College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

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Duke doesn't play great defense, giving up 82 points to Wake Forest, 90 to Vermont; Blue Devils are 1-8 vs spread in first round games last nine times they weren't a #1 seed. Last time they made Final Four when they were lower than a 1-seed was back in '94. Duke starts three sophs and freshman, more talented guys than Bears have, but Mercer starts five seniors, shoot 38.9% from arc, and they're finally in this spot after falling just short last couple years. Mercer lost at Texas by 3, won at Ole Miss, lost by 14 at Oklahoma. Over last three years, #3 seeds are 8-4 vs spread in this round.

Nebraska is in NCAAs for first time since '98; they've never won a game in NCAAs, but they've broken lot of trends this winter. Huskers won eight of last ten games, losing by 4 to Ohio State in Big Dozen tourney. Baylor won 10 of last 12 games, losing Big 12 final Sunday; Bears are in NCAAs for fourth time in last seven years, winning last two first round games by 9-8 points. Over last decade, favorites are 22-18 vs spread in 6-11 games, 7-1 over last two years. Nebraska starts four sophomores so they're set for a few years, albeit young now; they better keep Baylor off boards. Bears are #3 offensive rebounding team in country.

New Mexico got upset by Harvard in 3-14 game LY, has new coach, lot of same players back; Lobos are 17-3 in last 20 games, with no losses by more than three points. New Mexico is 11-2 in last 13 road/neutral court games. Stanford is in NCAAs for first time in six years, first time under Dawkins; they're 3-4 in last seven games, 5-4 in last nine road/neutral games. Cardinal play all juniors/seniors in their rotation. Lobos start juniors/seniors, with first two subs frosh/soph, including coach's son Neal, who shoots 37.2% on arc. Stanford lost home game in November 112-103; they could struggle vs Lobo big guys. Over last five years, dogs are 15-5 vs spread in 7-10 games.

Weber State won Big Sky tourney as top seed, but 14-6 conference record makes them a 16-seed; over last six years, #1 seeds are 14-10 vs spread in first round games. Wildcats lost by 23 to UCLA in its only game this year vs Pac-12 opponent. Arizona is expected to make Final Four; they're 6-4 vs spread in last ten first round games. Wildcats beat Northern Arizona by 33 in its only game with Big Sky opponent this season. Weber is 8-5 in its last 13 games, with three losses in OT. Big Sky teams got trounced in first round last three years, by 18-24-47 points, with Montana losing 81-34 to Syracuse LY.

Tennessee beat Iowa by 13 in OT Wednesday after trailing most of game; Volunteers have now won six of last seven games, with close loss to Gators in SEC tourney. Three Vols played 39+ minutes vs Iowa, all five starters played 32+, as Martin played seven guys. Tennessee beat Virginia by 35 in December, very impressive game. UMass finished 8-7 in its last 15 games after being 16-1 in mid-January; Minutemen are in NCAAs for first time in 16 years- they beat LSU 92-90 in November, its only game vs SEC foe this season. UMass' best player is 5-9 G Williams; Vols see lot of pressure in their Florida games, am thinking they can handle the UMass defense.

Creighton struggles with athletic, defensive teams, which UL-Lafayette is not; Ragin' Cajuns were down 10 with 4:00 left in Sun Belt final Sunday, rallied to upset Georgia State, is in NCAAs for first time since '05- they've won 11 of last 13 games after being 12-9. Sun Belt teams covered four of last five non-play-in NCAA tourney games, with WKU covering last two years, vs Kentucky/Kansas. Cajuns lost to Arkansas by 13, Baylor by 19, Louisville by 39 in its high profile games this season. Bluejays make 42.2% of their 3-point shots, best in country. Six-hour drive to San Antonio for ULL fans. Cajuns were #3 seed in Sun Belt, are surprised to be here.

Kansas' defense is struggling with big guy Embiid out (back) but that won't matter here; Jayhawks are 1-4 vs spread in last five first round games- they lost three of last five games, giving up 92-94 points to West Virginia/Iowa State in last three games. Eastern Kentucky is in tourney for first time in seven years (lost by 21 to UNC); Colonels won last seven games, beating Murray State/Belmont in OVC tourney- they lost at Wisconsin by 25, at VCU by 3 in OT in their two high profile games this season. Over last nine years, #2 seeds are 16-20 vs spread in this round, but #2 seed in this region lost SU each of last two years (Duke/Georgetown).

Oklahoma State seems like different team since Smart came back from his suspension, going 5-2 with both losses in OT. Cowboys lost center/backup PG during season but went 9-11 in nation's best league despite losing seven games in row, with Smart out for three of the seven. Gonzaga won its last five first round games, despite being underdog three of last four years; Zags lost to K-State by 10, won by 4 at West Virginia in its two games vs Big X opponents. Cowboys are 0-4 in overtime games this season. Over the last seven years, underdogs are 21-7 vs spread in 8-9 games. Normal trends say Gonzaga here, but I've got a feeling on Oklahoma State making a run in this tournament.

Memphis struggled down stretch, losing three of last five games, with a bad loss at Houston; Tigers lost two of last three first round games, with 54-52 win over St Mary's LY. Over last 5+ years, underdogs are 16-5 vs spread in 8-9 games; over last 3+ years, first round favorites of 5 or less points are 16-26-1. George Washington won four of last five games with 74-55 loss to VCU in A-13 tourney; Tigers have edge in experience; both sides will want to play fairly fast. GW beat Rutgers 93-87 in its only tilt vs an AAC team. Memphis lost four of last five games on foreign soil.

Cal Poly won its last four games, allowing 56.5 ppg after being 2-9 in its last 11 games before Big West tournament; Mustangs opened season at Arizona, losing 73-62; also lost by 21 at Oregon, 17 at Pitt, so they have played high-level teams, won't be in awe here. Wichita State's last nine wins are all by 11+ points; they haven't played in 12 days due to MVC tourney being first weekend of Championship Week. Over last 6+ years, #1 seeds are 14-11 vs spread in this round. Shockers made Final Four as a 9-seed this year, haven't lost since; their best non-conference win was 70-61 over Tennessee in December.

