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Big East tourney: DePaul vs. Rutgers, Seton Hall vs. South Florida
DePaul vs. Rutgers (-3, 146)
Rutgers will likely have a little more on its mind than avenging a loss to DePaul last month when they meet in the opening round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Despite a second-half scoring explosion from Myles Mack, the Scarlet Knights were unable to overcome the season-ending loss of leading scorer Eli Carter to a fractured right fibula in a 75-69 setback on Feb. 16 against the Blue Demons – one of DePaul’s two conference victories. The loss to the Blue Demons triggered a five-game losing streak, which ended in Friday’s 56-51 win at Seton Hall.
DePaul, which ranks last in the Big East in scoring and field-goal percentage defense, is in the midst of a six-game skid, losing by an average of 17.2 points. The Blue Demons are also searching for their first win in the Big East tournament since defeating Cincinnati in 2009, but have defeated Rutgers in each of their last two meetings. The winner of this contest will meet Notre Dame in the second round.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT DEPAUL (11-20): With two 3-pointers Saturday against Pittsburgh, junior Brandon Young (16.6 points, 4.6 assists) became the 17th player in school history to reach 100. As a result, he also became the first Blue Demon to record 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 3-pointers for his career. Young and Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier were the only players in the conference to finish the regular season among the top eight in both points and assists. Cleveland Melvin did not start for the first time all season against Pittsburgh, but he posted his 100th career block - only the ninth player in school history to do so.
ABOUT RUTGERS (14-15): Mack has been one of the bright spots for the Scarlet Knights, who fell off after beginning the season 12-4, including a 3-2 start in the conference. The sophomore ranks first among the league’s guards in field goal percentage (48 percent), leads the Big East in 3-point field goal percentage (45.1) and is second in conference in free throw percentage (87.8). Mack followed up his 28-point outburst against DePaul with 24 against Villanova, but averaged only 11 points over the last four games. Jerome Seagears and Kadeem Jack initially increased their point production in Carter’s absence, but are averaging only 14.4 points combined over the last three contests.
* Blue Demons are 0-6 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Scarlet Knights are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
1. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by six points or less, including the last three.
2. DePaul’s opponents are shooting 54.6 percent from the field and averaging 82 points during its losing streak.
3. Rutgers averaged 59.6 points during league play – a sharp drop from its 74.3-point average during its non-conference schedule.
Seton Hall vs. South Florida (Pick, 116)
South Florida will attempt to continue its late-season resurgence on Tuesday when it meets Seton Hall in the opening round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Bulls resided in the conference basement for most of the season, with a 55-47 home win over Georgetown on Jan. 23 serving as its only league win through 15 games. However, South Florida snapped a 10-game losing streak with consecutive victories over DePaul and Connecticut before falling in overtime at Cincinnati to close out the regular season.
The Pirates suffered their own misery during the conference schedule, enduring a nine-game slide following a win over South Florida in the teams’ only meeting on Jan. 23. Seton Hall ended its losing streak with a home victory over Villanova on Feb. 25, but closed out the regular season with consecutive losses to match the Bulls’ 3-15 conference record. The winner of this contest will meet Syracuse in the second round.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT SETON HALL (14-17): The Pirates have been ravaged by injuries as Fuquan Edwin (16.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals) is one of only four players that have played in all 31 games. Despite a constantly-changing supporting cast, Edwin ranks seventh in the conference in scoring, 17th in rebounding and second in steals. The Pirates averaged 15.9 turnovers and 20.7 fouls during conference play – both league-high marks – somewhat offsetting their Big East-best 135 3-pointers. In the January meeting, Seton Hall survived a minus-11 turnover margin by shooting 52.5 percent from the field – its best effort in Big East play.
ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA (12-18): Much like last year, Victor Rudd (12.3 points, 7.1 rebounds) is closing out the season with a flurry, averaging 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last seven games since returning from a groin injury. Over that same stretch, the junior forward has posted three of his team-leading seven double-doubles. In their victories over the Blue Demons and Huskies, the Bulls – who finished last in the conference in field goal percentage (39.4) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (32) – shot 50 percent from the floor and 46.8 percent beyond the arc.
