NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

Mid-Major Tournaments
By Bruce Marshall
VegasInsider.com

We've listed below, by conference alphabetical order, upcoming tournament specifics for those lower-profile Division I leagues.  Also included are any teams that enjoy home-court tourney edges; the top contenders in each loop, noted by italics, with any clear-cut favorite or co-favorite accompanied by an *; and last season's conference results in the NCAA, NIT, CBI, and CIT.

Before Selection Sunday, we’ll also review how these leagues have fared in recent Big Dance action.

March Madness...it’s here!
   
AMERICA EAST

Schedule: First round, quarterfinals, and semis March 7-9 at SEFCU Arena, Albany, NY (home court of the Albany Great Danes); final March 15 at home of highest remaining seed.  New member UMass-Lowell is in its transition period from Div. II and is ineligible for the conference tournament.

Top Contenders: Vermont, Stony Brook, Hartford, Albany.

Betting Notes: Vermont assumed command of the league race down the stretch and brings a 10-game win streak and top seed into Albany.  The Catamounts are well-balanced and fairly good shooting (47.1% from floor and 39.2% beyond arc), though they lack a real go-to threat (6-8 sr. F Clancy Rugg is the leading scorer at 12.7 ppg).  The home team of Strat-O-Matic headquarters on Long Island, Stony Brook, is the last team to beat Vermont (67-64 on Jan. 24) and features four double-digit scorers led by soph F Jameel Warney (14.9 ppg).  Keep in mind that Albany made the homecourt edge work in the conference tourney last season when stealing the NCAA bid as the fifth seed.  None of the bottom four seeds (UMBC, Binghamton, Maine, or New Hampshire) won more than nine games in the regular season.

Last year: NCAA-Vermont lost vs. Duke, 73-6; NIT-Stony Brook won vs. UMass 71-58, lost vs. Iowa 75-63; CBI-Vermont lost at Santa Clara, 77-67; CIT-Boston U lost at Loyola (Maryland), 70-63; Hartford lost vs. Rider, 63-54.

ATLANTIC SUN

Schedule: March 4, 6, 9, all at homecourts of higher seeds.  Florida Gulf Coast is the top seed.

Top Contenders: Florida Gulf Coast, Mercer, South Carolina-Upstate.

Betting Notes: This conference tourney was where FGCU and “Dunk City” started its longshot run to the Sweet 16 last March when the event was held on Mercer’s home floor.  This season, it’s all campus sites, and the Eagles have the home edge based on a tiebreaker vs. the Bears.  Mercer, however, also has some postseason pedigree, winning the CIT two years ago and still featuring a couple of key contributors from that team in srs. G Langston Hall (team-leading 14.9 ppg) and F Daniel Coursey (10.1 ppg).  Mercer, which defeated Tennessee in a first-round NIT game last march, also beat Seton Hall and Ole Miss in pre-league play.  “Dunk City” no longer has last year’s coach (Andy Enfield moving to Southern Cal) but does have four starts back from last year’s Cindrella bunch, led by jr. Gs Bernard Thompson (15.1 ppg) & Brett Comer (14.2 ppg).

Last year: NCAA-FGCU won vs. Georgetown, 78-68; won vs. San Diego State, 81-71; lost vs. Florida, 62-50; NIT-Mercer won at Tennessee, 75-67; lost at BYU, 90-71.

BIG SKY

Schedule: Tourney March 13-15 at home of regular-season champion Weber State.  Top seven teams qualify; top seed Weber State will get a bye into the semifinal round. 

Top Contenders: Weber State, North Dakota, Montana, Eastern Washington.

Betting Notes: The Sky had a very topsy-turvy race that didn’t sort out at the top until the end of February, when Weber State finally emerged and was able to sew up the home edge in the conference tourney prior to this week’s final regular-season games.  Although the Wildcats were hardly as dominant as many were expecting after returning most of the team that advanced to the CIT final last season, which was a bit of a surprise considering the presence of sr. G Davion Berry (19.1 ppg), a Cal State Monterey Sea Otter transfer and another Oakland product like recent Weber star Damian Lillard and considered the Sky’s best talent.  Coach Randy Rahe also returned another All-Sky performer in 6-10 C Kyle Tresnak (11.2 ppg), and frosh combo G Kyle Senglin (11.6 pgp) might be the league’s best newcomer.  Despite some less-than impressive efforts,  they’re the team to beat.  There are several dangerous scorers among the top contenders, including North Dakota’s Troy Huff (19.4 ppg), Montana’s Kareem Jamar (19.7 ppg), and Eastern Washington’s Tyler Harvey (21.8 ppg), although Harvey’s Eagles are still no sure bet to even make the field of seven.   If EWU qualifies, however, it might be pose the biggest challenge to Weber because of the Eagles’ hot recent play.  The 2012 & ’13 tourney champs from Montana still has the aforementioned Jamar and a potent backcourt, but Wayne Tinkle‘s Grizzlies are undersized this season and one of the lowest-ranked rebounding teams in the country.

Last year: NCAA-Montana lost vs. Syracuse, 81-34; CIT-Weber State won vs. Cal Poly, 85-43; won vs. Air Force, 78-57; won vs. Oral Roberts, 83-74; won at northern Iowa 59-56; lost vs. East Carolina 77-74; North Dakota lost at Northern Iowa, 77-66.
   
BIG SOUTH

Schedule:Tourney March 4-9 at HTC Center, Conway, SC (home court of Coastal Carolina Chanticleers).

Top Contenders: High Point, VMI, Coastal Carolina, Radford, Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, UNC-Asheville. 

Betting Notes: Absolutely, completely wide-open event with the top seven teams separated by just two games in the league standings.  The most consistent of that bunch has probably been High Point, coached by up-and-comer Scott Cherry, a former North Carolina Tar Heel under Dean Smith whose coaching career includes several seasons on Jim Larranaga’s George Mason staff, including the Patriots’ Final Four campaign of 2005-06.  The Point made the CIT field last season and owns perhaps the most-dynamic element in the Big South, ACC-caliber 6-7 soph F John Brown (19.6 ppg), who along with onetime Florida and Virginia Tech transfer 6-9 sr. Allan Chaney (15.4 ppg), who overcame a hearty condition that was believed to have ended his career a few years, gives the Panthers the best inside scoring combo in the league.  Keep an eye, however, on  explosive VMI, the nation’s top scoring team (88.5 ppg) featuring an electric trio composed of Gs frosh QJ Peterson & sr. Rodney Glasgow, plus 6-9 bruiser PF D.J. Covington, giving the Keydets three players scoring better than 18 ppg.  Note of caution in this league...remember that low-seeded Liberty, after just 12 wins entering the tourney last season, won the event to steal a Big Dance bid.  The winner in Myrtle Beach is very likely to be involved in one of the 16 vs. 16 play-in games at Dayton.

Last year: NCAA-Liberty lost vs. North Carolina A&T, 73-72; NIT-Charleston Southern lost at Southern Miss, 78-71; CIT-High Point lost at UC Irvine, 80-71; Gardner-Webb lost vs. Eastern Kentucky, 69-62.

METRO ATLANTIC

Schedule: Tourney March 6-10 at MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA.  The top five seeds gets byes in the first round; games will pit 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, and 8 vs. 9, with winners advancing to quarterfinal round.

Top Contenders: Iona, Manhattan, Quinnipiac, Canisius. 

Betting Notes: By virtue of wins in 12 of its last 13 games, Iona enters Springfield in pole position for its third straight MAAC Tourney crown and Big Dance berth.  The Gaels are a bit better-balanced than in recent seasons, though still own lots of potency in the backcourt with Gs Sean Armand (17.6 ppg) & A.J. English (17.5 ppg).  Iona’s only slump this season came when losing 4 of 5 around New Year’s when 6-7 F Isaiah Williams (10.7 ppg) was unavailable, but the ascent commenced soon upon his return.  Steve Masiello’s Manhattan, a bitter loser to the Gaels in last year’s title game and the only team to beat Iona in nearly two months, can’t wait to take another swing at the Gaels now that do-everything G George Beamon (19.6 ppg; injured last season) iis once again in the fold.  The Jaspers also own the top defensive force in the MAAC in 6-7 PF Rhamel Brown, one of the nation’s leaders in blocked shots (3.9 pg).  Canisius cannot be overlooked, either, with MAAC high scorer G Billy Baron (24.9 ppg; son of HC Jim Baron) capable of shooting the Griffs into any game.

Last year: NCAA-Iona lost vs. Ohio State, 95-70; NIT-Niagara lost at Maryland, 86-70; CIT-Canisius won vs. Elon, 69-53; won in OT at Youngstown State, 84-82; lost vs. Evansville, 84-83; Loyola-Maryland won vs. Boston U, 70-63; won vs. Kent State, 73-59; lost at East Carolina, 70-58; Rider won at Hartford, 63-54 lost at East Carolina, 75-54; Fairfield lost at Kent State, 73-71.

MEAC

Schedule: Tourney March 10-15 at the Scope, Norfolk, VA (not the home court of Norfolk State, which plays its games at Echols Hall); First round pits seed 4 vs. 13, 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, and 8 vs. 9; winners advance to quarterfinals, and so forth.

Top Contenders: NC Central*, Hampton, Norfolk State, Morgan State.

Notes... NC Central is the clear favorite entering Norfolk next week, but Levelle Moton’s high-flying Eagles had better beware, because the top seed has lost three straight years in the quarterfinal round of this event, not even getting close enough for a sniff of the title game.  Having said that, most expect NCC to prevail and note that the Eagles are probably the only MEAC rep that would likely bypass one of the 16 vs. 16 play-in games that have often involved loop tourney champs in the past.  The Eagles also brought a 15-game SU win streak into Monday’s game vs. Savannah State, and Moton’s team was good enough to beat NC State and play unbeaten Wichita State within 11 in pre-league play.  Senior G Jeremy Ingram (20.4 ppg) is one of the most-lethal scoring threats in the league.  An interesting darkhorse could be Todd Bozeman’s Morgan State, which dealt with a near-suicidal non-conference slate only to emerge stronger for conference play.  The Baltimore-based Bears are led by potent sr. G Justin Black (18.8 ppg).

Last year: NCAA-North Carolina A&T won vs. Liberty, 73-72; lost vs. Louisville, 79-48; NIT-Norfolk State lost at Virginia, 67-56; CIT-Savannah State lost at East Carolina, 66-65.

NORTHEAST

Schedule: Quarterfinals March 5, semis March 8, final March 11, all at home of highest seed.

Top Contenders: Robert Morris, Bryant, Wagner, St. Francis (NY).

Betting Notes: Here we go again with the home team of the Pittsburgh Airport, Robert Morris, which looked to be an NEC also-ran after a difficult pre-league experience and minus three starters from last year’s contender than beat Kentucky in the NIT.  But HC Andy Toole has confirmed his candidacy for future openings up the ladder by steering the Colonials to the NEC regular-season crown and homecourt edge in Moon Township for as long as RMU stays alive in this tourney.  Senior G Karvel Anderson (19.6 ppg) and all-name F Lucky Jones (13.3 ppg), two holdovers from last season, have fueled the charge. Bob beckel’s alma mater Wagner enters the tourney on the heels of eight straight wins.  The Staten Island-based Seahawks play their roles well and are the best rebounding team in the loop, as Fs Mario Moody & Orlando Parker stay put in the paint and remain there for 40 minutes (or as long as they are on the floor).  St. Francis (NY) beat Jim Larranaga’s Miami Hurricanes and almost beat Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse in pre-league play.

Last year: NCAA-Long Island lost vs. James Madison, 68-55; NIT-Robert Morris won vs. Kentucky, 59-57; lost at Providence, 77-68.

OHIO VALLEY

Schedule: Tourney March 5-8 at Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN (not the home court of Nashville-based Tennessee State, which plays its games at the Gentry Complex, or Nashville-based Belmont, which plays its games at the Mike Curb Events Center).

Top Contenders: Belmont, Murray State, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State.