Providence won six of last seven games, taking Big East tourney a week ago, but they've got very little depth; St Joe's loss last night showed how lack of depth is an issue against higher-level teams. Friars split pair with ACC teams this year, beating BC in OT, losing by 4 to Maryland. Over last 10+ years, favorites are 22-19 vs spread in 6-11 games, 7-2 last 2+ years. North Carolina lost its last two games after 12-game win streak; Tar Heels won last nine first round games, winning 8-9 game LY, 6-11 game in '04-- they were #3-seed or better in other games. Providence beat Creighton because they pushed them around inside it; can they do that against the Tar Heels?

SF Austin won its last 28 games since losing at East Tennessee Nov 23; Lumberjacks played one team all year ranked higher than #123, losing by by 10 at Texas in November, game they led by 4 with 8:22 left. SFA is facing pressing, aggressive VCU team here that is without Johnson, its best 3-point shooter. Rams are #1 in country in forcing turnovers, but SFA is #3, albeit vs lesser competition. VCU won six of last seven after loss to St Joe's in final of A-13 tournament. #12 seeds are now 46-28 vs spread (62.2%) in first round games after going 2-0-1 Thursday, with NC State getting push after being up 16 points in second half.

Cliff Ellis has been a coach for 39 years; Coastal Carolina is fourth team he's taken to NCAAs. Chanticleers haven't played in 12 days; they won last five games, but lost by 29 at Clemson in only game vs ACC foe this season- they lost to Ole Miss by hoop at home, by 9 at Akron- they're turning ball over 20.4% of time. Virginia beat Liberty by 22 in its only game vs Big South opponent; they've won 16 of last 17 games overall. Over last 10+ years, #1 seeds are 14-11 vs spread in this round. Big South teams have usually played in play-in games; they're 1-3 vs spread in last four non-play-in games.

Kentucky went 3-4 in its last seven games, losing by point to Florida in SEC tourney; Wildcats lost by 5 to Baylor in December, in its only game vs Big X opponent. Kentucky is least-experienced team in country but is very talented; they're #2 in country, rebounding 42.2% of their missed shots. Kansas State lost its last three games, giving up 81.3 ppg; they're 4-1 in last five first round games, but lost by hoop to LaSalle in its first game LY. Wildcats are #254 team in country on defensive boards; they better be better than that in this game. Over last 5+ years, underdogs are 16-5 vs spread in 8-9 games; first round favorites of 6+ points are 19-15 in their last 34 games.

North Carolina Central beat NC State in November, lost at Cincinnati by 13, Maryland by 14; they won't be in awe of Iowa State team that won rare Big X title last week. Eagles won last 20 games; they're #5 in nation forcing turnovers, but against 5th-easiest schedule in country. Cyclones are 12-0 this season outside Big X; they've won last four games, none by more than 11 points. MEAC teams have generally been pinatas in this event, covering once in last five games, but Norfolk State upset Mizzou as a 15-seed two years ago. Central hasn't lost since January 11; their conference tournament ended Saturday, same rest time as Iowa State.

Alford has won three straight conference tourneys but hasn't been quite as good in NCAA tourney, losing as 3-seed to Harvard LY, also losing as 3-seed to Northwestern State in '06. UCLA won five of last six in first round under Howland; Bruins won five of last six games overall, are #15 in country at forcing turnovers. Tulsa started season 4-9, is 17-3 since, winning last 11 games behind four sophomore starters. Still puzzled by UCLA's 18-point loss at Washington State in regular season finale and suspension of their two best players for Oregon game last month. Over last 8+ years, #4 seeds are 21-14 vs spread in this round after going 1-2 last night.

Belmont won 17 of last 20 games; they're #1 in country, making 57.6% of its 2-point shots. Robert Morris won at St John's Tuesday; they are just 6-10 outside NEC- they're #25 in country, making 38.9% from arc.

Towson State was down 11 at half Wednesday at SC-Upstate, rallied to win to get to 24-10, after being 1-31 two years ago. East Tennessee split its last six games, is 8-6 out of conference after being Chattanooga by 13.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Betting Cheat Sheet: East Eegion Day 2
By Covers.com

(9) George Washington Colonials vs. (8) Memphis Tigers (-3, 142.5)

The Colonials finished behind only Massachusetts and VCU among the American Athletic Conference's scoring leaders, averaging 73.4 points. George Washington boasts a balanced offensive attack that features four players among the Atlantic 10's top 30 scorers. Maurice Creek's 14.3 points per game are a team best.

Memphis has lost three of its last five games overall and has yielded an average of 82 points in its last three losses. The Tigers' 53 points against Connecticut last time out matched their lowest output of the season and leading scorer Joe Jackson was held to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

TRENDS:

* George Washington is 0-3-1 ATS in its last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Memphis is 4-1 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
* Under is 7-1 in Memphis' last eight non-conference games.


(11) Providence Friars vs. (6) North Carolina Tar Heels (-4, 143.5)

The Friars are making their first NCAA tournament appearance in 10 years and Bryce Cotton seems intent on capping his four-year career at Providence with a tournament victory. The 6-1 point guard is averaging 21.4 points and 5.8 assists and has scored at least 22 in eight of the last 10 games.

There may be some concern that Tar Heels' forward James Michael McAdoo is slipping back into a rough patch after the 6-9 forward went without a rebound in 24 minutes of the regular-season finale against Duke, then shot 4-for-13 in the loss to Pittsburgh. In the last eight games, he’s shooting 37.7 percent while averaging 8.6 points, dropping his season average to 14.2.

TRENDS:

* Providence is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games versus the ACC.
* North Carolina is 0-5 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Under is 9-2 in Providence's last 11 non-conference games.


(16) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers vs. (1) Virginia Cavaliers (-21.5, 122.5)

While Coastal Carolina will be playing 2 1/2 hours from its campus in Conway, S.C., it enters NCAA play knowing that a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1. The Chanticleers earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1993 by rolling over Winthrop 76-61 in the Big South championship game, their fifth consecutive victory.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and the Cavaliers played their usual stingy defense in Sunday's win over Duke to become the 15th team to win both the ACC regular-season and postseason titles. Joe Harris, who was second to Brogdon in scoring at 11.6 per game, had 15 points against Duke to earn tournament MVP honors for Virginia, which entered Sunday's game leading the nation in points allowed at 55.1 per game.

TRENDS:

* Coastal Carolina is 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 games versus a team with a winning SU record.
* Virginia is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games following a SU win.
* Over is 5-2 in Virginia's last seven neutral site games.


