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Tuesday's NCAA play-ins: What bettors need to know
Liberty Flames vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies (-2, 127)
Liberty’s remarkable journey has given it a chance to do something special. The Flames, who started the season with eight straight losses, play North Carolina A&T in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday at Dayton, Ohio. If Liberty can win its first NCAA Tournament game in history, it will get a chance at top-seeded Louisville in the second round of the Midwest Region on Thursday. The Flames won their last five games - including their final four to win the Big South tournament and earn their first bid since 2004. They also became the second 20-loss team to qualify.
North Carolina A&T also made an improbable run from the seventh seed in the MEAC tournament to reach the NCAAs for the first time since 1995. The Aggies scored less than 60 points in five of their last seven games - and won six of them. North Carolina A&T is an experienced group, with seven seniors – five of them four-year players.
TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV
ABOUT LIBERTY (15-20): The Flames put it all together in the Big South tournament, beating the three teams with the best regular-season records. Liberty made 36 shots from behind the 3-point arc in the last five games, shooting 48.6 percent. Davon Marshall led the way from long range, draining 23-of-35, and averaging 18 points. John Caleb Sanders also came through with 27 points in the championship game and Tavares Speaks averaged 15 points in the last three. “We played four of our best games in these four games of the tournament,” Sanders told reporters. “Talk about peaking at exactly the right time.”
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA A&T (19-16): The Aggies finally added a 16th MEAC championship banner by limiting eight of their last nine opponents to 57 points or less and finding ways to win. North Carolina A&T had to play good defense. The Aggies are shooting 39.9 percent from the field and just under 30 percent from behind the 3-point line. Senior Adrian Powell and junior Lamont Middleton both stepped up in the last four games, averaging 15.8 and 13.8 points, respectively. Another senior, Austin Witter, had a big championship game. The Aggies will lean on their defense, which allows only 38.3 percent shooting.
* Flames are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Aggies are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 6-1 in Flames’ last seven overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Aggies’ last five neutral site games.
1. Before the Big South tournament, Liberty had not strung two wins together against Division I tournaments.
2. Liberty is 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament and the Aggies are 0-9.
3. North Carolina A&T started the season 1-4, including a 93-39 loss to Cincinnati.
Check out the free play from ***** Sports for this game.
St. Mary’s Gaels vs. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (+3, 132)
Middle Tennessee’s best season in its history will include a trip to the NCAA Tournament, despite losing in the Sun Belt semifinals. The Blue Raiders earned their first bid in 24 years and will play Saint Mary’s in the first round on Tuesday at Dayton. The winner plays Memphis on Thursday in the second round of the Midwest Region. Middle Tennessee broke the team record for wins, which included a team-best 17 straight. The Blue Raiders, who beat Mississippi in December, are balanced offensively and have limited opponents to 57.8 points.
Three of the six losses for Saint Mary’s came against No. 1 Gonzaga. The Gaels, who have reached the NCAAs four of the last six years, likely punched their ticket by beating Creighton on Feb. 23. The team’s all-time leading scorer, Matthew Dellavedova, is the key for a productive Saint Mary’s offense.
TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV
ABOUT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (28-5): The last time the Blue Raiders made the NCAA Tournament, they upset Florida State in the first round. Middle Tennessee owns a plus-six rebounding margin and has made 37.8 percent of its 3-point shots. Marcos Knight is the only player scoring in double figures (12.5) and also leads the team in rebounds (5.8). Raymond Cintron, who was held scoreless in the last game against Florida International, is the top 3-point threat (44 percent) and Bruce Massey was the league’s defensive player of the year.
ABOUT SAINT MARY’S (27-6): The Gaels haven’t lost to another team other than Gonzaga since before Christmas. Saint Mary’s can score and Dellavedova leads the way, averaging 15.8 points and 6.4 assists. The 6-4 senior guard will have to turn it around after making just 3-of-20 shots in the WCC tournament. Stephen Holt, Beau Levesque and Brad Waldow – all underclassmen – average in double figures to add support. Levesque has made 47.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc, where the Gaels have converted 262 shots – most in the WCC and in the top 25 in the nation.
