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College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
Since 1998, Duke is 12-1 in last 13 second round games, with only loss to West Virginia in '08 (5-8 vs spread). Blue Devils are 12-3 in their last 15 games, since 90-63 loss to Miami Jan 23. Duke sleptwalk thru win on Friday, shooting 58% from floor vs outclassed foe. Creighton shoots 42.2% from arc (#1 in US), 56.1% inside it (#2), have #1 eFG% (59.0%). Bluejays outscored Cincinnati 22-4 from line Friday in 67-63 win- they won their last six games, are 3-2 vs top 25 teams- #13 Wisconsin is best team they've beaten. Over last four years, #2 seeds are 10-5-1 vs spread in second round games; second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread. Duke won four of five games vs top 20 teams.
How does Florida Gulf Coast react to being America's Team for the last 46 hours? The six other #15 seeds who upset #2 seeds in first round are 1-4-1 vs spread in second round games; Coppin State in '97 came closest to winning, losing 82-81. Eagles are not fluky, having beaten Miami back in November- they have a cockiness about them, and San Diego State is fairly similar to Georgetown- athletic team that struggles to score, but Aztecs outscored Oklahoma 39-22 in second half Friday, outscoring the Sooners 16-4 on foul line. San Diego State is second #7 seed since '93 to be second round favorite (1-0-2 vs spread since '87); Florida (-14) won 84-50 over Norfolk State LY. Second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread.
Temple was up 44-26 over NC State Friday, held off Wolfpack to give Dunphy rare first round win, Owls' 8th win in last nine games overall behind senior guard Wyatt, who scored 31, despite painful thumb. Owls are 3-2 vs top 20 teams this season, losing by 23 to Duke, 7 at Kansas- they beat Syracuse/Saint Louis/VCU. Since 2005, second round double digit favorites are 13-5 vs spread. #1 seeds are 11-6-1 vs spread in this round last four years. Temple (35.4%) hasn't defended 3's well this year and Hoosiers make 41.1% of them (#2 in country). Indiana lost in OT to Butler, its only game vs A-16 team; Hoosiers are just 4-3 in last seven games, but beat James Madison by 21 Friday, in game that wasn't nearly that close.
Iowa State hammered Notre Dame because Irish big guys were slow to defend pick/roll; thats not case here; Buckeyes won last nine games with an easy 95-70 win over Iona Friday- they are #7 in defensive efficiency in country. OSU did lose at home by 8 to Kansas, its only game vs Big X opponent. Second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread. Cyclones were +11 in turnovers Friday, forcing 14 in first half; four of their five seniors are transfers, so they're older kids. Ohio State won last second round games, by 7-9-32-7 points; only one of its seven losses is to team (Illinois) not ranked in top 12 in country. Much like Michigan site Saturday, playing in Dayton favors the Buckeyes.
LaSalle-Ole Miss is 12th game with 12-13 seed meeting in tournament history; favorites are 9-2 vs spread in first 11. Rebels won their last six games, allowing 55.8 ppg in last four- they beat Fordham 95-68, its one game vs an A-16 opponent. LaSalle is playing its third gamr this week; at end of K-State game, Steve Kerr kept saying on TV how tired LaSalle looked, but they survived that after blowing 44-26 halftime lead- they're #306 in country in bench minutes- three starters played 38+ minutes in Friday's win. After going 6-0 in tourney thru Friday, A-16 teams were 0-3 Saturday. Since 2009, second round favorites of less than 5 points are 20-11 against the spread.
Kansas won four in row, 11 of last 12 games after odd 3-game skid early in February; Jayhawks were first team in 12 years to win tourney game without making 3-pointer (0-6) in Friday's struggle with #16 seed WKU- they were also -8 (17-9) in turnovers in 64-57 win. North Carolina will struggle with Withey inside; they've won nine of last 11 games, but nine wins were vs teams ranked outside top 30; two losses, by 16-10 points, were vs top 15 teams. Second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread. #1 seeds are 11-6-1 against the spread in this round last four years. Obviously, Roy Williams used to coach Kansas, but its been so long, don't think it really factors into this game.