(14) North Carolina Central Eagles vs. (3) Iowa State Cyclones (-8, 145)

The 14th-seeded Eagles are making their tournament debut in just their fourth season as a full-fledged Division I program after dominating the MEAC, winning 15 straight conference games and 17 in a row overall to finish the regular season before claiming three conference tourney games by an average of 26 points.

Iowa State owns the nation's sixth-ranked offense - led by Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim (18.1 points) - and has won 11 of its last 14 overall, including seven victories over tournament teams. With four double-digit scorers and an unselfish style that yielded the most assists per game in the nation, the Cyclones have many ways to hurt you, as evidenced by the Big 12 tournament title game in which Ejim was limited to just three baskets in 32 minutes.

TRENDS:

* North Carolina Central is 2-6-1 ATS in its last nine games overall.
* Iowa State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Over is 8-3 in Iowa State's last 11 games following a SU win.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Betting Cheat Sheet: South Region Day 2
By Covers.com

(5) Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (+6.5, 137)

Virginia Commonwealth will enter the NCAA tournament as the South Region's fifth seed, taking on a 12 seed in Stephen F. Austin on a 28-game winning streak Friday in San Diego. VCU was unable to capture an Atlantic 10 championship Sunday, losing to Saint Joseph's 65-61 to snap a streak of six straight wins. The Rams shot 5-of-19 from behind the arc against the Hawks, and coach Shaka Smart saw that as a key factor, telling reporters, "We didn't put enough of them away and we had good looks."

The Lumberjacks have plenty of momentum as they get set for their second appearance in the Big Dance, having captured the Southland Conference tournament title with a win over Sam Houston State on Saturday to match the single-season school record for wins with their 31st of the season. Coach Brad Underwood led Stephen F. Austin to the Southland's first 30-plus win season and the first-year coach was left beaming with pride after capturing the conference crown. "For us to be on the national stage," Underwood said, "that means the world. We take great, great pride in being able to play for Stephen F. Austin University."

TRENDS:

*Rams are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 NCAA Tournament games
*Lumberjacks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games
*Under is 19-7 in the Rams last 26 non-conference games


(4) UCLA Bruins vs. (13) Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+8.5, 146)

Two playing legends of NCAA tournaments past, Steve Alford and Danny Manning, will look to make more memories when the teams they coach, No. 4 seed UCLA and No. 13 seed Tulsa, respectively, match up in a South Regional second-round contest in San Diego on Friday. Both teams like to put points on the board, with the Bruins averaging 81.8 points and the Golden Hurricane at 73.1. The duo of Jordan Adams (17.2 ppg) and Kyle Anderson (14.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg) powers UCLA, while Tulsa relies on the scoring of James Woodard (15.7 ppg) and Rashad Smith (12.1).

Both teams are coming off conference tournament championships, and both have had to fight back from rough stretches. The Bruins, in their first year under Alford, entered the Pac-12 tournament having lost three of six, including a humiliating 18-point setback to Washington State in the regular-season finale. The Golden Hurricane, meanwhile, started the season 0-4 and 1-6 before righting the ship in Manning's second season at the helm.

TRENDS:

*Golden Hurricane are 21-7 ATS in their last 28 games following a S.U. win
*Bruins are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 NCAA Tournament games
*Under is 12-4 in Golden Hurricane last 16 games


(10) Stanford Cardinal vs. (7) New Mexico Lobos (-3, 137)

Stanford returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008 when the 10th-seeded Cardinal face No. 7 seed New Mexico in Friday's South Regional in St. Louis. The Lobos enter the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country after capturing their third consecutive Mountain West tournament title with a 64-58 win over San Diego State on Saturday. New Mexico has won nine of its last 10 games while Stanford dropped four of its final seven, including an 84-59 loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.

While Stanford is playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years under coach Johnny Dawkins, New Mexico is making its fourth appearance in the last five years. The Lobos are hoping to improve on last year’s showing, when they were upset as a No. 3 seed in the second round 68-62 by No. 14 seed Harvard. The Lobos are known for their strong frontcourt, but forward Cameron Bairstow and 7-foot center Alex Kirk should receive a solid test from Stanford forwards Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis.

TRENDS:

*Cardinal are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
*Lobos are 38-17-3 ATS in their last 58 games following a ATS win
*Under is 8-1 in Lobos last 9 overall


(15) Eastern Kentucky Colonels vs. (2) Kansas Jayhawks (-14, 150.5)

No. 2 Kansas might not need freshman Joel Embiid during its NCAA tournament second-round game against No. 15 Eastern Kentucky on Friday in St. Louis. The Jayhawks' top rebounder hasn't played since March 1 because of lingering back issues but their first opponent - a Colonels team making its first tournament appearance since 2007 - is ranked at the bottom nationally in rebounding. The winner between these high-scoring teams - both average nearly 80 points - plays No. 7 New Mexico or No. 10 Stanford.

Glenn Cosey leads the Colonels, who beat defending champion Belmont to win the Ohio Valley tournament title, with his 3-point shooting. The Jayhawks, who were knocked out in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament and have lost three of five, are making their 25th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance - the nation's longest active streak. Andrew Wiggins leads the Jayhawks with 17.4 points and needs 16 to break Ben McLemore's Kansas freshman scoring record.

TRENDS:

*Colonels are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
*Jayhawks are 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games folloing a S.U. loss
*Over is 10-4 in Colonels last 14 games following a ATS win

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Betting Cheat Sheet: Midwest Region Day 2
By Covers.com

(14) Mercer Bears vs. (3) Duke Blue Devils (-12.5, 140.5)

Mercer, located in Macon, Ga., makes its third tournament appearance and first since 1985 after a 68-60 victory at Florida Gulf Coast - last year's Sweet 16 Cinderella team - in the Atlantic Sun final March 9. The Bears split four games against major conference teams this season, losing to Texas and Oklahoma while defeating Seton Hall and Mississippi.

With a player the caliber of freshman Jabari Parker (19.2 points, 8.8 rebounds), the Blue Devils are capable of outperforming their seed. Sophomore forward Rodney Hood (16.5 points) did not play in last season's tournament after transferring from Mississippi State and sitting out the sesaon, so he is also without NCAA experience.

TRENDS:

* Mercer is 1-5 ATS in its last six non-conference games.
* Duke is 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight games overall.
* Under is 6-1 in Duke's last seven non-conference games.