Notes...Belmont has not skipped a beat since moving from the Atlantic Sun last year, winning the OVC bid to the Dance last March and top seed again entering this year’s event, played across town from campus in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium, an early ’60s creation that looks as if it landed in Music City straight from an episode of The Jetsons.  Rick Byrd’s team has been to the Dance six times since 2006 and closed the regular season with six straight wins, with sr. 6-5 swingman J.J. Mann (18.4 ppg) and soph G Craig Bradshaw (15.6 ppg) assuming much greater scoring burdens this season.   With four scorers averaging better than 13 points, Murray State has the sort of balance to do well in the bang-bang–bang succession of a tourney format, while Eastern Kentucky has won 46 games the past two seasons, shoots the lights out (49% from floor) and owns maybe the league’s best guard in sr. Glenn Cosey (18.8 ppg & 85.1% from the FT line).   Looking for a longshot?  Try SE Missouri State, which at 50% from the floor (ranks 4th nationally) shoots even better than EKU and just beat Murray in double OT on Saturday.  The Redhawks also have two 19+ ppg scorers in juco F Jarekious Bradley (19.4 ppg) and former Missouri  transfer F Tyler Stone (19.l1 ppg).  Heady sr. PG Lucas Nutt, son of HC Dickey Nutt, is one of the top assist men in the OVC.

Last year: NCAA-Belmont lost vs. Arizona, 81-64; CIT-Eastern Kentucky won at Gardner-Webb, 69-62; lost at Evansville, 86-72.  Tennessee State lost at Evansville, 84-72.

PATRIOT

Tourney March 3-12, all at home of higher seeds.  Top four seeds receive byes in first round.

Top Contenders: Boston U, American, Holy Cross, Bucknell.

Betting Notes: Patriot newcomer Boston U, which returned all five starters from last year’s team that competed in the America East and qualified for the CIT, picked a good year to switch leagues as some of the recent Patriot powerhouses are down a bit, which was not unexpected after recent stars such as Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum and Bucknell’s Mike Muscala were drafted into the NBA after last season.  The Terriers have been cutting it close lately, however, with five of their last six games decided by single-digit margins, including a home loss vs. CBS head honcho Les Moonves’ alma mater Bucknell, which could be an interesting darkhorse after winning its final six regular-season games as sr. G Cameron Ayers (15.5 ppg) stepped up his scoring production.  American U set the pace for much of the season thanks to its superb 49.5% FG shooting (ranks fifth nationally), though the Eagles enter the tourney having lost three of five.  Still, they will host games in this event, across the street from where Chris Matthews works (and where Norah O'Donnell used to work) at the NBC News Washington bureau, unless they must face Boston U.

Last year: NCAA-Bucknell lost vs. Butler, 68-56; CBI-Lehigh lost at Wyoming, 67-66.

SOUTHERN

Schedule: Tourney March 8-11 at U.S. Cellular Center,  Asheville, NC.

Top Contenders: Davidson*, Chattanooga, Wofford. 

Betting Notes: Before bolting for the A-10 next season, Davidson is having last hurrah in the SoCon, streaking to 12 straight wins to run away with the regular-season crown and establish itself as the clear favorite in Asheville.  Savvy vet HC Bob McKilliop, who bears a resemblance to the late, great Leslie Nielsen, had to break in three new starters from last year’s Big Dance qualifier, and the Wildcats took their lumps vs. a tough pre-league slate, but they emerged as a force behind a familiar name from past March runs, F De’Mon Brooks (18.4 ppg), plus a Miami-Ohio transfer, G Brian Sullivan, who proved invaluable by contributing 13.5 ppg.  Wofford is the only team that played Davidson tough down the stretch, and the upperclass-laden Terriers finally put things together in late January when embarking upon a nine-game winning streak fueled by jr. G Karl Cochran (15.2 ppg).  Chattanooga had earlier run off ten wins in a row during a surge that roughly coincided with the return to active duty of soph G Ronrico White (11.2 pgp) from preseason his surgery.  Ole Miss transfer and former football er Z Mason is a force on the blocks as well.

Last year: NCAA-Davidson lost vs. Marquette, 59-58; CBI-College of Charleston lost vs. George Mason, 78-77; CIT-Elon lost at Canisius, 69-53.

SOUTHLAND

Schedule: Tourney March 12-15 at Merrell Center, Katy, TX. New members Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word are in the transition period from Division II and will be ineligible for the conference tourney until the 2017-18 season.

Top Contenders: Stephen F. Austin*, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Sam Houston State, Oral Roberts, Northwestern State. 

Betting Notes: If this looks a bit familiar to last year regarding SFA, it should, because the ‘Jacks were also heavily favored in this event last march only to get KO’d in Katy and settle for the NIT instead before HC Danny “Cool McCool” Kaspar departed for Texas State in the offseason. But new HC Brad Underwood (who moved from South Carolina, where he assisted Frank “The Bouncer” Martin), plugged in three new starters and SFS has not skipped a beat.  Some suggest that if the ‘Jacks met the same fate in the Southland Tourney as a year ago, they still might be on the radar for an NCAA Tourney at-large berth.  Could you imagine two Southland entries in the Big Dance?  Totally unselfish team led by 6-6 jr. F Jacob Parker, who has almost doubled his scoring output from a year ago to 14.8 ppg.  Given a puncher’s chance might be Oral Roberts, with a lethal 1-2 punch in former Utah transfer F Shawn Glover (21.7 ppg) and soph G Korey Billbury (14.9 ppg), a local Tulsa product with a string of four straight 20+ point games.

Last year: NCAA-Northwestern State lost vs. Florida, 79-047; NIT-Stephen F. Austin lost at Stanford, 58-57; CIT-Oral Roberts won at UT-Arlington, 87-76; won vs. UC Irvine, 76-62; lost at Weber State, 83-74.

SWAC

Schedule: Tourney March 11-15 at Toyota Center, Houston, TX.  Grambling, Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas Pine Bluff, and Southern U are all ineligible for the NCAA Tourney due to APR scores, but will compete in the conference tourney.

Top Contenders: Alabama State, Texas Southern, Alabama A&M.

Betting Notes: The SWAC received a special exemption from the NCAA to adjust which team earns its automatic berth to the tournament, the NCAA announced Saturday. The SWAC is in a unique situation where four teams are ineligible for the postseason because of poor APR scores but all will still be allowed to compete in the conference tournament at the Toyota Center in Houston March 11-15. If one of the four ineligible teams wins the tournament, then the team among the six eligible teams that advances the furthest in the tournament would receive the NCAA tournament bid. If there is a tie among those six teams then the bid will go to the highest seed among those tied teams.  Looks like a 16 vs. 16 play-in game spot for the SWAC, though don’t forget that Southern U came as close as we have seen in years to pulling a 16 vs. 1 upset in the sub-regional last season against Gonzaga.

Last year: NCAA-Southern U lost vs. Gonzaga, 64-58.

SUMMIT

Schedule: Tourney March 8-11 at Sioux Falls Arena, Sioux Falls, SD (not the home court of nearby, Brookings-based South Dakota State, which plays its home games at Frost Arena, or nearby, Vermillion-based South Dakota, which plays its home games at the Dakota Dome).  New member Nebraska-Omaha is ineligible in its transition year from Division II.   The Summit League was formerly known as Mid-Continent Conference.

Top Contenders: North Dakota State, IPFW, South Dakota State, Denver.

Betting Notes: Wins in seven straight and 12 of 13 have thrust NDSU into the pole position for the upcoming Summit event in Sioux Falls.  The Bison have also mostly been steamrollering their Summit foes in this surge fueled by the nation’s most-accurate shooting offense (50.9% from floor!).  Hybrid 6-7 point-forward Taylor Braun (18 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.0 apg) is a 4-year starter and a matchup nightmare for foes, while another sr.,  bruising 6'8, 250-lb. PF Marshall Bjorklund (career-best 13.6 ppg), anchors the paint.  The best chance to knock off the Bison might be with another hot-shooting team, IPFW, hitting 49.1% from the floor (ranks tenth nationally) with a deep (nine players average ten or more minutes) and well-balanced (eight score between 7-15 ppg) led by 6-5 swingman Luis Jacobo’s 14.9 ppg.  The Mastodons and NDSU split a pair of 11-point decisions this season, and worth noting Jacobo more than held his own vs. Braun, narrowly outscoring him (32-30) over the two games. 

Last year: NCAA-South Dakota State lost vs. Michigan, 71-56; CIT-Oakland lost at Youngstown State, 99-87.

WAC

Schedule: Tourney March 12-15 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV.  New member Grand Canyon is ineligible in its transition year from Division II. 

Top Contenders: Utah Valley State, New Mexico State.

Betting Notes: What is left of the WAC contains only a few familiar names from the recent past (specifically new Mexico State, which has earned two straight Big Dance invitations from the loop).  Suddenly, however, there has been some extra Tabasco sauce added to the burgeoning Utah Valley State-NM State rivalry after the melee following last week’s Wolverine OT win in Orem.  For what it’s worth, the Aggies have been something of a disappointment this season, failing to dominate the watered-down WAC as most expected despite owning more size than any team in the loop (thanks in part to 7-5 soph Sim Bhullar) and the league’s most exciting player in skywalking 6-4 G Daniel Mullings (16.9 ppg).   But NMSU has mostly played to the level of the competition in this league.   Vet HC Dick Hunsaker (former Ball State HC; also interim HC at Utah when Rick Majerus took a leave in 2001) has steered this program since its inception as a 4-year entity in 2002, and his son Holton (a four-year starter at G) leads the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg.  Though NMSU is more physically imposing than UVSU, Hunsaker is squeezing more out of his material than Aggie counterpart Marvin Menzies.

Last year: NCAA-New Mexico State lost vs. Saint Louis, 64-44; NIT-La Tech won at Florida State, 71-62; lost at Southern Miss, 63-52; Denver won vs. Ohio, 61-57; lost at Maryland, 62-52.

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

Handicapping This Week's Mid-Major Conference Tournaments
By Chase Ruttig
Covers.com

For some, March Madness doesn’t begin until Selection Sunday. For others, it starts with the big conference tournaments. But for numerous mid-major leagues around the country, March Madness starts this week with conference tournaments kicking off.

Here’s what to watch for in the mid-major conference tournaments beginning this week:

America East – March 8-15

Favorite: Vermont (21-9 SU, 3-3 ATS) – Vermont, an NCAA tournament staple that has a Cinderella moment to its name already, won the regular season title by two games. It will be looking forward to cashing in home-court advantage in the championship to do the conference double.

Upset watch: Albany (15-14 SU, ATS N/A) – Albany is the defending America East Tournament champ and will be looking to defend its title with a string of upsets.

Atlantic Sun – March 4-9

Favorite: Mercer -160 (21-8 SU, 0-2ATS) – Mercer comes into the Atlantic Sun tournament with the regular season title over Florida Gulf Coast and will be trying to avoid watching FGCU win the conference tournament and roll into the NCAA for a second year.

Upset watch: North Florida +7,000 (16-15 SU, 1-2 ATS) – The Osprey earned a 79-76 overtime win on Mercer's home court last week and are peaking at the right time.

Big South – March 5-9

Favorite: Coastal Carolina +280 (18-12 SU, 1-1 ATS) – Coastal Carolina is the winner of the South conference and has a narrow 72-70 non-conference loss to Ole Miss that shows its talent level.

Upset watch: Radford +650 (20-11 SU, 2-1 ATS) – With 20 wins, Radford has the most wins of any team in the Big South despite its 10-6 conference record.

Colonial Athletic Association – March 7-10

Favorite: Delaware +190 (22-9 SU, 14-8-1 ATS) – Delaware is 26th in the nation in scoring and is a sexy pick to be one of the Cinderella schools in the NCAA tournament. First it has to survive the Colonial tournament.

Upset watch: William & Mary +700 (18-11 SU, 15-7-1 ATS) – It’s 17th in the country from downtown and posting a solid 15-7-1 ATS mark. The Tribe are the team outside of 22-9 Delaware and Towson that could make a run in this tournament.

Horizon League – March 4-11

Favorite: Green Bay -210 (24-5 SU, 15-10 ATS) – Leading the way with leading scorer Keifer Sykes, Green Bay is the class of the Horizon League and could be a dangerous seed in the NCAA tournament in a couple of weeks.

Upset watch: Oakland +3,500 (12-19, 10-18 ATS) – Senior Travis Bader owns the NCAA career 3-point record for makes and could be a problem should he heat up this week.

MAAC – March 7-10

Favorite: Iona +165 (20-9, 14-13 ATS) – Iona clinched the regular season Metro title with a big road win over Manhattan over the weekend which edges them as the favorite over the Jaspers.

Upset watch: Canisius +525 (20-11 SU, 18-9 ATS) – While it may have lost out on the Metro regular season title by three games, Canisius hit the 20-win plateau and is in the Top 50 in many offensive categories in addition to a stellar ATS record.

