College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
Louisville is 12-0 since losing in five OTs to Notre Dame Feb 9, winning last seven games by 12+ points each; Pitino is 4-0 in this round with the Cardinals (4-0 vs spread) winning by 14-19-39-13 points. Louisville is #2 in country at forcing turnovers (28.2% of time). Oregon turns ball over 21.5% of time (#264 in country); they lost by 11 to Cincinnati on neutral floor in only game vs Big East foe; they've won last five games, allowing 57-55 points in two tourney wins. Since 2001, #1 seeds are 8-2 vs spread in this round when facing someone other than a 4-5 seed (15-18 vs 4-5 seeds). Teams that won Pac-12 tourney are 3-2 in this round, 1-4 vs spread, 0-2 as underdogs, losing by 13-14 points.
Since 2005, Duke is 1-4 in this round, despite being favored in all five of the games, losing as favorites of 5-5-2-4 points. Since 1987, Duke is 8-3 vs Big Dozen teams in NCAAs; they're 2-1 vs Michigan State, winning 85-74 (-5) in '94, 68-62 (-12) in '99, losing in '05 78-68 (-5). Blue Devils beat Minnesota by 18, Ohio State by 5 in two tilts vs Big Dozen teams this year. Spartans are 14-2 outside Big Dozen play, but one of losses was 67-59 at Miami, its only game vs ACC team. Since '01, underdogs are 9-7 vs spread when 2-seed faces a 3-seed in this round. Spartans are holding teams to 29.8% from arc; Duke makes 40.3% behind arc, 5th in country. Appling hurt his shoulder last week, is expected to play here.
Bill Self is 5-1 (3-3 vs spread) in Sweet 16 games at Kansas, winning by 15-3-15-20-3 points, losing only to Michigan State (-2.5) in '09- they've won 12 of last 13 games (lost at Baylor), winning first two tourney tilts by 7-12, allowing 57.5 ppg. Michigan beat K-State by 14, West Virginia by 15 in its two games vs Big X teams; Wolverines won first two games in NCAAs by 15-25 points after going 6-6 in last 12 regular season tilts. #1 seeds are 15-18 vs spread in this round when facing a 4-5 seed (8-2 vs others). Michigan is young (#339 in experience), doesn't sub much (#325 in bench minutes) but their 54.6 eFG% is #11 in country. Jayhawk foes shoot just 38.7% inside arc; Michigan better make some 3-pointers.
Florida Gulf Coast is first 15-seed to get this far; they beat pair of teams last week (Hoyas/Aztecs) that struggle on offense, now Florida (28-1 in games decided by 10+ points, 0-6 in games decided by less than 10) are presenting a different problem- Gators shoot 38.3% from arc, 55.1% on 2-pointers are #28 in experience. FGCU has five losses to teams ranked outside top 200, but not now; this confident, athletic team has only two seniors in its rotation, but Comer is superior PG who has Eagles running and playing with swagger. Florida won its last five Sweet 16 games (4-1 vs spread) winning by 9-4-8-9-10 points. Hard to go against the Eagles here, but when Cinderella goes down, it often goes down by a big score.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
NCAA Tournament South Regional: Semifinal Betting Previews
Michigan Wolverines vs. Kansas Jayhawks (-2, 136)
Michigan makes its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 since 1994, taking on top-seeded Kansas on Friday in Arlington, Tex. The Jayhawks are no stranger to the second week, reaching the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in 10 seasons under coach Bill Self. The fourth-seeded Wolverines beat No. 13-seed South Dakota State (71-56) in the second round and fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth (78-53) in the third. The Jayhawks have had a more difficult time advancing. They beat 16th-seeded Western Kentucky in their opener (64-57) followed by a win against eighth-seeded North Carolina (70-58).
Kansas features four seniors in its starting lineup: center Jeff Withey, forward Kevin Young and guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford. By contrast, none of Michigan’s top nine scorers is a senior. The Wolverines don’t have a true center on their roster, so look for them to employ a combination of players against Withey, a skilled 7-footer. Mitch McGary, a 6-10 freshman who averages 18.4 minutes, will likely get the first shot.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (28-7, 16-16-1 ATS): Trey Burke has done some things in this tournament that he hasn’t done all season. In the opener against South Dakota State, the sophomore point guard and Big Ten Player of the Year scored in single digits for the first time this season, shooting a season-worst 2-for-12 and scoring six points in Auburn Hills, Mich. He came back with 18 points against VCU but committed a season-high seven turnovers. That number stood out even more because Burke is fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.11).
ABOUT KANSAS (31-5, 20-15-0 ATS): The Jayhawks have their own budding superstar in freshman guard Ben McLemore, but he’s also struggling lately. He missed all nine field-goal attempts against North Carolina and scored a season-low two points. He nearly had as many turnovers (four) as field-goal attempts (five) against Western Kentucky and hasn’t reached his 15.8 scoring average in the last four games dating to the Big 12 tournament semifinals. McLemore is capable of going on scoring sprees, having notched 30 or more points three times this season.
* Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Jayhawks are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 vs. Big Ten.
* Over is 15-7-1 in Wolverines' last 23 non-conference games.
* Under is 23-11 in Jayhawks' last 34 non-conference games.