* Gaels are 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
* Blue Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last four Tuesday games.
* Under is 7-0 in Gaels’ last seven games following an ATS loss.
* Over is 6-0 in Blue Raiders’ last six games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
1. Middle Tennessee has won a school-record 11 road games each of the last two seasons.
2. Dellavedova is also the Gaels’ all-time leader in assists and can break the single-season mark of 213 with two more.
3. Saint Mary’s reached the regional semifinals in 2010 before losing to Baylor.
Four NIT-bound teams that don't give a crap
By JASON LOGAN
In the back corner of the March Madness party sits the NIT – National Invitation Tournament. It’s the Garfunkel of the college hoops’ postseason, a second-tier tournament that offers a diluted shot at glory to those programs not good enough for the NCAA tournament.
Some teams jump at the chance to extend their season while others, especially those who had their bubbles burst on Selection Sunday, couldn’t give two craps about the NIT. Bettors can find serious value fading these half-hearted programs when the NIT kicks off Tuesday.
Northeastern Huskies (20-12 SU, 14-13-0 ATS)
Northeastern entered the CAA tournament with high expectations, coming off its first regular season title. But poor starts plagued the Huskies in the conference tournament and cost them a NCAA bid with a loss to James Madison in the final. Northeastern really believed this was its year, especially after VCU left for the Atlantic 10. Now, the Huskies travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama as 12.5-point underdogs.
Stanford Cardinal (18-14 SU, 13-16-1 ATS)
You’ll forgive the Cardinal if they don’t seem all that excited about hosting the opening-round game of the NIT. Stanford has been there and done that, having won last year’s National Invitation Tournament. It could become just the third program to win back-to-back NIT titles, but that’s about as motivating as getting a sucker after a visit to the dentist. After balancing school and hoops and more school, the Cardinal might be disinterested with No. 5 Stephen F. Austin (+8.5) Tuesday.
Baylor Bears (18-14 SU, 13-14-0 ATS)
Baylor put all it had into a late-season NCAA push. The Bears fought to the finish in the Big 12, taking a win over KU in the season finale and nearly knocking off Oklahoma State in the conference tournament. The NIT is a sour taste for Scott Drew’s troops. Baylor has put together some deep NCAA runs in recent years and now is left to host Long Beach State, which played UNC, USC, Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio State and UCLA in non-conference play. Books have Baylor as a 13.5-point favorite in Waco.
Kentucky Wildcats (21-11 SU, 11-18-0 ATS)
I’m sure when John Calipari pitched playing at Kentucky to his star recruits, the word “NIT” didn’t come up once. Not only are the Wildcats prime for a letdown, with their young talent more focused on the upcoming NBA Draft, but the No. 1 seed won’t even have home-court advantage in its opening game with Robert Morris. Since Rupp Arena is being used for the NCAA, they will be traveling to Pittsburgh. Books have set Kentucky as a slight 5.5-point road favorite in what should be a rocking Charles L. Sewall Center Tuesday.
James Madison's leading scorer and rebounder Rayshawn Goins has been arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct according to Mark Selig of the Daily News-Record.
Selig reported on Twitter that Goins has a hearing date set for April 8 and he is not supposed to leave Virginia before the hearing. An updated report from Selig says James Madison deputy Athletic Director Geoff Polglase said "it's my understanding" that Goins leaving Virginia is not an issue, according to Selig.
Goins averages 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, leading the team in both categories.
James Madison opened as a pick against LIU-Brooklyn in Dayton, Ohio in the first round on Wednesday. That line has since moved to LIU-Brooklyn -2 and the total is at 138.5 as of Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday the free NCAAB Power Angle play is on St. Joe's. Game 546 at 7:00 eastern on ESPN U. St. Joe's is off a tough 3 point loss to VCU last out and is 9-1 ats in games after allowing 80 or more. In the first round of the NIT They are 14-5 and have covered 5 of 6 on Tuesday. St. Johns has lost 5 straight while shooting under 40% in 4 of those games. They were beat by double digits by Villanova in their last game and are 3-6 vs teams who allow 65 or less and lost and failed to cover both times in no home games when the total is 120 to 130. Look for St. Joe's to win and cover here tonight.