Missouri Valley Conference – March 6-9

Favorite: Wichita State -400 (31-0 SU, 21-6-1 ATS) – Undefeated after the regular season, Wichita State will be looking to avoid being handed their first loss of the year in the conference tournament.

Upset watch: Indiana State +900 (21-9 SU, 11-17 ATS) – The Sycamores are considered the best challenge in the MVC to Wichita State's dominance.

Northeast Conference – March 5-11

Favorite: Robert Morris +110 (19-12 SU, 1-3 ATS) – After winning the 2013 NEC regular season title, Robert Morris failed to win the conference title for the third year after two straight championship game appearances. This year it hopes the fourth time is a charm.

Upset watch: St. Francis +750 (NY) (18-13 SU, 1-1 ATS) – St. Francis has one of the best defenses in the NEC and could be tough to break down during the conference tournament.

Ohio Valley Conference – March 5-8

Favorite: Belmont +110 (23-8 SU, 13-15 ATS) – Belmont always play a tough non-conference schedule and this year has managed to still get 23 wins, winning the OVC East by three games.

Upset watch: Morehead State +500 (19-12 SU, 11-16 ATS) – Always one of the toughest rebounding teams out there, you can never count out the fight of the Morehead State players.

Patriot League – March 3-12

Favorite: Boston University -115 (22-9 SU, 4-3 ATS) – Regular season champs, Boston University has talented all-around guard Maurice Watson Jr. who is averaging 13 points, six assists and two steals per game.

Upset watch: Bucknell +510 (16-13, 2-1 ATS) – Never count out the Bison, who did the conference double last year.

Southern Conference – March 7-10


Favorite: Davidson (19-11, 15-13 ATS) – The Wildcats remain the class of the SoCon and are once again favorites after a regular season title.

Upset watch: Elon (18-13, 11-16-ATS) – Elon handed Davidson its only conference loss this season and will be counting on that experience to prevent the Wildcats from another double.

Summit League – March 8-11

Favorite: North Dakota State (23-6, 11-13 ATS) – The Bison have the best field goal percentage in the nation at 50.1 percent and will be tough to knock off in the tournament. They are consistent as ever, winning seven straight to end the season.

Upset watch: Denver (15-14 SU, 11-13-1 ATS) – Denver is 21st in the nation from behind the 3-point line, and is the last team to knock off the Bison.

West Coast Conference – March 6-11

Favorite: Gonzaga -115 (25-6 SU, 15-13-1 ATS) – They may not be as highly regarded as they were last year, but once the Bulldogs are once again the class of the WCC heading into the tournament after a regular season title.

Upset watch: San Francisco +1,100 (20-10 SU, 15-11 ATS) – The Dons are on a five-game winning streak heading into the WCC tournament and could find a way to knock off favorites Gonzaga and BYU to shock the world and make the NCAA tournament.

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

MAC Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE 

March 10, 12-15 (Opening Round games at campus sites of higher seeds...Remaining games at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH) 

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: TOLEDO, BUFFALO, WESTERN MICHIGAN, AKRON 

THE WAY WE SEE IT: 

Like the Horizon League, and in hopes of ensuring a better chance to land an at-large bid, the MAC has re-arranged its postseason tournament where the division winners earn byes into the semis and the No. 3-4 seeds start in the quarters. That makes seeding the Final Four an easy task. The question is who wins?

What we know for sure is that it’s been 10 years since a West Division team has cut down the nets in this tourney. And the team from the West with the best chance is TOLEDO, who returns to the party after sitting out on the sidelines with an NCAA imposed suspension for low APR grades. The Rockets are 4-0 ATS the last four games in this event and 3-0 ATS the last three when taking points. UT dominated beatable opponents (18-1 SU versus sub .500 foes) but struggled in conference wars at the pay window (4-13 ATS at press time) this season.

Like Toledo, BUFFALO was one of five teams that returned 4 starters this season and that experience paid off for first-year head coach Bobby Hurley as the Bulls are 12-5 SU and 13-4 ATS in conference play at press time.

WESTERN MICHIGAN was the last team from the West Division to claim the crown in 2004, and they could be in position to do so again this year. A 9-1 SU closing run at press time, along with a 5-0 ATS mark as tourney favorites, makes the Broncos legit. AKRON, the defending champion, has made the finals each of the last 7 years and is 7-1 SUATS the last three years in this tournament. A 13-2 SU mark in its last fifteen MAC tourney games certainly deems the Zips worthy here. 

THE SLEEPER: OHIO U 

Like Akron, the Bobcats know the route to the title game, having made it there 3 of the last 4 years, while winning the crown two times in that span. Weak on the glass (#200 in the nation), OU makes up for its ability in games against sub .600 opponents, going 33-4 SU at press time under head coach Bill Wucznyski. That should get them out of the first round at to the ‘Q’, where anything can happen. 

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON BUFFALO AS A DOG 

The Bulls have bagged the cash in 8 of their last 9 MAC meetings when taking points. They are also 5-1 ATS as a dog in this tourney. Hurley was adept as a dog in his playing career and the league has yet to catch up with his playbook. It all points to the points. Take ‘em if you see ‘em.   

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES 

AKRON: 9-1 ATS vs #2-3 seeds, 8-1 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 7-1 ATS L8, 5-1 ATS off DD ATS win, 0-3 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss…

BALL STATE: 6-1-1 ATS w/3+ days rest, 6-2-1 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 0-4 ATS with same-season double revenge, 1-4-1 ATS dogs off SU dog win, 3-11-1 ATS L15…

BOWLING GREEN: 4-1 ATS as favs vs opp off SU loss, 0-9 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 2-7 ATS off SUATS loss, 2-7 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 5-17 ATS L22…

BUFFALO: 4-0 ATS vs #2-3 seeds, 5-1 ATS dogs of 5 < pts, 5-2 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 2-6 ATS off DD SU win…

CENTRAL MICHIGAN: 5-1 ATS as favorites, 4-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 4-1 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 1-5 AT as dogs < 8 pts, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU fav loss…

EASTERN MICHIGAN: 4-0 ATS vs #1 seed, 7-1 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 0-3 ATS w/same-season revenge, 1-8 ATS L9, 1-7 ATS away, 1-6 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss...

KENT STATE: 8-2 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 4-1 ATS off SU fav loss, 4-1 ATS as DD favs, 4-1 ATS w/same-season single revenge, 0-4 ATS as dogs < 6 pts...

MIAMI,OHIO: 4-1 ATS vs #1 seed, 1-5 ATS favs off BB SUATS wins, 2-6 ATS off SU dog win…

NORTHERN ILLINOIS: 3-0 ATS off BB SUATS losses, 5-2 ATS dogs vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 0-2 ATS off SU dog win, 1-3 ATS as DD dogs…

OHIO: 6-1 ATS w/same-season single revenge, 11-2 ATS as dogs > 1 pt, 10-2 ATS off DD ATS win, 4-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 1-6 ATS L7, 1-5 ATS as #3 seed…

TOLEDO: 5-1 ATS L6, 6-2 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 0-3 ATS vs opp w/revenge off SU dog win, 1-5-2 ATS off SUATS win vs opp off DD SU win...

WESTERN MICHIGAN: 5-1 ATS favs vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 7-2 ATS L9, 0-6 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 0-6 ATS dogs vs opp off BB SU wins, 0-4 ATS off SU dog win. 

TECH NOTES

-- Favorites with same-season single revenge are 18-7 ATS…

-- Underdogs off a SU favorite loss are 6-1 ATS…

-- Teams with same-season double revenge are 15-31 ATS off a SU win and 1-7 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss…

-- #1 seeds are 9-1 ATS as favorites of 11 > pts…

-- #2 seed dogs are 2-8-1 ATS L11…

-- #3 seeds off a SU favorite loss are 6-0 ATS but 1-9 ATS off BB SUATS wins…­

-- #6 seed dogs are 1-7 ATS L8 games…

-- #8 seed DD dogs are 3-9 ATS…

-- #9 seeds are 5-1 ATS off BB SUATS wins.

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

C-USA Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com
    
CONFERENCE USA

March 11-15 -- All games at the Don Haskins Center, El Paso, TX (home court of UTEP)

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: SOUTHERN MISS • LA TECH • MIDDLE TENNESSEE • UTEP

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

With Memphis out of the way, it’s time a new #1 seed makes a name in this tourney. The Tigers had captured the crown 7 of the last 8 years in the C-USA tourney before bolting for the new American Athletic Conference. A lot of which went hand-in-hand with the fact the top seed in this tourney has made it to the title game 9 of the last 10 years, while cutting down the nets 10 of the last 13 years. That being the case, the dilemma is that no less than four teams were tied atop the conference standings at 12-3 heading to press time. The good news is the top 4 seeds in this tourney receive double byes, with seeds 5-9 getting a single bye.

From an all-important RPI standpoint, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI sits atop the pack in the C-USA. The Golden Eagles were the runner-up in this tourney last year and won 27 games before losing in the quarterfinals of the NIT last season. Head coach Donnie Tyndall is 52-15 SU with USM at press time, including 46-5 versus .666 or less opponents, and is the team to beat.

LOUISIANA TECH was the preseason favorite to win the conference and did not disappoint after transferring in from the WAC. Like Southern Miss, the Bulldogs dominated sub .666 or less opponents this season (20-2 SU and 10-5 ATS at press time) and should arrive in a nasty mood after having been bounced in the first round of the WAC tourney as a 12.5-point, #1 seed last year.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE, another ‘new kid on the block’ in the conference this year, holds down the 3rd best RPI ranking in the loop. The Blue Raiders won the Sun Belt last season before eventually losing in the first round of the Big Dance. MTSU’s strength is on the glass where they outrebound foes a net +4.3 RPG this season after finishing +5.7 last year.

UTEP plays host to the tourney, owning the #72 RPI rating at press time, so they will need to make some noise in order to get an invite. A 152-38 SU record at the Don Haskins Center, including 10-3-1 ATS when getting points, should serve them well.

THE SLEEPER: TULSA

The Hurricane started slow (0-4 SU) but closed like their namesake with 7 straight wins (8-1 ATS) at press time. We’re now located in South Florida and if there is one thing we’ve learned since residing in this state, it’s that you don’t step in front of a hurricane at full force.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON SOUTHERN MISS IN GAME ONE

The Eagles have been golden in conference tourney lid-lifters (10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS), which ties directly into their aforementioned dominance against .666 or less opposition.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

CHARLOTTE: 4-0 ATS as favs vs opp off BB SU/ATS wins, 1-9 ATS off SU loss, 1-5 ATS L6, 3-8 ATS w/revenge

EAST CAROLINA: 3-0 ATS off DD SU win, 1-6 ATS off SU loss, 1-6 ATS vs opp off SU win

FLORIDA ATLANTIC: 0-4 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 0-3 ATS off SU/ATS win, 1-5 ATS as favs, 1-3 ATS off DD ATS loss

LOUISIANA TECH: 4-0 ATS as dogs < 7 pts, 4-1 ATS off SU dog win, 0-2 ATS off DD ATS win, 1-5 ATS vs opp off DD SU win

MARSHALL: 2-0 ATS as dogs off SU loss, 4-1 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 0-2 ATS vs opp off BB SU/ATS wins, 1-4 ATS favs < 7 pts

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: 4-1 ATS as dogs > 3 pts, 1-7-1 ATS L9, 1-6 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 1-4 ATS as favs vs opp off SU loss

NORTH TEXAS: 2-0 ATS off BB SU losses, 4-1 ATS off 3+ SUATS wins, 3-1 ATS as dogs 3 < pts, 1-4 ATS off DD ATS win

OLD DOMINION: 3-0 ATS as dogs of BB SU/ATS wins, 2-0 ATS off BB SU losses, 0-4 ATS vs opp off SU fav loss, 0-2 ATS w/same-season single revenge

RICE: 5-0 ATS off BB SU losses, 4-0-1 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 6-1-1 ATS dogs 5 > pts, 6-1-1 ATS w/3+ days rest

SOUTHERN MISS: 5-1 ATS favs off BB SU wins, 1-6 ATS off SU dog win, 1-6-1 dogs off BB SUATS wins, 2-6 ATS vs opp off BB SU/ATS wins

TEXAS SAN ANTONIO: 1st year in tourney

TULANE: 4-1 ATS off SU win vs opp off SU loss, 3-1 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 3-1 ATS vs #1 seed, 0-5 ATS L5, 1-4 ATS off BB SU/ATS wins

TULSA: 3-0 ATS w/same-season single revenge, 3-1 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 0-3 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-6 ATS vs opp off DD SU win

UAB: 5-1 ATS off DD ATS win, 4-0 ATS as dogs off DD SU win, 1-11 ATS L12 games, 1-9 ATS favs 6 < pts…

UTEP: 5-0-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 3-0 ATS as DD favs, 8-2 ATS favs vs opp off SU win. 1-3 ATS as dogs vs opp off SU win.