1. Kansas is 29-9 all-time as a No. 1 seed in the tournament, but 3-4 against the No. 4 seed.
2. Withey averages 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.9 blocks, which ranks second in the nation.
3. The winner is guaranteed to play a Florida-based team for the first time this season, facing third-seeded Florida or 15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the Elite Eight.
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles vs. Florida Gators (-13, 135)
The NCAA could not have picked a more appropriate venue than Cowboys Stadium to host the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The home of America's team will become the domain for America's newest darlings when upstart Florida Gulf Coast plays in-state powerhouse Florida on Friday in Arlington, Tex. The Eagles became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to reach the Sweet 16 by blitzing No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State.
While Florida Gulf Coast has captivated the nation, the third-seeded Gators are flying under the radar with dominant wins over Northwestern State and Minnesota to reach the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season. Florida looked like the best team in the country earlier in the season, rolling off 10 straight wins with ease before struggling down the stretch. The Gators are no strangers to the NCAA's biggest stage, having won national championships in 2006 and 2007.
ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST (26-10, 6-0-0 ATS): The Eagles have appeared unflappable through two games, riding the wondrous skills of sophomore point guard Brett Comer, the all-around play of backourt mate Sherwood Brown - the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year - and some high-flying antics that have earned them the moniker "Dunk City." Bernard Thompson scored 23 points in both tournament wins as Florida Gulf Coast continues to bear little resemblance to the team that lost to Lipscomb (twice), East Tennessee State, Stetson and Maine. "They play with a swagger, and they have a right to do that," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said.
ABOUT FLORIDA (28-7, 18-14-0 ATS): The Gators are well equipped to match up against the Eagles. Florida has a deep, experience lineup that features five players averaging between 12.8 and 9.2 points. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin is joined in the backcourt by 2,000-point scorer Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario, who had a career-best 25 points against Minnesota. Forward Erik Murphy provides punch inside, averaging 16.5 points and shooting 72.2 percent in the tournament. Florida thrives on defense, having held 24 opponents under 60 points and limiting 13 to fewer than 50. Finally, coach Billy Donovan knows a little about the dangers of a Cinderella squad. He played point guard and led Providence to the Final Four in 1987.
* Eagles are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
* Gators are 18-5 ATS in their last 23 NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 5-2 in Eagles' last seven overall.
* Over is 13-5 in Gators' last 18 NCAA Tournament games.
1. Florida, one of four programs to reach the Sweet 16 the past three seasons, is 5-1 in regional semifinals under Donovan.
2. Florida Gulf Coast joined the Atlantic Sun in 2007, and this season marked only its second year of eligibility for Division I postseason play.
3. Donovan is one of only four men (Dean Smith, Joe B. Hall and Bobby Knight) to appear in a Final Four as a player and win an NCAA title as a coach.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional: Semifinal Betting Previews
Louisville Cardinals vs. Oregon Ducks (+10, 129.5)
As impressive as Oregon was in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the 12th-seeded Ducks will need to be even better when they face No. 1 seed Louisville in the Midwest Region semifinal Friday in Indianapolis. Oregon advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007 after defeating No. 5 seed Oklahoma State and No. 4 seed Saint Louis last weekend in San Jose, but the Ducks committed a total of 36 turnovers in the two wins.
While the Ducks were able to overcome their high turnover numbers in the first two rounds, Louisville might not be so forgiving. The Cardinals, who routed 16th-seeded North Carolina A&T and No. 8 seed Colorado State in their first two games, uses a tenacious defense to force an average of 19 turnovers per game. Louisville is peaking at the right time with 12 straight wins, including a dominant 78-61 victory over Syracuse in the Big East title game on March 16.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (31-5, 22-14-0 ATS): The Cardinals are second in the nation in turnover margin (plus-6.3) and steals (11), and they’re facing an Oregon team that led the Pac-12 with 14.2 turnovers per game. Coach Rick Pitino compared Oregon’s up-tempo offense to Missouri, which lost 84-61 to the Cardinals on Nov. 23. The Cardinals’ backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva ranks among the best in the country, and Smith averaged 25 points and five steals in two games last weekend. Center Gorgui Dieng could play a key role in neutralizing Oregon senior forward Arsalan Kazemi.
ABOUT OREGON (28-8, 15-18-1 ATS): The Ducks have won five straight, including a win over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament title game. If they can somehow limit their turnovers, the Ducks have the offensive firepower to make things interesting. Kazemi is averaging 16.5 rebounds in the tournament, and Oregon dominated the boards in its first two tournament games. Freshman guard Damyean Dotson averaged 20 points last weekend, when the Ducks made 16 of their 33 shots from 3-point range. The Ducks feature a balanced offense, with six players averaging at least eight points.
* Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
* Cardinals are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Ducks last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 7-3 in Cardinals last 10 NCAA tournament games.
1. Since the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only one No. 12 seed — Missouri in 2002 — has advanced to the Elite Eight.
