cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
On 03/06/2012 11:48 PM in NCAA Basketball

Cnotes Wednesday's NCAAB - NBA - NHL Best Bets !

Pac-12 And Big 12 Tournaments Open On Wednesday

By definition, the Pac-12 remains part of the group known as the Big 6 conferences. In terms of performance on the basketball court the past few seasons, it has dropped several rungs outside of the top half-dozen.

The Pac-12 Tournament takes over Staples Center in Los Angeles starting Wednesday, and the conference appears to be headed towards receiving just two spots in the field of 68 for the NCAA Men's Championship. Washington and California enter the tourney seeded first and second respectively, but neither can safely be assumed to be a lock for the Big Dance.

The Huskies and Golden Bears, along with 3rd-seed Oregon and 4th-seed Arizona, will get a bye from Wednesday's schedule while the other eight teams lock horns. Tipping things off will be the 8/9 contest between the Washington State Cougars and Oregon State Beavers (3:00 p.m. ET).

Wazzu will be seeking a clean sweep of Oregon State after dropping the Beavers twice during the regular season. The Cougars were 1-point underdogs at home on New Year's Eve in an 81-76 victory, and 10-point 'dogs in Corvallis on Feb. 9 when they turned the tables on OSU for a 10-point upset of their own, 83-73. Both games went 'over' the total. Washington State also won and covered both meetings with the Beavers last season.

Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins come into the tournament amid adversity from a recent scathing report about their program. The 5th-seed Bruins will take on 12th-seed Southern Cal in the 5:30 p.m. (ET) contest.

UCLA seems to be rallying around the controversy with three wins in its last four games, going a perfect 4-0 against the spread in the stretch. The Bruins took both games from the Trojans this season, with the clubs splitting vs. the number. Each game jumped the total, but the 'under' is 7-4 during the last 11 clashes.

Stanford, drawing the seventh seed for the event, matches up with the 10th-seed Arizona State Sun Devils in the day's third game (9:00 p.m. ET). The two met just once during the regular season, a 68-44 home win for the Cardinal as 14½-point chalk on Feb. 2 that extended their current streak vs. ASU to 4-0 both straight up and against the spread.

The nightcap (11:30 p.m. ET) pits 7th-seed Colorado against 11th-seed Utah, somewhat appropriate since both schools are playing in their first Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes have lost three of their last four contests, but did get the better of the Utes in both regular season tilts (1-1 ATS). Colorado smoked Utah in Boulder on New Year's Eve, 73-33, and then picked up a 55-48 victory in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18. The Buffaloes have won the last four meetings with the Utes, and the last five have gone 'under.'

Big 12 Gets Underway In Kansas City

While the Pac-12 is likely to get just two of its dozen teams into the NCAA Tournament, the Big 12 could see as many as six of its 10 schools be part of the festivities. Presumably, those six would be the half-dozen that earned byes in the opening round of the tourney that starts Wednesday at Kansas City's Sprint Center.

Kansas, up to third in both of the latest polls, leads the way with the top seed in the Big 12, followed by Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas. The Longhorns are sitting firmly on the bubble, if it's indeed possible to sit firmly on a bubble, and may need a victory on Thursday over the Cyclones, who have been one of the bigger surprises in college basketball this season. Baylor, somewhat of a disappointment down the stretch, will play Kansas State in another Thursday matchup.

The Jayhawks will await the winner of Wednesday's contest between 8th-seed Oklahoma and 9th-seed Texas A&M (7:00 p.m. ET), while the Tigers will draw the winner of 7th seed Oklahoma State and 10th-seed Texas Tech (9:30 p.m. ET).

Texas A&M is quite possibly the biggest bust on the campaign after beginning the year ranked just inside the top 20 of both preseason polls. The Aggies begin the tournament on a 5-game skid, and losers of nine of their last 10. Their game with Oklahoma is a rematch of a contest played just this past weekend in Norman, a 65-62 Sooners victory that closed OU -6. Texas A&M won the Jan. 21 matchup in College Station, 81-75 in overtime, as 3½-point home chalk.

Oklahoma State lost five of its final seven games, but will be taking on a Texas Tech squad that managed just one victory in 18 conference battles. The Cowboys took both regular season affairs, failing to cover as 10½-point home favorites on Jan. 4 before an easy 80-63 triumph in Lubbock 27 days later as 3½-point road chalk.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/06/2012 11:50 PM

VCU And Saint Mary's Top Early Auto Bids

Eight down, 60 to go.

The field of 68 is taking shape with eight automatic qualifiers already claiming their dance cards through Monday. More will trickle in throughout the week until Sunday, March 11 when the A-10, Big Ten and SEC finally decide their tournament champions. That's when the real fun begins with the announcement of at-large bids.

Two teams that won't sweat Selection Sunday out are the Virginia Commonwealth Rams and Saint Mary's Gaels after each earned conference titles Monday night. Here's a quick recap how both reached this point, and a look ahead to where they may be headed.

VCU Aims For Another Deep Run

The Rams not only had to wait until the Selection Committee included them in the dance last March, but then had to take part in the inaugural First Four matchups just to make the Field of 64. It turned out to be a joyride into the Final Four.

Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth capped a 28-6 campaign to date with a 59-56 triumph over the Drexel Dragons in Richmond on Monday. The Rams' win put the Dragons on the bubble and possibly into one of the First Four contests this time around. Drexel (27-6) finished 16-2 to win the Colonial Athletic Association's regular season crown, a game ahead of VCU who took out Northeastern and George Mason before downing the Dragons in the conference final.