TECH NOTES: Teams off a DD SU win are 13-1-1 ATS vs opp off SU/ATS loss… teams off BB SU/ATS losses are 11-1 ATS w/same-season single revenge… favs w/revenge are 5-1-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win… dogs off BB SU losses are 10-3 ATS vs opp off SU loss… #2 seeds are 0-5-1 ATS w/revenge… #3 seeds are 1-7 ATS off BB SUATS wins… #4 seeds are 1-5 ATS as DD dogs… #7 seeds are 0-4 ATS L4 but 8-2-1 ATS off BB SU/ATS wins… #9 seeds are 8-2 ATS vs opp off SU/ATS win.

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

AAC Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

March 12-15 -- All games at FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN (home court of Memphis Tigers)

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: LOUISVILLE, CINCINNATI, SMU, MEMPHIS

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

Made up mostly of members from the defacto Big East, the AAC performed admirably outside the conference in lined games versus on-board squads (57-34 SU and 45-45-1 ATS). Inside conference play the big money was taken down by big favorites (18-10-1 ATS -11.5 or more points) while teams with losing records had a difficult time winning back-to-back conference games, going just 3-6 SUATS off a win.

LOUISVILLE stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. The defending national champions won and covered all seven Big East tourney games the previous two campaigns and are 10-0 SU in conference tourney play as a #1 seed since 1993. That’s all you need to know. A wobbly 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS mark in games at Memphis looks scary, but double revenge from a pair of losses to the Tigers this season should serve as plenty of incentive.

CINCINNATI earned the #2 slot in this tourney thanks largely to a tough-as-nails defense (#9 Defensive Field Goal Percentage 39.1). As a result, the Bearcats have chewed up and spit out inferior opposition this season, going 16-0 SU versus sub .700 opponents – and that should find them in or around the title game the final weekend of the season. A glossy 15-4 SU and 13-5-1 ATS mark in conference tourneys versus 1-4 seeds should also serve them well.

Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs were arguably the surprise of the league this season. Behind 5 returning starters from last year’s 15-win unit, the Ponies elevated their play in Year Two behind the nomadic Brown. A 12-5 ATS mark in conference play at press time, coupled with a 6-1 ATS ledger in revenge games this campaign figures to make them a tough out. Granted, a dismal 1-8 SU and 2-6-1 ATS mark in the last nine conference tourneys sours that notion, but owning the nation’s top-ranked Defensive Field Goal percentage defense (36.9) trumps past history. Ironically, the Mustangs will open this event in the same venue where they closed the season last Saturday.

MEMPHIS is likely salivating, serving as the host in this inaugural AAC tourney. That’s because they are 17-0 SU at home in conference tournament play since 2005. Remember, though, they were the #1 seed in 14 of those games and while home teams are a lofty 292-105 SU in conference tourney action since 1991, they are only 25-35 ATS as dogs.

THE SLEEPER: CONNECTICUT

Off a one-year suspension, and after elevating the school’s mandated subpar APR academic marks, the Huskies are eligible for postseason play. Head coach Kevin Ollie, a former UConn point guard, knows the importance of conference games. That’s confirmed by his 21-12-1 ATS mark at press time as the head Husky, including 12-1 SU and 10-3 ATS versus sub .600 foes and 12-2-1 ATS in conference play with 3 or more days of rest. A jaw-dropping 8-0 ATS record in the last eight conference tourney games, and a 7-1 ATS dog log in the same versus foes off a win, makes fading this team virtually impossible. With 5 returning starters back from last year’s 20-win squad, they become dangerous dogs from this point forward.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON LOUISVILLE VS. MEMPHIS

As tough as Rick Pitino has been in the NCAA tourney, he’s even harder to handle in conference tournament play, going 30-8 SU and 30-15-1 ATS overall since 1991, including 15-1 SU and 10-5-1 ATS as a #1 seed, and 6-0 SUATS the last six games when playing with same-season revenge. The Tigers took the Cardinals out twice this season. Enough said.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

CINCINNATI: 5-1 ATS dogs > 3 pts, 0-4 ATS off DD ATS win vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 1-5 ATS off DD SU win vs opp off DD SU and any ATS win, 1-4 ATS off SU loss vs opp w/revenge, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-4 ATS favs off SU loss

CONNECTICUT: 8-0 ATS as #9 seed, 8-0 ATS L8, 5-0 ATS vs #1 seed, 7-1 ATS dogs vs opp off SU win, 0-7 ATS w/3+ days rest vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 0-4 ATS off 3+ SUATS losses, 1-4 ATS off DD SU loss, 2-6 ATS 1st game

HOUSTON: 0-4 ATS L4 games, 1-6 ATS dogs w/3+ days rest, 1-4 ATS off SUATS loss vs opp off SU win, 1-3 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-7 ATS as #9 seed or lower, 2-5 ATS off BB SU losses, 3-7 ATS dogs > 7 pts

LOUISVILLE: 9-1 ATS favs off BB SU wins, 8-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins, 7-1 SUATS L8, 5-1 ATS vs #4 seed or higher, 6-1 ATS w/revenge, 9-2 ATS off DD SU win

MEMPHIS: 18-0 SU as #1 seed (7-1 ATS L8), 8-1 SUATS L9, 5-0 SUATS vs #2 seed, 4-0 ATS vs opp off BB SU dog wins, 10-2 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 2-7 w/3+ rest off BB SU wins

RUTGERS: 5-1 ATS vs #11 seed or lower, 4-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 4-1 w/3+ rest w/ revenge, 0-3 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 1-4 ATS as DD dogs

SMU: 0-6 ATS vs opp off SUATS win, 1-4 ATS dogs 10 < pts, 1-8 SU & 2-6-1 ATS all-time in tourney

UCF: 0-4 ATS off BB SU wins, 0-3 ATS vs #4 seed or higher, 1-4 ATS off DD SU win, 1-4 ATS as dogs, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU win

USF: 0-3 ATS vs #8 seed or higher, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU win, 1-4 ATS as dogs, 1-4 ATS w/revenge

TEMPLE: 4-0 ATS favs vs opp off BB SU dog wins, 10-2-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 7-2 ATS favs < 4 pts, 0-4 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-6 ATS dogs off BB SU wins

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

A-10 Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com
    
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE

March 11-16 -- All games at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: SAINT LOUIS, VCU, MASSACHUSETTS, ST. JOSEPH’S

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

Amazing, but true. After the passing of head coach Rick Majerus in early December 2012, the Billikens of SAINT LOUIS have been on a 50-9 SU winning tear under replacement coach Jim Crews. In fact, the former Indiana guard enters this tourney 17-1 SU and 14-4 ATS in conference games with the Billikens against opponents off a win. Unless things change dramatically, Louie Louie looks to be the ‘Kingsmen’ of the conference for the 2nd year in a row as the Majerus memorial march continues.

VCU fell to St. Louis in the title game last season and would appear to be a ‘smart’ choice this go-round. The Rams were a preseason Top 20 squad for the first time in school history this year and bring an “it’s havoc you fear” approach to the game under head coach Shaka Smart. Color them dangerous.

After opening the season with wins in 16 of its first 17 games, MASSACHUSETTS proved its worth with a sterling 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS mark in games versus .750 or greater opposition this campaign (check Sunday season-ender versus Saint Louis). The Minutemen return 4 starters from a 21-win unit that made it to the semifinals of this tourney last year. The problem is they are just 3-21 SU and 4-19-1 as small dogs (+3 or less) under head coach Derek Kellogg.

If it seems like Phil Martelli has been around forever at ST. JOSEPH’S, it’s because he has, now in his 20th year with the Hawks. Here’s all you need to know about Joe’s in this event: under Martelli, the Hawks are 20-3 SU and 17-5-1 ATS versus .620 or less opponents; 3-15 SU and 6-11-1 ATS against all else. Phil’s kids are also 12-3 SU and 12-2-1 ATS when taking on #5 or lowers seeds in conference tourney games.

THE SLEEPER: GEORGE WASHINGTON

The Colonials returned 5 starters from a 13-win squad last year, four of whom were freshmen. Along with Indiana transfer Maurice Creek, the team’s leading scorer this season, ol’ wooden tooth topped the 20-win plateau this season and is a team no one in the tourney is anxious to meet. They proved their worth against top-notch opposition this season (3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS versus .800 or greater foes) and will be anxious to erase the stain of three straight one-and-out performances in this tourney the last three years. Remember, they are 20-9 ATS the last twenty-nine games in this event.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON VCU WITH REVENGE

Our old standby – Temple in Game One of this event – has gone by the wayside with opening round losses the last two years. Instead, we turn to the Rams and head coach Shaka Smart who has excelled in revenge during his tenure with VCU, going 24-4 SU and 20-8 ATS. With UMass, St. Joe’s and St. Louis each lined up at press time (check season-ending Richmond and St. Bonaventure results as well) as potential payback victims, we look no further than this ‘Smart’ box.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

DAYTON: 5-1 ATS as DD favs, 10-3-1 ATS in 1st game, 1-12 ATS dogs < 8 pts, 1-6 w/revenge vs opp off BB SU wins, 1-4 ATS off DD ATS win

DUQUESNE: 0-4 SUATS L4, 0-3 vs #1 seeds, 2-9 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 1-5 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 1-4 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 1-4 ATS vs #7-8 seeds, 2-6 ATS as DD dogs, 2-8 ATS off SU win, 4-11 as #4-6 seeds

FORDHAM: 0-7 ATS L7 dogs > 3 pts, 0-4 L4 ATS games, 0-4 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 1-5 ATS as #5 seeds, 1-4 ATS off SUATS loss, 1-3 ATS as DD dogs

GEORGE MASON: 7-1 ATS as #3 seed, 13-3 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 0-4 ATS vs #10-11 seeds, 1-5 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-4 ATS off SU dog win

GEORGE WASHINGTON: 6-1 ATS favs vs opp off BB SU wins, 13-2 ATS off DD SU win (7-0 ATS as favs), 5-1 ATS vs #3 seeds, 10-4 ATS w/revenge, 2-10 ATS dogs 2 to 9 pts

LA SALLE: 8-3 ATS vs #5 seed or lower, 2-10-2 ATS vs #1-5 seeds, 1-5 SUATS as #5-6 seed, 2-8-2 ATS dogs 5 > points, 2-7 ATS dogs off SU win, 2-6 ATS off SU dog win

MASSACHUSETTS: 4-0 ATS vs #1 seeds, 4-0 ATS dogs off DD SU win, 4-0 ATS vs #1 seed, 3-0 ATS as DD dogs, 7-2 ATS w/revenge vs opp off SU win, 9-3 ATS favs vs opp off BB SU wins, 8-3 ATS dogs 4 > pts

RHODE ISLAND: 6-1 SUATS vs #4-5 seeds, 1-8 ATS dogs off SU dog win, 1-6 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 2-8 ATS vs #6 seed or lower

RICHMOND: 4-0-1 ATS off SU dog win, 7-2 ATS as favs, 3-1 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-6 ATS dogs > 4 pts

ST. BONAVENTURE: 5-0 ATS favs off SU loss, 6-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 4-1 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 1-5 ATS dogs vs opp off SU dog win

ST. JOSEPH’S: 6-0 ATS vs opp off SU fav loss, 9-1 ATS vs #9 seed or lower, 7-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 6-2 ATS L8, 5-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 14-3-1 ATS favs 3 > pts, 12-3 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 2-8 ATS dogs vs opp off DD SU win

ST. LOUIS: 3-0 ATS off DD SU win, 0-3 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 0-3 ATS off SU dog win, 1-5 ATS dogs 5 < pts... VCU: 1-7 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 1-5 ATS off DD ATS win, 2-9 ATS as dogs, 2-8 ATS as DD favs.

