Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Gabriel Dupont

Yesterday I headed to Spokane for my complimentary winner and delivered Harvard outright over Cincinnati. Today I am in the South Region, as I take a look at this game between Eastern Kentucky and Kansas. And after hearing far too many compelling arguments as to why Kansas can get to the final weekend, I'm jumping on the underdog. My free-pick will be on Eastern Kentucky to cover this game.

Why Eastern Kentucky is the right pick of this game - These guys may not be that big in stature, but let me tell you something about the Colonels - they will kill you long-range and have the bombers to make you pay. EKU averages 9.2 3-pointers per game and make 39 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Why it is wise to be wary of Kansas - I listened to Louisville coach Rick Pitino in a post-game interview yesterday, and then listened to several analysts, as to why Manhattan was able to put a scare into the defending national champion Cardinals. When you're a high seed, even if a tough bracket, and so many hype you to be able to get to the final weekend, you start believing it and overlook teams. I have a hunch this will be the case today with the Jayhawks.

Basically, why the Colonels are my SMART FREE PLAY in this game - I think we're going to see the Colonels attack the bully and punch it right in the mouth immediately. Eastern Kentucky leads the Ohio Valley in turnover ratio at plus-6.5. No. 2 Kansas will be without freshman Joel Embiid, the team's top rebounder who hasn't played since March 1 because of a nagging back injury. EKU likes to play fast and loves to put points on the board. I know the Colonels aren't an efficient rebounding team, but that's cause they're used to making a lot of their shots - that's no joke.

The Colonels knocked off defending champion Belmont to win the Ohio Valley tournament title on their 3-point shooting prowess, and now they're coming after a short-handed Jayhawks team that has lost three of five. The Colonels are in on a three-game win streak against the point spread and step to the wood on winning streaks of 7-0 straight-up and 5-2 versus the betting line in those games. And make note, the Colonels have covered five of six when catching points. EKU is too competitive a team to ignore, take the points.

5♦ EASTERN KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Jeff Benton

Your Friday freebie is the Over in NC Central and Iowa State.

If you are looking for offense on Friday, you may have to wait until later in the night, but I think you will get the points you desire to see in this NC Central-Iowa State meeting in San Antonio.

The Eagles didn't play too many games with an official line on them this season coming out of the MEAC, but do be aware they did score 82 points in a win over N.C. State, and scored in the 60's against both Cincinnati and Wichita State early in their pre-conference schedule.

I suspect NC Central will be able to swish some shots against Iowa State's yielding defense, but I also suspect that Iowa State is going to get their fair share of open basket looks as well.

That is why I like the Over in this meeting. Iowa State played 4 of their last 6 games Over the total, and they went 17-13-1 for the season Over the total in their 31 lined games.

Fred Hoiberg's is 12-5-1 Over in their last 18 non-conference games, and they are also 21-10 Over the total in their last 31 neutral site games.

The Cyclones are just one of those teams that can put some points on the board in a flash, and that is what I expect them to do on Friday night.

Take the Over.

3♦ NC CENTRAL-IOWA STATE OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Chip Chirimbes

UCLA vs. Tulsa
Play: Tulsa +9

I really wonder if any of the players for either side has any real idea how good a player their respective coaches were in their NCAA days. UCLA coach Steve Alford lead the Indiana Hoosiers in their 'glory days' under Bobby Knight while Danny Manning lead Kansas to an NCAA Championship. Although Tulsa has won their last five opening NCAA contests the Bruins will be making their 46th appearance second only to Kentucky. History being what it was won't matter here.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

John Ryan

Tulsa vs UCLA
Play: UCLA

The simulator shows a high probability that UCLA will win this game by 12 or more points. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 42-16 ATS mark for 72.4% winners since 1997. Play against underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points (TULSA) after 4 or more consecutive wins when seeded 13 through 16 in the NCAA tournament. This system reflects the inflation of the line that occurs when a team ends their conference season on a hot streak and then enters the Tournament as weaker seed. The public always focuses on the most recent series of stats and makes rush decisions that often times end up being money burning ones. Here are just a few of the game situations matching the SIM projections. UCLA is a rock solid 11-2 ATS (+8.8 Units) when their opponents make 40% to 46% of their shots in a game this season; 53-32 ATS (+17.8 Units) when they score 75 to 80 points in a game since 1997. The matchups of this game also support UCLA noting they are a solid 11-4 ATS (+6.6 Units) versus good teams - outscoring their opponents by 4+ points/game after 15+ games this season; 11-4 ATS (+6.6 Units) after scoring 75 points or more 2 straight games this season; 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) as a favorite this season.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Andrew Lange 

Tulsa vs. UCLA
Play:Over 147.5

Tulsa is no stranger to high scoring affairs having played games well above tonight's total against the likes of Creighton, Oklahoma, and Maryland. And not only were the points there but the pace as well with 74, 75, and 74 possessions, respectively. I'm confident that we'll see a similar output pace-wise in tonight’s first round matchup vs. UCLA. The reason why this total is in a respectable range is because statistically, both squads play above average defense. Tulsa allowed only 0.90 points per possession in C-USA play – and amazingly, hasn't allowed more than 1.00 ppp since January 25. But while the league does feature a few decent offensive outfits, UCLA is on another level. The Bruins boast one of the most efficient offenses in the country AND they can do it by playing at a swift pace (70 possessions per game vs. PAC-12). My only concern is Tulsa not being able to knock down a few threes (32.5%). If Tulsa can find its way to the upper 60's, we'll be in business for an over-the-total winner.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

OC Dooley

Cal-Poly +17

One has to wonder why I would label this pick a “percentage” move going against undefeated Wichita State (34-0) who on the road this season for gamblers (16-1 ATS) also have almost gotten out the broom.  The reason for this daring pick going against Wichita State who is essentially playing a home game (St. Louis) is that in NCAA HISTORY there has NEVER been a single school who has gone 35-0.  The last time we had a collegiate side win the initial thirty-four tilts was way back in 1991 when the law-of-averages finally caught up with Nevada Las Vegas in later reaches of the Big Dance.  Tonight is yet another “nothing to lose” game for Cal-Poly from the low rated Big West Conference.  After closing out the regular season 2-9 versus shaky competition, Cal-Poly entered their postseason conference tournament way down as a #7 seed.  For this below .500 contingent to still be standing after having to participate in a “play in” situation a few nights ago versus a head coach (Mike Davis) who once participated in the Final Four is nothing less than amazing.  Thus one can argue there is no pressure attached to this evening’s heavy underdog

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, Friday, March 21

Joe Gavazzi

Tulsa +8.5

UCLA has the 60% historical benefit of playing at a nearby favoring site. Long-time followers of 1st year UCLA HC Alford have gone 135-90 ATS, including 21-12 ATS TY in all games. The Bruins enter on a 3-0 SU ATS run, including a 75-71 upset of top seeded Arizona to culminate a highly successful season. There is a triple A firepower on the perimeter with Anderson, Adams, and Alford. They are ably abetted by super-sub Lavine and the interior work of the Wear twins and Tony Parker. But, the defense is a bit suspect putting this margin of victory in question. Tulsa has been one of the hottest teams in the country for HC Manning. The Hurricanes have blown away all recent opposition, winning 11 consecutive games, covering 10 of those. They have done so with an outstanding defense that has allowed no foe to crack the 70 point barrier since January 16th. Though the lower echelon of CUSA was weak, the late season rush did include victories vs. Mid Tenn. St., UTEP, and LA Tech in the CCT Final. Nod to the hot dog to come inside this number.

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