Miami is #8 in country in experience; they played #18 schedule, won its last five games, all by 10+ points- they beat Michigan State 67-59, in its only game vs Big Dozen opponent. Illinois blew 16-point lead Friday, trailed by 5 with 8:58 left, but outscored Colorado 18-5 down stretch to win game in which four starters played 31+ minutes. Miami's win over Pacific was a glorified practice. Second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread. Over last four years, #2 seeds are 10-5-1 vs spread in second round games. Illini beat Georgia Tech by 13 in its only game vs an ACC team- they're still just 3-4 in last seven games, but they're #35 in country in experience, and played #2 schedule in country.
Minnesota's 83-63 win over crippled UCLA ended Gophers' losing skid at three games; they're 6-11 in last 17 games, after starting season 15-1, but are also #1 offensive rebounding team in country. Florida's eFG% is 55.7%, #5 in country, so they're deep, athletic, get good shots. Gators won last four games in second round, by 22-7-8-34 points. Florida beat Wisconsin by 18, only game they played vs Big Dozen squad. Since 2003, #11 seeds are 5-9 vs spread when facing #3 seed in second round. Second round favorites of 5+ points are 24-14-1 vs spread. Minnesota turns ball over 21.5% of time, which didn't matter vs UCLA team that seemed to be glad season was over-- it'll matter in this game.
Bennett vs Lavin is severe coaching mismatch; St John's 63-61 win over St Joe's in first round snapped their 5-game road skid- they're 3-8 in last 11 games overall. Virginia beat Duke, then went 2-3 in next five games. Keep in mind St John's tossed their best player off team last month.
Loyola Md won five of last seven games; their 15-point loss to Florida Gulf Coast in December doesn't look as bad as it used to. Four of last five Greyhound games were decided by 4 or less points. Kent State won nine of last 11 games after beating Fairfield of MAAC 73-71 last game.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
Sunday's Early Action
By David Schwab
The Bracket Busters were out in force in Friday’s Round of 64 of this year’s NCAA Tournament. They will now try and keep it going all the way to the Sweet 16 in the third round. Here is a quick look at the first four games for Sunday.
West Regional from Dayton
No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones vs. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State opened as a seven-point favorite over Iowa State, while the total is hovering between 141 and 142 at most betting shops.
The Cyclones sent the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame packing on Friday in a 76-58 romp as one-point favorites. The total stayed UNDER the 140-point line. Georges Niang led the team with 19 points while Melvin Ejim added another 17 points in the winning effort. Iowa State is 4-1 both straight-up and against the spread in its last five games. Friday’s outcome against the Irish stayed ‘under’ the closing total of 140 but Iowa State has been a great ‘over’ team (20-6-1) this season.
Ohio State had little problem with Iona in its Round of 64 game with a 25-point victory as a 15-point favorite. The total went OVER the 144-point line after staying UNDER in seven of its last eight games. The Buckeyes’ current winning streak SU reached nine games and they are 6-0 ATS in their last six outings. Deshaun Thomas and Sam Thompson combined for 44 points in the win.
Including Friday’s win over Iona, Ohio State is now 12-2 in non-conference action and the two setbacks came against a pair of quality contenders in Duke (68-73) and Kansas (66-74).
The Cyclones haven’t earned a trip to the Sweet Sixteen since 2002 when standouts Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Fizer were with the school.
East Regional from Dayton
No. 9 Temple Owls vs. No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana opened as a 12-point favorite over Temple and the number has been dropped to 11 ½ at most books. This is the highest point-spread for Sunday’s card.
Temple closed as a 4½-point underdog against North Carolina State but held off a furious rally down the stretch to post a 76-72 victory over the Wolfpack. The total stayed UNDER the 148-point line. The Owls are now 5-0 ATS in their last five games as underdogs. The Owls have been installed as double-digit underdogs twice this season and they went 1-1 straight up and 2-0 against the spread. Temple beat Syracuse (83-79) in the first Chevrolet Gotham Classic from Madison Square Garden in mid-December but came up short against Kansas (62-69) at Allen Fieldhouse in early January.
There was little question about the outcome of Indiana’s first game in this tournament with an 83-62 rout of James Madison that actually ended as a PUSH on a closing line of 21. It had five players in double figures led by Kevin Ferrell’s 16 points. The total went well OVER the 135½-point line after staying UNDER in four of its last five games. The Hoosiers have been tough to wager on lately with a 2-4-1 ATS record in their last seven games.
The last time Temple faced the Hoosiers was in 2004 but it is 3-0 both SU and ATS in the last three meetings.