(11) Tennessee Volunteers vs. (6) Massachusetts Minutemen (+4, 136)

Jarnell Stokes keyed the Volunteers’ victory over Iowa with 18 points and 13 boards, notching his 20th double-double, and scores 14.8 while grabbing 10.4 rebounds per game overall. First team All-SEC pick Jordan McRae leads the team in scoring (18.6) and has recorded at least 20 points 16 times, including Wednesday.

Senior guard Chaz Williams, the team’s all-time assist leader, stirs the drink for a deep Minutemen squad that includes seven players averaging at least 8.8 points. Williams registers 15.8 points and hands out seven assists per contest – third in the nation – while junior Cady Lalanne is second in scoring (11.4) and leads the team in rebounding (eight).

TRENDS:

* Tennessee is 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall.
* Massachusetts is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 vs. the SEC.
* Under is 6-0 in Tennessee's last six games overall.


(16) Cal Poly SLO Mustangs vs. (1) Wichita State Shockers (-16, 125.5)

The Mustangs lost nine of their last 11 games in the regular season, but with a healthier lineup they swept through three games in the conference tournament and scored almost 18 more than their average coming in against Texas Southern. Senior Chris Eversley has recorded 17 points per game the in last three and sophomore Dave Nwaba 14.8 over the previous four contests.

The Shockers are the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the tournament unbeaten and look to make their 11th appearance overall a special one, starting in the difficult Midwest Regional. The Shockers showed their balance in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament as their top four scorers each totaled between 40 and 47 points combined in three games.

TRENDS:

* Cal Poly is 5-12 ATS in its last 17 games overall.
* Wichita State is 5-0 AS in its last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 7-2 in Wichita State's last nine games overall.


(9) Kansas State Wildcats vs. (8) Kentucky Wildcats (-6, 132.5)

Kansas State, who is 0-8 all-time against Kentucky, are led by freshman guard Marcus Foster, who averages 15.6 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting better than 40 percent from the field and on 3-pointers. He is complemented by junior Thomas Gibson, who is first in rebounding (6.5 per game) and second in points (11.8) and senior Shane Southwell, who averages 9.8 points.

Kentucky, who enter the tournament unranked, opened the season as the No. 1 team in the nation and stayed there for one week before falling down the rankings. Julius Randle leads a group of five freshmen starters with 15.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, but after posting six straight double-doubles, he struggled in the SEC final, going 1-of-7 and scoring four points and grabbing seven rebounds.

TRENDS:

* Kansas State is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games overall.
* Kentucky is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six neutral site games.
* Under is 4-1 in Kentucky's last five neutral site games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Betting Cheat Sheet: West Region Day 2
By Covers.com

(11) Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. (6) Baylor Bears (-3.5, 131)

The Cornhuskers had won eight of their last nine games before falling to Ohio State. Terran Petteway, who led the Big Ten in scoring during the regular season with 18.1 points, tallied double figures in all but two games and will look to continue that run in his first tournament appearance. Before leaving the Big 12, Nebraska suffered three straight losses to the Bears.

The Bears rolled off six straight wins and were in a prime position to win their second straight over the Iowa State with a five-point halftime lead on the Cyclones, who they beat 74-61 on March 4. The second half featured a completely different Iowa State team, however, and Baylor's zone defense was no match for a squad that shot 63.8 percent after the break. Fatigue may have played a part in the loss as Baylor was playing its fourth game in four days.

TRENDS:

*Cornhuskers are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 overall
*Bears are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games
*Underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings


(16) Weber State Wildcats vs. (1) Arizona Wildcats (-20, 127.5)

Arizona bobbled a bit after a school-record 21-0 start, going 7-3 down the stretch before losing to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament final. Those speed bumps coincided with a season-ending foot injury to starting forward and third-leading scorer Brandon Ashley, leaving freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to try and fill his shoes. The Wildcats' last run as a No. 1 seed ended with a loss to second-seeded Kansas in the Elite Eight.

The Weber State Wildcats won their first conference tournament title in seven years with a 21-point victory Saturday night against North Dakota. The player to watch for Weber State is conference tournament MVP Davion Berry, a 6-4 wing who averages 19.1 points with 21 straight games of 12 or more.

TRENDS:

* Weber State Wildcats are 1-6 ATS in their last seven Friday games.
* Arizona Wildcats are 6-0 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 4-1 in Arizona's last 5 vs. Big Sky.


(14) Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns vs. (3) Creighton Bluejays (-14, 154.5)

The Ragin' Cajuns like to get up and down the floor, averaging 81.4 points and allowing 75.1 per contest. They don't defend the perimeter especially well (33.2 percent), which could be a disaster against McDermott and the sharp-shooting Bluejays.

The Bluejays are making their third straight NCAA tournament appearance and have gone 1-1 each of the past two years. That run has coincided with what likely will soon become three consecutive All-America campaigns from McDermott, who has reached double-digit points an NCAA-record 133 times and has scored 20 or more points in 13 straight games.

TRENDS:

* Ragin' Cajuns are 1-4 ATS in their last five Friday games.
* Bluejays are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 19-7-1 in Bluejays last 27 non-conference games.


(9) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. (8) Gonzaga Bulldogs (+2.5, 139)

The ninth-seeded Cowboys watched star guard Marcus Smart go from potential top-five NBA draftee to perceived head case in a matter of months, and the controversy aided in the team's slide out of contention. The Cowboys haven't won a tournament game since 2009, when it beat Tennessee 77-75 in the opening round.

The Bulldogs will make their 16th consecutive tournament appearance, but under far different circumstances than their previous one. Armed with a 31-2 record and the top seed in the West Region a year ago, Gonzaga saw its title hopes dashed with a stunning loss to No. 9 Wichita State in the third round. The Bulldogs sputtered their way to an unimpressive 2-4 record versus teams in the top 50 of the RPI rankings this season, but they still prevailed in the WCC tournament with dominant victories over Saint Mary's and Brigham Young.

TRENDS:

* Cowboys are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 21-6 in Cowboys last 27 Friday games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA East Regional Betting News and Notes
By Brian Covert
Covers.com

The Round of 64 continues in the East Regional Friday. We look at the biggest betting news and notes coming out of that side of the bracket.

No. 9 George Washington Colonials vs. No. 8 Memphis Tigers (-3, 142.5)

The Tigers may have a leg up on their first-round opposition. David Pellom, a fifth-year senior was at George Washington for three years, two of which were under current Colonials coach Mike Lonergan, before using his final year of eligibility at Memphis.