Monday's contest pushed the Rams -3, leaving VCU backers a juice-burning 3-3-1 against the spread heading towards the NCAA's (17-14-2 ATS for season). They did, however, close on a 6-game streak straight up, and an eye-popping 17-1 stretch.

Currently 39th on the RPI list, Virginia Commonwealth's only foes in the top 50 were Alabama and South Florida back-to-back just after Thanksgiving. The Rams split those games, losing at 'Bama and winning at home vs. the Bulls. A 6-4 record against RPI top 100 includes going 2-1 against both Drexel (#70) and George Mason (#81).

My guess is VCU winds up a 12-seed, and the committee will give them a spot in either the Greensboro, NC or Louisville, KY pods.

Gaels Enter Dance With High Expectations

Randy Bennett and Saint Mary's proved too much for Gonzaga in a classic Monday night in Las Vegas. A 78-74 overtime victory over the Bulldogs left the Gaels 27-5 this season (13-14 ATS) along with a second West Coast Conference crown in three years. Now, if they can get Stephen Holt back for the NCAA Tournament, Bennett's bunch has a real shot at making some noise.

Holt didn't play in the WCC title tilt vs. Gonzaga after being listed as questionable. Bennett noted confidence in the team's best perimeter defender being available for the NCAA Tournament. Saint Mary's lost Holt to a partial MCL tear in his right knee during a 75-60 upset loss at home to Loyola Marymount in mid-February. The next game was another spanking at Murray State in the Bracket Busters, 65-51, and the Gaels appeared to be in trouble.

They closed out with wins at Portland and San Francisco, then held off San Fran's challenge in the WCC semis last Saturday. Getting Holt back will be essential for at least a run into the Sweet 16.

Saint Mary's, 25th on the last RPI list, was 4-3 vs. top 50 teams and 7-3 against those in the top 100. All four top-50 triumphs were against either Gonzaga or BYU; in addition to one loss at Gonzaga and the game at Murray State, the Gaels also fell to then-No. 7 Baylor in Las Vegas just before Christmas.

If there was a team that proved itself worthy of a true geographic No. 1 seed this year, it's Saint Mary's. The Gaels won't be seeded first, second or third. Anything below a No. 4 is a slap in the face, however, and they've at least earned a West Regional seed to put them in Phoenix on a Sweet 16 route.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/06/2012 11:53 PM

Pac-12 Opening Round

March 6, 2012

The Pac-12 conference expanded by two teams in the offseason, but that didn't help the quality of play. The conference tournament begins on Wednesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, as the Pac-12 may get no more than two teams playing in the Big Dance. We'll take a look at the four contests for the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament, starting with a pair of Pacific Northwest schools hooking up for an early tip-off.

[8] Washington State vs. [9] Oregon State (-4 ½, 151 ½) - 3:00 PM EST

Both these clubs struggled down the stretch by going 4-6 in their final 10 games of the regular season. The Beavers overcame a five-game skid by beating Colorado and Utah at home, but Oregon State finished at 1-6 ATS the last seven games. Washington State knocked off dreadful USC twice and Arizona State over the last 11 contests, while posting an 0-4 ATS record the previous four games in the underdog role.

The Cougars swept the season series against the Beavers, winning both times as a 'dog. On New Year's Eve in Pullman, Wazoo shot 54% from the floor in an 81-76 triumph to pick up its first conference victory of the season. The Cougars finished off the sweep in Corvallis with an 83-73 win as 10-point underdogs on February 9, while building a 15-point halftime lead. Washington State has lost in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament each of the last two seasons, while Oregon State is 3-0 ATS in its previous three conference tournament games (all as an underdog).

[12] USC vs. [5] UCLA (-14, 114) - 5:30 PM EST

The two Los Angeles teams have had their share of issues both on and off the court this season. The Bruins are the subject of off-court improprieties, but UCLA wrapped up the season with three wins in its final four games. Meanwhile, USC has been a train-wreck by posting a 6-25 SU and 9-20 ATS mark, while picking up just one victory in conference play against Utah. The Trojans haven't helped backers since that win by going 1-8 ATS, but that cover came against their cross-town rivals.

The last time USC and UCLA hooked up at the L.A. Sports Arena on February 15, the Bruins failed to cash as 14-point favorites in a 64-54 win. UCLA led by 15 at halftime, while the Wear brothers (David and Travis) combined from 30 points and 24 rebounds for the Bruins. Things were easier the first time around at Galen Arena for the Bruins, who cruised to a 66-47 rout of the Trojans on January 15 as three-point 'chalk.' USC shot 36% from the floor, while going a dreadful 9-of-21 from the free throw line.

The Trojans have failed to bust the 60-point mark in 11 of their previous 12 games, but the 'over' is 7-5 in this span. USC went 1-1 SU/ATS in last season's Pac-12 tournament, while UCLA has won and covered its first conference tournament contest in three of the last four seasons.

[10] Arizona State vs. [7] Stanford (-8, 123) - 9:00 PM EST

The Cardinal alternated wins and losses in their final five games of the season, capping things off with a 75-70 victory over rival Cal in the finale. Stanford goes for its 21st win, while likely staring at a postseason berth for the first time since qualifying for the CBI in 2009. Arizona State picked up its largest upset of the season by knocking off rival Arizona, 87-80 as 8 ½-point home underdogs.