Take the underdog on Tuesday night in the NIT. Maryland did beat Duke at home but should have a letdown after not getting into the Big Dance. The crowds are usually down for these mid-week tournament games and I wouldn't be shocked to see Niagara win but I do think they can stay within 10 in the underdog role playing an ACC team.
Four Cinderella Teams That Could Bust Your NCAA Bracket
by Jason Logan
One guy’s Cinderella selection is another guy’s bracket buster. These four programs will likely leave more than a few crumpled NCAA tournament bets and bracket pools on the ground when March Madness is all said and done with.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
South Dakota State Jackrabbits +50,000 (25-9 SU, 16-13-0 ATS)
The Jackrabbits drew a No. 13 seed and a date with No. 4 Michigan (-11) in the second round, giving college basketball fans one of the best head-to-head scoring matchups in the tournament: Nate Wolters vs. Trey Burke.
South Dakota State nearly knocked off Baylor in the opening game of last year’s tournament and scored a win over New Mexico this season. The Wolverines aren’t playing their best ball right now, having covered the spread just twice in their last 10 games.
Bucknell Bison +20,000 (28-5 SU, 2-4 ATS)
Bucknell was tabbed as a No. 11 seed out of the Patriot League and has a favorable matchup with No. 6 Butler in the second round. The Bison are paced by one of the best big men in the country, Mike Muscala, who averages 19 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
Behind center Andrew Smith, the Bulldogs don’t have much in terms of size and could be exposed down low by Muscala. Not only that, but the 6-foot-11, 239-pound senior can stretch the defense with his 3-point range. Beyond Butler, the Bison could run into an undersized Marquette team or Davidson in the Round of 32.
Iowa State Cyclones +10,000 (22-11 SU, 15-13-0 ATS)
The Cyclones can run any team in the country out of the gym with their guard-heavy lineup and Notre Dame is cut from a similar cloth. While the Irish are bigger than ISU, they rely heavily on their guard play and can easily get sucked into a track meet.
Iowa State can break games wide open with its 3-point shooting, which is evident by its 20-4 over/under record. If the Cyclones can get past Notre Dame, they would meet Ohio State or Iona in the Round of 32. Beyond that, ISU’s high-powered offense could carry it to meetings with New Mexico, Harvard, Arizona or Belmont in the Sweet 16.
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles +100,000 (24-10 SU, 4-0 ATS)
Mismatches in style are what make the NCAA tournament great, and the No. 2 vs. No. 15 meeting between Florida Gulf Coast and Georgetown is that to the extreme. The Eagles average more than 73 points per game behind a quick-fire scoring attack, compared to the Hoyas’ methodical Princeton offense.
Georgetown has the edge in size and big-game experience but Florida Gulf Coast already has a victory over another No. 2 seed – defeating Miami 63-51 in November – and took on Duke, VCU, and Iowa State in non-conference play this season. It’s not crazy to think the Eagles can upset the Hoyas. Two No. 15 seeds advanced last March.
Where the Action is: Early NCAA Tournament Line Moves
NCAA tournament odds are just over 24 hours old and business is beginning to pick up for sportsbooks both online and in Las Vegas.
While the majority of the March Madness money will come in on game days, sharp action has already pushed some of the spreads and totals around for this week’s tournament action. We talk to books about the most notable adjustments.
Big Ten Boom
The Big Ten Conference has drawn the most attention from NCAA bettors in the first day of wagering. No. 5 Wisconsin has moved from -4.5 to -5.5 for its matchup with No. 12 Mississippi in a contest of contrasting styles.
According to Dave Mason of BetOnline this is the most bet-on game of the tournament at his book. The Badgers’ slow-motion offense is also winning over total bettors, rather than the Rebels’ high-scoring attack, with the total dropping to 127.5 points.