The Colonials just can’t seem to get any respect. Not only did tournament organizers mistakenly put the logo of the Georgetown Hoyas, G.W.’s D.C. neighbor, on tourney t-shirts but President Obama picked Memphis to topple the local Colonials (their campus is a half mile from the White House) in the first round. "You picked Memphis over your neighbors in Foggy Bottom? Come on man!"  tweeted head coach Mike Lonergan.

No. 11 Providence Friars vs. No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels (-4, 143.5)

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said Tuesday that the Tar Heels had one of their best practices of the year and had been focusing on rebounding. North Carolina is already one of the nation’s best rebounding teams - ranking eighth with 39.8 per game - and the ability to control the glass could be instrumental to controlling the pace, which the Heels inevitably want to push against the Friars’ seven-man rotation.

No. 16 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (-21.5, 122.5)

Since the tournament field expanded to 48 teams in 1980, 14 teams have both won at least a share of the ACC regular season title and claimed the ACC tournament. The first 13 all reached at least the Round of 16, with four claiming national titles and seven getting to the Final Four. Virginia pulled off the double this year and the Cavaliers seem unlikely to break from that trend.

No. 14 N.C. Central Eagles vs. No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones (-8, 145)


N.C. Central comes to the tournament by way of the MEAC - one of the two worst conferences in the nation - which has previously only had one team in the Top 150 in the nation at the end of the year. However, N.C. Central is currently 78th having won 12 of 15 conference games by double digits. The Eagles went 1-2 in three games against tournament teams, beating North Carolina State and losing to Wichita State and Cincinnati by 11 and 14 points respectively.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA South Regional Betting News and Notes
By Brian Covert
Covers.com

Friday marks the second day of South Regional action at the NCAA tournament. Check out our news and notes on the eight teams in action:

No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels (+14, 150.5)

The Colonels have an obvious game plan entering their encounter with the heavily-favored Jayhawks: Make their two-point shots. Eastern Kentucky finished second in the nation in two-point shooting percentage (56.2), which is good because its offensive rebound rate of 23 percent is sixth-worst in all of Division I.

No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (+6.5, 137)

The Rams' outside shooting takes a serious hit with the absence of Melvin Johnson, who will sit out the tournament opener with a knee sprain. The sophomore made better than 39 percent of his 3-point attempts, pacing a VCU team that led the Atlantic-10 conference with 252 3-pointers. In Johnson's absence, head coach Shaka Smart leaned on backup JeQuan Lewis for 24 minutes in the A-10 title game, getting five points and five assists from the reserve.

No. 4 UCLA Bruins vs. No. 13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+8.5, 146)

Tulsa head coach Danny Manning emphasized an uptempo offense last season - his first at the helm - but it didn't bear frui. His freshman-dominated lineup struggled through fatigue and leg injuries to average just 67.9 points. This year, with the same core a season older and in better shape, Tulsa put up 73.1 points per game - good for second in C-USA. Despite that pace, the Golden Hurricane are just 6-10 O/U away from the Donald Reynolds Center this season.

No. 7 New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 10 Stanford Cardinal (+3, 137)

No team in the South Regional is as starter-driven as the Cardinal, whose lineup of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis, Dwight Powell and Stefan Nastic started every game this season. Stanford's bench scored 10 or fewer points 18 times, while the starting five accounted for more than 87 percent of the team's scoring. The Lobos are great at drawing fouls and forced an average of 23.7 whistles in their three MWC tournament games - 14th most in the country in a three-game span. New Mexico could test the Cardinal's depth if they can get Stanford in foul trouble.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Midwest Regional Betting News and Notes
By Chase Rutting
Covers.com

Friday marks the second day of Midwest Regional action at the NCAA tournament. Check out our news and notes on the eight teams in action:

No. 1 Wichita State Shockers vs No. 16 Cal Poly Mustangs (-16, 125.5)

Cal Poly coach Joe Callero has hope that his Mustangs can become the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed when they take on the undefeated Wichita State Shockers Friday. In fact, Callero says he has been cheering against No. 16 seeds so he can coach the first team to do it.

"I'm so weird that I was cheering the last five years that a 16 (seed) never upsets a 1," Callero said following the Mustang's 12 point win over Texas Southern in the First Four. "Because if we ever got a bid, we'd be a 16 seed and then we'd have a chance to make real history."

No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats vs No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats (-6, 132.5)

Ever since coach John Calipari made a "big tweak" during the SEC Tournament the Kentucky Wildcats have looked like a much better offensive team. Asking Andrew Harrison to pass first and score second, Coach Cal has Harrison's APG number rising from 3.8 in the regular season to 6.3 in the SEC Tournament (19 total). Kentucky looks like a different team with Harrison as a facilitator, something that KU will be hoping continues in the tourney.

No. 3 Duke Blue Devils vs No. 14 Mercer (-12.5, 140.5)

Heading into the tournament, the Blue Devils have been developing a trend of faltering down the stretch late in games. In the final five minutes of their past five contests, the Blue Devils have been outscored 76-47 and have been favored by -9.5 in all of those games excluding the ACC Championship where Duke crumbled late again against Virginia. Going in as massive favorites against Mercer, Coach K (and bettors) will be hoping that Duke's late struggles are a thing of the past as fatigue may be settling in for the Blue Devils.

No. 6 UMass Minutemen vs No. 11 Tennessee Vols (+4, 136)

After watching Tennessee squeeze out an overtime win over Iowa in the First Four, UMass will go into Friday's game feeling confident that, despite the Vols clutch win, it will have the edge should the game go down to the wire. The Minutemen are 13-4 in games decided by six points or fewer. The Vols, however, are known for their fast starts, outscoring teams by an average of 5.3 points in the opening ten minutes of their SEC games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

NCAA Midwest Regional Betting News and Notes
By Chase Rutting
Covers.com

Friday marks the second day of West Regional action at the NCAA tournament. Check out our news and notes on the eight teams in action:

No. 1 Wichita State Shockers vs No. 16 Cal Poly Mustangs (-16, 125.5)

Cal Poly coach Joe Callero has hope that his Mustangs can become the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed when they take on the undefeated Wichita State Shockers Friday. In fact, Callero says he has been cheering against No. 16 seeds so he can coach the first team to do it.