2. Pitino is 44-16 in the NCAA Tournament.
3. The winner advances to the Elite Eight on Sunday against second-seeded Duke or No. 3 seed Michigan State.
Michigan State Spartans vs. Duke Blue Devils (-2, 134.5)
Few teams have experienced more success in Indianapolis during NCAA Tournament play than Duke and Michigan State. Two of college basketball’s premier programs look to continue their incredible run in that city Friday when the second-seeded Blue Devils face third-seeded Michigan State in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Duke has won six of seven NCAA Tournament games in Indianapolis – including a pair of national championships in 1991 and 2010 – while Michigan State is 7-1 in such games, including its last national championship run in 2000.
The Blue Devils advanced to their 13th Sweet 16 in the last 16 years with Sunday’s 66-50 victory over Creighton, while Michigan State cruised to a 70-48 win over Memphis on Saturday for its 11th berth in the regional semifinals over the same span. The winner of this contest will meet top-seeded Louisville or No. 12 seed Oregon in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (27-8, 14-16-2 ATS): Keith Appling practiced Monday and “is going to be fine,” according to coach Tom Izzo, after injuring his left patellar tendon during the Spartans’ victory over Valparaiso and aggravating a shoulder injury against Memphis. Adreian Payne recorded his first double-double in the NCAA Tournament with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Tigers. He also added a career-high five blocks, a single-game record by a Michigan State player in a NCAA Tournament game. Gary Harris’ 23 points Saturday were the most by a Spartans freshman in the Big Dance since Shawn Respert scored 27 against Cincinnati in 1992.
ABOUT DUKE (29-5, 18-16-0 ATS): Assistant Chris Collins will reportedly accept the coaching vacancy at Northwestern at the end of the season. On the court, Duke turned in its second-worst shooting performance of the season (38.8 percent) against the Bluejays, but held the country’s second-best shooting team to season lows in points and shooting percentage (30.2). Although freshman Amile Jefferson’s two-point, two-rebound performance in 11 minutes wasn’t particularly noteworthy, his defensive effort against All-American forward Doug McDermott – who finished 4-of-16 – played a key role the Blue Devils’ win. Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly all battled foul trouble. Duke secured its 2,000th victory Sunday, becoming the fourth team to accomplish the feat.
* Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
* Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Spartans are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games following a ATS win.
1. Duke is 7-1 against Michigan State under coach Mike Krzyzewski, the loss coming in the Sweet 16 in 2005.
2. The Spartans boast a plus-23 rebounding margin through two games in the NCAA Tournament (98-52)
3. The Blue Devils are one win from hitting 30 victories for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the 13th time under Krzyzewski.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
South Region Semifinals
By Brian Edwards
Florida remains the favorite to win the South Region at Cowboys Stadium this weekend. Even though the Gators were a No. 3 seed, they were favored before the tournament and now they’ve been adjusted to the minus-150 ‘chalk’ (risk $150 to win $100).
Kansas, the region’s top seed, has +200 odds to make the Final Four (risk $100 to win $200). Michigan is at +300 and Florida Gulf Coast has 20/1 odds.
Let’s take an in-depth look at both of Friday’s matchups.
Michigan vs. Kansas
Michigan (28-7 straight up, 16-16-1 against the spread) looked like the best team in the field last weekend, especially in Saturday’s 78-53 shellacking of a very good VCU team as a 3.5-point favorite. Mitch McGary was the catalyst with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Trey Burke scored 18 points and dished out seven assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III finished with 14 points apiece.
In Thursday’s NCAA opener, John Beilein’s team took out South Dakota St. by a 71-56 count as an 11.5-point favorite. The 127 combined points fell ‘under’ the 140-point total. Hardaway and Robinson scored 21 points apiece. Hardaway drained 8-of-13 shots from the field and
As of Thursday afternoon, most books were listing Kansas (31-5 SU, 20-15 ATS) as a two-point favorite with a total of 136.
Kansas trailed at halftime in both of its wins last week. The Jayhawks overcame a 31-30 intermission deficit to Western Kentucky to eventually capture a 64-57 victory as 20.5-point favorites. Jeff Withey produced 17 points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots in the non-cover against the Hilltoppers.
North Carolina raced out to a 12-2 lead and led Kansas by a 30-21 score at the half. But Bill Self’s team dominated the final 20 minutes, outscoring the Tar Heels 49-28 en route to a 70-58 win as a 6.5-point favorite. Travis Releford led the way with 22 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Withey finished with 16 points, 16 boards and five rejections.
KU freshman guard Ben McLemore averages a team-high 15.8 points per game, but he missed all nine of his shots against UNC and scored only two points. Withey averages 13.8 PPG and leads the Jayhawks in rebounding (8.5 RPG), field-goal percentage (58.3%) and blocked shots (3.9 BPG).
Michigan has been an underdog just three times, going 1-2 both SU and ATS. The Wolverines won outright at Minnesota (83-75) but lost heartbreakers at Indiana (81-73) and at Ohio St. (56-53).
Kansas owns a 7-6 spread record in 13 games as a single-digit favorite.
The ‘under’ has cashed in three consecutive KU games to improve to 17-14-1 overall.
The ‘over’ is 19-14 overall for Michigan, but the ‘under’ connected in both of its games last weekend.
KU has faced two teams that remain in the field, winning at Ohio St. and losing to Michigan St. on a neutral court. Meanwhile, Michigan has lost outright in four of its six games played versus teams that are still alive.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Eastern on TBS.
Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast
As of Thursday afternoon, most books had Florida (28-7 SU, 18-14 ATS) favored by 12 ½ or 13 with a total of 135. Gamblers can take the Eagles to win outright for a +650 return (risk $100 to win $650).
Florida Gulf Coast (26-10 SU, 6-0 ATS) is the first No. 15 seed to ever get to the Sweet 16. Andy Enfield’s squad got there by thumping Georgetown (78-68) and San Diego St. (81-71) by double-digit margins. Bernard Thompson scored 23 points in both games, while Brett Comer averaged 11.0 points and 12.0 assists per game. Sherwood Brown scored a game-high 24 points against the Hoyas and finished with 17 points and eight boards against the Aztecs.
FGCU’s Comer, a sophomore point guard, shared the backcourt with Austin Rivers as the duo led Winter Park High School to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011.
Since the field was expanded to 64 (then 65 and then 68) back in 1985, only seven teams seeded No. 13 or No. 14 advanced to the Sweet 16. All seven of those teams lost outright.
Florida advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season with wins over Northwestern St. (79-47) and Minnesota (78-64) in Austin. Mike Rosario paced the Gators with 25 points against the Gophers, splashing the nets six times in nine attempts from 3-point range. Erik Murphy added 15 points.
Murphy scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds against the Demons. Patric Young finished with 16 points and nine boards.
UF has been a double-digit favorite 25 times this year, compiling a 15-10 spread record.
Billy Donovan owns a 30-10 career record (75%) in the NCAA Tournament. The Gators have won five consecutive games in the Sweet 16 and Donovan’s only Sweet 16 defeat came against Gonzaga in 1999 at the West Region semifinal in Phoenix.
The ‘under’ is on a 9-2 run for the Gators to improve to 17-12 overall.
This game will tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of KU-Michigan.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
Midwest Region Semifinals
By Brian Edwards
The Midwest Region semifinals will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Friday night. In the lid-lifter, top-seeded Louisville will meet 12th-seeded Oregon as a double-digit favorite.
Duke, the No. 2 seed, will collide with third-seeded Michigan St. in the late game.
Most books have Rick Pitino’s team as the minus-150 ‘chalk’ to win a pair of games this weekend on its way to Atlanta. Duke and Michigan St. are at +300 and +350, respectively, while Oregon is the 10/1 longshot.
Let’s take a closer look at both contests…
Louisville vs. Oregon
As of late Thursday night, most books had Louisville (31-5 straight up, 22-14 against the spread) installed as a 10-point favorite with a total of 130. The Ducks are +450 on the money line (risk $100 to win $450). U of L is a six-point favorite for first-half wagers, while the total is in the 59-60 range.
Louisville has won 12 straight games and hasn’t lost since Feb. 9 when it dropped 104-101 decision at Notre Dame in five overtimes. The Cardinals have covered the spread in nine consecutive games, including a pair of blowout wins over North Carolina A&T (82-56) and Colorado St. (79-48).
Russ Smith scored a game-high 27 points to lead his team past the Rams, draining 4-of-7 shots from deep and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line. Smith and Peyton Siva (10 points, five assists) helped force Colorado St. star Dorian Green into an abysmal 2-for-13 shooting performance from the field.
Oregon (28-8 SU, 15-18-1 ATS) advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2007 when it went all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to Kansas. The Ducks halted Saint Louis’s incredible 16-1 run both SU and ATS by spanking the Billikens 74-57 as 4.5-point underdogs last Saturday. Freshman guard Damyean Dotson scored a game-high 23 points to continue his stellar postseason play. Dotson buried 5-of-6 treys. E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory finished with 14 points apiece.
In five games since the start of the Pac-12 Tournament, Dotson is averaging 16.8 points per game. He had a team-high 17 points in Thursday’s 68-55 win over Oklahoma St. for the Ducks, who closed as two-point underdogs.
Dana Altman’s team is 6-4 both SU and ATS in 10 games as an underdog. In the Ducks’ lone spot as double-digit ‘dogs, they won 83-79 at UNLV while catching 11 ½ points.
Louisville owns a 15-7 spread record in 22 games as a double-digit favorite.
After hitting in six straight U of L games, the ‘over’ is 16-14 overall for the Cardinals.
The ‘under’ is 16-12 overall for Oregon.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
Duke vs. Michigan State
Most spots have Duke (29-5 SU, 18-16 ATS) listed as a two-point favorite with a total of 134.
Duke failed to cover the spread in a 73-61 win over Albany as an 18.5-point favorite in its NCAA opener. Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee scored 26 and 23 points, respectively. The Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 27th time by eliminating seventh-seeded Creighton in a 66-50 triumph as 5.5-point favorites. Rasheed Sulaimon scored 21 points and Curry added 17. The Duke defense forced Bluejays’ star Doug McDermott to miss 12 of his 16 shots from the floor.
Duke has been a single-digit ‘chalk’ 11 times, posting a 6-5 spread record.
Michigan St. (27-8 SU, 14-16-2 ATS) is in the Sweet 16 for the 11th time on Tom Izzo’s watch. The Spartans advanced with wins and spread covers over Valpo (61-50) and Memphis (70-48) last weekend at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Gary Harris sparked MSU past the Tigers with a game-high 23 points. Adreian Payne controlled the lane with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Michigan St. owns a 5-4 spread record with three outright wins over Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin.