The Sun Devils finished the season by winning consecutive games for the first and only time with wins over USC and Arizona, while compiling a 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS record away from Tempe in conference play. In the only meeting between ASU and Stanford this season in Palo Alto, the Cardinal dominated the Sun Devils in a 68-44 drubbing, while covering as 14 ½-point favorites. ASU had only one player score in double-figures, as the Sun Devils shot just 34% from the field.

Stanford has won and covered its first Pac-12 tournament game in three of the last four seasons, while getting tripped up by Oregon State last March as 4 ½-point 'chalk.' Arizona State hasn't picked up a victory in this tournament since 2009 when the Sun Devils advanced to the tournament title game against USC, as the Trojans won 66-63 as two-point 'dogs.

[11] Utah vs. [6] Colorado (-13, 121) - 11:30 PM EST

The Utes turned into a solid bet down the stretch by covering six straight games before putting up a clunker in a 94-48 setback at Oregon as 17-point 'dogs. In fact, the Utes trailed, 34-2 out of the gate to the Ducks, while falling behind, 52-14 at halftime. Utah looks to get back in the ATS win column against Colorado in both teams' debut in the Pac-12 tournament.

The Buffaloes wrapped up the season with losses in three of their last four games, including consecutive defeats at Oregon and Oregon State. Colorado began Pac-12 play at 4-0 ATS, but stumbled to a 5-9 ATS finish over the last 14 contests. Tad Boyle's team did some damage in their final Big 12 tournament last season by advancing to the semifinals, while bowing out in the Final Four of the NIT to Alabama. The Buffs look to start another run this time around in the Pac-12, but CU won just five of 14 games away from Boulder this season.

Colorado dominated Utah in both meetings this season, including a 73-33 thrashing of the Utes at the Coors Event Center on New Year's Eve as 16-point favorites. The Buffaloes finished off the sweep in Salt Lake City, 55-48 on February 18, but Utah cashed as 10 ½-point home underdogs.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/06/2012 11:58 PM

Big 12 Tournament: Day 1 preview and picks

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma Sooners (-1.5, 123)

THE STORY: Back when Texas A&M was projected as a co-favorite with Kansas to win the Big 12 prior to the season, it was virtually unthinkable that the Aggies would tumble as far as the No. 9 seed in the Big 12 tournament. But while Kansas lived up to its billing, that’s what happened to Texas A&M, which takes on eighth-seeded Oklahoma in the first round in Kansas City. The winner advances to play the Jayhawks, who won the league for a record eighth consecutive time. These teams met just four days ago in the regular-season finale, with the Sooners holding on for a 65-62 home victory.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, Big 12 Network (KOCB Oklahoma City, CW Texas), ESPN3.com

LINE: Oklahoma opened as a 1.5-point favorite with the total at 123.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M (13-17, 4-14 Big 12): The 17 losses are the most for Texas A&M since 2004, when the Aggies lost 21, including an 0-16 record in Big 12 play. This is the first time in the past eight years that Texas A&M will be the lower-seeded team for its tournament opener. The problems came on the offensive end, where the Aggies ranked ninth in the league in both scoring (60.9) and field-goal percentage (43.5), and dead last in free-throw percentage (64.5). Junior Elston Turner was the most consistent threat, averaging a team-high 14 points.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA (15-15, 5-13 Big 12): The Sooners need a miracle run to make the NCAA tournament, but another win over Texas A&M could perhaps place them in the NIT — not bad for first-year coach Lon Kruger in a rebuilding season. The junior trio of guard Steven Pledger and forwards Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby accounted for 64 percent of Oklahoma’s scoring and 49 percent of the rebounding. Pledger led the way with 16.6 points, which ranked sixth in the conference.

TRENDS:

- Texas A&M is 9-4 against the spread in its last 13 overall.
- The under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams.
- Texas A&M is 5-0 against the spread in the last five meetings between the two teams.

TIP-INS:
1. Texas A&M is the only current Big 12 team to never appear in the championship game of this tournament.

2. The first meeting this season was an 81-75 Texas A&M victory in overtime on Jan. 21 in College Station.

3. In five Big 12 wins, Oklahoma held opponents to 39 percent shooting. In 13 losses, opponents shot 47.5 percent.

PICK: Under

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (-8.5, 123.5)

THE STORY: A pair of teams that haven't won four consecutive games all season will try to do just that in their last hope of reaching the NCAA tournament. The Cowboys swept the season series, winning 67-59 at home and 80-63 at Texas Tech. The Cowboys lead the all-time series 35-15 and have won three straight against the Red Raiders. No. 2 seed Missouri awaits the winner in a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Kansas City.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, Big 12 Network (KOCB, Oklahoma City; KTUL - Tulsa; KMYL - Lubbock), ESPN3.com

LINE: The Cowboys are set around -8 or -8.5 with a 123.5-point total.

ABOUT TEXAS TECH (8-22, 1-17 Big 12): The 10th-seeded Red Raiders are the least likely candidate for a surprise run through the Big 12 tournament after winning only one of 18 league games. They lost their last six regular-season games, including blowouts at Baylor and at home against Missouri to end the season. Freshman Jordan Tolbert (11.4 points) is the only Texas Tech player scoring double digits, and he also paces the team with 5.7 rebounds.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (14-17, 7-11 Big 12): The seventh-seeded Cowboys are led by senior Keiton Page, the sharpshooter who owns the school record and is the Big 12's active leader with 291 3-pointers made. Page averages 16.8 points, boosted to 18.8 in league play. The Cowboys aren't a one-man team, but it might seem that way if freshman Le'Bryan Nash (13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds) is unable to play. Nash is listed as doubtful with an injury to his non-shooting hand.