TECH NOTES:

-- Favorites w/3+ days of rest are 13-2 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS losses

-- Favorites w/3+ days of rest are 10-3 ATS off BB SU losses

-- DD favorites are 2-5 ATS off a DD ATS win

-- Underdogs are 12-30-2 ATS vs opp w/revenge

-- Underdogs are 19-36-1 ATS off a SU dog win

-- #1 seeds are 0-4 ATS as dogs

-- #2 seeds are 10-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win

-- #4 seeds are 13-2 ATS L15 as favorites

-- #5 seeds are 0-6 ATS as dogs off SUATS loss

-- #7 seeds are 5-0 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 4-0 ATS off DD SU loss and 6-1 dogs vs opp off SUATS loss

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

MWC Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

March 12-15 -- All games at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV (home court of UNLV)

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: NEW MEXICO, SAN DIEGO STATE, UNLV, BOISE STATE

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

Last year the ever-improving Mountain West sent five teams to the Big Dance. As a result, it matched the Big 10, the Big 12 and the Big East as the only conferences to send at least half of its members to the NCAA tournament. NEW MEXICO returns as the two-time defending champion. The Lobos were the preseason pick to win the conference and bring the nation’s #11 ranked team in Defensive Field Goal Percentage into this tourney. A 6-0 SUATS mark the last two seasons makes them the team to beat.

Steve Fisher’s SAN DIEGO STATE squad has been a member of the MWC each of its 15 years of existence and are 9-2 SU in this tournament the last four years. Like New Mexico, the Aztecs play sticky ‘D’ (#12 Defensive Field Goal Percentage). The razor-thin edge separating the two best teams in the league comes down to altitude. The Lobos play in it while the Aztecs are a sea-level team who are just 6-12 SUATS in their last eighteen games at altitude.

UNLV hosts the tourney for the 8th straight year. The up-and-down Rebels will rely on the power play of former UConn transfer Roscoe Smith, their leading scorer and rebounder. Like New Mexico and San Diego State, UNLV plays a salty brand of defense as well (#25 Defensive Field Goal Percentage).

BOISE STATE has gone one-and-out in its first two years in the MWC tourney. Five returning starters from last year’s 21-win unit will be dead serious about making amends. A 12-2 SU mark at press time versus sub .590 opponents overrides the Broncos’ ridiculous 5-12 ATS conference spread record this campaign.

THE SLEEPER: WYOMING

The ‘Mountain’ is down considerably this season as opposed to last, and as a result nary a ‘sleeper’ team stands out. The Cowboys come closest to filling the bill, sporting a nifty 7-1 ATS mark in games versus .650 or greater opponents this season. A 4-1 ATS dog log in this event against #3 or lower seeds means we actually may be calling their name.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON THE NO. 2 SEED IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Like Avis, apparently No. 2 tries harder when it comes to cutting down the nets in this tourney. That’s confirmed by the fact that these seeds are 7-0 SU and 6-0-1 ATS all-time in MWC title tilts.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

AIR FORCE: 3-0 ATS off DD ATS win, 3-0 ATS w/revenge off SU win, 5-1 ATS as dogs 12 < pts, 0-4 ATS as favs, 0-3 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 2-14 SU all-time

BOISE ST: 3-1 ATS vs opp of BB SU losses, 5-2 ATS as pick or dogs 4 < pts, 0-5 ATS vs #2 seed, 2-5 ATS vs opp w/revenge

COLORADO ST: 5-1 ATS as #6-7 seed, 4-1 ATS as dogs vs opp off SUATS win, 1-5 ATS dogs < 4 pts, 1-4 ATS vs #1 seed, 1-3 ATS L4 as favs

FRESNO ST: 8-1 ATS off SU loss, 7-2 ATS w/revenge, 3-8 ATS off DD ATS win, 2-9 ATS off SU conference tourney win

NEVADA: 7-1 ATS as favs vs opp off BB SU wins, 0-6-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 0-5 ATS L5 as dogs, 1-6 ATS off DD ATS win, 1-6-1 ATS vs #3 seed or higher

NEW MEXICO: 5-0 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 3-0 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 6-1 ATS off DD SU win, 6-1-1 ATS dogs < 7 pts. 1-4 ATS vs #6 or higher seed

SAN DIEGO ST: 6-1 SUATS dogs 4 < pts, 3-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 0-3 ATS vs #3 seed, 1-7 ATS favs > 4 pts. 1-4 ATS off SUATS win vs opp w/revenge

UNLV: 5-0 ATS vs #1 seed, 5-1-1 ATS as pick or dogs, 8-3 ATS 2nd game, 5-2 ATS off DD SU win vs opp w/revenge, 0-4 ATS L4 as favs < 10 pts, 0-3 ATS as DD favs vs opp off BB SU losses

UTAH ST: 6-1 ATS as dogs off SU win, 5-2 ATS vs opp w/revenge off DD SU win, 0-3 ATS as favs < 7 pts, 1-3 ATS off BB SU losses

WYOMING: 4-0 ATS as #7 seed, 3-1 ATS as dogs off ATS loss, 1-5 ATS L6 as favs, 2-5 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-4 ATS vs opp off DD SU win

TECH NOTES:

-- Dogs off BB SU losses are 18-8 ATS and 8-2 ATS as DD dogs

-- Teams w/revenge are 43-21-2 ATS and 10-2 ATS off 3+ SUATS losses

-- Favorites off a DD SU loss are 1-5 ATS

-- Teams off BB SUATS wins are 3-7 ATS vs opp off SU loss

-- #1 seeds are 9-22 ATS and 3-12 ATS off SUATS win

-- #2 seeds are 10-1 ATS vs opp off SUATS win

-- #3 seeds are 7-16-1 ATS and 1-9 ATS vs opp off SU loss

-- #4 seeds w/revenge are 5-0-2 ATS

-- #7 seeds are 7-1 ATS as dogs 10 < pts

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AAC Tournament Betting Cheat Sheet
By Jason Logan
Covers.com

The inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament tips off Wednesday, and if the departed Big East members have anything to say about it, the first AAC tournament could be a wild ride ripe with betting value.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the teams to watch in the AAC tournament at FedExForum in Memphis this week:

Favorites

Louisville Cardinals - The defending national champs closed out the year with a statement win at SMU and a blowout over UConn at home. Louisville ranks in the Top 20 in both offense (81.8 ppg) and defense (61.8) and has plenty of postseason experience on its roster.

Cincinnati Bearcats - Cincinnati is one of the stingiest teams in the country, allowing only 58.4 points per game. The Bearcats clamped down on AAC competition but sometimes found themselves short on firepower when they need a bucket. Cincinnati gets 30 percent of its offense from Sean Kilpatrick, which is dangerous should the Bearcats talent guard wear down in the tournament.

Live Underdog

Memphis Tigers – Memphis struggled with consistency all season but showed just how good it can be with a strong push at the end of conference play. The Tigers’ talented roster took wins over Louisville and SMU down the stretch and proved it could run with the country’s elite in non-conference games against Oklahoma State, Florida and Gonzaga. The big chink in Memphis’ armor is a less-than-impressive road record.

Best ATS team

SMU Mustangs – The Mustangs (17-10 ATS), transplanted in the AAC from the C-USA, stunned basketball bettors in conference play. Southern Methodist reeled off seven straight covers and went on an 11-1 ATS streak during AAC play before the market caught up to the Pony Express. The Mustangs fell flat on their faces to end conference play with back-to-back loss to Louisville and Memphis that damaged their tournament seeding.

Best Over/Under

Cincinnati Bearcats - Cincinnati’s lock-down defense and lackluster scoring punch is the perfect recipe for Under bettors (7-18 O/U). The Bearcats held 11 of their 17 conference opponents to under 60 points while totaling less than 70 points for in 12 of their AAC clashes. However, the market is adjusting to Cincy’s Under run with the final two games of the schedule playing Over.

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Sleeper Squads
By Mike Rose
VegasInsider.com

It's the best week of the year for college basketball betting fans, as every team in every conference has a shot to play its way into the NCAA tournament. There are always clubs that come out of nowhere to steal bids, and we've got a look at some of the ones that can do some damage and blow up some bubbles in the process.

Rhode Island Rams (14-17, 16-11 ATS) – The Rams have covered their last five games, and they have gone 3-2 SU in those duels. Their only losses both came by three points to UMass and St. Joe's. Not only are the Minutemen up first, but next in line is GW. Both of those teams have already locked up their spot to the dance. With Rhode Island playing so well, the A-10 Tournament could get turned upside down, but this isn't the only team we think could prove to be problematic in Brooklyn.

La Salle Explorers (15-15, 7-19-1 ATS) – We know. That ATS record was atrocious this season for La Salle. However, last season, this team went from the First Four to the Sweet 16, and there are a lot of holdovers from that club. In fact, only Ramon Galloway is gone. Steve Zack is a better big man now, and the rest of the numbers are falling in line too, but the bottom line is that the A-10 has been a horror to try to win games in. Don't discount the possibility that, while Rhode Island is doing damage on one side of the bracket, La Salle might be blowing up the other, especially with as suspect as some of the teams at the top of the A-10 have been playing of late.

Northern Illinois Huskies (14-16, 16-11-1 ATS) - The Huskies served notice to the rest of the MAC when they upset Toledo a few weeks ago. They'll be favored against lowly Bowling Green to start off the MAC Tournament, and then it's off to a game with Buffalo, a very winnable fixture for a team which loves to take the air out of the basketball. The best part about the Huskies? They're 10-1-1 ATS in their last 12 games entering this tourney. Even if NIU doesn't win it, we know we don't want to fade it on the college basketball betting lines.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-11, 19-10 ATS) – Why? Do you have a better idea who is winning the Big Ten Tournament? The Cornhuskers are the fourth seed in this tournament, but they'll be dogs in every game which they play for sure. However, they already have upsets of Wisconsin and Michigan State of late, and they are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine. Why “Nebrasketball” you ask? Why not?!

Alabama Crimson Tide (13-18, 11-14-3 ATS) – Florida is winning the SEC. We know this. There's a reason that the team didn't lose a conference game all season long. But if you look at the rest of the draw Alabama is set to face, and you realize that Trevor Releford is Alabama's answer to the crazy stuff which Marshall Henderson does for Ole Miss, you'll realize that maybe we're not so crazy. LSU seems destined to crash out of this tournament in a hurry, and up next would be Kentucky, who could beat Bama by 30 or lose by 20. The Tide’s covered their last three (including nearly beating Kentucky), and they at least have to think they can make it to the weekend at the Georgia Dome whether anyone else believes in them or not.

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Conference Tournament Betting Tips
By Sam Martin
Sports.com

Betting on Conference Tournament games is much different from the regular season, and there are a number of extra handicapping factors to consider. We'll go over some of these extra factors, as well as highlight the ones we personally deem as important or overrated.

"Need-to-Win Factor" - In every major conference there are usually one or two teams that the talking heads proclaim "need to win one or two games" in order to make the tournament. Usually, the general betting public equates "need to win" with "absolutely will win", and we can sometimes find decent line value playing against these teams (especially if they are listed as a big favorite).

"Coaching History" - One of the most underrated handicapping tools for these conference tournament games is how head coaches treat these games. Some head coaches are of the opinion that they want their team to win out. Others prefer to get out of the tournament as soon as possible (assuming they have a tournament bid locked up already) and would prefer to take advantage of extra rest. Do your homework, and if you find one of each type of head coach playing each other, you might have an easy winner on your hands.

"Momentum" - Momentum is always a betting tool we put extra emphasis on, and it's especially important in these Conference Tournament games. A perfect example is Nebraska - who looks a whole lot more appealing now than they did two months ago. Of course, it can work the other way also, as losing teams might just be ready to throw in the towel and avoid prolonging a season that is going nowhere.

"Third Matchup" - Many conferences will see teams play a home-and-home series, so these conference tournament matchups feature the third matchup of the season. We tend to look at shooting percentages and which team controlled tempo more than wins, losses, and ATS covers in those previous matchups. It's also a good idea to see the circumstances surrounding the previous games (lookahead, letdown, etc).

"Road Record" - Just about everybody can win at home, but only the good teams can consistently win on the road. Road records are extremely important when handicapping these tournament games (also, finding out which team has "home court" advantage, if at all). The Pac 12 Conference is a good example, where home teams have completely dominated across the board with a few notable exceptions.

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Big East Tournament Betting Cheat Sheet
By Chase Ruttig
Covers.com

The first tournament of the reformed Big East is set to take place in a battle between new faces and defenders of the old guard looking for the conference crown at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the teams to watch in the Big East this week.

Favorites

Villanova Wildcats (+150) – The Wildcats defended the Big East and held off newcomers all season on their way to a 28-3 record and a outright conference title. Looking for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, Villanova may have to conquer their demons against a Creighton team that swept them in conference play in Nebraska and on its home court in Philadelphia.

