25.5 MPG. Olynyk has a strong jump shot (38% threes) and although he isn't just a scorer on the block, he's still hitting 66% FG for the season. Olynyk carried the Bulldogs to victory at home versus the Gaels, going for 31 points (11-of-19 FG) and eight rebounds, then added 17 points (6-of-13 FG) and seven boards in the Valentine's Day blowout at Saint Mary's. He's joined in the frontcourt by PF Elias Harris (14.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG), who is averaging 20.5 PPG and 8.5 RPG in two March games. He was just 2-for-8 from the floor in the most recent meeting with SMC, but was the Zags best performer in last year's WCC Championship, scoring 22 points (10-of-14 FG) with 13 rebounds and two steals. When the star frontcourt players need a breather, freshman C Przemek Karnowski (5.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG) can push guys around too with his 7-foot-1, 305-pound frame. SG Kevin Pangos (11.8 PPG, 3.2 APG) and PG David Stockton (3.7 PPG, 3.3 APG) are the key to the Bulldog backcourt. Pangos is a strong shooter, hitting 43% from three-point range while Stockton is a solid floor general (2.59 Ast/TO ratio) and defender (1.6 SPG). Swingman Gary Bell Jr. (9.2 PPG) scored a season-high 20 points when the Zags won big at Saint Mary's last month. If this trio can get the ball to Olynyk to exploit his height advantage, Mark Few should be able to walk away with another WCC Tournament trophy.

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