South Regional from Kansas City
No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas opened as a six-point favorite over North Carolina and the line seems a little short when you look at the location and pedigree. Since Bill Self took over the program in 2004, the Jayhawks have reached the Sweet Sixteen in six of his nine seasons. In the second round, Kansas is 6-1 and five of the six wins have come by double digits. The lone loss happened three years ago to Northern Iowa (67-69).
North Carolina advanced to this round with a 78-71 victory over Villanova as a five-point favorite. It was just the second time in five games that the Tar Heels covered the spread. The total went OVER the 143-point line and has now gone OVER in their last four contests. PJ Hairston led all scorers with 23 points.
The Jayhawks had their hands full with Western Kentucky the entire 40 minutes of their first tournament outing but came away with a 64-57 win as prohibitive 20 ½-point favorites on Friday. Kansas had previously covered in 10 of its last 11 games. The total stayed UNDER the 132-point closing line and has now stayed UNDER in four of its last six games.
Kansas beat North Carolina 80-67 in last year’s regional finals before eventually losing to Kentucky (59-67) in the National Championship. The previous meeting also occurred in the NCAA Tournament, with the Jayhawks beating the Tar Heels 84-66 in the 2008 National Semifinal.
South Regional from Austin
No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. No. 7 Florida Gators
Oddsmakers are respecting Florida in this tournament. Bovada.lv opened the Gators as 7/1 third-favorites to win this year’s NCAA title and so far so good with a 79-47 rout of Northwestern State as 19 ½-point favorites. It was just the third time they covered the spread in their last 10 games. The total stayed UNDER the 142½-point line but Florida had no problem piling-up the points with four players scoring in double figures with Erik Murphy (18 points) leading the way.
For Sunday, the Gators have been installed as healthy 8½-point favorites against the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota may have been the lower seed but not too many people were shocked over its 83-63 beatdown of UCLA as a three-point favorite. Andre Hollins was unstoppable with 28 points and Austin Hollins chipped-in another 16 points.
The Golden Gophers snapped a three-game losing streak both SU and ATS. The total went OVER the 134-point line thanks to a big second-half (86 points).
Billy Donovan’s team has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen the past two seasons, beating UCLA 73-65 in 2011 and Norfolk State 84-50 last year.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
East Regional: Day 4 NCAAB Betting Preview
(9) Temple Owls vs. Indiana Hoosiers (-11.5, 147)
Indiana made quick work of its first opponent in the NCAA Tournament, but Temple has established a reputation as a giant slayer. The two teams will square off in the Big Dance for the first time since 1994 on Sunday when they meet in the third round of the East Regional in Dayton, Ohio. The top-seeded Hoosiers never trailed against James Madison en route to an 83-62 win on Friday, shooting better than 50 percent for the fourth straight time in a NCAA Tournament game.
The nine-seed Owls, seeking their first Sweet 16 since 2001, overcame their recent history of early exits in the NCAA Tournament with a 76-72 victory over North Carolina State behind 31 points from Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt. Temple, which went 5-3 against tournament teams in the regular season, has defeated at least one top-10 opponent in each of the last five years. The winner of this contest will meet either four-seed Syracuse or 12-seed California in Washington, D.C.
ABOUT TEMPLE (24-9): Wyatt went 12-for-14 from the foul line Friday, giving him 200 made free throws – breaking the single-season school record held by Hal Lear (1955-56). His 31-point effort – his sixth 30-point performance of the season – was the best from an Owl in the NCAA Tournament since 1991 and was made even more remarkable considering the fact he injured his left thumb when he got it caught in a defender’s jersey early in the second half. ''He's as tough a competitor as I've had an opportunity to coach,'' Temple's Fran Dunphy said following the game. ''He wants the moment.'' Wyatt has hit at least nine free throws in six straight games, going 62-for-71 over that stretch.
ABOUT INDIANA (28-6): The Hoosiers the highest-scoring team remaining in the tournament – exceeded 80 points for the 19th time. Freshman Yogi Ferrell finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists Friday, becoming only the third Indiana player to reach those totals in a NCAA Tournament game (Keith Smart in 1987 and Tom Coverdale in 2003). “Yogi certainly got us going in a great direction with the way that he moved the ball…he was able to find some great areas to attack,” coach Tom Crean said following the game. Christian Watford scored nine points Friday, giving him 1,708 points for his career and moving him into 10th place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Over is 10-2 in Owls’ last 12 games following a win.