TRENDS:

- Oklahoma State is 7-2-1 against the spread in its last 10 neutral-site games.
- Texas Tech is 1-5 against the spread in its last six.
- The under is 17-8 in Texas Tech's last 25 games overall.

TIP-INS:
1. Oklahoma State has never lost a first-round game in the Big 12 tournament, going 8-0 on the first day. Four of those wins have come as the No. 7 seed.

2. The Cowboys have won four of the five meetings in the Big 12 tournament, most recently in 2008, when they beat the Red Raiders 76-72.

3. Only three players on Texas Tech's roster - senior Robert Lewandowski and sophomores Jaye Crockett and Javarez Willis - have experience in the Big 12 tourney.

PICK: Cowboys

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:00 AM

Pac 12 Tournament: Day 1 preview and picks

Oregon State Beavers vs. Washington State Cougars (3.5, 146.5)

THE STORY: The eighth-seeded Cougars look to beat No. 9 seed Oregon State for the third time this season in a Pac-12 tournament first-round game featuring the league's top two scorers. The Beavers’ Jared Cunningham and Washington State center Brock Motum were both named to the All-Pac-12 first team, and both were part of the Player of the Year discussion. Washington State has won four straight against Oregon State, which averages 79.6 points to lead the Pac-12. The Beavers aren’t nearly as strong on defense, where they allow a conference-worst 72.8 points. The winner plays No. 1 seed Washington on Thursday.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, FSN, Root Sports NW

LINE: Washington State is set around -3.5 or -4 with a 146.5-point total.

ABOUT OREGON STATE (17-13, 7-11 Pac-12): Cunningham averaged 27 points in two games against Washington State this season, and he’s scored in double figures in 22 consecutive games. He leads the Pac-12 in scoring (18.2) and steals (2.6). Ahmad Starks is 10 of 16 from 3-point range over his last three games, but he was 2 of 13 beyond the arc in his last game against Washington State on Feb. 9, when the Beavers lost 83-73. Center Eric Moreland leads the team in rebounding (6.4) and blocked shots (1.8). Oregon State closed the regular season with back-to-back home wins over Utah and Colorado, and the Beavers have clinched a winning campaign for just the second time since 1990.

ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (15-15, 7-11 Pac-12): After a demoralizing 32-point loss to UCLA last week, the Cougars rebounded with a 43-38 win at Southern California on Saturday. Motum, who was named the league’s Most Improved Player, averaged 25 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games against Oregon State this season. The 6-foot-10 forward is the only Pac-12 player to rank in the top 10 in scoring (18.1), rebounding (6.5) and field goal percentage (54.9). DaVonte Lacy averages 8.7 points, and he scored 18 in the Cougars’ 81-76 win over Oregon State on New Year’s Eve. Point guard Reggie Moore averages 5.3 assists to lead the league, and he had 20 in the two games against the Beavers.

TRENDS:

- Washington State has covered in the last four meetings between the two teams.
- The over is 14-6 in Oregon State's last 20.
- Oregon State is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven.

TIP-INS:
1. After facing the Los Angeles schools last weekend, Washington State remained in Southern California this week instead of returning to Pullman before the Pac-12 tournament.

2. Oregon State is 11-3 when scoring 80 or more points.

3. Motum scored 50.6 percent (45 of 89) of Washington State’s points versus UCLA and Southern California last weekend.

PICK: Over

USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins (-12.5, 114)

THE STORY: UCLA enters the Pac-12 tournament in Los Angeles with a chip on its shoulder and a strong finish to the regular season. The Bruins, who won four of their last five conference games, meet cross-town rival USC in the first round. UCLA hasn’t lost since a Sports Illustrated story revealed alleged issues in the program, including incidents which led to the dismissal of top player Reeves Nelson earlier this season. USC has lost nine straight and is down to six scholarship players after injuries decimated its roster. The Bruins won both meetings this season by a combined 29 points.

TV: 5:40 p.m. ET, FSN

LINE: The Bruins are set as 12.5-point or 13-point favorites. The total is sitting around 114.

ABOUT UCLA (18-13, 11-7 Pac-12): The fifth-seeded Bruins concluded the regular season with a 75-69 victory over Washington – the No. 1 seed in the tournament – on Saturday. Senior guard Lazeric Jones, a Pac-12 second-team selection, leads in scoring at 13.4 points, while sophomore forward David Wear, a Pac-12 honorable mention, paces the rebounders (6.1). UCLA, which was picked to win the Pac-12 in the preseason poll, has won two of the past six Pac-12 tournaments (2006, 2008).

ABOUT USC (6-25, 1-17 Pac-12): The 12th-seeded Trojans have lost 18 of their last 19 games, and five scholarship players have gone down with season-ending injuries. Freshman guard Byron Wesley averaged 17.0 points in his last four games, including 23 against Washington on Thursday. Sophomore Maurice Jones, who scores a team-high 13.2 points, leads the Pac-12 in minutes at 38.1 The Trojans allowed the fewest points in the league at 59.8 per game, but were last in points scored (53.0). USC won the Pac-12 tournament in 2009.

TRENDS:
- USC is 9-23 against the spread in its last 32 overall.
- UCLA has covered in three straight.
- USC has covered in six of its last eight against UCLA.

TIP-INS:
1. USC is also last in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (.610), field goal percentage (.390), 3-point field goal percentage (.275), rebounds (26.9 per game) and rebounds allowed (36.1).