Creighton Bluejays (+175) - Tops in the nation in 3-point shooting (42.1 percent) and FG percentage (49.6 percent), Creighton is led by senior sensation Doug McDermott who has already passed Larry Bird in scoring and is supported by sharpshooter Ethan Wragge and guards Auston Chatman and Grant Gibbs. Two 20-point wins over Villanova point to Creighton as the likely favorite in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 final, but first they’ll have to get there by outlasting the field.

Live Underdog

St. John's Red Storm (+600) – A member of the "old" Big East, the Johnnies call MSG their home and need a big tournament run to ensure that their 20-11 record is improved enough to crack the final field. St. John’s has wins in eight of its last 10, even if a home loss to Xavier is cause for concern, and the ability to hang with true Final Four contenders in Villanova and Creighton.

Best ATS team

Villanova Wildcats – Not much of a curveball in the Big East as the conference winners have the best ATS record with the Wildcats matching their 28-3 SU record with an equally-impressive 21-8 ATS mark.

Best totals team

Villanova Wildcats - In addition to having the best ATS mark the Wildcats also have the best O/U differential with their games going Over the total 18 out of 28 times.

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Madness Hits Indy this Week
By Razor Sharp Sports
Freeplays.com

This Thursday the Big-10 Tournament gets underway in Indianapolis and after watching the regular season, this may be the most wide open tournament we have ever seen. All season long the Big-10 has been banging on each other with upset after upset! Heading into the season and throughout the non-conference part of the season, the Big-10 was rated as one of the best conferences around. The Big-10 had a Non-Conference Record of 122-32 this year. Both Wisconsin and Ohio St went 13-0 in non-conference play. All 12 Big-10 teams had winning Non-conference records and 11 of the 12 has a record of 8-4 or better! Thoughout the season the Big-10 has had 6 teams ranked in the Top-25, 4 in the Top 10, 3 in the Top 5 and Michigan St held the #1 spot for 3 weeks! For about 4 weeks, the Big-10 had 3 teams (Ohio St, Michigan St and Wisconsin) all in the Top 5 and now none of those 3 are the #1 seed, Michigan is. So how crazy will it get? Let’s take a look!

Looking at the experts right now, the Big-10 should have at least 6 teams in the NCAA tournament (Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan St, Ohio St, Nebraska and Iowa). Minnesota also has a chance to play their way in with at least 2 tourney wins. Plus the other 5 teams that aren’t getting in unless they win the Big-10 crown, have proved that they can match-up with anyone in the conference and could make a Cinderella Run. So lets take a look at each team.

1. Michigan Wolverines (15-3 in conference, 23-7 overall) - The Wolverines have won 5 straight heading into the tourney. They have beaten the other Top-4 in the Conference. But prior to their season ending 5 game winning streak, they did have a 5 game span where they went 2-3 with loses to Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

2. Wisconsin Badgers (12-6, 25-6) - The Badgers had won 8 straight prior to their regular season finale loss at Nebraska. Though they can beat almost anyone with their shooting, they can also lose to anyone when they go cold. They have losses to Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern.

3. Michigan St Spartans (12-6, 25-6) - A healthy Spartan team may be the best in the country, but they haven’t been that way since January. They have lsot 5 out of their last 8 games including bad loses to Nebraska and Illinois.

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-7, 19-11) - Talk about a team that is playing their way into the big dance. The Huskers have won 8 out of 9 in conference and could really be a threat. Prior to their hot streak, they had bad losses in conference to Illinois, Penn St, and Purdue.

5. Ohio St Buckeyes (10-8, 23-8) - The Buckeyes were the hot choice in the conference about a month and a half ago. Then they hit a skid. They have dropped 3 of their last 7 and have bad losses to Indiana (twice), Penn St, Minnesota and Iowa. They did finish the season with a good win over Michigan St.

6. Iowa Hawkeyes (9-9, 20-11) - The Hawkeyes had a great run in the middle of the season moving into the Mid-teens in the AP ranking but then dropped 5 out of their last 6 including losses to Indiana and Illinois.

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-10, 19-12) - The Gophers really need a strong performance in Indy to make the Big Dance. they have some very good wins over Wisconsin, Ohio St and Iowa, but also have plenty of bad losses including Northwestern and Purdue.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini (7-11, 18-13) - The Illini has had their ups and downs all year, but there have been more downs. They started the year 13-2 but dropped 8 straight Big-10 games. They do have wins over Iowa and Michigan St this year.

9. Indiana Hoosiers (7-11, 17-14) - It has been a long season for Tom Crean and his Hoosiers. Way to many bad performances outweigh the good. Still on a good day, Indiana can play with almost anyone. They have Big-10 wins over Ohio St, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

10.-12 Penn St Nittany Lions (6-12, 15-16), Northwestern Wildcats (6-12, 13-18), & Purdue Boilermakers (5-13, 15-16) - These last 3 teams are the only 3 with losing records overall. Though they haven’t been good through most of the year, each have had a couple bright spots. Penn St has wins over Nebraska and Ohio St (twice), Northwestern knocked off Wisconsin and Purdue has a win over Nebraska.

So there you go. Who is your pick to cut down the nets in Indianapolis this week? If it is Michigan, Wisconsin, or Michigan St, a high NCAA seeding will follow. If Nebraska can stay hot, they will start getting more respect. Can Ohio St or Iowa turn things around at the right time? Will the Gophers play their way into an invite. Or will Cinderella show up with one of the bottom 5 teams.

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Pac-12 Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com
    
PAC-12 CONFERENCE


March 12-15 -- All games at the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, NV

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: ARIZONA, UCLA, OREGON, COLORADO

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

In its 12-year history, seven different teams have managed to capture this event with Oregon winning for the third time last season.

Surprisingly, ARIZONA, the clear top seed in this year’s tourney, has managed to win the title only one time – in the inaugural tournament thirteen years ago. On paper, this year’s edition looks to be the real deal as they rank in the Top 10 in both Defensive Field Goal Percentage and Rebound Margin while shooting nearly 47% from the floor. A major concern, among others, is a 1-6 SUATS record in this event versus greater than .700 opponents.

UCLA, last year’s runner-up, wobbled a bit down the stretch and was just 1-4 SUATS in games versus greater than .750 foes. New head coach Steve Alford won back-to-back MWC titles before coming to Westwood and is 19-5 ATS in conference tourneys when facing an opponent off a SUATS win.
   
After opening the season 13-0 before hitting a 2-8 wall, OREGON appears to have got their mojo back heading into this affair. The defending champs are 16-8 SU and 16-7-1 ATS all-time in this tourney.

COLORADO was a preseason Top 25 choice and looked like it until star PG Spencer Dinwiddie went down with an injury. He’s back and with it the Buffaloes’ prospects loom large once again. Note: the Buffs are 8-2 ATS as conference dogs of less than 4 points under Tad Boyle.

THE SLEEPER: UTAH

The Utes were the biggest moneymakers in the league this campaign (18-6 ATS as press time) and managed to pull off upsets over California and USC in their debut in this tournament last season before being booted out by eventual champion Oregon. A 13-1 SU mark in games versus sub .600 opposition this season should help kick-start a similar momentum this go-round.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON THE DOG IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Living by the adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, our trusty database calls out the fact that underdogs are 6-1 ATS in the last seven title games in this tourney. They were 6-0 until the Bruins spilled their guts on championship day last year. And should Arizona arrive as expected to the championship game, they should aid the cause as they are 2-5 SUATS as chalk in this tourney versus .600 or greater opponents.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

ARIZONA: 3-0 ATS off SU loss, 6-1 ATS favs vs opp w/revenge, 0-5 ATS w/revenge, 2-8 ATS favs off BB SU wins

ARIZONA ST: 1-5 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 1-4 ATS as favs, 3-10 SU all-time

CALIFORNIA: 6-0 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 4-1 ATS as favs off SU loss, 1-5-1 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 2-10-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins

COLORADO: 9-1 ATS L10 as dogs, 6-2 ATS off SU dog win, 1-4 ATS L5 as favs, 2-5 ATS w/same-season double revenge

OREGON: 3-0 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 7-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 0-2 ATS off DD SU loss, 0-2-1 ATS dogs off SU dog win

OREGON ST: 3-1 ATS dogs < 10 pts vs opp off SU win, 5-2 ATS L7, 1-4 ATS off SU loss vs opp off SU loss, 1-3 ATS as DD dogs

STANFORD: 2-0 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 1-6 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-5 ATS off DD SU win, 3-8 ATS off SUATS win

UCLA: 3-0 ATS off DD ATS win, 3-1 ATS w/revenge, 3-1 ATS as DD favs, 1-3 ATS vs opp off SUATS win, 1-3 ATS vs #1-2 seeds

USC: 5-1 ATS dogs 12 < pts, 10-3 ATS off SU win vs opp off SUATS win, 5-2 ATS w/revenge, 0-3 ATS off SUATS loss

UTAH: 4-0 ATS off BB SU losses, 3-0 ATS as dogs vs opp off DD SU loss, 4-1 ATS as dogs 8 > pts, 1-8 ATS as favs off SUATS win

WASHINGTON: 2-0 ATS dogs vs opp off DD SU win, 0-5 ATS off SU loss, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-4 ATS favs < 6 pts

WASHINGTON ST: 5-2 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 1-5 ATS off SUATS win, 1-4 ATS w/revenge, 1-4 ATS as dogs > 3 pts

TECH NOTES:

-- Dogs of < 8 pts are 10-2 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins

-- Favorites are 4-1 ATS off 3+ SU losses

-- DD favorites are 5-1 ATS off SUATS win

-- #1 seeds are 5-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win

-- #2 seed dogs are 4-1 ATS L5

-- #3 seeds are 1-5 ATS w/revenge

-- #4 seeds are 0-4 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses

-- #10 seeds are 2-7 SUATS L9

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

ACC Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE


March 12-16 -- All games at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: SYRACUSE, VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, DUKE

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

It’s not hard to argue that the ACC is to college basketball what the SEC is to college football. A conference-best .663 win percentage, and a streak of 26 straight non-losing performances in the Big Dance, confirms the notion.

Loop newcomer SYRACUSE brings its tenacious 2-3 zone and a ton of postseason experience to Greensboro. An 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS mark versus .833 or better foes this season is certainly imposing. The feeling here is the best thing that happened to Jim Boeheim’s boys was tasting defeat after a 25-0 start.

Top seed VIRGINIA posted its most wins (23) last year since 1995, and then topped it this season, winning its first ACC title since 1981. Tony Bennett’s staple – defense – was front and center as the Cavs ranked in the nation’s Top 10 in both Defensive Field Goal Percentage (38.1) and Rebound Margin (+7.5).

After a sluggish start, NORTH CAROLINA kicked it into gear and won its final 12 games (at press time). The Heels have finished the runner up each of the last three years in this tourney. Concern is their struggle in games against upper echelon teams in this event (1-10-2 ATS versus #5 or higher seeds).

DUKE gains an automatic nod despite the fact they own a putrid 44.6 (#200) Defensive Field Goal Percentage. The Devils’ 14-1 SU and 10-5 ATS mark in games versus sub .690 opponents this season should get them to the weekend.