* Owls are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
1. Indiana is 10-1 all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Temple has nine wins as a No. 9 seed or lower, tied with Gonzaga for the most since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
3. Jordan Hulls is tied with Randy Wittman and Jeff Newton for the most games played (133) by a Hoosier in school history.
(7) Illinois Fighting Illini vs. (2) Miami Hurricanes (-6.5, 128.5)
Second-seeded Miami seeks to tack another memorable chapter into the season scrapbook when it faces Illinois on Sunday in Austin, Texas with a Sweet 16 berth on the line. The No. 4 Hurricanes have only advanced to the Sweet 16 once in their mostly lackluster history but are primed to make a deep run with a talented cast that won both the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament crowns. Seventh-seeded Illinois beat Colorado in its tournament opener.
The Fighting Illini used a late 16-2 run to pull away from Colorado in a 57-49 victory. Coach John Groce is aware a better full-game effort will be needed to slay Miami. “I know that they have got great size and I know they’re going to play very hard,” Groce said. The Hurricanes trounced University of the Pacific 78-49 in their first game and getting any NCAA Tournament was a big deal to senior center Reggie Johnson and senior guard Durand Scott. “I was saying to Durand, we waited four years to play in this tournament and we finally got our first win,” Johnson said. “I went up to him and gave him a big hug and told him that we’re not done yet.”
ABOUT MIAMI (28-6): A huge part of the Hurricanes’ meteoric rise is tied to how the players have bought into second-year coach Jim Larranaga’s system since he arrived. Johnson accepted a lesser role and Scott gave up the point-guard duties to Shane Larkin, who transformed the team and won ACC Player of the Year honors this season as a sophomore. Scott scored 21 points against Pacific, Johnson grabbed 10 rebounds and Larkin recorded nine assists. “One of the things as a coach that you want to be able to do is trust your players, especially your point guard,” Larranaga said. “And since the very first day I saw Shane Larkin play, I thought he was great. And he’s only gotten better at making decisions, at developing his skills and developing his role as a leader.” Larkin averages 14.4 points and 4.6 assists, with Scott (13.5) and senior forward Kenny Kadji (13.1) also scoring in double digits.
ABOUT ILLINOIS (23-12): The Illini are a streaky squad that often goes through feast or famine stretches. That includes shooting the basketball as Illinois missed its first 14 second-half shots against Colorado and went 3-for-22 in the half. Senior guards Brandon Paul (team-best 16.6 scoring average) and D.J. Richardson (12.5) aren’t immune to rough patches. “We’re mature players,” Richardson said. “We have been in college for four years. We have been through ups and downs throughout our careers. We are shooters. We both can shoot. We’re going to keep shooting even if they don’t fall.”
* Over is 7-0 in Hurricanes’ last seven NCAA Tournament games.
* Fighting Illini are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a win.
* Hurricanes are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
1. Illinois won the lone previous meeting, 86-78 during the 1968-69 season.
2. Kadji has eight double-doubles this season.
3. Paul has led the Illini in scoring 22 times this season and 40 occasions in his career.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
South Regional: Day 4 NCAAB Betting Preview
(8) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (1) Kansas Jayhawks (-6, 141.5)
North Carolina players presented head coach Roy Williams with a special jersey following Friday’s victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking Williams’ 700th career victory. A win in the third round against Kansas – which Williams led to four Final Fours – would be even more meaningful. And, if the Tar Heels needed any more motivation, there is the fact the Jayhawks bounced them from last year’s tournament. Kansas beat North Carolina 80-67 in the Midwest Regional final last season, the second consecutive year the Tar Heels have fell one win short of the Final Four.
Neither team was particularly impressive in winning their South Region openers, but the top-seed Jayhawks were pushed hard by Western Kentucky before surviving 64-57. The eighth-seed Tar Heels lost a 20-point lead but held off Villanova 78-71. The winner may be determined when North Carolina has possession: the Tar Heels are 14th nationally in scoring, while the Jayhawks lead the country in opposing field-goal percentage and rank second in blocked shots.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (25-10): The Tar Heels have won nine of their past 11, as a balanced offensive attack has sparked North Carolina’s late-season surge. Sophomore guard P.J. Hairston scored a team-high 23 points Friday. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (14.5 points), Hairston (14.5) and junior forward Reggie Bullock (14.2) have combined to lead North Carolina in scoring 28 times this season.