"I'm so weird that I was cheering the last five years that a 16 (seed) never upsets a 1," Callero said following the Mustang's 12 point win over Texas Southern in the First Four. "Because if we ever got a bid, we'd be a 16 seed and then we'd have a chance to make real history."

No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats vs No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats (-6, 132.5)


Ever since coach John Calipari made a "big tweak" during the SEC Tournament the Kentucky Wildcats have looked like a much better offensive team. Asking Andrew Harrison to pass first and score second, Coach Cal has Harrison's APG number rising from 3.8 in the regular season to 6.3 in the SEC Tournament (19 total). Kentucky looks like a different team with Harrison as a facilitator, something that KU will be hoping continues in the tourney.

No. 3 Duke Blue Devils vs No. 14 Mercer (-12.5, 140.5)


Heading into the tournament, the Blue Devils have been developing a trend of faltering down the stretch late in games. In the final five minutes of their past five contests, the Blue Devils have been outscored 76-47 and have been favored by -9.5 in all of those games excluding the ACC Championship where Duke crumbled late again against Virginia. Going in as massive favorites against Mercer, Coach K (and bettors) will be hoping that Duke's late struggles are a thing of the past as fatigue may be settling in for the Blue Devils.

No. 6 UMass Minutemen vs No. 11 Tennessee Vols (+4, 136)

After watching Tennessee squeeze out an overtime win over Iowa in the First Four, UMass will go into Friday's game feeling confident that, despite the Vols clutch win, it will have the edge should the game go down to the wire. The Minutemen are 13-4 in games decided by six points or fewer. The Vols, however, are known for their fast starts, outscoring teams by an average of 5.3 points in the opening ten minutes of their SEC games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

Friday's Tips - Session 1
By David Schwab
VegasInsider.com
    
(14) Mercer vs. Duke (3) – Midwest Regional

Line Report

Duke opened as a 10½-point favorite but this has climbed to 13 points pretty much across the board. The total has settled-in between 140½ and 141½

Non-Conference Record

Mercer (9-4): Mercer opened its season with a loss to Texas (76-73) and in early December it fell to Oklahoma (96-82) in it only two games against tournament teams.

Duke (10-3): The Blue Devils fell to Kansas (94-83) and Arizona (72-66) in the month of November, but bounced back the next month with victories over Michigan (79-69) and UCLA (80-63).

Road/Neutral Record

Mercer: 9-7

Duke: 9-8

Current Form

Mercer: The Bears closed-out the regular season 2-2 including a 75-61 loss to Florida Gulf Coast, but bounced back with a 68-60 victory over the Eagles in the Atlantic Sun title game.

Duke: The Blue Devils were stunned by Virginia (72-63) in the ACC Tournament title game to go 3-2 in their last five outings. The other loss was to Wake Forest (82-72) in early March.

Betting Notes

Mercer: The Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last six non-conference games and 0-4 ATS in their last four neutral-site games.

Duke: The Blue Devils are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games and the total has stayed UNDER in seven of their last 10 games.

(11) Nebraska vs. Baylor (6) – West Regional

Line Report

Baylor opened as a 2½-point favorite and this line has jumped to 3 ½ as the week wore on. The total is set anywhere between 130½ and 131½.

Non-Conference Record

Nebraska (8-4): The Cornhuskers did not post too many memorable wins earlier in the season, but they did lose to UMass (96-90), Creighton (82-67) and Cincinnati (74-59).

Baylor (12-1): Baylor’s non-conference schedule was not all that challenging, but it did beat Kentucky (67-62). The lone loss was to Syracuse (74-67).

Road/Neutral Record

Nebraska: 4-11

Baylor: 11-7

Current Form

Nebraska: Nebraska closed-out the regular season on an 8-1 run including a victory over Wisconsin (77-68) in its season finale, but it fell to Ohio State (71-67) in its only Big Ten Tournament game.

Baylor: The Bears’ six-game winning streak came to an end with a loss to Iowa State (74-65) in the Big 12 Tournament Championship after posting wins against Oklahoma (78-73) and Texas (86-69) to get to the title game.

Betting Notes

Nebraska: Nebraska is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 games and the total has stayed UNDER in 12 of their last 16 outings.

Baylor: The Bears have covered in eight of their last 12 games and the total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight non-conference games.

(10) Stanford vs. New Mexico (7) – South Regional

Line Report

The current line has the Lobos favored by 3½ points after opening at two points. The total line has held steady at 137 to 137½.

Non-Conference Record

Stanford (9-3): The Cardinal lost to BYU (112-103), Pittsburgh (88-67) and Michigan (68-65), but they did post a quality win against Connecticut (53-51) along the way.

New Mexico (9-3): The Lobos played a fairly aggressive schedule that included losses to UMass (81-65) and Kansas (80-63).  There lone win against a tournament team came against Cincinnati (63-54).

Road/Neutral Record

Stanford: 9-8

New Mexico: 14-4

Current Form

Stanford: The Cardinal stumbled down the stretch with three straight losses in their last four games and they bowed-out of the Pac-12 Tournament with a lopsided loss to UCLA (84-59).

New Mexico: New Mexico was able to avenge a tight season-ending loss to San Diego State (51-48) with a victory over the Aztecs (64-58) in the MWC Tournament Championship.

Betting Notes

Stanford: The Cardinal are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Mountain West, but they come in with a 1-5-1 ATS record in their last seven games overall.

New Mexico: The Lobos have covered in nine of their last 12 games against a team with a SU winning record and they have gone 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games overall.

(16) Weber State vs. Arizona (1) – West Regional

Line Report

Arizona opened as a 14½-point favorite in this matchup, but it have been driven all the way up to 20 points as of Thursday’s lines. The total has have been on an upward trend as well going from 124½ to 127½ over the past few days.

Non-Conference Record

Weber State (3-5): Weber State played a very light schedule that started off with a loss to BYU (81-72) and ended with a loss to UCLA (83-60)

Arizona (13-0): A few of the more notably victories during this perfect run came against San Diego State (69-60), Duke (72-66) and Michigan (72-70).

Road/Neutral Record

Weber State: 7-9

Arizona: 12-4

Current Form

Weber State: Weber State punched its ticket to the Big Dance with a victory over North Dakota (88-67) in the Big Sky Tournament Finals, but it did lose two of its last three games to close-out the regular season.