No. 3 Michigan State is also drawing sharp money for its second-round matchup with No. 14 Valparaiso in the Midwest Regional. The Spartans were as big as 11-point favorites after opening as low as -10. No. 2 Ohio State is another Big Ten member gaining popularity with bettors, sitting as 13.5-point chalk versus No. 15 Iona in the West Regional.
VCU very popular
The VCU Rams were a fabled Cinderella a few seasons ago but have now moved into the role of sleep contender, tagged as a No. 5 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. Books opened the Rams as 5.5-point favorites over No. 12 Akron and sharp money ran that spread as high as -7.
“I think value bettors will take Akron at +7 as that’s a lot of points in a game that has an expected total of 138,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with Carbonsports.ag, told Covers.
Getting down on Davidson
It was pretty quiet in Las Vegas Monday morning, with books expecting a packed house come Thursday and Friday. But sharp money was hanging around a few teams, like No. 14 Davidson out of the Southern Conference.
The Wildcats moved from +4 to +3 at the MGM Mirage for their opening game against No. 3 Marquette in the East Regional. Davidson is no stranger to major conference programs, having tangled with New Mexico, Gonzaga and Duke this season.
The No. 3 seed Florida Gators aren't scaring away bettors with their hefty spread versus No. 14 Northwestern State in the South Regional. Florida opened as low as -19 but has since been bet up to -20.5, with sharp and public action gladly giving the points.
"Sharp money activity spared no time in chiming in, betting some early coin on a couple of second-round games," oddsmaker for BetDSI. "The betting patterns are interesting with the state of Florida and the Big Ten getting early love from our in-house sharp contingency."
Liberty, North Carolina A&T Open NCAAs on Tuesday
by Brian Graham
NCAA Tournament - First Round
Tip-off: Tuesday, 6:40 p.m. ET
Line: North Carolina A&T -2, Total: 127
The 2013 NCAA Tournament tips off Tuesday in Dayton, OH when a pair of 16-seeded teams meet with North Carolina A&T clashing with a sub-.500 Liberty club.
After finishing February with three straight losses, the Aggies have put together a stellar March, going 6-1 SU (5-0 ATS) including four wins in five days in the MEAC Tournament. Liberty has also been perfect this month with a 5-0 SU (4-0 ATS) mark and winning by 11 points in the Big South Championship over Charleston Southern. Both of these schools are seeking their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory after extremely long droughts. North Carolina A&T is 0-9 all-time, last losing in 1995 to a Tim Duncan-led Wake Forest team by 32 points. Liberty is 0-2 in the Big Dance with its most recent appearance coming in 2004, an 82-63 loss to Saint Joseph's when Jameer Nelson went for 33 points. North Carolina A&T is 5-1 SU (6-0 ATS) on a neutral court this season, while Liberty is 3-2 (SU and ATS) in neutral-court tilts.
North Carolina A&T prides itself on defense, allowing a mere 61.1 PPG on 38.2% FG (11th in nation). This includes an even more stellar 57.0 PPG on 36.9% FG defense during four straight MEAC Tournament victories. A big part of these impressive numbers is the play of 6-foot-8 PF Austin Witter (6.3 PPG) who blocks 3.0 shots per game (9th in nation) and grabs a team-best 7.1 RPG. But there's a good reason this team is a 16 seed. The Aggies do not have a single player taller than the 6-foot-8 Witter, which has led to a minus-1.4 RPG margin for the season. N.C. A&T also turns the ball over way too much (15.1 TOPG, 300th in nation) and shoots horribly from the field (39.9% FG, 315th in D-I) and from behind the three-point arc (29.9% threes). Senior SG Adrian Powell leads the team with 12.5 PPG on offense and 1.8 steals per game on the defensive end. Powell is coming off a huge MEAC Tournament where he averaged 15.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG. Junior SG Lamont Middleton (12.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG) also had a great conference tournament with 12+ points in all four games, averaging 13.8 PPG. He has shot poorly all season (38.3% FG, 26.5% threes), but he has done a nice job driving to the hole and forcing opponents to foul him, attempting 39 free throws in the four-game MEAC tourney.