These schools have met in each of the last two seasons. Duke won both encounters, but the Spartans took the cash each time. When they collided at Madison Square Garden last year, the Blue Devils won by a 74-69 count as seven-point favorites. Curry finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Keith Appling scored a team-high 22 points in the losing effort.
Mike Krzyzewski has compiled an 81-24 career record (77.1%) in the NCAA Tournament. This is the 12th time he has guided the Blue Devils to the Sweet 16.
Izzo owns a 39-14 (73.6%) career record in the tourney.
The ‘under’ is 7-1 in Michigan St.’s last eight games, 18-13 overall.
The ‘over’ is 17-16 overall for Duke, but the ‘under’ is 4-1 in its last five games.
The ‘over’ has hit in four straight head-to-head meetings between these schools dating back to 2004.
CBS will have the telecast 30 minutes after the conclusion of Oregon-Louisville.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets
After falling behind 4-2 in the opening minutes of the first half, Marquette spent the rest of the night dominating second-seeded Miami. The Golden Eagles advanced to the East Region finals with a 71-61 win that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicated. They won outright as 5.5-point underdogs, hooking up money-line supporters with a +210 return (risk $100 to win $210).
The East Region’s No. 1 seed also got dominated in Washington D.C. last night. Syracuse spanked Indiana 61-50 as a five-point underdog. Gamblers taking the ‘Cuse on the money line cashed a sweet a +200 ticket (risk $100 to win $200). Michael Carter-Williams exploded for a game-high 24 points, while the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense stymied the Hoosiers. Just as I suggested on various radio shows all week, IU’s Tyler Zeller struggled against Syracuse’s length and athleticism and went 3-of-10 from the field. Jordan Hulls, one of the country’s best 3-point shooters, missed all five of his shot attempts.
Sportsbook.ag has U of L’s Russ Smith as the +500 favorite to win Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo share +750 odds. The following players have the next-shortest odds at 10/1: Louisville’s Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng , Duke’s Seth Curry, Michigan’s Trey Burke and Florida’s Erik Murphy.
According to a report from Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports last night, UCLA is targeting Butler’s Brad Stevens to replace Ben Howland. I don’t see it happening.
When I asked Creighton radio color analyst Nick Bahe if he thought McDermott was going to bolt for the NBA or return for his senior season, Bahe told VegasInsider.com, “I’ve been thinking he’s going to go pro all season.”
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
Friday's Sweet 16 Action
OREGON DUCKS (28-8) vs. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (31-5)
Top overall seed Louisville is a heavy favorite to reach the Elite Eight going up against 12th-seeded Oregon in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Indianapolis.
There is no hotter team in college basketball than Louisville, which has won 12 consecutive games SU and nine straight ATS, covering six double-digit spreads during this span. The Cardinals creamed both of their NCAA Tournament opponents thus far, beating North Carolina A&T 79-48 in the Round of 64 and easily covering a 10-point spread in the Round of 32 with an 82-56 win against Colorado State. Oregon, meanwhile, was widely regarded as under-seeded and has done its best to prove that true, most recently upsetting No. 4 seed Saint Louis 74-57 in the Round of 32. The Ducks are 5-0 SU and 4-0-1 ATS in their five postseason games this season. Ultimately this will be Louisville’s toughest test yet in the Big Dance, especially the way Oregon has outrebounded its opponents in its first two NCAA Tournament games, an average margin of +11.5 RPG. But Louisville has arguably the best defense in the nation, allowing just 57.6 PPG on 39.1% FG this season. These teams played a home-in-home in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, with the Ducks winning both games handily, 88-65 and 90-63.
The Oregon offense has six players scoring at least eight points per game, but none scoring more than E.J. Singler’s 11.6 PPG. The senior forward is also averaging 4.9 RPG and bounced back from an eight-point performance in the tourney opener to go 4-of-6 from the field against the Billikens for 14 points. He did turn it over eight times in that game, however, something he must be cautious of against Louisville, which forces 18.9 turnovers per game, the second most in Division-I. As a team, Oregon averages a whopping 15.1 turnovers per game. Starring in the tournament for the Ducks has been freshman guard Damyean Dotson (11.3 PPG), who has combined for 40 points on 14-of-26 shooting from the field. He was especially good against Saint Louis, going for 23 points and hitting 5-of-6 three-pointers. Senior F Carlos Emory (11.1 PPG) is the team’s third double-digit scorer and also played well in Saturday's win, scoring 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Overall, Oregon made 8-of-11 three-pointers in that contest. Helping give them so many opportunities was PF Arsalan Kazemi (9.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG), who pulled in 16 rebounds to go along with eight points. That came after a monstrous 11-point, 17-rebound performance in the Round of 64 against fifth-seeded Oklahoma State. Kazemi will be key for the Ducks, battling Louisville C Gorgui Dieng on the boards.