2. In seven of their losses, the Trojans have produced more field goals than their opponent, but were outscored 110-46 at the free throw line in those games.

3. The winner plays No. 4 Arizona on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

PICK: UCLA

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Stanford Cardinal (-9.5, 124.5)

THE STORY: The 10th-seeded Sun Devils have lost four straight against No. 7 seed Stanford, including a 68-44 rout on Feb. 2 at Maples Pavilion. Arizona State finished a dismal regular season with back-to-back wins, while Stanford beat California on Sunday to keep the Bears from claiming a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title. The Sun Devils are coming off their best game, an 87-80 upset of rival Arizona on Sunday. Arizona State shot 55.8 percent in the win, and they’ll need another strong outing against Stanford, which ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense.

TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, FSN

LINE: Stanford opened as a 9-point favorite but can now be found around -9.5 or -10. The total is sitting at 124.5.

ABOUT STANFORD (20-10, 10-8 Pac-12): Forward Josh Owens, who was named to the All-Pac-12 second team, averages 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 64.2 percent in five career games against the Sun Devils. Aaron Bright scored a team-high 16 points against Arizona State last month, and he’s averaging 9.3 points in three career games against the Sun Devils. Stanford outrebounded Arizona State 38-24 in last month’s win, and the Cardinal lead the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at plus-6. Chasson Randle, who was named to the Pac-12 all-freshmen team, is averaging 17.4 points over the past five games. He tallied 14 against Arizona State in February.

ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (10-20, 6-12 Pac-12): The Sun Devils are entering on a high note after scoring 49 points in the second half and recording season-highs in points (87), 3-point percentage (58.3) and free throw percentage (91.7) against Arizona. Carrick Felix scored a career-high 23 points against the Wildcats, but against Stanford last month he shot 1 of 9 for two points. Jordan Bachynski scored 20 points in the win, but leading rebounder Trent Lockett missed the game with an ankle injury. Lockett averages 13.8 points and 5.8 boards, and he had 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals Sunday against Arizona.

TRENDS:

- The under is 9-3-1 in Arizona State's last 13.
- Stanford has covered in four straight against Arizona State.
- The under is 8-3 in Stanford's last 11.

TIP-INS:
1. The winner faces No. 2 seed California in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday in Los Angeles.

2. Arizona State has gone 1-8 in Pac-12 tournament first-round games since 2002.

3. Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins has used 13 different starting lineups in 18 conference games, and 10 players average at least 10.5 minutes.

PICK: Under

Utah Utes vs. Colorado Buffaloes (-13, 119)

THE STORY: It is fitting that the two conference newcomers – Colorado and Utah – meet in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. Both teams are headed in the wrong direction, though. The sixth-seeded Buffaloes were in strong contention for a first-round bye before losing three of their last four games and all hope of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The 11th-seeded Utes have dropped 10 of 11, including a 46-point blowout at Oregon on Saturday. Colorado won both meetings this season, including an eye-popping 73-33 victory on Dec. 31. Colorado sophomore forward Andre Roberson was a Pac-12 first-team and all-defensive team selection.

TV: 11:40 p.m. ET, FSN

LINE: The Buffaloes are pegged as 13-point favorites with a 119-point total.

ABOUT COLORADO (19-11, 11-7 Pac-12): Roberson is fourth in the country with 11.2 rebounds per game and tied for 10th with 16 double-doubles. Senior guard Carlon Brown, who leads the Buffaloes in scoring at 12.2 points, was picked for the Pac-12 second team, while guard Spencer Dinwiddie was voted to the all-freshmen squad. Dinwiddie (10.3) is among five Buffaloes who contribute more than 9.4 points. Colorado will need to rely on its depth to make a run in the tournament. Nine players average 10.2 minutes or more.

ABOUT UTAH (6-24, 3-15): Junior center Jason Washburn is coming off a career-high 26-point performance against Oregon on Saturday and must have another big game for the Utes to win. He leads the team with outputs of 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. Junior guard Chris Hines provides an outside threat with 9.6 points per game and is first in the conference with 2.7 3-pointers made per Pac-12 contest. The Utes are last in the Pac-12 in scoring margin at minus-14.3 and are in the bottom three in virtually every offensive and defensive category.

TRENDS:

- Utah has covered in six of its last seven.
- Colorado is 1-4 against the spread in its last five.
- The under has cashed in five straight meetings between these two teams.

TIP-INS:
1. Roberson hasn’t recorded a double-double in four games, missing by one point, two points, two rebounds and one rebound.

2. Utah is 0-15 on the road, including 0-3 on neutral courts.

3. The winner plays No. 3 Oregon on Thursday in the quarterfinals at Los Angeles.

PICK: Utes

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:10 AM

Wednesday’s betting tips: Sooners burning cash in Big 12 play

Who’s hot

NBA: Chicago is 16-5 against the spread in its last 21 road games.

NBA: The under is 16-7 in Golden State’s last 23 home games.

NCAAB: The under is 9-3-1 in Arizona State’s last 13.

NCAAB: Oklahoma State is 7-2-1 against the spread in its last 10 neutral-site games.

NHL: Pittsburgh has won six straight games.

Who’s not

NBA: Portland is 6-15 against the spread in its last 21 road games.

NBA: Milwaukee is 1-7 against the spread in its last eight home games.

NCAAB: Oklahoma is 6-13 against the number in its last 19 Big 12 games.

NCAAB: USC is 9-23 against the spread in its last 32 games overall.

NHL: The over is 1-5-1 in Buffalo’s last seven overall.