As its 15-20 record (12-20 versus D-I school) suggests, Liberty has many deficiencies. These include a minus-2.6 TO margin (310th in nation), a minus-0.7 RPG margin, 69.9 PPG allowed, and a paltry 5.5 steals per game. The Flames have defended the three-ball pretty well though, giving up a mere 30.0% clip from downtown. Liberty's offense has peaked in March with 72.8 PPG, well above its 68.4 PPG in the first four months of the season. The Flames poured in 87 points in their championship win over Charleston Southern, as their three starting guards combined for 65 points. Junior PG John Caleb Sanders (14.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG) led the way with 27 points on 7-of-13 FG and 11-of-12 FT, while adding seven boards and four assists. Senior SG Tavares Speaks (13.1 PPG) also had a well-rounded 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in the March 10 victory, while 5-foot-11 Davon Marshall (13.4 PPG) scored 20 points, hitting 6-of-7 threes. No other player on this team averages more than 7.3 PPG on the season, but PF JR Coronado (8.2 RPG) could have a big day against the undersized Aggies. Coronado averaged 7.3 RPG in just 24.0 MPG in the four wins in the Big South Tournament.
Saint Mary's and Middle Tennessee Clash Tuesday
by Brian Graham
NCAA Tournament - First Round
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:10 p.m. ET
Line: Saint Mary's -3, Total: 132
Two bubble teams with impressive records try to advance to the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament when 28-win Middle Tennessee takes on 27-win Saint Mary's in Tuesday's "First Four" matchup in Dayton, OH.
The Blue Raiders were 19-1 in the Sun Belt during the regular season, winning 17 straight contests before getting upset by Florida International in the conference semifinals. If not for Gonzaga, the Gaels would be on a 19-game win streak, as all three of their defeats in their past 22 contests have come versus the No. 1 seed in the West region. MTU has some impressive victories this season, beating two SEC teams -- tournament champion Ole Miss and Vanderbilt on a neutral court. The Raiders also challenged themselves with trips to three other NCAA Tournament teams -- Florida, Belmont and Akron -- but lost all three games. Saint Mary's has not played a difficult schedule by any stretch, with its best non-conference wins coming against Harvard (by 1 point at home) and at Utah State way back on Nov. 15. Neither team has thrived in non-home games this season, as MTU is 4-12-1 ATS (0-3-1 ATS on neutral sites) while SMC is 8-7-1 ATS including a 1-4 ATS clip in neutral-court affairs.
Middle Tennessee is a veteran squad that makes few mistakes (+2.1 TO margin), always crashes the glass (+6.0 RPG margin) and can both shoot the three-ball (37.8%) and defend the three (29.6%, 19th in nation). The Blue Raiders really shine on the defensive end of the court, allowing just 57.8 PPG (15th in nation) on 39.4% FG (35th in D-I). Their only real weaknesses are a 69% FT clip and the propensity to commit too many fouls (20.6 per game). One of the reasons they defend so well is their nine-man rotation in which every player averages between 13.5 and 26.4 MPG. This keeps the legs fresh and energy high up-and-down the bench. Senior SG Marcos Knight (12.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG) is the only MTU player scoring in double-figures, and is also the team leader in rebounds. Although he posted a double-double (13 pts, 11 reb) in the loss to FIU on March 10, Knight shot just 5-of-14 from the floor, including 0-for-4 threes. He is averaging just 9.7 PPG on 31% shooting (0-for-5 threes) in three March games. Senior SG Raymond Cintron (8.7 PPG) is the club's long-range threat, making 44.0% threes, while PF Shawn Jones (8.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG) and SF Neiko Hunter (7.6 PPG) both shoot over 50% from the floor. Senior PG Bruce Massey (6.6 PPG, 3.3 APG) is a smart floor general who has committed just 10 turnovers in 10 games since the start of February.