ABOUT KANSAS (30-5): The Jayhawks have to play better than they did Friday, as Western Kentucky’s pressure defense gave Kansas trouble. Jeff Withey is a force inside. The 7-0 senior center scored 17 points and blocked seven shots in Friday’s victory. Withey ranks second in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) while averaging 8.4 rebounds. The Jayhawks became the first team in Division I history to win 30 games or more four consecutive seasons with Friday’s win.
* Jayhawks are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Tar Heels’ last four overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Jayhawks’ last six Sunday games.
1. North Carolina has won 25 games six times in the past eight seasons.
2. The Jayhawks are in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the country.
3. Williams will coach against his former school in the NCAA Tournament for the third time. The Jayhawks beat North Carolina last season and in the 2008 Final Four.
(11) Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. (3) Florida Gators (-8.5, 122.5)
Florida and Minnesota will try to maintain the momentum from their impressive NCAA Tournament openers as they meet in the South Regional quarterfinals Sunday in Austin, Texas. The third-seeded Gators stomped No. 14 Northwestern State 79-47 on Friday, about 2 1/2 hours before the 11th-seeded Golden Gophers took down No. 6 UCLA 83-63. Northwestern State entered the tournament as the highest-scoring team in the nation but Florida held the Demons to 15 second-half points. Minnesota smothered the Bruins from the opening tip, holding them to 31.7 percent shooting - including a combined 13-for-52 from the starters - on the way to its most lopsided win in tournament history.
Florida features a well-balanced offense led by seniors Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario. The trio entered the tournament averaging between 12.3 and 12.6 points. Murphy, a 6-10 post player, will need to team with 6-9 junior center Patric Young to keep Minnesota off the boards. The Golden Gophers entered the tournament ranked eighth in the nation in rebounding margin (8.2).
ABOUT MINNESOTA (21-12): Andre Hollins is still a sophomore but he’s quickly becoming known for elevating his play this time of year. After averaging 19.5 points last season in the final two games of the Big Ten tournament and the first four of the NIT, Hollins scored 28 in Friday’s victory against UCLA. His ability to score in bunches—he put up 41 points earlier this season in a win against Memphis—makes him a threat to put Minnesota on his back. As the primary ball handler, he’s also been careful with his turnovers, recording two or fewer in nine of the last 10 games.
ABOUT FLORIDA (27-7): Boynton scored 11 points against Northwestern State, becoming the second player in program history to surpass 2,000 for his career. If the senior guard can stick around long enough to score 84 more, he would pass Ronnie Williams (1980-84) as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Boynton has played in 10 NCAA Tournament games in his career, averaging 14.8 points while leading the Gators into the Elite Eight the last two seasons. He’s supported in the backcourt by Rosario and junior Scott Wilbekin, though the best 3-point shooter on the team is Murphy at 45.6 percent.
* Gators are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a win.
* Under is 6-0 in Golden Gophers’ last six Sunday games.
* Under is 9-1 in Gators’ last 10 overall.
1. Minnesota coach Tubby Smith and Florida coach Billy Donovan were part of Rick Pitino’s first coaching staff at Kentucky in 1989-90.
2. Minnesota and Florida played Florida State eight days apart during the nonconference portion of the season. Minnesota beat the Seminoles by nine points and the Gators prevailed by 25.
3. The winner will play either seventh-seeded San Diego State or No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast at the South Regional semifinals at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
(15) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. San Diego State Aztecs (-7.5, 131)
Florida Gulf Coast became the talk of the NCAA Tournament with its stunning 78-68 upset of Georgetown on Friday and will seek the program's second tournament win when it meets San Diego State in the South Region quarterfinals in Philadelphia on Sunday. While the seventh-seeded Aztecs are trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons, the Eagles will try to become the first No. 15 to get there. The previous six No. 15 seeds lost by a combined 90 points in the Round of 32.
Two very different dunks summarized their wins Friday. Eagles junior forward Chase Fieler went high in the air for a one-handed dunk on a fast-break alley-oop from sophomore guard Brett Comer to stop the Hoyas' late run. The Aztecs had everything working for them as they pulled away from Oklahoma late, including junior guard Jamaal Franklin's attempted reverse dunk that bounced on the rim three times before falling through.
ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST (25-10): Senior guard Sherwood Brown, who leads the team with 15.3 points and 6.4 rebounds, was vaulted to celebrity status after scoring 24 points in Friday's win. Brown was seen signing autographs and posing with fans in Philadelphia while the San Diego State-Oklahoma game was being played. Comer finished with 12 points and 10 assists - including three alley-oop passes during a 21-2 run - while turning the ball over just twice. The Eagles use a tough defense to spark its transition offense. "In the second half, we pushed the ball, we got out, we ran, we made shots, got some alley-oop dunks to energize the crowd," coach Andy Enfield told the media. "I'm very proud of our players."
ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (23-10): Franklin, who leads the Aztecs with 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, has scored in double figures 30 times in 32 games, including a 21-point performance in the 70-55 win over Oklahoma. Senior guard Chase Tapley, the first player in school history to appear in four NCAA Tournaments, became the fourth Aztec to pass 1,500 career points. San Diego State is 19-3 when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting, the latest win coming against Oklahoma (39.7). Coach Steve Fisher was pleased with is team's second-half defense as the Aztecs pulled away from the Sooners. "We have a little bit of an MO where our second-half defense doesn't match our first half, and (Friday) our second-half defense was superior to our first half and that's how we won," he said.
* Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following a win.
* Eagles are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Aztecs’ last six overall.
* Aztecs are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games following a win.
1. Florida Gulf Coast has won six straight and has not trailed in the second half of its last four games.
2. Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between the teams.
3. San Diego State is 3-8 at the NCAA Tournament while the Eagles are the only team in tournament history to have a 1-0 record.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
Midwest Regional: Day 4 NCAAB Betting Preview
(7) Creighton Bluejays vs. (2) Duke Blue Devils (-5, 144)
Led by sharp-shooting Seth Curry, second-seeded Duke looks to take another step toward a possible fifth national title when it meets upstart Creighton on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at Philadelphia. The Blue Devils shrugged off a pesky Albany team in their tourney opener. A year ago Duke was also seeded second but lost its first tournament game to 15th-seeded Lehigh.
The seventh-seeded Bluejays got 27 points and 11 rebounds from junior All-American Doug McDermott and put the game away at the free-throw line to fend off Cincinnati in their opener on Friday. McDermott, a highly-touted NBA prospect, may turn pro after the season but he'll have at least one more collegiate game to enhance his resume. Creighton has won six straight and is the best-shooting team in the country.
ABOUT DUKE (28-5): The Blue Devils' title chances were given a major boost when senior forward Ryan Kelly returned from a foot injury for the final games of the season. At 6-11 and armed with a strong outside game, Kelly - part of Duke's 2010 national championship team - is a nightmarish matchup. But it was stalwarts Curry and Mason Plumlee who carried the Blue Devils past Albany. The tandem combined for 49 points on a spectacular 19-of-25 shooting as the Blue Devils atoned for last year's early exit. "Plumlee did the best Kareem Abdul-Jabbar imitation I've seen in a long time," Albany coach Will Brown said. "He hit three sky hooks. I haven't even seen somebody attempt that shot in my 12 years at Albany, and he hit three of them." Coach Mike Krzyzewski has won an NCAA Tournament-record 80 games.
ABOUT CREIGHTON (28-7): The Bluejays finished the first half of Friday's second-round game on a 6-0 run and never trailed again on their way to a 67-63 win over Cincinnati. Creighton was inconsistent throughout the contest - it shot 63 percent with 10 turnovers in the first half, then hit just 7-of-23 shots in the second half but converted 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes to prevail. The Bluejays also reached the third round of last year's tournament but were eliminated by North Carolina. Creighton has won tournament games in consecutive years for the first time in school history.
* Bluejays are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Blue Devils are 0-4 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Bluejays are 6-0 ATS in their last six neutral site games.
* Under is 4-1 in Blue Devils’ last five non-conference games.
1. Albany shot 36.5 percent in its loss to Duke but was 9-for-15 from 3-point range, the best by far of any Duke opponent this season.
2. McDermott broke his own school scoring record for the season with 803 points.
3. This is the first meeting between the schools.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Sunday, March 24
West Regional: Day 4 NCAAB Betting Preview
(13) La Salle Explorers vs. (12) Ole Miss Rebels (-3, 143)
Mississippi and La Salle have historically enjoyed their stays in Kansas City, Mo. during the NCAA Tournament and did nothing to dispel that with a pair of second-round upset victories on Friday. One of those teams will add to its success in the city on Sunday when they meet in the third round of the West Regional. The 12th-seeded Rebels collected the program’s fourth victory in the “Big Dance” when they stunned Big Ten power Wisconsin, improving to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament games played in Kansas City.