As has been the case all season, the only player to really score for the Cardinals in their two NCAA Tournament games thus far has been Russ Smith (18.4 PPG). The junior guard scored 23 points in just 25 minutes in the opening game then went off for 27 in the Round of 32. More impressive, though, has been his defense. Averaging 2.2 SPG, he has pulled in 10 swipes already this Big Dance, joining PG Peyton Siva (9.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 2.3 SPG) to form a nasty defensive duo in the backcourt. Siva has six steals so far in the Tournament. Their full-court pressure took Colorado State out of the game on Saturday and it will be interesting to see if head coach Rick Pitino goes the same way against these turnover-prone Ducks. On the inside, their key defender is Dieng (10.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG), who stands at 6-foot-11 and blocks 2.4 shots per game. He is 9-for-9 from the field in this tournament, totaling 20 points between the two contests, though he has pulled in just 10 rebounds. He will need to be big, going against a talented rebounder in Kazemi who might not be as tall, but is as feisty as they come. Six-foot-6 F Chane Behanan (9.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG) has been quiet in the NCAA Tournament with a total of 13 points and four rebounds, but has at least been efficient, going 5-of-8 from the field.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (27-8) vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS (29-5)
Two of college basketball’s top coaches, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, will battle it out in the Sweet 16 on Friday night for spot in the Elite Eight.
Both of these teams cruised in the early going, beating both of their opponents by double-digits. Third-seeded Michigan State breezed past Valparaiso 65-54 in the Round of 64 and then dispatched sixth-seeded Memphis 70-48 in the Round of 32 to go 2-0 SU and ATS thus far in the Big Dance. Second-seeded Duke beat Albany 73-61, but failed to cover a 20-point spread before beating Creighton 66-50, easily covering a six-point spread. Since 1998, Duke has gone 6-1 SU against Michigan State, though the Spartans have covered in five of those seven games. They last met on Nov. 15, 2011, a 74-69 Duke win on a neutral court when the Blue Devils made 10-of-21 threes. Overall, though, this Michigan State squad has struggled against its toughest foes, going just 5-7 SU against ranked opponents this season. Duke went 4-2 against ranked foes, with all four of those wins coming against top-five teams. The Blue Devils have lost just one game all season with PF Ryan Kelly healthy, but the Spartans are 12-4 ATS (75%) when playing a team with a win pct. of at least 80% in the past two seasons, including a 6-0 ATS mark on the road after 15+ games.
Duke’s defense was extremely impressive against Creighton in the Round of 32, keeping a team that had been making 42.2% three-pointers—the top rate in the nation—to just 2-of-19 from beyond the arc. Duke also survived with star PFs Mason Plumlee (17.2 PPG, 10.0 RPG) and Ryan Kelly (13.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG) in serious foul trouble. The player who stepped up was freshman SG Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7 PPG), who went off for 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He was helped out by SG Seth Curry (17.3 PPG), who scored 17 points, with 15 of those coming in the second half. Curry was also big in the Round of 64, scoring a team-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 2-for-2 from long distance. This season, he’s making 2.6 threes per game on a 42.6% clip. That makes him one of three Duke starters, along with PG Quinn Cook (12.0 PPG, 5.4 APG, 40.1% threes) and Kelly (45.9% threes), who both make more than 40% of their threes. Kelly, though, has been cold, averaging 6.3 PPG over his past four games and failing to connect on any of his 10 three-point attempts in that span. But Kelly didn't miss against Michigan State last season, scoring 14 points on 3-of-3 FG, 2-of-2 threes and 6-of-6 free throws.
Burly PF Derrick Nix (10.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG) led Michigan State to the Round of 32, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against Valparaiso. He followed that up with a strong 13-point, eight-rebound performance, to go along with four steals, to get to the Sweet 16. He’ll be the key to battling Plumlee on the post. Nix may be shorter, but he certainly has a weight advantage and helped limit Plumlee to seven points and five rebounds in 32 minutes in last season's meeting. Nix is joined in the paint by C Adreian Payne (10.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG), who had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks against Memphis, and swingman Branden Dawson (9.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG) who scored just one point. Freshman SG Gary Harris (13.1 PPG) was the leading scorer against Memphis, going for 23 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He’s hitting 2.0 threes per game this year on a 41.9% clip. Junior PG Keith Appling (13.3 PPG, 3.4 APG) is Michigan State’s leading scorer, though he scored just two against Memphis. However, Appling scored a team-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting in last season's meeting with Duke.
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (28-7) vs. KANSAS JAYHAWKS (31-5)
Top-seeded Kansas seeks a fifth Elite Eight appearance in seven years when it faces fourth-seeded Michigan on Friday night in Arlington, TX.
Once the calendar turned to February, the Wolverines really struggled, finishing the regular season 1-9 ATS (5-5 SU) and then losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament. But they have been outstanding in the NCAA Tournament, beating South Dakota State by 15 points and then crushing VCU by 25 on Saturday. Michigan outshot these two opponents 51.3% FG to 41.8% FG and outrebounded the Rams by a 41-24 margin. But the competition becomes much greater on Friday against a Kansas team that is 12-1 SU (11-2 ATS) in its past 13 games. After struggling to put away 16th-seed Western Kentucky in the Round of 64, the Jayhawks pummeled North Carolina in the second half of Sunday's Third Round game, outscoring them 49-28 after the break to win by 12 points. The recent tournament history of these two schools are quite different as Michigan is playing in its first Sweet 16 since 1994, while Kansas is 7-1 SU in the Sweet 16 since 2002. The Wolverines are 6-1 (SU and ATS) on a neutral court this season, outscoring these teams by 11.7 PPG. Although the Jayhawks are a strong 8-1 SU (6-3 ATS) on a neutral court, they are just 2-6 ATS when favored outside of Lawrence this season. These schools last met two seasons ago in Ann Arbor, resulting in a 67-60 Kansas overtime win.