Saint Mary's knows how to rack up points, posting 75.5 PPG on 47.4% FG, both numbers among the top-25 schools in the nation. The Gaels are comfortable scoring from behind the arc (7.9 threes per game on a 37.5% clip) or pounding the ball inside, as they outrebound opponents by +8.7 RPG this season, the sixth-best margin in the nation. They also have a strong 1.22 Ast/TO ratio (41st in nation), with 14.7 APG and just 12.0 TOPG. But the team has a few glaring weaknesses, most notably the inability to both defend the three-point shot (37.5% threes allowed) and to create turnovers with just 6.3 SPG (225th in nation) and 3.0 BPG (223rd in D-I). This efficient offense runs through PG Matthew Dellavedova (15.8 PPG, 6.4 APG), who makes 37% of his threes and 88% of his free throws this season. But he's been ice-cold since the calendar flipped to March, making just 8-of-38 shots (21%) including a dreadful 1-of-18 threes. Junior SG Stephen Holt (11.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG) comprises the other half of this dynamic backcourt. Holt has shot poorly all season (41% FG, 34% threes), but tallied 19 points and seven rebounds in the WCC Championship loss to Gonzaga. SMC has two other double-digit scorers in SF Beau Levesque (10.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG) and PF Brad Waldow (10.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG). Levesque has shot a blistering 47.4% threes (45-for-95) for the season, and has 14.0 PPG (5-of-11 threes) in his past two contests. Waldow was a bit overmatched against the great size of Gonzaga, but he dominated San Diego in the league semifinals with 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
NCAA play-in games (Tues, Dayton)
North Carolina A&T is #9 team in country in experience, but they tied for 6th in MEAC- they turn ball over 22.5% of time, but force turnovers 23.7% of time, so their games are chaotic. Liberty lost its first 10 games vs D-I games this season; they're 15-20 with three non-D-I wins- they lost to two MEAC teams, to Morgan St by 5, Howard by 7. A&T beat Campbell 85-60, Radford 81-77 in two games vs Big South teams- they don't shoot well (39.2% from arc). Big South is #29 league, MEAC #30. Dogs are 2-1-1 vs spread in these lower play-in game last two years.
Middle Tennessee has to be thrilled to be here after another meltdown in Sun Belt tourney; Blue Raiders have four juniors/four seniors in rotation; they're #2 experienced team in country, are 14-1 in last 15 games- they played #40 non-conference schedule, sub a lot (#12 in bench minutes), but Sun Belt is #19 league, WCC #10. St Mary's is 19-3 last 22 games, with all three losses to Gonzaga; they're 5-2 in other games against top 100 teams- they also sub a lot, but don't defend 3-balls too well (36.9%). Five of Gaels' top six guys are juniors/seniors. Favorites are 2-2 in the upper level play-in games, with last at-large teams to get in.
There is nothing as futile as trying to handicap these consolation events that run opposite the NCAAs, especially in the first round, because the most important issue is this: Who still wants to be playing? I have no idea who still wants to play; once they play a game or two, then maybe we can come up with something, but for this week, I'd stay away. That said, some very brief notes on these games........
-- Maryland lost by 3 to North Carolina Saturday; Niagara lost by 22-17 to Notre Dame/Bucknell, two best teams they've played- Eagles haven't played in nine days.
-- St John's lost last five games and eight of last ten; St Joe's won its last six home games. Johnnies tossed Harrison, their best player.
-- Louisiana Tech was 16-0 in WAC, then lost last three games, losing in Vegas Thursday. Florida State won its last four home games, three by 4 or less points. Tech has to be a little bit on tilt after late meltdown.
-- Robert Morris is so excited they cancelled classes Tuesday, Kentucky hasn't won a road/neutral game since Noel got hurt. Colonials lost by 5 to Arkansas, by 2 to Xavier, so they shouldn't get crushed here.
-- Northeastern is 3-4 in last seven games, after falling behind by 20 in both first halves at CAA tourney. Alabama lost by 10 to Florida three days ago. Huskies haven't played since last Monday.
-- Norfolk State went 16-0 in MEAC, then lost in tourney; they lost by 22 at NC State of ACC in December. Virginia beat Duke,then lost three of last four games to wind up here- they can't be happy.