* Pirates are 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Pirates are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a losing record.
1. South Florida used 15 different starting lineups during the regular season while Seton Hall was forced to go with 14.
2. After scoring at least 70 points in 11 of its first 15 games, Seton Hall hasn’t reached that mark since.
3. The Bulls collected a season-high 11 steals in the first meeting.
Four betting trends for NCAAB conference title games
By MARC LAWRENCE
It’s championship week and with it the reward of a ticket to the Big Dance for all the teams cutting down the nets after their conference tournament championship game.
Before knee jerking and playing on teams in title games that on paper look to be the better squad, pay close attention to these four college conference championship moneymaking scenarios.
Note: All results are prior to this year’s tourneys and are since 1990.
Having been there and done that goes a long way toward a team’s success in conference title games.
That’s confirmed by the fact that teams who won 27 or more games the previous season use that weight to their advantage, going 64-44-3 ATS in conference title games.
Put them up against a No. 4 or lower seed and they improve to 29-3 SU and 23-8-1 ATS, including 16-0 SU and 15-1 ATS if they defeated their lightweight opponent in their most recent meeting.
Ain’t no stopping us now
Momentum can carry a team a long way, especially when they arrive at the conference championship game.
No. 1 or 2 seeded favorites that enter off three wins in a row by an average win margin of 20 points per game or better are 17-1 SU and 15-3 ATS.
Put them up against an opponent that failed to cover the spread by more than six points in its last game and they zoom right to the head of the class, going 12-0 SU and 12-0 ATS.
Home teams in title games – Use them, don’t abuse them
Home is where the heart is. It’s also where the money is in championship games. That’s confirmed by the fact that host teams are 38-15 SU and 29-23-1 ATS.
If these home advantaged teams lost one or fewer games at home on the season, they improve to 23-1 SU and 15-8-1 ATS, including 15-1 SU and 12-3-1 ATS if they are hosting a No.1 or No. 2-seeded opponent.
Best of all, these one-loss or less wonders are 4-0 SU and ATS if the opponent did not cover the number in its semifinal contest.
Dogs with a higher win percentage have no bite
As rare as it may seem, teams with the better record are not always favored in championship games.
When the oddsmakers install the opponent with an inferior win percentage as the favorite, they know what they’re doing. That’s because underdogs with a better win percentage are just 17-26-2 ATS in these games.
And if the favorite owns a win percentage of .700 or more, the underdog dips to 7-18 ATS.
Better yet, underdogs with a better record who arrive to the title game off back-to-back SU and ATS wins against .700 or greater opponents are a lowly 1-9 ATS. Buyer beware.
Exposing the Top 25: Where the polls went wrong
By JESSE SCHULE
Each week throughout the college basketball season, Covers Expert Jesse Schule will dissect the new Top 25 rankings, looking for betting value. He'll showcase the most overrated team, along with the most underrated ranked team, and an unranked squad that he feels should be in the Top 25.
Most Underrated Top 25 Team - Georgetown Hoyas (24-5 SU, 15-10 ATS)
Can anyone beat Georgetown right now? Sure, the Hoyas slipped up on the road at Villanova, but so have Louisville, Syracuse and Marquette. Georgetown bounced right back from its only defeat in 12 games by blowing out the Orange at home on Saturday. After covering the points in nine of their last 10 games, the Hoyas appear to be the team to beat as we head into the NCAA Tournament.
Most Overrated Top 25 Team - Gonzaga Bulldogs (30-2 SU, 16-12-2 ATS)
The Gonzaga Bulldogs sit at the top of all of the polls after rattling off 13 consecutive wins. As impressive as this run is, it's important to consider that not one of those victories came against a Top 25 team. In fact, the last time the Zags faced a ranked team is the last time they lost. Gonzaga fell to the Butler Bulldogs on the road in January and it has a losing record against ranked teams (1-2 SU). Even more telling, both those two losses came against two teams that have since fallen out of the rankings (Butler and Illinois). The Zags face St. Mary's Monday in the WCC Tournament final. It would be no surprise to see a close game and potentially an upset.