Michigan possesses a potent offense that scores 75.1 PPG (24th in nation) on 48.5% FG (7th in D-I) and 38.2% threes (23rd in nation). The Wolverines are able to post such gaudy numbers due to the fewest turnovers in Division-I (9.3 TOPG) and a nation-leading 1.54 Ast/TO ratio. The defensive numbers aren't as impressive (62.4 PPG on 41.9% FG and 32.4% threes), but this team prefers to play straight-up defense without taking many chances, posting just 2.8 BPG (248th in D-I) and 6.0 SPG (244th in nation). However, this leads to the second-fewest fouls committed in the country (12.7 per game), and keeps the star players on the court instead of saddled on the bench with foul trouble. The Wolverines backcourt of sophomore PG Trey Burke (18.8 PPG) and junior SG Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG) is as good as any duo in the land. Burke's 3.11 Ast/TO ratio ranks fourth in the nation, while his 6.7 APG places 11th among the D-I leaders. But Burke's scoring is just as important to this team, as he makes 47% FG, 39% threes and 80% free throws. After a poor 2-of-12 night in the Round of 64, he torched VCU for 18 points and seven assists, making up for an uncharacteristic seven turnovers. Hardaway also shoots a high percentage for a guard with 46% FG and 39% threes. He has six straight double-figure scoring games, including an impressive 17.5 PPG on 13-of-24 FG (8-for-12 threes) in the two NCAA Tournament games. Although he had 19 points and seven rebounds in the loss to Kansas two seasons ago, Hardaway finished 5-of-19 from the floor (2-of-10 threes) that day. Freshman SF Nik Stauskas (11.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG) is the team's best three-point shooter at 43.4%, but has been in a major shooting slump in the past three games, averaging just 6.7 PPG on 6-of-24 FG and 1-of-12 threes. Freshman PF Glenn Robinson III (11.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG) played poorly in the Big Ten Tournament (6.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG), but he has been nearly perfect in the NCAA's with 17.5 PPG on 15-of-19 shooting (79%) and 7.5 RPG. Another freshman, PF Mitch McGary (6.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG), has also been playing outstanding basketball with 13.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG in the four postseason games, including 17.0 PPG and 11.5 RPG in two NCAA Tournament contests.
Kansas has an offense comparable to Michigan, scoring 74.9 PPG (25th in nation) on 47.9% FG (14th in D-I) and 36.3% threes. The defense is superior though, allowing just 61.3 PPG on a nation's-best 35.7% FG and 30.2% threes (29th in D-I). A big reason for the great shooting defense is the presence of 7-foot C Jeff Withey who turns away 3.92 shots per game (2nd in nation), while his teams records 6.6 BPG, good for 2nd-most in the country. Withey's 8.5 RPG are a big reason why the Jayhawks have a stellar +6.5 RPG margin (18th in nation). The Achilles heel for this club is turnovers, as it commits 14.0 TOPG and tallies a minus-1.3 TO margin this season. The best offensive player on KU is freshman swingman Ben McLemore (15.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG) who makes 49.4% FG and 42% threes. But he's picked a bad time to start slumping, scoring just 7.0 PPG on 8-of-26 FG (1-of-12 threes) over his past four games, which included going 0-for-9 FG (0-for-6 threes) in Sunday's win over UNC. Withey (13.8 PPG on 58% FG) has picked up McLemore's slack though with huge NCAA tourney, averaging 16.5 PPG (65% FG), 11.0 RPG and an amazing 6.0 BPG in the two victories. SG Travis Releford (11.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG) had a subpar Big 12 Tournament with 7.0 PPG on 40% FG, but has thrived in the Big Dance with 16.5 PPG on 13-of-19 FG (68%) plus 5.5 RPG and 2.0 SPG. But PG Elijah Johnson (9.8 PPG, 4.7 APG) has been slumping for the entire postseason, averaging just 7.4 PPG on 11-of-39 FG (28%) in the five games. He's averaging a dreadful 5.0 PPG on 2-of-12 shooting in the NCAA's. PF Kevin Young (7.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG) has been much more consistent throughout the postseason with 7.4 PPG on 60% FG and 6.8 RPG in the five games, including a near double-double on Sunday with 10 points and nine boards.
FLORIDA GULF COAST EAGLES (26-10) vs. FLORIDA GATORS (28-7)
Florida Gulf Coast tries to extend its historic NCAA Tournament run for another game when it takes on third-seeded Florida on Friday night in Arlington, TX.
The Eagles became the first 15th seed to reach the Sweet 16, knocking off Georgetown and San Diego State last weekend by 10 points in each game. FGCU is now 6-0 ATS for the season and has won seven straight games SU since losing at Stetson on Feb. 22. Another tall task looms on Friday going up against the Gators who have destroyed their two NCAA Tournament opponents by 23.0 PPG, holding Northwestern State (the highest-scoring team in the country) to 47 points and then shooting 57% from the floor in a 14-point victory over Minnesota on Sunday. Florida is 6-2 SU (4-4 ATS) on a neutral court this season, but has been nearly perfect with 3+ days of rest, going 17-1 SU (11-5 ATS) with the extra preparation. Despite hailing from the same state, these schools have met just once, a 94-60 Gators win in 2008.