-- Denver is 17-2 in last 19 games, losing in first round of WAC tourney in Vegas Thursday. Ohio lost MAC final to Akron Saturday; Princeton offense hard to prepare for on short notice.
-- Washington lost in OT at Pac-12 tourney, lost five of last six true road games. BYU lost three of last four games, hasn't played in 11 days.
-- SF Austin went 16-2 in Southland, but lost in tourney final Saturday; Stanford lost three of last four home games; they lost in OT at Pac-12 tourney Wednesday. SFA won Bracket Buster game at Long Beach.
-- George Mason/Charleston will be CAA rivals next year; Patriots' last five games were all decided by 6 or less points. Charleston won 12 of its last 15 games, but lost SoCon final to Davidson.
-- Lehigh is 3-4 in last seven games, losing last three on road; they upset Duke LY, now an NIT game at Wyoming? Cowboys are 1-6 last seven games, but are 14-0 outside MWC. Both teams missing a key guard.
-- Long trip for Vermont, which lost home game for America East title Saturday. Santa Clara hasn't played in 11 days- they won five of last six home games, went 9-8 in WCC.
-- Rider/Hartford haven't played in 10 days, Broncs since 43-42 loss in MAAC tourney. Hawks went 4-3 this season vs MAAC opponents. Broncs won five of their last six games.
-- Gardner-Webb won by 10-20 points in two games vs OVC foes; they had won seven in row before getting upset in Big South tourney. Eastern Kentucky is 2-3 in last five games, allowing 80+ in all three losses.
-- Fairfield lost four of last six games, scoring 46.7 ppg; they last played nine days ago. Kent State lost by 3 to rival Akron Friday, ending 6-game winning streak- they won last five home games.
-- Oakland is worst defensive team in country, but they beat Valparaiso, best team in Horizon, by hoop at home. Youngstown State is 4-7 in last 11 games; they lost in OT to North Dakota State of Summit.
-- Savannah State turns ball over 27.4% of time, worst in country- they lost by 3-16 points in two games vs C-USA teams. East Carolina is 5-2 this season against teams ranked outside top 200 (Savannah is #219).
-- Boston U/Loyola will be Patriot rivals next year; this is Terriers' first game in 19 days. BU split pair of 8-point decisions vs MAAC outfits. Loyola won by 26-3 in its two games vs America East teams.
-- North Dakota won four of last five games; they blew 12-point lead vs Weber State in Big Sky semis Friday; they lost 72-47 at Northern Iowa back in November. Panthers haven't played in eleven days.
-- Evansville hasn't played in 11 days; they split pair of 12-point games with OVC opponents. Tennessee State turns ball over 22% of the time; they haven't played in eleven days either.
Play-in games (Dayton, Wed)
James Madison's leading scorer Goins is suspended for first half after he was arrested over weekend; Dukes finished 4th in #20 league, are 9-7 in non-league games. LIU won five in row, 15 of last 18 games after 6-game losing skid early in January; Blackbirds beat Hofstra by 4 in only game vs CAA foe- they finished T2 in #24 league, make 38.5% behind the arc (#16 in country). Seven of last eight JMU games were decided by 5 or less points. NEC squads are 2-0 in play-in games, winning by 22-9 in a pair of games vs MEAC teams- they haven't won any other tournament games in last 28 years.
Boise State won at Creighton, lost by 4 at Michigan State, they went 9-8 in MWC, 14-2 outside it; Broncos make 38.7% of 3's (#15 in country), but they're a young team (one senior in rotation) and depend on Marks to be explosive scorer (5-6-38-4-27-14 points last six games). LaSalle is also guard-oriented, making 37.1% behind arc. Unsure if 6-11 Zack will play here (missed last three games); Explorers are 3-2 vs top 60 teams, beating Villanova/VCU/Butler, losing to Miami/Saint Louis. MWC was #3 league this year, A-16 #8. Boise State is 4-7 vs top 60 teams. You'd think this would be a high scoring teams, with teams that can shoot.