Arizona: The Wildcats were stunned by UCLA (75-71) in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship and they lost to Oregon (64-57) earlier in March to go 2-2 in their last four games overall.

Betting Notes

Weber State: The Wildcats are 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine neutral-site games and the total has gone OVER in four of their last five games played at a neutral site.

Arizona: These Wildcats are 6-2 ATS in their last eight neutral-site games and 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games played outside the Pac-12.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

Friday's Tips - Session 2
By David Schwab
VegasInsider.com

(11) Tennessee vs. UMass (6) – Midwest Regional

Line Report

This morning’s opening line had Tennessee favored as a 2½-point favorite over UMass after last night’s win over Iowa (78-65). Since then it has quickly jumped to four points. The total has been set at 136.

Non-Conference Record

Tennessee (9-4): The Volunteers lost back-to-back games to Wichita State (70-61) and NC State (65-58) in mid-December, but on the plus side they closed-out the month with romp over Virginia (87-52)

UMass (13-1): The Minutemen did not play the most daunting schedule, but along with the win over New Mexico (81-65), they also beat Nebraska (96-90), BYU (105-96) and Providence (69-67)

Road/Neutral Record

Tennessee: 8-9

UMass: 12-6

Current Form

Tennessee: Along with Wednesday night’s victory over the Hawkeyes, the Volunteers have gone 6-1 in their last seven games with the only loss coming against Florida (56-49) in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

UMass: The Minutemen are just 3-3 in their last six games including a loss to George Washington (85-77) in the A-10 Tournament quarterfinals.

Betting Notes

Tennessee: The Volunteers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games and the total has stayed UNDER in all six contests

UMass: UMass has gone 0-5-1 ATS in their last six outings and the total has stayed UNDER in seven of their last 10 non-conference games.

(14) Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Creighton (3)

Line Report

Creighton opened as a 14½-point favorite and the line has dropped slightly to 14 points. The total was set at 154½ and it has held steady throughout the week.

Non-Conference Record

Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4): The Ragin’ Cajuns played two tournament teams this season, but they were not competitive in losses Baylor (87-68) and Louisville (113-74).

Creighton (12-2): The Bluejays’ two setbacks came in back-to-back losses to San Diego State (86-80) and George Washington (60-53) in the Wooden Legacy Tournament.

Road/Neutral Record

Louisiana-Lafayette: 10-9

Creighton: 10-7

Current Form

Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin’ Cajuns comes into this tournament on a four-game run after stunning Georgia State (82-81) in the Sun Belt Tournament’s title game.

Creighton: The Bluejays went just 3-3 in their last six games including two losses to Providence. The second loss to the Friars (65-58) came in the Big East Tournament’s title game.

Betting Notes

Louisiana-Lafayette: UL-Lafayette is just 5-13-1 ATS in its last 19 games against a team with a SU winning record.

Creighton: The Bluejays are 1-6-1 ATS in their last seven games in the NCAA Tournament. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last seven neutral-site games.

(15) Eastern Kentucky vs. Kansas (2) – South Regional

Line Report

This line opened with Kansas favored by 13 points but now it is hovering between 14 and 14½ points. The total has taken a big jump from 144½ to anywhere between 150 to 151 points.

Non-Conference Record

Eastern Kentucky (9-4): The Colonels lost to NC State (75-56), VCU (71-68) and Wisconsin (86-61) in a brutal four-game stretch late November and early December.

Kansas (9-4): The Jayhawks also went 1-3 in the exact same time-frame with losses to Villanova (63-59), Colorado (75-72) and Florida (67-61). They also fell to San Diego State (61-57) in their final non-conference game.

Road/Neutral Record

Eastern Kentucky: 12-7

Kansas: 10-8

Current Form

Eastern Kentucky: Starting with a win against Jacksonville State (86-65) on Feb. 15, the Colonels are riding a seven-game winning streak including a victory over Belmont (79-73) in the Ohio Valley Championship.

Kansas: The Jayhawks dropped three of their last five games including a double-digit loss to Iowa State (94-83) with Joel Embiid sitting out the Big 12 title game.

Betting Notes

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels are 5-2 ATS during their current seven-game winning streak and the total has gone OVER in five of the games.

Kansas: The Jayhawks have failed to cover in seven of their last nine non-conference games. The total has stayed UNDER in 21 of their last 26 NCAA Tournament games.

(9) Oklahoma State vs. Gonzaga (9) – West Regional

Line Report

The Cowboys opened as one-point favorites, but this has been driven up to three points on most boards. The total is currently set between 139 and 139½ after opening at 143½.

Non-Conference Record

Oklahoma State (12-1): The Cowboys rolled through the non-conference portion of the program, but in an odd scheduling quirk, they split a pair of games against Memphis.

Gonzaga (10-3): The Bulldogs lost to Dayton (84-79) and Kansas State (72-62) in their first 13 games this season and in the middle of their WCC schedule they lost to Memphis (60-54) as well.

Road/Neutral Record

Oklahoma State: 8-9

Gonzaga: 13-6

Current Form

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys closed-out the regular season with a loss to Iowa State (85-81) to snap a four-game winning streak. They were eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament with a loss to Kansas (77-70).

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs won the WCC regular season title with a record of 15-3 and they ran their current winning streak to five games with a victory over BYU (75-64) in the tournament title game.

Betting Notes

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games, but just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site games.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have covered in four of their last five games, but they are just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 NCAA Tournament games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Friday, March 21

Friday's Late Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

UCLA vs. Tulsa

As of early this afternoon, UCLA (26-8 SU, 21-12 ATS) was installed as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 147. Bettors can take the Golden Hurricane on the money line for a +330 return (risk $100 to win $330). For first-half wagers, the Bruins are favored by 4.5 with a total of 68.

Tulsa (21-12 SU, 22-8 ATS) is on fire with 11 consecutive wins, including three in a row in the Conference USA Tournament to earn its first NCAA bid in a decade. Eve better for our purposes, the Golden Hurricane has cashed tickets at an incredible 17-3 ATS clip in its last 20 games. Damn!

UCLA looked outstanding in the Pac-12 Tournament, thumping Oregon and Stanford by 43 combined points to get to the finals to face regular-season champ, Arizona. The Bruins took control early and withstood every 'Zona rally en route to a 75-71 win as five-point underdogs. They hooked up money-line supporters with a +185 payout (paid $185 on $100 wagers). Kyle Anderson was downright nasty, producing 21 points, 15 rebounds and five assists compared to only one turnover. Jordan Adams added 19 points, four boards and four assists.