Florida Gulf Coast has shown some amazing athletic ability for such a small school during this tournament, scoring 79.5 PPG on 50% FG thanks to a bevy of dunks and alley-oops. For the season, the Eagles are scoring 73.5 PPG (42nd in D-I) on 46.2% FG (41st in nation), but they are an average three-point shooting team at 34.2% (149th in nation). Turnovers are most problematic (14.6 TOPG, 271st in nation), and FGCU doesn't shoot free throws particularly well either (67.7%, 225th in D-I). Defensively, the Eagles allow 66.9 PPG on 40.7% FG and 31.0% threes, numbers which are average-to-good when compared to other teams in the land. This school loves to disrupt opposing offenses though, tallying 9.0 steals per game (14th in nation), which gives them a +1.3 TO margin for the season. FGCU has three players that all score more than a dozen points per game, and all make 38% threes, in senior SG Sherwood Brown (15.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG), sophomore SG Bernard Thompson (14.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.8 SPG) and junior SF Chase Fieler (12.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG). Brown is in the midst of a huge postseason, averaging 17.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG, which includes a whopping 20.5 PPG (57% FG) and 8.5 RPG in the two NCAA Tournament wins. Thompson has also gone batty in the Big Dance with 23.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 3.0 SPG, extending his streak of double-figure scoring to 11 straight games. Fieler is averaging 13.6 PPG and 6.2 RPG in the postseason, which includes a solid 10.0 PPG (57% FG) and 5.0 RPG in two NCAA games. The offense usually runs smoothly through PG Brett Comer (8.1 PPG, 6.6 APG), but the team would like him to cut down on his 3.53 TOPG this season. Comer has responded to that challenge with a whopping 24 assists and just five turnovers in the two NCAA tourney wins. He's also looking to score more over the past three games with 14.3 PPG on 45% FG.
Florida leads the nation in scoring margin (+18.2 PPG) with an offense tallying 72.0 PPG and a defense giving up just 53.8 PPG (3rd in nation). The Gators are outshooting teams 48.2% FG (10th in D-I) to 37.8% FG (5th in nation), which includes making 38.2% threes (24th in D-I) and allowing 30.2% threes (28th in nation). Florida is a very smart and efficient team, committing just 11.1 TOPG (23rd in D-I) and 14.2 personal fouls per game (8th in nation) this season. The only real weaknesses for this team are its lack of a shot-blocking force (3.3 BPG, 191st in nation) and subpar free-throw shooting (68.1%, 214th in nation). Five Gators average at least nine points per game, led by PF Erik Murphy (12.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG), who has been on fire in the NCAA Tournament with 16.5 PPG on 13-of-18 FG (72%) plus 6.0 RPG. Murphy is now shooting 54% FG and 46% threes for the season. SGs Mike Rosario (12.5 PPG) and Kenny Boynton (12.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG) aren't known for sharp-shooting, but both players are streaky scorers. Rosario (44.9% FG) exploded in Sunday's win for 25 points on 8-of-12 FG (6-of-9 threes) after a 3-of-9 showing against Northwestern State two days earlier. Boynton (39.3% FG) scored 11 points against the Demons, but struggled with 2-of-8 FG in a seven-point outing versus the Gophers. C Patric Young (10.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG) nearly had his seventh double-double this season in Friday's win (16 pts, 9 reb), but failed to score a basket on Sunday, going 0-for-2 FG. Although Young still made 5-of-6 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes. PG Scottie Wilbekin (9.2 PPG, 5.0 APG) sports an outstanding 2.41 Ast/TO ratio (28th in nation) and has made 6-of-9 shots so far in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 11.5 PPG and 5.0 APG.
Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 29
CBB: Streaks, Tips, Notes
Oregon vs Louisville
Top seed Louisville going full-throttle destroying NCA&T and Colorado State in it's first two rounds of the NCAA Tourney have now reeled off twelve straight victories with a profitable 10-2 mark at the betting window. The Ducks winning the Pac-12 Tournament earned it's Sweet-16 spot dismissing two favorites knocking off Pokes in RD-64 then dismantling Billikens one of the hottest teams in college hoops at the time winning 16-of-17 heading into the RD-32. Indeed, Oregon has been at its best propelled by Dotson netting 40 of Ducks 142 points and Kazemi pulling down 33 of the teams 81 rebounds. However, 'Quack Attack' will be stymied vs. Louisville's full-court press holding the last twelve opponents to an average 50.5 PPG and with it's own monster on the glass Dieng tucking in 9.5 RPG on the season. Cardinals ridding a smart 14-4-1 ATS mark laying more than 9 points, 7-0 ATS streak in NCAA Tourney play have opened 9.5 to 10 point favorites. Consider laying the points. Ducks are ridding a 1-6 ATS skid held below 65 points/game, the #1 vs #12 matchups have been one sided affairs with #1's posting a smart 7-0 SU record of late cashing 6-of-7 tickets (6-1 ATS).
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