Key stat

11 – The UConn Huskies hit just 11 of their 24 attempts (45.8 percent) from the free-throw line in Tuesday’s opening round 81-67 win over DePaul. Free throw shooting has been a major problem for the Huskies all season. They hit just 66.5 percent from the charity stripe this season.

Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked

Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves – Pekovic was able to take part in short workout Tuesday, but will likely be a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game against Portland as he deals with inflammation in his foot. The 6-foot-11 center is averaging 12.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Minnesota opened as a 1.5-point favorite.

Game of the day

Pittsburgh Panthers at Georgetown Hoyas (-4, 122.5)

Notable quotable

“I'm coming in here trying to win this tournament. I'm not trying to come in here and calculate what I need to do to stay No. 1. I'm coming in here to try my best and to shoot four good scores and hopefully that adds up at the end of the week to put me somewhere close to the top of the leaderboard. I don't feel any pressure to try and keep it for any length of time, because it's- I know I play well, I'll hopefully keep it for awhile.” – Rory McIlroy on playing in the WGC Cadillac Championship after securing the No. 1 player ranking in the world. McIlroy is set as a +600 favorite to win the tournament.

Notes and tips

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact in practice, the team announced Tuesday. Crosby told reporters that he could return to the lineup in a matter of days. The 24-year-old has been out of the lineup with concussion-like symptoms since Dec. 5. The Penguins captain learned in January after consulting several specialists that he had a soft-tissue injury in his neck in addition to concussion-related symptoms. Crosby has two goals and 10 assists in eight games for Pittsburgh this season.

Duke junior forward Ryan Kelly will miss the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament after suffering an injured foot in practice on Tuesday. Kelly averages 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds for the sixth-ranked Blue Devils, who fell to rival North Carolina over the weekend. As a result, Duke did not secure the top seed in the tournament. The Blue Devils, who are seeded second in the tournament, will begin play on Friday against the winner of Clemson-Virginia Tech.

Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd isn’t happy with the officiating his club has seen over its recent 1-5 slump both straight up and against the number ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with the New York Knicks. Ashton Grewal has his take on Kidd’s claim in his blog.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade tweaked his ankle in the first half of Tuesday's blowout win over New Jersey and didn't play in the second half. The initial word was that the team expected him to be able to play Wednesday against Atlanta.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:14 AM

Exposing the Top 25: Where the NCAAB polls went wrong

Each week throughout the college basketball season, Covers Expert Scott Spreitzer will dissect the new Top 25 rankings. He'll showcase the most overrated team, along with the most underrated ranked team in the Top 25.

Most overrated Top-25 team: Florida Gators

It's tough to find many quality wins on the Florida Gators' schedule and I'm not so sure that six conference losses in this year's watered-down SEC is worthy of a Top-25 ranking.

Florida has not only lost nine games on the season, but it has dropped three in a row and five of eight. There's a huge talent gap between Kentucky and Florida and we saw it on the court with the Wildcats crushing the Gators in both meetings, including a 74-59 win in Gainesville.

Florida can put points on the board with five players averaging at least 10 points per game. But the team is mediocre on the defensive end, ranked 168th in field goal percentage allowed and 243rd against the 3-pointer. Those numbers came against an SEC that is way down from past seasons.

The Gators are going to need some help from the "bracketeers" if they wish to advance deep in the Big Dance.

Most underrated Top-25 team: Baylor Bears

I wanted to include Baylor in this spot, more for its Big Dance potential than anything else. The Bears probably belong in the No. 10-15 range, where they're currently ranked, and they are just 4-4 SU in their last eight games but that's because the Big 12 knows Baylor inside and out. I truly believe this team is going to have plenty of success in the tournament thanks to its length.

The Bears are 13-0 outside of the Big 12 and they own double-digit wins over San Diego State and St. Mary's, along with wins on the road at Brigham Young and West Virginia, and a 28-point win over Northwestern.

Five players average between 13.5 and 9.3 points. As a team, Baylor hits 47.2 percent of its shots, including 38.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Bears are also a solid free-throw shooting team, which helps in the tournament, and they average over eight more rebounds per game than they allow.

I truly believe Baylor's going to do well outside of the Big 12 and its length will drive NCAA opponents crazy.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:17 AM

Who Has What It Takes to Win the Big Dance (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this article last week, I took a basic look at the profile of the past 14 NCAA champions. From that profile, I was able to make a ‘short list’ of potential champs in 2011, consisting of the following 14 teams: Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan St, Ohio St, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Baylor, Kentucky and Florida.



I’ll wager dollars to donuts that the 2011 champion is one of these teams. The next step, of course, is to eliminate teams one by one, slowly but surely working our way towards the eventual national champ.



The first step in the elimination process is to look at the team’s records away from home. The NCAA championship is not won on a team’s home floor. Even with a favorable location one weekend, a team is still going to have to win four ‘neutral site’ games in order to cut down the nets in New Orleans on the first Monday in April. And the best predictive evidence for future success in neutral or hostile environments is previous success is neutral or hostile environments.



In most years, we’ll find a sub .500 road record or two among the list of potential champs, an instant elimination. This year is no exception.



Florida opened up their road slate with a pair of truly tough games – at Ohio State and at Syracuse, both losses. Billy Donovan’s squad never quite got back on track on the highway, losing at Rutgers, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Vanderbilt. That’s a track record of failure. We’ll eliminate the Gators here.



