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-= TOP PLAY =-
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (2:45p)
SAINT MARYS CA vs MEMPHIS U
25* Round of 64 GAME OF THE YEAR on Memphis +1.5
The Memphis Tigers represent my strongest play in the Round of 64 for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. They should not be an underdog to the Saint Mary's Gaels in this one folks.
Memphis gets no respect despite its 30-4 record this season. That's because many believe that the Tigers didn't pick up any significant non-conference wins, but I beg to differ. They won at Tennessee 85-80 as a 2.5-point underdog. Sure, they lost to Minnesota, VCU and Louisville, but those aren't really bad losses.
The Tigers are the most athletic team in the entire NCAA Tournament. I believe that athleticism will prove to be too much for Saint Mary's to handle. The Tigers come into this game having won 24 of their last 25 games overall. I don't care who they have beaten during this stretch, that's impressive to say the least.
Saint Mary's is lacking quality wins as well. It has losses to Pacific, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa this season. Its biggest wins have come against BYU and Creighton, which is far from impressive.
This team is simply getting too much respect for its 67-54 win over an overrated Middle Tennessee State team in the first round on Tuesday. I actually had the Gaels picked in that contest, but I'll gladly fade them as they take a huge step up in competition here.
Memphis has a big edge in rest and preparation as it was clearly getting ready for Saint Mary's or Middle Tennessee on Monday and Tuesday, while the Gaels had to get ready for the Blue Raiders. Saint Mary's is 1-7 ATS when playing its 2nd game in 3 days this season. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Bet Memphis Thursday.
-= TOP PLAY =-
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (3:10p)
DAVIDSON vs MARQUETTE
20* Thursday Round of 64 No-Doubt Rout on Marquette -3
Davidson has been one of the most popular upset picks in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. As a result, Marquette is only a 3-point favorite over the Wildcats. I believe there is a ton of value in backing the Golden Eagles in the Round of 64 Thursday because of it.
Davidson comes in way overvalued due to its 17-game winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament. This team really hasn't beaten anyone of any significance during this streak. A look at its non-conference resume tells a different story.
The Wildcats have losses to New Mexico, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gonzaga, Charlotte, Drexel and Duke. They really don't have a quality non-conference win unless you want to count Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Richmond. I'm not counting them.
Marquette has been underrated all season. It tied shared the Big East regular season title with Louisville and Georgetown with a 14-4 mark. This team also has a solid non-conference win over Wisconsin (60-50). Getting the Golden Eagles as only a 3-point favorite is an absolute gift.
The Golden Eagles are a perfect 9-0 ATS off a loss against a conference rival over the last 2 seasons. They are coming back to win in this spot by an average of 11.6 points/game. The Wildcats are 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 non-conference games. Davidson is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Take Marquette Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (4:10p)
SOUTHERN vs GONZAGA
15* Thursday Round of 64 Major Mismatch on Gonzaga -21.5
The Gonzaga Bulldogs will roll to a 22-plus point victory Thursday over the Southern University Jaguars. The Bulldogs will have home-court advantage in the West Region as this game will be played in Salt Lake City, UT which is only several reasons I like them to cover this big number.
The biggest reason I'm backing the Bulldogs is the fact that Southern University played one of the easiest schedules you will ever see, and it still managed to lose nine games this year. It only played one NCAA Tournament team in Iowa State, losing 59-82 on the road. It also had double-digit losses to lowly Nebraska and TCU, which are bottom feeders in the Big Ten and Big 12, respectively.
As you can see, Gonzaga is by far the best team that Southern has faced this season. What's most impressive about Gonzaga's 31-2 record heading into the NCAA Tournament is the fact that 13 of those 31 wins came by 22 or more points. That includes victories over West Virginia (84-50) and Oklahoma (72-47). Plus, Southern is one of the weakest opponents that the Bulldogs have faced all year.
The Bulldogs are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games. Gonzaga is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Bulldogs are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. These three trends combine for a perfect 13-0 system backing the Bulldogs. Bet Gonzaga Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (7:15p)
SOUTH DAKOTA ST vs Michigan
15* SDSU/Michigan Thursday No-Brainer on Michigan -11
The Michigan Wolverines are way undervalued heading into the NCAA Tournament due to a poor finish to the season. They had a chance to share the Big 12 regular season title, but lost to Indiana in a last-second heartbreaker 72-71.
Michigan would go on to beat Penn State before falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament. That has given it some extra time to get back to the practice court and get back to the basics. Remember, this was the No. 1 team in the country at one point after a 20-1 start that included wins over fellow NCAA Tournament contenders Pittsburgh, Kansas State, NC State, Minnesota and Illinois.
South Dakota State (25-9) will be no match for Michigan in this one. That's evident with the fact that two of their losses came to fellow NCAA Tournament teams Minnesota (88-64) and Belmont (76-49) in blowout fashion.
Not only is Michigan undervalued due to a poor finish, but it will also have a huge home-court advantage in this one to try and get back on track. This game will be played in Auburn Hills, MI, so you can certainly say that the Wolverines have gotten the luck of the draw here. They will have a big following Thursday night, and I look for these players to feed off of that.
The Wolverines are 22-4-1 (85%) ATS in their last 27 Thursday games. Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 neutral site games. The Wolverines are 19-9 ATS after 1 or more consecutive losses over the last 3 seasons. Take Michigan Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (7:20p)
Belmont vs ARIZONA
15* Thursday Round of 64 Line Mistake on Arizona -4
The Arizona Wildcats should be a much bigger favorite over Belmont Thursday in the Round of 64. The public believes that Belmont has an excellent shot of pulling off the upset, which has kept this line smaller than it should be. I'm not buying it.
Arizona is certainly the better team in this one, and that will show on the court Thursday. The Wildcats went 25-7 this season against a much tougher schedule than 26-6 Belmont faced. They got off to a 14-0 start that included wins over fellow NCAA Tournament teams in Florida, Miami, San Diego State and Colorado. This team is the real deal, yet they aren't getting treated like it.
Belmont is a popular upset pick, but the fact of the matter is that this team doesn't have the talent to compete with a loaded roster like the one that Arizona brings to the table. That was evident in non-conference losses to Northeastern (74-71), VCU (65-75), Kansas (89-60) and UCF (66-63).
Another huge advantage is the fact that this game will be played out West in Salt Lake City, UT. There's no question that the Wildcats will have a big home-court edge in this one folks, though they don't need it to destroy the Bruins.
The Bruins are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games. Belmont is 3-12 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons. The Wildcats are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 NCAA Tournament games.
The Bruins are 0-7 ATS in road games versus teams who are called for 17 or less fouls/game after 15+ games since 1997. Belmont is 0-6 ATS in March games over the last 2 seasons. The Bruins are 0-6 ATS after 3 straight games committing 14 or less turnovers over the last 2 seasons. These three trends combine for a perfect 19-0 system backing the Wildcats. Roll with Arizona Thursday.