THE SLEEPER: PITTSBURGH

Another new kid on the block gets a call in this fabled tourney. Yes, we realize the Panthers have gone one-and-out 4 of the last 5 years in conference tourney play and are riding a 1-8-1 ATS skid at press time. But Jamie Dixon’s cats are 9-3 SU away from the Steel City and have won 20 of their last 31 games conference tourney games heading into this new venue.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON SYRACUSE AS A DOG

The Orange not only excel this time of the season, they rise to another level when taking points in conference tourney games, going 16-8 SU and 17-7 ATS, including 24-4 SU and 15-3 ATS when taking 6 or fewer points. You want to lay points into that? We didn’t think so.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

BOSTON COLLEGE: 6-2 ATS off BB SU wins, 0-3 ATS off DD SU loss, 1-5 ATS dogs w/revenge, 1-4 ATS dogs 9 > pts

CLEMSON: 7-0-2 ATS dogs 4 > & < 10 pts, 4-0 ATS w/revenge off DD ATS win, 5-1 ATS w/3+ rest vs opp off SU dog win, 5-1 ATS vs #2-3 seeds, 1-5 ATS w/ 3+ rest vs opp off BB SU losses, 1-4 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 3-10 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 2-6 SUATS vs #9 seed or lower

DUKE: 4-1 ATS vs opp of BB SU losses, 0-4 ATS dogs or favs 3 < pts (1-6 favs 4 < pts or dogs), 1-4 ATS vs #10 seed or lower, 2-10 ATS off SUATS win vs opp off SU win w/revenge, 2-6 ATS off DD ATS win, 4-12 ATS w/3 + rest vs opp off SU win

FLORIDA ST: 6-1 ATS off DD SU win vs opp off SU win, 5-1 ATS w/3+ rest off SU loss, 5-2 ATS L7 as dogs, 1-6 ATS L7 favs 2 > points, 1-5 ATS vs #9 seed or lower, 1-5 ATS as DD dogs

GEORGIA TECH: 4-0 ATS favs vs opp off DD SU win, 9-2 ATS in 2nd game, 0-5 ATS vs opp off SU fav loss, 1-6 ATS w/3+ rest w/DD SU revenge, 1-6 ATS vs #6-8 seeds, 1-5-1 ATS off SUATS loss, 1-5 ATS w/3+ rest vs opp off BB SU wins, 2-6 ATS vs #2-3 seeds, 2-6 ATS vs #8-11 seeds

MARYLAND: 4-0 ATS dogs off SU dog win, 5-1-1 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss, 7-2 vs #9-11 seed, 10-3 ATS as #6-7 seed, 2-6 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 2-6-1 L9 ATS favs 4 > points

MIAMI FLA: 7-0 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 8-1 ATS dogs 2 > pts, 11-1 ATS vs opp off SU win, 9-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins, 9-1 ATS L10, 9-1 ATS vs #8 seed or lower, 5-1 ATS w/ revenge

NC STATE: 7-0 ATS as #5-6 seed, 9-1 ATS as #5 or 6 seed, 7-1-2 ATS L10, 11-2 ATS as pick or favorite, 13-3-1 ATS in 1st game, 12-4 ATS off DD SU win

NOTRE DAME: 3-0 ATS favs w/revenge, 5-1 ATS off BB SUATS wins vs opp off BB SU wins, 6-2 ATS favs 3 > pts, 1-5 ATS off SU loss, 0-5 dogs > 5 pts, 0-5 ATS dogs vs opp off SU loss, 0-4 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 1-6 ATS as #8 seed or lower, 1-5 ATS off DD ATS win vs opp off SU win, 3-10 ATS vs #4-9 seeds

NORTH CAROLINA: 5-1-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 0-3 ATS favs w/revenge, 1-10-2 ATS L13 vs #5 seed or higher, 5-15-3 ATS favs since 2000, 2-7-2 ATS off BB SU wins vs opp off SU dog win

PITTSBURGH: 7-1 ATS dogs vs opp off SUATS win, 5-1 SUATS vs #2 seed, 4-1 w/ revenge off DD SUATS win, 7-2 ATS off DD ATS win, 1-7 ATS w/3+ rest off BB SU wins, 1-4 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss

SYRACUSE: 7-0 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 12-2 ATS dogs 1 to 5 pts, 6-2 ATS vs #2-3 seeds, 1-6 ATS as #1 seed, 1-5 ATS L6, 2-7 ATS favs vs opp off DD SU win, 4-10 vs opp off SUATS win w/revenge

VIRGINIA: 0-8 ATS L8 as pick or favorite, 0-6-1 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 0-4 ATS off DD SU loss, 4-14 ATS in 1st game, 3-7 ATS vs opp off DD SU win

VIRGINIA TECH: 4-0 ATS off SU loss vs opp off SU win, 4-1 ATS off SUATS loss, 3-1 ATS w/same-season revenge, 4-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins, 1-4 ATS favs 2 to 8 pts

WAKE FOREST: 4-0 ATS off SU dog win vs opp off BB SU wins, 0-7 SUATS L7, 0-4 ATS off BB SU losses, 1-5 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-7 ATS vs opp w/revenge, 3-9 favs vs opp off SU win, 4-16 ATS as #2-11 seed (1-7 favs)

TECH NOTES:

-- Dogs off a SU favorite loss are 10-2-1 ATS

-- The SU winner of games in this tourney is 159-42-7 ATS since 1991

-- Favs are 2-6 ATS w/same-season double-revenge

-- Teams 2-11 ATS off SU DD loss vs opp off BB SU wins

-- #2 seeds are 8-2-1 ATS as DD favorites vs opp off SU win

-- #3 seeds are 12-3-1 ATS off a DD SU win

-- #4 seeds are 1-6 ATS vs opp off SU dog win

-- #5 seeds are 5-1 ATS L5 vs #1 seed

-- #6 seeds are 9-1 ATS off SU dog win

-- #9 seeds are 9-2 ATS as pick or dogs since 2003

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

The Road to Madness                      
By Rob Vinciletti 

Atlantic Coast Conference

1. Virginia. The Cavaliers play the best overall defense and will be tough to beat here. This conference has shown a lot of parity throughout the season. However we have to like The Cavaliers chances, as they enter off a loss and have a solid #10 RPI Ranking.

2. Duke. Coming off their most sought after win. They led wire to wire on Saturday night and stopped the 12 game win streak of North Carolina. The Blue Devils have the highest RPI Rank in this conference at #8 and will be a tough out for any team, as they are versatile but must be more consistent.

3.Syracuse. The Orange enter off a solid road win over Florida St. However they hit a wall in the last quarter of the season and after starting off by winning their first 20+ games faltered, particularly on offense. If they have put their dry spell behind them they can definitely get to the final here and will have an advantage of catching teams off guard late in games with their switching defenses.

4. North Carolina. The Heels had their 12 game win streak snapped at Cameron Indoor on Saturday. They are however, the now teams and have played their best ball, after a lethargic Start. It will be interesting to see how they respond off their loss and whether they can keep momentum on their side moving into this weeks ACC Tournament.

American Athletic Conference:

1. Louisville. The Cardinals are the top team in this newly formed conference that basically combines some of the Conference USA Teams with those from the Big East. Louisville, while not as good as in years past will still prove to be a formidable foe. Interestingly they are 26-5, but just 6-5 vs top 50 RPI Schools. They are the 11th ranked team with a #21 RPI Ranking, which ironically is not the best. While We expect they will play well, they can definitely get beat for the championship here.

2. Cincinnati has the identical record to Louisville at 26-5 and 15-3 in conference. The Bear Cats while ranked 15th actually have a solid number 16 RPI number and are 7-5 vs Top 50 teams and Continue to be a defensive force year after year. There would be no surprise if the won this Tournament this week.

3. Memphis. The Tigers have played the toughest schedule in this conference. They are led by star guard Joe Jackson and if they stay consistent could be a major player in this tournament. They have 2 solid wins over Louisville this year and a big Last home game win over SMU on Saturday. They are ranked in the top 20 again this season and are definitely a sleeper here in this tournament. The only negative is they tend to wear down late in games against good teams and are just 5-7 vs top 50 RPI Ranked teams.

4. U.Conn. The Huskies may not be as good as the team that won 5 straight in 5 days a few years back. However you can never count them out. The Huskies are also a top 20 RPI team and have big game experience and are a solid 24-7 this year.

5. SMU. The Mustangs were beat late on the road in Memphis on Saturday but are right near the top of this conference and have a similar record to all the teams above and the ageless Larry Brown at the helm. They are ranked 44 in the RPI scale and if they get hot can definitely be dangerous.

BIG 12:

1. Kansas. Once again the Jayhakws find themselves pegged as the team to beat in the BIG 12. This years tourney could really be won by any number of teams as they have shown the most parity this season of all the major conferences. Kansas has the #3 overall RPI Ranking and will be hungry here entering off a loss where they trailed throughout. They are 12-7 vs top 50 RPI Teams and have played the most amount of top 50 teams in the country. This will surely help them this week.

2.Iowa. St. The Cyclones have a solid RPI Ranking and could beat and get beast by anyone. They do most of their damage at home, but do appear to be the next best team in this Conference as they have an #11 RPI Ranking and have played the 15 th toughest schedule in the Nation.In their last game they hit a buzzer beater to Tie Oklahoma St and win in overtime and win a game where they were down 16 in the 2nd half. Momentum or Satisfaction. We will see later in the week.

3.Oklahoma. The Sooners have a solid squad once again this season and are ranked 23 overall and have played the 12th strongest schedule. They enter off a solid win and have held their own winning 8 of 13 vs top 50 RPI Teams. They have the talent to string together a nice run.

4. Texas. The Long horns enter off a loss at Texas Tech but can beat any one in this conference. They are not ranked but have a talented roster. They appear to be just a notch below some of the top teams, but do have a winning conference record at 11-7.

BIG EAST:

1.Villanova. With the departure of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Wildcats have flexed their muscles in this conference and have won 16 of 18 this year. They are ranked and play like a number one team and are 13-3 vs top 100 schools. They will be tough to beat here in a watered down Big East this season. Cant see any one but Maybe Creighton knocking them off.

2. Creighton. The Blue Jays have not skipped a beat coming over from the Missouri Valley conference. Had they been their Wichita St might not be going to the big Dance as the first team since the 91 UNLV Squad to enter undefeated as Creighon would have beaten them at home. The Jays are 14-6 vs top 1000 RPI Ranked teams and are ranked #7 in the RPI Scale. Would not be a surprise as they have the best player on the court in Mcdermott who is now the 7th highest scoring player in history.

3. Providence. The Friars like the rest of the pack are a distant 3rd to the top two and would need things to break right to win in here. One must never day never as U.CONN strung 5 wins in 5 days a few years ago a feat that may never happen again.

BIG 10:


1. Michigan. The Wolverines are this season BIG 10 Regular season champs. They are very athletic and won 15 of 18 in conference. They went 8-5 vs top 50 teams and have a powerful #9 RPI Rank and have played the 9th toughest schedule in the country. The BIG 10 is another conference that has produced big upsets this season. The Wolverines will have to play their best to win this.

2. Wisconsin. The Badgers are a legit to 10 team that plays tremendous team defense and has the #5 RPI Ranking. The Badgers have played the 2nd hardest schedule this year and have held their own winning 7 of 9 vs TOP 50 teams. They have an excellent shot here and would be our selection to win, as they have proven they can play with any one.

3. Michigan St. The Spartans are top 25 team that has the #22 RPI Ranking. While this is not Tom Izzos best team. They play hard on defense and would be no surprise to make it to the final. They appear to be just a notch below the top teams but, any thing can happen in these games and they do have a winning record vs top 50 schools again this year.

PAC 12:

1. Arizona. The Wildcats were caught late in Oregon on Saturday and will come in as the team to beat here in this tournament. Arizona is perhaps the best team in the country. They have the best record vs top 50 schools in the nation in the RPI Scale going 10-2. They play solid defense and can score the ball and should, at the very least be in the final. No other team in this conference is ranked.

2. UCLA. The Bruins have a talented team, though have been inconsistent at times. They are not as good as Arizona. However they do appear to be the 2nd best team in the PAC 12. They are 11-7 vs top 100 teams and are the only other team to have a winning record vs top 50 schools. They will need to do their best here.

3. Oregon. The Ducks put a nice effort together in their last game a last home game win vs Arizona. They have pulled themselves together, at least for the time being as they have responded after starting the season on fire and then going on a 6 game losing streak that had them looking like a duck, that was dead in the water. Dana Altman has done a nice job refocusing them. However its unlikely they would win the whole thing.

SEC:

1. Florida. Hard to go against the Gators here as they are the #1 ranked team and have been rolling. They have the best record outside of Wichita St at 29-2 and should coast in this tournament. In games vs top 50 schools they have a 6-2 record. Needless to say, outside of Kentucky this conference has not been too impressive. Any other team would to win this week would be a complete surprise.

2. Kentucky. The Wildcats are the only other formidable foe in this conference and while they have a nice RPI Ranking at #18, they have that because they have played the 6th toughest schedule. However they are a dismal 2-5 vs TOP 50 RPI Schools. They cannot stay with the Gators this season, should they even make it to the final.

3. Tennessee. The Volunteers could get to the final but are another team that wont be able to stay with Florida. The VOLS are a top 50 RPI Ranked school but are just 2-5 vs top 50 schools. In other words, the SEC is not one of the better conferences this season.


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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

SEC Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

March 12-16 • All games at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: FLORIDA, KENTUCKY, GEORGIA, TENNESSEE

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

This year’s tourney is being played at the Georgia Dome (host of last year’s Final Four) for the 10th time, but the event moves to Nashville for 10 of the next 12 years. It’s no surprise that our top four picks are the four teams receiving double-byes. Only three teams have won the title by winning 4 games in four days: Arkansas in 2000, Georgia in 2008, and Mississippi State in 2009.