Anderson is one of country's top players. He's 6-foot-9 but plays like a guard and has a sweet shooting stroke with range. Anderson averages 14.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game.

Tulsa won the Conference USA Tournament and the league's automatic NCAA bid by beating La. Tech 69-60 in the finals as a four-point underdog. James Woodard was the catalyst with a game-high 27 points. He drained 4-of-5 attempts from 3-point range.

Tulsa has been an underdog 13 times this year, going 8-5 ATS with four outright victories.

The 'under' is 3-1 in UCLA's last four games and is 17-15 for the season.

The 'under' is on a 12-4 run for Tulsa in its last 16 games. The 'under' has been a money maker for the Golden Hurricane all year, going 20-10 overall.

The head coaches in this game are two of the greatest players in college basketball history. Both led their teams to national championships during their senior season under two of the best all-time coaches, Bobby Knight and Larry Brown. UCLA's Steve Alford led Indiana to a national title in 1987, while Manning led Kansas past Oklahoma in the 1988 NCAA finals. That KU squad was dubbed, 'Danny and The Miracles.'

This 4/13 matchup will be played in San Diego with the winner facing the VCU-Stephen F. Austin survivor.

Kentucky vs. Kansas State

As of early this afternoon, most books had Kentucky (24-10 SU, ATS) as a 6.5-point favorite. This number was at five earlier in the week and six yesterday. The total is 133, while Kansas State is +240 on the money line (risk $100 to win $240).

Kansas State (20-12 SU, 16-13-1 ATS) enters the Tournament on a three-game losing streak, but it played well in the last two games. Bruce Weber's team led Baylor by nine at intermission in its regular-season finale, only to lose by a bucket in overtime. In the Big 12 Tournament, K-St. and IowaState traded punches from start to finish but a late 5-0 run propelled to Cyclones to a 79-73 win as 3.5-point 'chalk.'

Kentucky was playing horrible at the end of the regular season, losing four of its last seven games while burning its backers at a 1-6 ATS clip. However, UK got its confidence back in 'Catlanta at the SEC Tournament, winning and covering the number in double-digit victories over LSU and Georgia. In the finals, John Calipari's squad trailed Florida by 15 with about eight minutes remaining. But it went on a 14-0 run and trailed just 61-60 and had the ball with 15 seconds remaining. But UK didn't even get a shot off and came up short. The 'Cats did take the cash, though, as 6.5-point underdogs.

UK owns a size advantage over most of its opponents, but that won't be the case today. K-St. has plenty of size, depth and muscle with its frontcourt players. In fact, if I had make a list of five 'bigs' that I think have strength, size and toughness to defend UK's Julius Randle (15.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG), K-St. center Thomas Gipson (11.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG) would undoubtedly be on it. One key to this game could be whether or not Randle or Gipson get the other in foul trouble, But again, K-St. reserve 'bigs' like D.J. Johnson are solid players.

Kentucky has been a single-digit favorite 11 times, compiling a 6-4-1 spread record.

Kansas State is 6-7 ATS as an underdog this season with four outright wins.

The 'over' is 3-1 in K-St.'s last four games, but the 'under' is 17-12 overall.

The 'under' is 18-12-1 overall for UK.

This 8/9 showdown will be played inState Louis with the winner most likely getting top-seeded Wichita State.

Iowa State vs. North Carolina Central

Iowa State (26-7 SU, 16-15 ATS) won the Big 12 Tournament by beating Baylor 74-65 in the finals. The Cyclones got the money as 2.5-point favorites. They were led by DeAndre Kane, who had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against the Bears.

North Carolina Central (28-5 SU, 2-1-1 ATS) has won 20 straight games and hasn't tasted a loss since Jan. 11. The Eagles won the MEAC Tournament by beating Morgan State 71-62 as nine-point favorites. Jeremy Ingram led the way with 29 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Ingram averages a team-high 20.6 PPG and he has 54 steals. He's made 66 triples and knocks down 3-balls at a 37.5 percent clip.

North Carolina Central played four games against RPI Top-150 foes. The Eagles won 62-52 at North Carolina State They lost 77-66 at Wichita State, 70-56 at Maryland and 74-61 at Cincinnati.

Most books have IowaState favored by eight with a total of 145. North Carolina Central is +330 on the money line.

Iowa State is led by Kane and senior power forward Melvin Ejim, who averages 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Kane averages 17.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest. The transfer from Marshall is making 40 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The 'over' has hit at a 17-13-1 overall clip for Iowa State.

The 'under' is 2-1-1 for North Carolina Central.

Virginia vs. Coastal Carolina

Virginia (28-6 SU, 20-12 ATS) won the ACC's regular-season championship for the first time since the 1970s this year. That's right, Ralph Sampson never got UVA a league title or a Final Four berth. The Cavaliers also won the ACC Tournament to grab the last No. 1 seed. They beat Duke by a 72-63 count as one-point underdogs. Malcolm Brogdon scored a team-best 23 points and Joe Harris chipped in with 15.

As of early this afternoon, most spots had Virginia listed as a 20.5-point favorite with a total of 122. Sportsbook.ag had the Chanticleers with 20/1 odds to become the first No. 16 seed to ever beat a top seed.

UVA has been a double-digit 'chalk' nine times, going 5-4 versus the number.

Coastal Carolina (21-12 SU, 4-1 ATS) is coached by Cliff Ellis, who has taken Auburn and Clemson to the Sweet 16 in previous coaching jobs. The 68-year-old Ellis had Auburn in the 2003 Sweet 16 before losing to eventual champ Syracuse. His 1990 Clemson squad got beaten at the buzzer by UConn on Tate George's unforgettable buzzer beater in the Meadowlands. Ellis also took South Alabama to the NCAAs, so he becomes the 10th coach in NCAA history to take four teams to the Tournament.

Coastal Carolina has won five consecutive games, including a 76-61 win over Winthrop in the Big South Tournament finals. The Chanticleers, who are in the Tournament for the first time since 1993, took the cash as . Warren Gillis led the way with a game-high 22 points and a career-high seven assists. Josh Cameron added 19 points.

The 'under' is 3-1 for Coastal Carolina.

The 'under' is 15-13 overall for UVA.

The winner will face the survivor of an 8/9 showdown between George Washington and Memphis on Sunday.

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