The fifth-seeded Explorers are also 3-0 all-time during NCAA Tournament play in Kansas City, where they won the school’s only national championship in 1954. La Salle picked up its second tournament win in the same season for the first time since 1955 after it held off Kansas State in dramatic fashion, less than 48 hours after securing a first-round victory over Boise State in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of this contest will meet either Gonzaga or Wichita State in a Sweet 16 matchup in Los Angeles.
ABOUT LA SALLE (23-9): The hot shooting that served the Explorers so well against the Broncos (season-high 63.3 percent) completely fell apart over the final 20 minutes Friday. La Salle shot 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) and scored 19 points against the Wildcats in the second half after shooting 58.1 percent and posting 44 points in the first half. However, the much-maligned La Salle defense – which allowed its opponents to shoot an Atlantic 10-high 45.6 percent – forced Kansas State to miss its final eight field-goal attempts. After scoring 12 combined points in losses to Saint Louis and Butler, leading scorer Ramon Galloway (17.1 points) is averaging 20 points through two NCAA Tournament games.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI (27-8): Marshall Henderson – the leading scorer in the SEC – missed 12 of his first 13 shots against the Badgers, but outscored Wisconsin by himself 17-10 over the final 11:25. "He made that first shot and I celebrated," coach Andy Kennedy said following the game. "As long as he's taking shots within our offense, our guys understand that. We were getting him looks. Then once he makes one or two, we keep feeding him." The Rebels figure to enjoy a significant advantage in the front court against the undersized Explorers. Reginald Bucker – a 6-9, 235-pound forward – had five blocks against Wisconsin while 6-7, 240-pound Murphy Holloway has 13 double-doubles and led the SEC in rebounding.
* Rebels are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 5-0 in Rebels’ last five overall.
* Explorers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six Sunday games.
1. Mississippi will set a single-season school record for victories with a win on Sunday.
2. La Salle’s 23 victories are its most since going 30-2 during the 1989-90 season.
3. Twelve-seeds are 8-2 against No. 13 seeds all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
(10) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (2) Ohio State Buckeyes (-7, 141)
Ohio State managed to avoid any of the pitfalls that has plagued the top seeds in its second-round game on Friday. The second-seeded Buckeyes now look to advance to the Sweet 16 when they face Iowa State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional at Dayton on Sunday. The Buckeyes have failed to make it out of Dayton in their two previous NCAA appearances, however, going 1-2 overall.
Seeded 10th, Iowa State posted a convincing win over Notre Dame in its tourney opener. The Cyclones' defense put the game away late in the first half forcing 14 turnovers before the break on the way to a surprisingly easy win. Iowa State hopes its powerhouse offense, ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, is on track for a long run in the tourney.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (27-7): Court general and defensive wizard Aaron Craft did the job on Iona's Lamont 'Momo' Jones in the opener. Jones, who entered the game third in the nation in scoring, was limited to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting as the Buckeyes rolled 95-70. Craft had a season-high six steals. Ohio State has now won nine straight games, four of them coming against ranked teams. "We have a lot of confidence," said Sam Thompson, who scored a career-high 20 points against the Gaels "We know that if we come out and do the things we're supposed to do on both sides of the ball, we could beat any team in the country." Ohio State didn't score over 74 points in any conference game this season but relished the frantic pace of Iona to scored a season high.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (23-11): The Cyclones have reached the third round for the second straight year under coach Fred Hoiberg. Last year Iowa State was bounced by eventual national champion Kentucky in the third round. The Cyclones used a balanced attack against Notre Dame getting a team-high nine points in the first half from Big 12 newcomer of the year Will Clyburn in the first half. Clyburn didn't score after the break but he didn't need to. Iowa State hit 12 of its first 14 shots in the second half and eventually built a 27-point lead. The Cyclones hit nine 3-pointers in the contest, one under their season average of 10.
* Buckeyes are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Buckeyes are 5-0 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
* Over is 8-0 in Cyclones’ last eight vs. Big Ten foes.
* Over is 5-1 in Buckeyes’ last six NCAA Tournament games.
1. Ohio State is 8-7 against RPI Top 50 teams. Iowa State is 45th in the RPI.
2. The Buckeyes have advanced to three straight Sweet 16's.
3. Iowa State has four transfers on its new-look roster. And Georges Niang, who scored 19 points against ND, is a freshman.