Unranked Team That Should Be Ranked - Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-8 SU, 14-14 ATS)
The Irish aren't popular with the public or the books, but I think they are a lot better than people give them credit for. They have proved time and time again they can play with the best teams in the country. Notre Dame has a record of 4-3 versus Top 25 teams, including an overtime win against No. 4 Louisville last month. The Irish might be getting a lot of points as an unranked underdog in the tournament when playing ranked opponents. I like Notre Dame as a dark horse to make some noise in the coming weeks.
-- Princeton lost last two games, at Yale/Brown to hand Harvard the Ivy title, so this game is meaningless; Tigers (-16) beat Penn 65-53 at home in Ivy opener Jan 12, making 11-22 behind arc. Princeton is 3-3 on road, winning by 18-25-19 points. Last three Princeton games, five of last six Penn games went over the total. Quakers won four of last seven games with a home win over Harvard, after a dismal 5-18 start.
-- Seton Hall (-5) beat South Florida 55-47 at home Jan 23; Pirates made 58% of shots inside arc, survived 17 (-11) turnovers, but they've lost 10 of 11 games since then are turning ball over 23.9% of time. USF is 2-1 in last three games, after losing previous 10; they've won Big East tourney games three years in row. Seton Hall won first tourney games three of last four years. 13 of last 19 USF games stayed under total.
-- DePaul (-1.5) beat Rutgers 75-69 at home Feb 16, outscoring Scarlet Knight 11-3 over last 2:42 for its only win in last 16 games- they're 1-5 in Big East tournament games, with only win in '09. Rutgers lost four of five in this event last six seasons, winning in OT in '11. Over is 9-3-1 in last 13 DePaul games; five of last seven Rutgers games stayed under the total. Scarlet Knights lost 11 of their last 13 games overall.
-- Wyoming was 12-0 when Martinez (42% on 3's) got tossed after fight off-campus; they're 4-12 in MWC, losing last five games, four by 11+ points, but they beat Nevada twice, 59-48 (+1.5) in Reno Jan 12, 68-48 (-6.5) at home Feb 13. Cowboys are 0-3 in this event last three seasons; this is Nevada's first MWC tourney. Wolf Pack lost its last seven games, six by 11+ points. Eight of last ten Nevada games went over.
-- Texas State beat Seattle twice this year, 86-83 (+7.5) on road Jan 26, 67-65 (-1) at home Feb 28, despite trailing both games at half. Bobcats are 6-7 in last 13 games after a 4-14 start. Seattle lost 16 of last 19 games after starting season 5-5; their last six losses were all by 6 or less points. Seven of last nine Seattle games stayed under the total. Seattle turns ball over over 25.4% of time, makes only 62.2% from foul line. Not good.
-- San Jose State lost its best player Kinney when they were 9-6; they're 0-13 without him, allowing 86.3 ppg in last three, losing last two games by 27-23 points. Spartans (+4) won 80-67 in San Antonio Dec 31- they made 59% inside arc, 9-18 outside it. Rematch was rained out due to San Jose's gym having leaky roof. Roadrunners are 3-2 in last five games, but started season 5-19; they lost last two games by 16-20 points.
-- Valparaiso/Wright State both won buzzer beaters last game; Crusaders swept Wright State this year, winning 69-63 (-9) at home Jan 19, 68-61 (-1) in Dayton Feb 12- they made 57/61% inside arc in the two games. Valpo lost this game at home LY to Detroit; they're most #1 team in US in experience, #5 in eFG%- they've won nine of last 10 games. Wright won last three games overall, three of last four true road games.
-- Home side won both North Dakota State-South Dakota State games this year; Bison (-7) won 65-62 at home, then lost rematch 69-53 (+2). All five Jackrabbit starters played 36+ minutes last night in game they trailed at half- their two subs played total of 12 minutes. Over is 10-2 in North Dakota State's last dozen games. Bison wore down shorthanded Western Illinois for its fourth win in row; three starters played 33:00+.