Indiana isn’t a team that I was seriously considering for the title anyway, even though they fit the initial statistical profile discussed last week. The Hoosiers opened up the season with impressive road wins at Evansville and NC State, but they were not able to gain any season long momentum with those victories. Since that 2-0 start on the highway, we’ve seen Tom Crean’s squad lose at Michigan St, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Iowa. Without a winning record on the highway, Indiana gets the boot here.



Like Indiana, Georgetown got off to a strong start on the road in non-conference play, winning tight games in outright fashion at Louisville and Alabama. But the Hoyas were not able to build on that early success. They collapsed down the stretch on the road in the Big East, losing at Pitt, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Marquette and West Virginia, while their only 2012 road wins came at bottom feeders DePaul, St John’s and Providence; arguably the three worst teams in the Big East. That’s not the type of road success that I’m looking for out of my potential champs.



Next, we move to defensive acumen, based on one of the more under-rated stats in all of college basketball – defensive field goal percentage allowed. Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse, Louisville and Kansas all rank in the Top 10 nationally in this key stat. North Carolina, Marquette and Ohio State all rank in the Top 50, while Baylor comes in at #60.



Playing in March against opposing teams that handle the ball well, two defenses stand out as not being good enough in halfcourt sets to win a title. Duke ranks #192 nationally in defensive field goal percentage allowed, with defensive weaknesses clearly evident in their blowout loss at home to North Carolina this past weekend. Missouri forces lots of turnovers, but their halfcourt defense has holes, ranked #224 in that same category. The Blue Devils and Tigers get the boot right here, right now. Voila, we’re already down to just nine serious contenders.



As we continue with the statistical profile of a champion, interior play is next on the list. The statistic that I like to use here is rebounding margin. North Carolina, Michigan State, Ohio State and Kentucky all rank in the Top 10 nationally in this key stat. Kansas and Baylor both rank in the Top 50 and Louisville is #78.



But Syracuse ranks #163, outrebounding their foes by less than half a board per game for the full season, without a strong low post presence behind Fab Melo. Marquette ranks #195 in rebounding margin – outboarded for the season, still feeling the impact of center Chris Otule’s season ending injury. That margin could improve with second leading rebounder Davante Gardner back on the floor following a five week injury absence, but I’ll still eliminate the Orange and the Eagles from contention here.



Teams with at least two NBA first round picks in their lineup tend to do well come tournament time. Last year, UConn only had one first rounder in the draft, but he was the guy who carried the team – point guard Kemba Walker. But we shouldn’t forget the impact of Jeremy Lamb, who decided to return to school following his freshman year, but is projected as a lottery pick in this year’s draft.



Three years ago North Carolina sent Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington into the first round, followed by Danny Green in the second round. Four years ago, we saw Kansas get three players drafted, including Brandon Rush in the lottery, Darrel Arthur later in the first round and Mario Chalmers at the beginning of the second round. The year before Florida had three lottery picks – Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah.



When we look at NBA caliber talent, Kentucky certainly stands out. Anthony Davis is the projected #1 overall pick. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague are all projected first rounders, if they come out. North Carolina stands out as well, with Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall, John Henson and Harrison Barnes could all go in the lottery!



Kansas has NBA picks Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey and Tyshawn Taylor on the roster. Baylor has Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller. Ohio State has Jared Sullinger and William Buford.



Michigan State’s best player, forward Draymond Green, is not a projected first rounder. Louisville doesn’t have a projected NBA draft pick at all. I’ll bounce them from consideration here as a result, leaving us with only five remaining contenders.



Next, I’ll examine point guard play, using assist-to-turnover ratio as the key stat. North Carolina’s sophomore sensation Kendall Marshall has dished 9.6 assists per game this year, ranked #2 in the country, while committing a modest 2.7 turnovers on average. Kansas has senior Tyshawn Taylor manning the point, with help from Elijah Johnson. That duo has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 8.7-5.3. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft dishes 4.5 assists with only 2.1 turnovers per game.



Baylor clearly has the weak link in this category. Their point guard is leading scorer Pierre Jackson; a JUCO transfer who has suffered turnover problems all year, especially during crunch time of tight games. Jackson’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.6-3.7 is clearly problematic. We’ll bounce the Bears here.



Kentucky is loaded with NBA talent, and they’ve been as good as any team in the country all year. But the play of true frosh point guard Marquis Teague is concerning, with a modest 4.7-2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. I’m looking for a veteran hand at the point, not a mistake prone frosh with questionable distribution skills. John Calipari’s team might come awfully close, but I don’t expect them to cut down the nets in New Orleans.



The final stat? Free throw shooting.
Kansas connects from the charity stripe at a 69.4% clip. Ohio State hits their free throws at a 69.8% clip. But North Carolina is at 67.7%, ranked outside the Top 200 best foul shooting teams in the country. A missed free throw (or two, or three) could easily be the difference maker for the Tar Heels if they fall short of a championship run.



That leaves me with two teams remaining. I’ll call for Ohio State to face Kansas for the national title; and a good case can be made for either squad to bring home the championship trophy. I’m going to make my case for the Jayhawks; the deeper of these two squads, more likely to be able to withstand any injury concerns. The Jayhawks have star power, depth, experience and talent. They rebound, play defense and win games consistently away from home. Bill Self’s squad meets all the criteria that has been effective at predicting past championship. Plain and simple, Kansas has what it takes to win it all.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:19 AM

Pick 'n' roll: Wednesday's best NBA bets

New Orleans Hornets at Sacramento Kings (-4.5, 192)

The two worst teams in the Western Conference hook up when the Sacramento Kings host the New Orleans Hornets. Sacramento has lost four straight games and has the second-worst record in the conference.