FLORIDA, this year’s #1 seed, won the event three straight years from 2005-07, but hasn’t won it since, despite appearances in the finals in 2011 & 2013. The Gators’ only two losses this season (at press time) were by 6 points to Wisconsin in the second game of the year and a 1-point defeat to UConn on December 2. Billy Donovan’s troops have made three consecutive trips to the Elite 8.

Despite a one-and-out effort last season, we cast another shaky vote for KENTUCKY for the runner-up spot. Bolstered by 27 SEC championships, coach John Calipari’s crew once again arrives with their usual pimply complexion but we still must respect the two-time defending champion’s 46-10 SU and 35-19-2 ATS mark in this event since 1991, including 10-1 ATS the last 11 when playing with revenge. And don’t forget that Calipari is 40-8 SU in these shindigs. In fact, our Key Tourney Best Bet reminds us to keep an eye on these ‘Cats late. That is, of course, if they can survive coach Cal’s 6-11 ATS log versus .580 or less opposition in this event.

The surprise team in the league this season was GEORGIA, picked to finish 8th in the SEC preseason poll. The Dawgs brought 2 starters back from last year’s 15-win squad. Coach Mark Fox is 52-36-1 ATS in conference games with Georgia at press time, including 35-19 SU and 35-18-1 ATS as an SEC dog of less than 6 points.

TENNESSEE held up its end after being slotted as the #3 team in the loop in the SEC preseason polls. The Vols excelled at revenge (7-2 ATS) and in games versus foes off a SUATS loss (7-1 ATS) this campaign. Rocky Top will need to improve on its recent 11-18 SU and 8-21 ATS mark (1-8 ATS as a dog) in this event if they wish to make any kind of noise.

THE SLEEPER: ARKANSAS

After an 11-2 start was followed by a 2-8 slump, the Hogs ran wild to close out the season to secure this spot. They will need to improve mightily on past indiscretions, however, as they enter this year’s tourney having lost 6 games in a row in this event, including one-and-out each of the last five years.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON KENTUCKY IN THE SEMI OR FINAL ROUND

As alluded to above, John Calipari has dominated conference tourney play. And that’s especially true in the semi and final rounds where his teams smell blood, going 24-4 SU and 20-8 ATS, including 24-1 SU and 18-7 ATS as a favorite. Enough said.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

ALABAMA: 7-0 ATS favs off DD SU win, 9-1 ATS favs vs opp off SU win, 9-3 ATS L12, 0-3 ATS dogs off SU loss, 1-14 SU & 5-10 ATS vs > .700 opp

ARKANSAS: 4-1 ATS favs vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 1-7 ATS as #4 seed or lower, 1-5 ATS off DD SU loss, 2-6 ATS off BB SU losses

AUBURN: 4-1 ATS favs vs opp w/revenge, 7-3 ATS off SUATS loss, 1-7 ATS vs #1-2 seeds, 1-6 ATS off BB SU wins, 1-6 ATS L7, 1-4 ATS as DD dogs

FLORIDA: 7-0 ATS as #1 seed favs 11 < pts, 7-1-1 ATS off ATS loss > 3 points, 4-0-1 ATS w/same-season revenge, 7-3 ATS off BB SU wins vs opp w/revenge, 1-6 ATS vs #2 seed

GEORGIA: 5-0 ATS favs > 7 points, 3-0 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 3-1 ATS as DD dogs, 1-8 ATS dogs 10 < pts vs .700 > opp, 1-6 ATS vs #1 seed

KENTUCKY: 8-0 ATS off SU loss, 4-1 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 11-3-1 ATS w/revenge, 0-9 ATS vs opp w/ revenge off SU win, 0-4 ATS L4, 1-5 ATS as favs 7 > pts

LSU: 6-1 ATS as dogs 5 > pts, 5-1 ATS L6, 5-1 ATS as favs 6 > pts, 1-5 ATS dogs off DD SU loss, 2-6 ATS off SU dog win

MISSISSIPPI: 3-0 ATS w/revenge vs opp off BB SU losses, 5-1 ATS L6, 0-4 ATS vs opp off SU fav loss, 1-11 ATS dogs 6 > points, 2-9 ATS vs opp w/revenge

MISSISSIPPI ST: 9-2 ATS L11, 10-2 ATS dogs off BB SU wins, 8-3-1 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 1-5 ATS favs > 3 pts, 2-5 ATS vs opp off SU loss

MISSOURI: 11-1 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 9-1-2 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 6-2 ATS favs off DD SU win, 0-2 ATS w/revenege off DD ATS win, 1-4 ATS favs off BB SU losses

SOUTH CAROLINA: 3-0 ATS off DD ATS loss, 6-1 ATS as favs w/revenge, 5-1 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss, 1-7 ATS dogs off DD ATS win, 1-4 ATS L5

TENNESSEE: 4-1 ATS w/revenge vs opp off SU dog win, 4-1 ATS favs off SU loss, 2-9 ATS vs opp off DD SU win, 1-8 ATS L9 as dogs, 5-20 ATS off SUATS win, 4-12 ATS L16

TEXAS A&M: 7-2 ATS off BB SU losses, 4-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 2-9 ATS off SU win vs opp off DD SU win, 2-7 ATS w/same-season double revenge

VANDERBILT: 5-1 ATS off SUATS loss vs opp off DD SU win, 5-1 ATS L6, 4-1 ATS favs 7 > pts, 1-5 ATS off SU dog win, 1-6 ATS favs off SUATS win, 1-6 ATS vs opp off SUATS loss

TECH NOTES:

-- Favorites are 45-22-1 ATS off SU loss, 17-7-1 ATS off DD SU loss and 8-2 ATS as favorites of 16 > points

-- Underdogs of > 7 pts w/revenge off a SU dog win are 8-20 ATS

-- Teams w/same-season single revenge are 12-3 ATS off a SU favorite loss

-- #1 seeds are 8-1 ATS off a SU loss

-- #2 seeds are 6-1 ATS as DD favorites

-- #4 seeds are 5-16-1 ATS as dogs < 8 points and 5-0 ATS as DD dogs

-- #5 seeds are 1-7 ATS as DD dogs

-- #6 seeds are 2-9 ATS off a DD ATS win

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Re: NCAAB Conference Tournament Previews

Big East Betting Notes
By Marc Lawrence
VegasInsider.com

BIG EAST CONFERENCE

March 12-15 -- All games at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: VILLANOVA, CREIGHTON, ST. JOHN’S, XAVIER

THE WAY WE SEE IT:

If legendary folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger was asked to perform at Madison Square Garden this week, chances are you’d hear, “Where have all the flowers gone?” It could well serve as the anthem for this year’s Big East bash. Just two years ago the most powerful (16 team) conference in the land, the Big East is now a 10-team loop with iconic programs such as Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse – among others – taking up roots in new leagues. And through it all only one team that has played in the last thirteen Big East title games – Georgetown – remains.

VILLANOVA is a Big East holdover and the likely top seed in this year’s tourney. The Wildcats have struggled, though, in this event of late going just 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine contests. They are, however, 3-0 ATS as a favorite in games with revenge in this affair (see our Best Bet below for more on this).

CREIGHTON is led by All America F Doug McDermott, who surprisingly returned for his senior year after leading the nation in scoring last season. That made the Bluejays a preseason Top 25 squad and they responded with aplomb. The Jays defeated Wichita State in the finals of the Missouri Valley Conference tourney, and made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 round, last season. They can play.
   
ST. JOHN’S is another Big East holdover and a potential sleeper in this year’s NCAA tournament. A 17-win team last season, the Red Storm (hate that nickname) returned 5 starters from that team and got better as the season wore on. A 17-4 SU mark versus sub .750 foes at press time bodes well, as does their familiarity with this venue. The Johnnies figure to be more than anxious to erase the memory of having gone one-and-out in this event the last two years.

XAVIER brings a wealth of postseason success to this tourney, having gone 24-12 SU in conference tourney since 1998 – including 5-1 SUATS versus .750 or greater opponents. The X-Men proved it was no fluke by moving to the Big East this season and going 7-1 ATS at press time against .750 or better foes as well.

THE SLEEPER: GEORGETOWN

In keeping with the Big East tradition, the Hoyas always tend to come out of the gate quick (20-3 SU in Game One) in this tournament. But the one thing we’ve learned about this group in this event is they can’t be trusted as favorites, as evidenced by their 4-11 ATS mark when laying points. They are, however, 22-9 SU and 22-8-1 ATS versus .650 or greater opposition the last two seasons at press time.

KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON VILLANOVA VS. CREIGHTON

As alluded to above, the Wildcats figure to be hell-bent on avenging two setbacks to Creighton this season – a pair of 20-point, worst-loss-of-the-season beatings at the hands of the Bluejays. The database confirms our notion as Villanova is 4-0 SUATS as a favorite in this tourney behind Jay Wright in games in which they are avenging same-season double-revenge losses.

EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES

BUTLER: 4-0 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 3-0 ATS off SU loss, 7-2 ATS L9, 0-5 ATS as dogs, 10-4-1 favs < 10 pts, 1-4 ATS vs #1 seeds

CREIGHTON: 3-0 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 14-2 ATS favs 3 < to dogs 3 > pts, 9-2 SUATS vs #1-2 seeds, 11-4 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 8-2 ATS favs vs opp off BB SU wins, 28-7 SU & 21-14 ATS S/99

DEPAUL: 5-0 ATS vs #6-8 seeds, 4-1 ATS dogs vs opp off SUATS loss, 3-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 0-4 L4 ATS games, 1-5 ATS w/revenge vs opp off SU win, 1-4 ATS dogs of SUATS loss, 3-8 ATS vs #9-12 seeds

GEORGETOWN: 19-4 SU in 1st game, 6-1 ATS vs #3 seed, 9-3 ATS off SU loss, 1-7 ATS vs #4 seed, 3-9 ATS favs w/revenge

MARQUETTE: 3-0 ATS off BB SU losses, 3-0 ATS off DD ATS loss, 4-1 ATS vs #11 seed or lower, 0-5 ATS off BB SU wins

PROVIDENCE: 6-1 ATS off DD SU win, 5-1 as #4 seed, 0-5 ATS w/revenge vs opp off SU loss, 0-4 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 1-5 ATS dogs < 4 pts, 1-4 ATS vs #7-9 seeds

SETON HALL: 0-5 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS losses, 2-7 ATS dogs > 5 points, 1-5 ATS off SU win w/same-season revenge, 1-5 ATS dogs vs opp off SU dog win, 1-4 ATS vs opp off DD SU loss w/revenge, 2-6 ATS as #10 seed or #11 seed

ST. JOHN’S: 5-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 0-9 ATS favs off SU win, 0-8 ATS vs #3 seed or higher, 1-10 ATS in 2nd game, 1-7 ATS w/DD SU revenge, 1-5 ATS off DD SU win, 2-12 ATS off SU win vs opp off SU win

VILLANOVA: 3-1 ATS dogs > 7 pts, 3-0 ATS favs w/revenge, 2-7 ATS L9, 2-6 ATS dogs vs opp off DD SU win

XAVIER: 8-1 SU / 9-0 ATS as #4 seed or lower, 4-1 ATS w/DD SU revenge, 7-3 ATS favs off BB SUATS wins, 1-8 ATS vs opp w/revenge off DD SU win, 1-7 ATS off DD SU win vs opp w/revenge, 3-11 ATS as #2-3 seed

TECH NOTES:

-- Teams 6-1 ATS off BB SUATS wins vs opp off BB SUATS losses

-- Teams 11-2 ATS A w/revenge off DD SU loss since 2000

-- Teams 11-3 ATS off BB SU wins w/SS DBL revenge vs opp off BB SU wins

-- Favorites off BB SU dog wins are 1-4 ATS

-- Teams 2-9 ATS w/3+ rest vs opp off DD SU loss w/revenge

-- #3 seeds are 5-1 ATS off DD ATS loss and 2-7 ATS as favorites off BB SU wins

-- #4 seeds are 0-5-1 L5 ATS vs opp off dog role

-- #5 seeds are 8-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU losses, 6-1 ATS off DD SU loss and 9-2 ATS as dogs of < 3 points

-- #11 seeds are 1-7-1 ATS off BB SUATS wins, 2-9 ATS w/SS DBL revenge and 3-9-1 as DD dogs or lower seeded.

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