Big East Conference Tournament
1st Round at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Rutgers 76, DePaul 66
Seton Hall 58, South Florida 57
Horizon League Tournament
Championship at Athletics-Recreation Center, Valparaiso, IN
VALPARAISO 67, Wright State 56
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament
1st Round at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC
Bethune-Cookman 67, Coppin State 64
Delaware State 49, Howard 46
North Carolina A&T 63, Florida A&M 54
Mountain West Conference Tournament
1st Round at Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Wyoming 61, Nevada 58
Northeast Conference Tournament
Championship at Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center, Brooklyn, NY
LONG ISLAND 84, Mount St. Mary's 82
Summit League Tournament
Championship at Sioux Falls Arena, Sioux Falls, SD
South Dakota State 64, North Dakota State 62
Western Athletic Conference Tournament
1st Round at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Seattle 75, Texas State 72
UT San Antonio 67, San Jose State 62
The Blue Demons look to take advantage of a Rutgers team that is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games against teams with a losing record. DePaul is the pick (+3) according to Dunkel, which has the Scarlet Knights favored by only 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: DePaul (+3). Here are all of today's games.
TUESDAY, MARCH 12
Time Posted: 6:00 a.m. EST
Game 567-568: Princeton at Pennsylvania (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Princeton 58.597; Pennsylvania 51.544
Dunkel Line: Princeton by 7; 120
Vegas Line: Princeton by 5; 124
Dunkel Pick: Princeton (-5); Under
Game 569-570: Seton Hall vs. South Florida (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seton Hall 57.393; South Florida 58.852
Dunkel Line: South Florida by 1 1/2; 120
Vegas Line: Pick; 115 1/2
Dunkel Pick: South Florida; Over
Game 571-572: DePaul vs. Rutgers (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: DePaul 54.821; Rutgers 56.094
Dunkel Line: Rutgers by 1 1/2; 141
Vegas Line: Rutgers by 3; 145
Dunkel Pick: DePaul (+3); Under
Game 573-574: Nevada vs. Wyoming (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Nevada 53.466; Wyoming 55.101
Dunkel Line: Wyoming by 1 1/2; 124
Vegas Line: Wyoming by 3 1/2; 119 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Nevada (+3 1/2); Over
Game 575-576: Seattle vs. Texas State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle 50.185; Texas State 47.180
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 3; 142
Vegas Line: Seattle by 4; 147
Dunkel Pick: Texas State (+4); Under
Game 577-578: TX-San Antonio vs. San Jose State (11:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: TX-San Antonio 45.626; San Jose State 44.078
Dunkel Line: TX-San Antonio by 1 1/2; 133
Vegas Line: TX-San Antonio by 4 1/2; 127 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Jose State (+4 1/2); Over
Game 579-580: North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: North Dakota State 55.963; South Dakota State 60.603
Dunkel Line: South Dakota State by 4 1/2; 135
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A
Game 581-582: Wright State at Valparaiso (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wright State 56.676; Valparaiso 66.780
Dunkel Line: Valparaiso by 10; 125
Vegas Line: Valparaiso by 7 1/2; 121 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Valparaiso (-7 1/2); Over
Game 591-592: Coppin State vs. Bethune-Cookman (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Coppin State 41.704; Bethune-Cookman 43.826
Dunkel Line: Bethune-Cookman by 2
Vegas Line: Bethune-Cookman by 3 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Coppin State (+3 1/2)
Game 593-594: Florida A&M vs. North Carolina A&T (6:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida A&M 39.431; North Carolina A&T 47.548
Dunkel Line: North Carolina A&T by 8
Vegas Line: North Carolina A&T by 6
Dunkel Pick: North Carolina A&T (-6)
Game 595-596: Howard vs. Delaware State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Howard 38.839; Delaware State 42.990
Dunkel Line: Delaware State by 4
Vegas Line: Delaware State by 4 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Howard (+4 1/2)
Game 597-598: Mt. St. Mary's vs. LIU-Brooklyn (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Mt. St. Mary's 51.871; LIU-Brooklyn 57.401
Dunkel Line: LIU-Brooklyn by 5 1/2; 152
Vegas Line: LIU-Brooklyn by 3 1/2; 155 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LIU-Brooklyn (-3 1/2); Under