New Orleans has been even worse and is one of three teams in the NBA that has yet to reach double digits in victories.
The Kings have a chance to make an upward move as the game against the Hornets is the first of a franchise-long nine-game homestand.

Coach Keith Smart received a vote of confidence by club management when he had his contract extended Monday through the 2012-13 season. Smart replaced fired Paul Westphal two months ago and has earned high marks for his rapport with players.

“They have responded pretty well to what I’ve been doing,” Smart said. “They take constructive criticism and take a pat on the back well. We are trying to build something that will last a long time, not a quick-fix deal.”

Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 19 rebounds when the Kings defeated New Orleans on Feb. 6.

Pick: Kings

Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder (-9.5, 203)

They are still just 12th in the Western Conference, but the Phoenix Suns are making a run and own a three-game winning streak, rallying from double digits in each game. Now the Suns face their stiffest test of the month, playing in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

The Thunder will try to win their 14th in a row at home, where they are a league-best 16-1, as well as fifth straight over the Suns.

Marcin Gortat is not one of the first big men thought of when it comes to gaudy stats, but the center is one of only four NBA players ­– joining Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Marc Gasol - averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is second in the league in scoring but has had limited success against Phoenix. He has averaged 17.3 points in the past three matchups and shot just 34.9 percent.

Pick: Suns

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25644 Followers:33
03/07/2012 12:22 AM

Beware of dog: Six teams with conference tournament upset potential

Last March belonged to the UConn Huskies.

After stumbling into the postseason, losing four of their final five games, the Huskies rolled to a 97-71 win over DePaul in the opening round of the Big East tournament and never looked back. Repeating Connecticut’s improbable march to the national title is a near-impossible feat. But all great Cinderella runs have to start somewhere.

These programs may not advance beyond their first postseason matchup, but they’re perfectly capable of throwing a wrench in their respective conference tournaments. Keep an eye out for these programs with dangerous upset potential:

Big Ten: Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes are a forgotten team in the Big Ten, what with all the hoopla around Ohio State, the Michigan schools and the rebirth of Hoosiers basketball. But what a lot of college basketball bettors might not know is that Iowa is the most feared team in the league.

It’s collected two wins over Wisconsin, one against Indiana and one against Michigan. Guard Matt Gatens is a cold-blooded killer from beyond the arc and if he gets hot, there’s nothing you can do. The senior has averaged 24.6 points over his last five games.

ACC: Miami Hurricanes

The Canes’ season seemed like it was in the crapper when star big Reggie Johnson was declared ineligible last week. However, the school pushed to have him reinstated and the NCAA let him go with a slap on the wrist. Johnson is a huge part of Miami’s success – 6-foot-10 and 284 pounds of it. He leads the team in rebounding (7.0) and chips in more than 10 points per game.

The Hurricanes aren’t expected to get an at-large bid to the Big Dance, so that gives them added motivation during the ACC tournament. What really makes Miami a ticking upset bomb is the fact it has beaten some of the best in the conference, including Duke and Florida State. Miami's dismantling of B.C. on Saturday gives the Hurricanes a chance for a first-round bye in the ACC tourney.

Big 12: Kansas State Wildcats

Frank Martin already has his program primed for a spot among the lucky 68. But, if you think KSU’s mad man will be happy with that, you’ve never seen the rage in Martin’s eyes. The Wildcats are a live dog in the Big 12 tournament, and have been picking up major momentum heading into the postseason. They’ve won three of their last four, including victories over Baylor and Missouri.

Kansas State is spotty offensively, and can go ice cold from outside at times. But the Wildcats flexed their scoring muscle in a shootout with Texas A&M last week, draining 12 3-pointers against the best 3-point defense in the conference. Kansas State is still one of the better defensive programs in the country, and can keep any game close.

Big East: South Florida Bulls

The Bulls have won six of their last eight games despite Saturday's 50-44 loss to West Virginia, and have won a program-best 12 games in Big East play. South Florida may have punched its dance ticket with a 58-51 upset over Louisville on Wednesday as it proved it can hang with the conference's elite. The Bulls play lockdown defense, giving up just 57.4 points per game this season – eighth in the country.

Having earned a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, the Bulls should command the respect of college hoops bettors. South Florida has held eight straight opponents under 60 points.

Pac-12: Colorado Buffaloes

The Pac-12 is hot mess, like Lindsay Lohan or Brittany Spears. There are glimpses of past glory, but when you take a step back and breathe it all in, it stinks. That leaves room for a ton of upset potential during the Pac-12 tournament. Cal and Washington may be on top of the standings, but they’re far from sure things.

The Buffaloes, however, are the new kids on the block and have proved they belong in their new home. Their most recent victory came over the Golden Bears – by 13 points – and they’ve scored wins against Washington, Arizona and Oregon. The Buffs have terrific senior leadership that should help them bounce back from Saturday's 83-69 loss at Oregon State.

SEC: Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols could be seeded as high as No. 2 in the SEC tournament, which doesn’t make them a traditional Cinderella team. However, for a program that was left for dead after the Bruce Pearl scandal, Tennessee has been defying the odds all season. It has come to life in recent weeks, going 9-2 in its last 11 games and earning a first-round bye in the SEC tournament.

The Volunteers are still not guaranteed a spot in the NCAA, despite two wins over Florida and a tough non-conference schedule that included close losses to Duke, Memphis and Pitt. First-year head coach Cuonzo Martin should win Coach of the Year honors for even having this team in the conversation.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: