cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
On 03/05/2012 05:23 PM in NCAA Basketball

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VCU and Drexel play for CAA title Monday



Colonial Athletic Association Championship
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT - Richmond, VA
Line: VCU -2½, Total: 118

Two smoking-hot teams meet for the Colonial Athletic Association Championship on Monday night when VCU takes on Drexel.

Since losing at Drexel on Jan. 8, VCU is 16-1 SU (9-7-1 ATS). However, the Dragons have won a whopping 19 straight games (15-4 ATS), holding 15 of these opponents under 60 points. Which team will keep its win streak intact and secure the automatic NCAA berth? For the answer, check out the College Basketball Three at Three Pass for picks covering all the big games in college basketball each weekday. The Pass is 13-11 ATS (54.2%) in its past four installments.

Although this is technically a neutral-court game, VCU will certainly have the home-court advantage since the game takes place in the Richmond Coliseum located in the same city as the Rams campus. Virginia Commonwealth has been outshot in five of its past six games, with the only exception being Sunday’s 74-64 win over George Mason when it shot 42.3% FG compared to the Patriots’ 42.0% FG. The Rams actually led 32-4 against GMU before seeing their lead eventually shrink to six. VCU shot better from three-point range (44%) than inside the arc (41%) on Sunday. Bradford Burgess (13.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG) led VCU with 20 points against the Patriots, and he also had 19 in the Jan. 8 loss at Drexel (64-58). Although Burgess was just 7-of-19 from the floor against the Dragons, Juvonte Reddic (10.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG) was much more efficient that game, scoring 15 points (6-of-8 FG) with eight rebounds and two blocks. Junior Troy Daniels (10.0 PPG, 38% 3-pt FG) is coming off a huge game Sunday, scoring 17 points (4-of-7 threes) and grabbing six rebounds. This was quite an improvement from his three points and zero rebounds in the CAA Quarterfinal win (75-65) over Northeastern. This three-star FoxSheets coaching trend likes the Rams to cut down the nets on Monday night.

Shaka Smart is 27-9 ATS (75.0%, +17.1 Units) versus good defensive teams - shooting pct defense of <=42% after 15+ games as the coach of VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH. The average score was VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH 71.1, OPPONENT 63.7 - (Rating = 3*).

Drexel’s defense has been incredible lately, holding nine of its past 13 opponents to less than 37% shooting. In two CAA Tournament games, Dragons opponents have scored a measly 49.0 PPG on 34% FG. And although Drexel’s offense hasn’t been stellar in these two contests (63.5 PPG on 42% FG), it still posted comfortable wins of 12 points and 17 points. The Dragons go with mostly a seven-man rotation, with the top four scorers averaging double figures. Sophomore G Frantz Massenat leads team in scoring (13.6 PPG) and assists (4.5 APG), and he has been deadly from behind the arc at 45%. Massenat led all scorers with 24 points (7-of-10 FG, 4-of-4 threes) in the win over VCU in January. He also had a game-high 20 points in Sunday’s 68-51 win over Old Dominion, but shot just 5-of-15 from the field. Chris Fouch (10.3 PPG) was also 5-for-15 FG against ODU, but his 16 points marked his fifth straight game in double-figures. For Drexel to win, it could come down to its two big rebounders in Samme Givens (7.8 RPG) and Daryl McCoy (7.0 RPG) who both grabbed eight boards in the win over VCU this season. This three-star FoxSheets trend sides with the Dragons:

DREXEL is 16-5 ATS (76.2%, +10.5 Units) after allowing 60 points or less this season. The average score was DREXEL 66.1, OPPONENT 54.9 - (Rating = 3*).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:25 PM

Gonzaga, Saint Mary's meet again for WCC crown



West Coast Conference Tournament Championship
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. EDT - Las Vegas, NV
Line: Gonzaga -3, Total: 134

Two familiar foes will play in the WCC title game for the third straight year when No. 24 Gonzaga squares off with Saint Mary’s on Monday night in Las Vegas.

These teams are evenly matched, splitting the past six meetings, as Saint Mary’s got the victory in 2010 and Gonzaga prevailed last year. This season, both clubs are shooting exactly 47.6% from the field. Which team will prevail on Monday night? For the answer, check out the College Basketball Three at Three Pass for picks covering all the big games in college basketball each weekday. The Pass is 13-11 ATS (54.2%) in its past four installments.

The Zags have won eight of nine (4-3-1 ATS) thanks to a highly efficient offense. They have shot at least 50% FG in seven of these nine contests, and have tallied 70+ points in seven of these games. The defense has also been strong, holding six of these nine opponents under 40% shooting. Freshman G Kevin Pangos is the team’s leading scorer (14.0 PPG) and assist man (3.4 APG), and he shoots a blistering 42.3% from three-point range. He pumped in 30 points in Saturday’s semifinal win over BYU, connecting on 10-of-17 shots and 5-of-9 threes. He also lit up the Gaels for 27 points (5-of-6 threes) in their last meeting on Feb. 4, a 73-59 Gonzaga win. He also has a meager 12 total turnovers in his past nine contests. Junior F Elias Harris (12.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG) has been ferocious on the glass lately with 13.5 RPG in his past four WCC games, including 15 in Saturday’s win. Harris has posted double-doubles in both meetings with Saint Mary’s this season, averaging 13.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG. Senior C Robert Sacre (11.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) has been pretty quiet lately with just 7.8 PPG on 9-of-23 FG (39%) in his past four games. This highly-rated FoxSheets trend likes the Bulldogs to win on Monday night.

SAINT MARY’S is 24-52 ATS (31.6%, -33.2 Units) versus good defensive teams - shooting pct defense of <=42% after 15+ games since 1997. The average score was SAINT MARY’S 63.4, OPPONENT 71.9 - (Rating = 2*).

And this extremely rare seven-star FoxSheets trend expects a defensive struggle coming UNDER the total.

GONZAGA is 20-2 UNDER (90.9%, +17.8 Units) as a favorite this season. The average score was GONZAGA 73.8, OPPONENT 60.3 - (Rating = 7*).

Saint Mary’s has been pretty inconsistent since the start of February, losing three of eight SU and posting a 2-6 ATS mark. But the shooting has improved in each of the past four contests, going from 38% FG to 49% FG to 52% FG to 54% FG in Saturday’s 83-78 semifinal win over San Francisco. But the defense had its lapses in that game, allowing the Dons to make 53% of their shots and commit just seven turnovers.

The difference-maker for the Gaels has been WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova (15.4 PPG, 6.5 APG) who’s averaging 23.0 PPG and 5.0 APG in two meetings with the Zags this year, helping SMC average just 6.5 turnovers per game in these two contests. In addition to Dellavedova’s heroics, senior F Rob Jones has averaged a double-double this season with 14.7 PPG and 10.8 RPG. Jones was held to just eight points in the February loss at Spokane, but has scored in double-figures in five straight WCC contests, averaging 17.4 PPG and 13.4 RPG. Stephen Holt (10.4 PPG) is the other double-digit scorer on the Gaels roster, but he’s missed the past four games with a knee injury and is questionable to play on Sunday. This rare five-star FoxSheets coaching trend supports the Gaels:

Randy Bennett is 38-10 ATS (79.2%, +27.0 Units) after a combined score of 155 points or more as the coach of ST MARY’S. The average score was ST MARY’S 76.3, OPPONENT 63.1 - (Rating = 5*).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:27 PM

Fairfield takes on Loyola in MAAC final



MAAC Tournament Championship
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT - Springfield, MA
Line: Fairfield -2½, Total: 122

The MAAC season comes to a close on Monday night when the conference two-seed Loyola (MD) takes on fourth-seeded Fairfield in Springfield, MA.

Three weeks ago, Fairfield destroyed the Greyhounds, holding them to 13-of-46 FG (28%) in a 17-point rout at Loyola. But the Greyhounds had won the previous two meetings between these schools and are 11-3 SU (10-4 ATS) in their past 14 games. Which team will capture the MAAC title? For the answer, check out the College Basketball Three at Three Pass for picks covering all the big games in college basketball each weekday. The Pass is 13-11 ATS (54.2%) in its past four installments.

Although Fairfield is two seeds below Loyola, the two teams were separated by just one win in conference play. The Stags entered the MAAC Tournament with losses in three of their final four games, but they are riding high after beating MAAC top seed Iona by 10 points Sunday behind 26 points and 12 rebounds from Rakim Sanders who now has 17 straight games of at least a dozen points. And after shooting just 38.6% FG versus Rider in the Quarterfinals (65-63 win), they put on an offensive clinic against Iona, making 60% FG and 7-of-14 threes. Sanders was 11-of-17 from the floor, while both Colin Nickerson (5-of-8 FG) and Keith Matthews (6-of-8 FG) chipped in with 14 points apiece. Desmond Wade was the only Stags player who didn’t shoot at least 50% from the floor at 1-for-8 FG, but he dished out 11 assists and committed just two turnovers. This highly-rated FoxSheets trend likes the Stags to prevail on Monday night.

Play On - All teams where the line is +3 to -3 (FAIRFIELD) - average 3PT shooting team (32-36.5%) against an average 3PT defense (32-36.5%) after 15+ games, after a game where a team made 55% of their shots or better. (180-111 since 1997.) (61.9%, +57.9 units. Rating = 2*).

Loyola's offense has really been rolling, with 73.2 PPG on 51% FG over the past five contests. The Greyhounds shot 63% FG in their 86-73 quarterfinal win over Niagara and then followed that up with 51% FG in Sunday’s 70-60 semifinal win over Siena. Junior Erik Etherly (13.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG) scored 21 points in both games, nailing 62% of his shots. Both senior Shane Walker (9.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and junior Robert Olson (11.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG) had 12 points and six rebounds in the win over the Saints, with Olson adding a game-high six assists. This four-star FoxSheets trend sides with the Greyhounds:

LOYOLA-MD is 10-1 ATS (90.9%, +8.9 Units) after playing 2 consecutive games as favorite this season. The average score was LOYOLA-MD 70.3, OPPONENT 60.9 - (Rating = 4*).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:29 PM

Championship Angles

March 4, 2012

It’s Championship Week and with it the reward of a ticket to the Big Dance to all the teams who will be cutting down the nets immediately 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, instead pay close attention to these four College Conference Championship Game moneymaking scenarios.

You could end up padding your NCAA Tournament bankroll.

Note: all results are prior to this year’s tourneys and are since 1990…

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 ‘on-board’ teams are 36-14 straight up and 28-21-1 against the spread.

If these home advantaged teams lost one or fewer games at home on the season they improve to 22-1 SU and 15-7-1 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 wonders are 6-0 both SU and ATS if the opponent did not cover the number in its semifinal contest.

Dogs With a Higher Win Percentage Have Little to No Bite

As rare as it may seem, teams with the better record are not always favored in Championship Games. Believe me, when the linemakers install the opponent with an inferior win percentage the favorite in the game he’s knows what he’s doing. That’s because underdogs with a better win percentage are just 16-25-2 ATS in these games.

And if the favorite owns a win percentage of .700 or more, the dog dips to 6-17 ATS.

Better yet, puppies with a better record who arrive to the title game off back-to-back SU and ATS wins are a lowly 1-9 ATS.

Buyer Beware!

Size Matters

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 team who won 27 or more games the previous season use that weight to their advantage, going 63-39-3 ATS in these affairs.

Put them up against a No. 4 or lower seed and they improve to 29-2 SU and 23-7-1 ATS, including 16-0 SU and 15-1 ATS if they defeated their lightweight opponent in a most recent contest.

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Momentum can carry a team a long way, especially when they arrive to the championship game of their conference tourney.

No. 1 or 2 seeded favorites that enter off three wins in a row by an average win margin of 20 PPG or better are 17-1 SU and 14-4 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 13-0 SU and 12-1 ATS.

There you have it, four time-tested Championship Game theories to ponder for Championship Week. Get your dancing shoes ready…

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:31 PM

Conference Tournament Notes

March 5, 2012

The major conference tournaments begin this week and gives Las Vegas somewhat of a prelude to what we can expect next week with the Big Dance. Things won’t be nearly as wild as what we’ll see next week, but it gives every sports book director, supervisor, and ticket writer some practice with several games going off at once all day long, all week long. Overtime will be expected from everyone because this type of compacted daily schedule during the week only happens twice a year and a normal 40-hour week won't give the proper coverage a book needs.

The conference tournaments expose a lot of teams without their comfortable surroundings of home and puts them into a near equal situation -- minus talent -- with everyone. Home teams usually have a massive edge in college basketball, especially the really good teams, but on the road, it’s a different story.

While these aren’t technically road games, it still takes away a lot of what makes some teams so good. The dilemma for the oddsmakers is determining a rating for each team in every game on a neutral court. This is where the bettor has an edge because they only have to pick on a few of the perceived mistakes while the book has to decide on a number for every game.

This same process goes on next week as well, but at a much more difficult degree for the sports books. This week, they’re making a line for neutral games with teams that have played each other at least once in conference play and against teams that have played the same level of competition over the last 10 weeks. Next week, it’s a mix-and-match with every team from different conferences going head-to-head.

But don’t feel too sorry for the sports books because March is generally one their most consistent high percentage holds of the year. The volume, particularly in parlay action, always keeps the books in the black at a steady rate.

Here’s a look at some thoughts in each of the conference tournaments this week:

ACC (Atlanta) - North Carolina has now won seven straight and covered in six of those seven. They might be playing the best basketball in the nation and are peaking at the right time. It would be surprising not to see the top three seeds make the semifinals in this weaker than usual conference. We all want to see Duke play North Carolina play again for the Championship game, but Florida State could upset Duke in the Semifinals. Carolina will beat whoever they play.

Atlantic 10 (Atlantic City) - This one is up for grabs and the team I look to do some damage is a team that could very well lose in the first round. Dayton can beat anyone in this tournament, but they’ll have to get past a George Washington team Tuesday, a squad they just beat by 16 on Saturday. Should they do so, they’ll have a great shot at beating Xavier in the next round and then will likely have to face Saint Louis in the Semifinals. I like the winner of that game to win the championship game.

Big 12 (Kansas City) - This is a top heavy tournament with Kansas and Missouri looking so dominant all season. Kansas State and Iowa State are going to give them both some trouble, but Missouri should come out on top.

Big 10 (Indianapolis) - Michigan State has now lost two in a row and Ohio State finally won a big game on the road to end their February hiccup. After watching all these teams in conference play, I don’t like anyone but Michigan State away from their home, but now they’re coming in with a little swagger gone. The team that currently stands out with great play home and away over the last four weeks in Michigan.

Big East (New York) - Syracuse doesn’t cover the spread too much, but they put games away and it will be very difficult for any of these teams to beat them. If it had been three weeks ago, I might have said Louisville, but they’ve lost three of their last four. Marquette or Cincinnati would be the only team I could see knocking off Syracuse, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

MWC (Las Vegas) - We’ve seen enough out of UNLV to know they should be in good shape playing at home this week. They come in as a No. 3 seed and should be able to dispose of everyone and if they’re real lucky, San Diego State will get knocked out by either Colorado State or TCU in the Semifinals so they can avoid that thorn.

Pac-12 (Los Angeles) - UCLA comes off an impressive win over the conference’s best team, Washington, and could make things interesting with somewhat of a home crowd edge at the Staples Center. Arizona is lifeless and Cal has lost two in a row. The winner of the Colorado-Oregon game should beat Cal, but really can’t see any of them beating Washington.

SEC (New Orleans) - This is the biggest laugher of them all. Kentucky has been the Harlem Globetrotters against the Generals in this conference all season, home and away. They should roll through this tourney with ease. Whether they cover the large number or not is another story. Consider it a gift if getting to lay less than double-digits because they have covered their last four in that situation.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:33 PM

Bubble Update

March 5, 2012

Now, thing are getting interesting.

The elbows have become particularly sharp at the edge of the proverbial Big Dance “bubble” as Selection Sunday looms around the corner. Several developments this past weekend changed some of the dynamics at the cut line, with some teams dropping off the bubble and others making late moves. Expect more of the same figures to continue throughout the conference tournaments this week.

Following is a look at acknowledged bubble and potential bubble teams as of Sunday night, and where we think they’ll land on Selection Sunday...

Alabama...Things got a bit iffy over the weekend for the Crimson Tide, which lost rather meekly at Ole Miss. But ‘Bama has 20 wins, a decent RPI at 32, and a solid strength-of-schedule at 16. Beating Wichita State and Purdue to win the Puerto Rico Tip-off back in November, plus another win on Thanksgiving weekend vs. Virginia Commonwealth, might eventually be the factors that put ‘Bama into field of 68. Don’t let anyone tell you those November results don’t matter...they do.

Arizona...The last thing the Wildcats needed was a bad loss a week before Selection Sunday. Unfortunately, that’s just what happened to ‘Zona at Tempe in an inexplicable 87-80 setback vs. lowly Arizona State which likely forces the Cats to win the Pac-12 Tourney this week to make the Dance. Events elsewhere over the weekend out west suggest just how damaging the loss to the Sun Devils was for the Cats, who fell into fourth place in the final standings in the shaky conference. That’s not going to cut it for an at-large berth this season, especially when the only decent non-league wins are over Valparaiso and New Mexico State. ‘Zona is NIT-bound unless it wins at Staples Center this week.

BYU...With an RPI at 45 and strength of schedule at 93, the Cougars look borderline. And they were only 1-4 vs. other WCC heavyweights Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. But Oregon and Nevada were a couple of good non-conference wins, and the power rating of the WCC might be enough to just sneak the Cougars into the field of 68.

Cal...The Golden Bears would have helped their at-large case considerably had they been able to win at Stanford on Sunday night and at least claim a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title. But they couldn’t, and now Mike Montgomery’s team has a bit less wiggle room in this week’s Pac-12 Tourney at Los Angeles. The Bears’ RPI at 36 suggests they’re probably on the safe side of the cut line, but just in case, Cal (with no meaningful non-conference wins) is strongly advised to avoid an early exit at Staples Center. Cincinnati...The Bearcats are now in safe territory after avoiding the banana peel on Saturday at Villanova. A 12-6 record in the Big East, good for 4th place in that rugged league, a handful of useful road wins, and recent claims of scalps from Louisville and Marquette means that we’ll see Mick “The Ghost” Cronin and his Bearcats in the field of 68. Take Cincy off of the bubble.

Colorado State...The Rams appear to be straddling the cut line as the fourth team from the Mountain West, but their very good RPI (22) and strength-of-schedule (8) numbers, plus the MWC’s high conference ranking, indicate Tim Miles’ squad might be on more-solid footing than many realize. Last Saturday’s win at Air Force (the Rams’ first on the MWC road all season) was probably a must, but we doubt CSU hangs in the field if it loses its MWC Tourney first-round game vs. TCU at Las Vegas later this week.

Connecticut...The optics were not especially good for UConn, having lost 9 of 12 entering last Saturday’s game vs. Pitt. But HC Jim Calhoun made a dramatic return to the sidelines from recent back surgery and the Huskies at least temporarily stopped the bleeding by beating the sagging Panthers. We don’t think UConn should a dead-bang certainty into the Dance as does ESPN’s “St. Joe’s” Lunardi, but an RPI at 34 and strength-of-schedule at 3 suggests UConn almost assuredly gets a chance to defend its national title no matter what happens at this week’s Big East Tourney.

Drexel...No matter what happens in Monday’s CAA Tourney title game in Richmond vs. VCU, we believe Bruiser Flint’s Dragons are into the Dance. Drexel entered that game vs. the Rams with the longest non-Kentucky win streak in the country at 19 games, and the Committee needs no reminders how well the Colonial has performed in the Big Dance lately.

Iona...The worst-case scenario happened for the Gaels in the Metro-Atlantic semis when they were dumped by Fairfield on Sunday. Many envisioned Iona, with its dynamite guard combo of Scott Machado and Arizona transfer Momo Jones, causing as much trouble in the Dance as did another MAAC rep, Siena, did a few years ago. The RPI (38) says the Gaels will still get a good look from the Selection Committee, but what Iona could have really used was one more marquee non-conference win; that one-point loss in the Puerto Rico Tip-off vs. Purdue in the opener might eventually be what keep the Gaels out of the field of 68.

Long Beach State...It would be a crime for the Beach to somehow not make the Dance if it blows the Big West Tourney like it did a year ago. Trust us, there aren’t 67 teams better than the 49ers this season. But just in case it loses in the conference tourney this week at Anaheim, the Beach might have to sweet a bit, because it missed a chance to finish unbeaten in regular-season conference play when losing its finale at Cal State Fullerton, which suddenly looms as a real threat this week at the Honda Center. Another problem could be the apparent knee injury suffered by key 6-5 G Larry Anderson (second-leading scorer at 14 ppg) against the Titans. The Beach’s rugged non-conference slate has drawn rave reviews, but the only wins of note were over Pitt, which didn’t turn out to be a great win whatsoever, and a suspension-wracked Xavier. The 49ers played Kansas, Louisville, San Diego State, North Carolina, and Creighton all tough on the road, but lost them all, as well as a couple of more non-Big West games at Montana and vs. Kansas State in Hawaii’s Diamond Head Classic over the holidays. This could be the ultimate test case of how the Committee views “good losses” just in case the Beach is thrown in with the at-large crowd on Selection Sunday.

Miami-Florida...We suspect that Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes have put themselves into position where they can play themselves into the Dance with two wins in the ACC Tourney, and perhaps only one (although if they lose the opener vs. Georgia Tech, it’s lights out). Big man Reggie Johnson has returned from a brief eligibility-related suspension, and wins in the last month at Duke and home vs. Florida State will weigh in Miami’s favor with the Selection Committee.

Middle Tennessee State...Unexpectedly thrown into the at-large mix after an upset loss vs. Arkansas State in the Sun Belt quarterfinals on Sunday night. The eye test and the RPI (42), plus non-Belt wins over Loyola Marymount, UCLA, Akron, Belmont, and Ole Miss (which is a better non-league victim’s list than some bubble contenders) suggest Kermit Davis’ Blue Raiders will at least get a good look from the Selection Committee. But what might be the best Belt team in years could be headed to the NIT instead.

Mississippi State...The Bulldogs have temporarily stopped their bleeding with last week’s successes over South Carolina and Arkansas to get to 21 wins. That’s probably going to be enough to get MSU into the field of 68 as long as it doesn’t suffer an early exit at the SEC Tournament this week in New Orleans.

Nevada...The only WAC team that would warrant a look from the Committee with its runaway regular-season league crown and 25 wins. But the Wolf Pack (RPI 48) probably needed one more non-league marquee win (the BracketBuster at Iona would have been perfect) to go along with its successes at home vs. Washington and at Montana, both of which are in position to make the field of 68. David Carter’s team probably needs to win the WAC Tourney to make the field of 68.

North Carolina State...The Wolfpack enters conference tourney play absolutely straddling the cut line. A recent 4-game losing streak will hurt, but bounce-back wins over Miami and Virginia Tech to close the regular season have at least raised hopes in Raleigh. What NC State really needed was to hold on to that 20-point lead at Duke a few weeks ago; if the Pack misses the Dance, it’s that loss at Cameron Indoor that will haunt Mark Gottfried and his staff the entire offseason.

Northwestern...We think this is the year the Cats do it and finally make the Dance! Last Saturday’s 70-66 win at Iowa was an absolute must for Bill “Conan O’Brien” Carmody’s team, and the RPI (47) and strength-of-schedule (12) numbers are indicators that the profile is good enough for an at-large. The fact the Big 10 is rated as the top league in the nation is another plus for the NU candidacy, which we don’t think needs more than one win at the Big Ten Tourney to make it, as John McLaughlin would say, a “metaphysical certitude” that NU will be dancing.

Oregon...The Ducks were the hottest Pac-12 team down the stretch, going 11-3 over their last 14 games and ending up tied for second in regular-season loop play and with 22 wins overall. Although the Pac has been downgraded this season and the Oregon RPI is a bit iffy at 50, those other numbers are usually good enough to get a team into the Dance. A possible Webfoot problem area could be a lack of good non-conference wins, although it should be noted that losses at Vanderbilt and at Salt Lake City vs. BYU were before Minnesota transfer G Devoe Joseph became eligible in mid-December. The Ducks’ win in last year’s CBI Tourney might not count for much, but it’s worth considering when handicapping Dana Altman’s team in the coming weeks. We think Oregon is likely into the field of 68, although an opening-round loss in the Pac-12 Tourney could still hurt.

Seton Hall...Talk about a bad week! All the Hall had to do to get to 20 wins was beat either Rutgers or DePaul, Big East bottom-feeders each, and an expected sweep over those two would put the Hall in an almost unassailable at-large position heading into Selection Sunday regardless of what transpired in the Big East Tourney. But shock losses to both the Scarlet Knights and Blue Demons have kept the Hall at 19 wins and sunk the Pirates to the 10th seed in this week’s schedule at Madison Square Garden. With nine losses in its last twelve games and an iffy RPI (60), we’re thinking the Hall might have to make a run to at least the Big East semis to give it a chance at serious at-large discussion from the Selection Committee.

South Florida...The Bulls might present another interesting test case for the Committee. The only thing close to a good non-conference win was over Cleveland State, and the Big East slate broke favorably. But the RPI (46) and strength-of-schedule (24) numbers are very decent, and a 12-6 mark in the Big East would have meant a free pass from the Selection Committee in recent years. We think USF has to win a game or maybe two at the Big East Tourney to squeeze onto the safe side of the cut line.

Southern Mississippi...Larry Eustachy’s Golden Eagles have played themselves into some bubble trouble the past few weeks, winning only four of their last eight, with bad losses at Houston and UTEP. What might save USM is a still-solid RPI (17), although that could drop this week if the Golden Eagles slip early in the Conference USA Tourney at FedEx Forum in Memphis. Very precarious on the cut line at the moment.

Tennessee...A recent 8-1 surge to close the regular season and ascent to 4th place in the SEC are reasons to believe the Vols will at least get a look from the Selection Committee, which might also want to take into account how UT didn’t start flying until after frosh PF Jarnell Stokes reported for active duty in mid-January. Still, with 13 defeats (three of them to Oakland, Austin Peay, and College of Charleston in pre-SEC play being very hard to overlook), plus an RPI at 75, UT remains a hard sell, although things could get interesting if Cuonzo Martin’s Vols make a deep run in the SEC Tourney.

Texas...At 19-12 and an RPI at 52, the Longhorns hardly look a sure thing. They do have a solid strength-of-schedule (23) number, but didn’t beat any of the Big XII’s “big three” (Kansas, Missouri, and Baylor; the Horns were a combined 0-6 SU against that trio). The best wins are over Temple, Kansas State, and Iowa State, which will help, but we think Texas’ biggest advantage this season is playing in the top-heavy Big XII, which many believe will be given a wide berth by the Selection Committee next week. And no, the Longhorn Network isn’t going to be televising and NCAA Tourney games.

Virginia Commonwealth...We’d say the Colonial deserves to be a multi-bid league after sending two different entries into the Final Four (including the Rams a year ago) over the previous five years. Now we know why NC State and Maryland were so desperate to sign Shaka Smart as their coach after the Rams fooled many experts while racing to Monday’s CAA Tourney finale vs. Drexel, as VCU did as it won 16 of 17 games. The Rams could still win their way into the field of 68 by winning over the Dragons on Monday night, but we suspect the Committee is going to take an extra Colonial rep, even if it’s VCU and the Rams’ at-large iffy RPI (59).

Washington...The Huskies backed into the Pac-12 regular-season championship when Cal lost at Stanford on Sunday night. U-Dub had left the door open for the Golden Bears by losing on Saturday at the L.A. Sports Arena vs. UCLA, 75-69. The RPI is rather so-so at 54 but most suspect that the Committee would at least take the Pac regular-season champ in addition to the conference tourney winner, so we suspect Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies are on rather solid footing heading into the conference tourney this week at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

West Virginia...The Mountaineers needed their two wins this past week vs. DePaul and at South Florida to stay on the at-large radar. And with an RPI at 44 and strength-of-schedule at 13, we think Bob Huggins’ side has now done enough to feel pretty safe about its invitation to the Dance. Avoiding an early exit at the Big East Tourney (where the Mounties at least qualified for a first-round bye with their 8th-place finish), likely in a second-round game vs. UConn, is still advisable, although we think WVU is in regardless what happens this week at Madison Square Garden.

Xavier...The Musketeers probably blew their last chance at an at-large berth when squandering a double-digit lead at Saint Louis last week. Sadly, the Musketeers were never the same after the brawl game vs. Cincinnati, sporting an 11-11 SU mark in their last 22 games. The “X” probably needs to win this week’s A-10 Tourney in Atlantic City to get into the field of 68.

After the weekend, here’s how our projected seeds (1 thru 16) for the Big Dance set up as of March 4...

No. 1 seeds...Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina.
No. 2 seeds...Duke, Missouri, Ohio State, Michigan State.
No. 3 seeds...Marquette, Michigan, Indiana, Baylor.
No. 4 seeds...Wisconsin, Florida State, Georgetown, Gonzaga.
No. 5 seeds...Wichita State, Creighton, UNLV, Florida.
No. 6 seeds...San Diego State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Memphis.
No. 7 seeds...Temple, Kansas State, Saint Louis, Louisville.
No. 8 seeds...New Mexico, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Murray State.
No. 9 seeds...Iowa State, Saint Mary’s, Cincinnati, Washington.
No. 10 seeds...BYU, UConn, California, Drexel.
No. 11 seeds...Oregon, Long Beach State, Mississippi State, Northwestern.
No. 12 seeds...Alabama, West Virginia, Colorado State, Miami-Fla., Texas.
No. 13 seeds...Akron, Belmont, Harvard, Southern Miss, Virginia Commonwealth.
No. 14 seeds...Loyola-Md., Valparaiso, Oral Roberts, Nevada.
No. 15 seeds...Bucknell, Davidson, North Texas, Weber State.
No. 16 seeds...UT-Arlington, Long Island, Savannah State, Stony Brook, Mississippi Valley State, UNC-Asheville.

Last four in...Miami-Florida, Texas, Southern Miss, Virginia Commonwealth.
First four out...NC State, Southern Miss, Arizona, Tennessee.
Next four out...Seton Hall, Iona, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:37 PM

Championship Monday

March 5, 2012

Championship Week in men's college basketball kicks-off this tonight with four conference title games in the Mid-Majors. The following is a brief look at each of the four matchups along with a few key statistics to help handicap the games.

Colonial Athletic Association - Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs. Drexel Dragons

VCU gained notoriety for its magical run to last year's Final Four, but it comes into this game needing a win to guarantee a spot in this season's NCAA Tournament. The Rams finished the regular season 25-6 straight-up and were 13-3 SU in conference play. They knocked-off Northeastern 75-65 in the first round of the CAA Tournament as 12-point favorites and beat George Mason 74-64 in the semifinals as six-point favorites. VCU is now 17-14-1 against the spread overall and 4-5-1 ATS in its last 10 games. The total has gone 'over' in five of its last seven games.

A one-point victory over Old Dominion as a 2 ½-point road underdog on February 25 sealed the CAA regular season title for Drexel. It went on to upend NC-Wilmington 59-47 as a 13-point favorite in the first round and beat ODU again 68-51 as two-point favorites in the semifinals to earn a berth in this championship game. The Dragons recent run extended its current winning streak to 19 games including a 64-58 victory over VCU in early January as one-point home underdogs. They have been equally impressive ATS this season with a 19-11 record overall and a 4-1 record in their last five games. Drexel is 3-3 SU against VCU in the past six games and 5-1 ATS. The total has stayed 'under' in five of the last seven meetings.

West Coast Conference - Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 21 St. Mary's Gaels

This will be Gonzaga's 15th-straight appearance in the West Coast Conference title game. It earned its place in this year's game with a 77-58 victory over BYU in the semifinals as a 2 ½-point favorite. The Bulldogs are now 25-5 SU on the year and 13-3 SU in conference play. They went 13-15-1 ATS and the total stayed 'under' in 21 of their 29 games. Gonzaga is 4-9-1 ATS in its last 15 games overall and 5-8-1 ATS on the road. The total has now stayed 'under' in its last seven games.

St. Mary's comes into this title game as a 2 ½-point underdog with the total line set at 134 ½ points. It squeezed-out an 83-78 win over San Francisco as an eight-point favorite to earn its place in the finals. The Gaels are now 26-5 SU overall and 14-2 SU in conference play. They locked-up the West Coast regular season title with a 67-60 victory over San Francisco on February 25 as four-point road favorites. They are 13-13 ATS overall, but just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games. The total has stayed 'under' in five of their last seven games. St. Mary's split the season-series with the Bulldogs with each team winning SU and ATS at home. Gonzaga has a slight 5-3 edge both SU and ATS in the last eight meetings and the total has stayed 'under' in five of the last seven games.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference - Fairfield Stags vs. Loyola (MD) Greyhounds

Fairfield survived a 65-63 scare against Rider as an 8 ½-point favorite in the first round of the MAAC Tournament and pulled-off an 85-75 upset over regular-season champ Iona as a 4 ½-point underdog in the semifinals to earn a place in the title game. The Stags are now 19-13 SU and 12-16-1 ATS. The total has stayed 'under' in seven of their last 10 games.

Loyola rolled over Niagara 86-73 as an eight-point favorite and beat Siena 70-60 as a 7 ½-point favorite to work its way into this game. The Greyhounds come in with an overall record of 23-8 SU and are 13-5 SU in conference play. They went 13-9-3 ATS overall and are 4-1 ATS in their last five games. Loyola lost to Fairfield 68-51 on February 12 as a 3 ½-point home favorite, but beat the Stags 66-63 as a five-point road underdog in mid-January.

Southern Conference - Western Carolina Catamounts vs. Davidson Wildcats

Western Carolina ended the regular season with a losing record in conference play but its three-game tear in the conference tournament including an 82-77 victory over UNC-Greensboro as a 2 ½-point favorite has it in tonight's final. The Catamounts are 17-17 SU and 14-16 ATS. They are 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and the total has gone 'over' in five of their last six.

Davidson came into this tournament as the No. 1 seed in the North Division with a 13-2 SU record in conference play. It held true to form in this tournament with three wins both SU and ATS including an 83-67 romp over Elon as a 13 ½-point favorite in the semifinals. The Wildcats are 24-7 SU and 17-12 ATS on the year and 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games. They hold a 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS edge over Western Carolina in the last eight meetings including an 88-67 victory this season as 14-point home favorites.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:40 PM

Armadillo's Write-Up

Monday, March 5

Eastern Michigan beat Northern Illinois twice this season, 47-40 (-2) in DeKalb Jan 7, then 48-45 (-8.5) at home Feb 22; hard to lay points in this game, since Eagles shoot just 40.7% inside arc, 6th-worst mark in country. Eastern is 3-2 in this round last five years, with wins by 3-4-6 points. Huskies haven't won conference tourney game since 2003, with four of last six losses by 6 or less points. Northern lost six of last seven games, with four of the six losses by 10+ points.

Over last seven years, Ball State is 0-5 in this round of MAC tourney, with last three losses all by 4 or less points, or in OT; Cardinals split its games with Western Michigan this year, with home side winning both. Ball State (-6.5) won 78-69 Jan 7 in Muncie, then lost 78-61 (+3.5) Feb 22 in Kalamazoo. Ball snapped out of 1-9 funk by winning last couple games, allowing 52-51 points. Broncos are 11-8 in this event last nine years, 4-1 in this round- they lost eight of their last 10 games overall.

Toledo won five of last six games overall and four in row at home, but it also had awful loss at Northern Illinois; Rockets (+8.5) won 63-61 Jan 25 at Miami, in only meeting this season. Toledo is 0-3 in this tourney last three years, allowing average of 79.7 ppg, but at 7-8 this year, this is best Rockets have done in MAC since '08. This is only second time in decade Miami hasn't gotten tourney bye; Redhawks lost last four games on foreign soil, by 3-15-10-5 points.

Central Michigan (+8.5) lost 71-58 at Bowling Green Jan 25, as Central players other than Ziegler shot just 30.6% for night, while Falcons shot 51% for game. Chippewas lost first MAC tourney game last two years, by 9-14 points; they're 3-1 in this round last five years, and are getting better slowly, splitting last six games overall-- four of last six losses are by seven or less points. Over last six years, more experienced Falcons are 1-4 in this round of tourney.

CAA tournament
Drexel won its last 19 games, VCU won 16 of last 17; Rams lost 64-58 at Drexel Jan 8, in only series meeting this year. Dragons played seven guys in Saturday's win, really six Sunday (7th guy played 3:00), with three starters playing 34+ minutes in both games last two nights. Drexel won 19 games in row, last losing January 2 at Georgia State. VCU got off to a 41-13 start over rival George Mason Sunday, led by 16 at half, coasted home. Richmond site means Rams will have crowd advantage.

MAAC tournament
Fairfield underachieved during regular season, finishing T3 in league they were picked to win. Stags don't go to their bench a lot, playing three of their starters 36+ minutes Sunday, after they used those same guys 32+ minutes Saturday. Loyola caught break when Siena upset Manhattan Saturday- they won first two tourney games by 13-10, shooting 63/51% from floor in those wins. Road team won both series meetings this year, as Stags won 68-51 at Loyola, after Greyhounds won 66-63 at Fairfield.

Summit tournament
#1 seed Oral Roberts/#2 seed South Dakota State played Saturday, their opponents played last night, so they have that advantage.

#1 seed has gotten to Summit League final last nine years; Oral Roberts beat Western Illinois twice this season, 71-70 (-4.5) in Macomb Jan 12, in double OT, then 61-51 (-12) at home Feb 11. Eagles won seven in a row, 20 of last 21 games; since 2005, they're 5-1 in this round of Summit tourney, winning semifinal games by 11-19-21-16-6 points. WIU played all five starters 31+ minutes last night; none of four subs they used got more than seven minutes on floor.

Southern Utah was down 11 with 2:40 left before rallying to pull off an unlikely 84-82 upset over Oakland last night; Thunderbirds shot 58% for night, surviving Oakland's 15-27 onslaught behind arc in game where defense wasn't a priority. South Dakota State beat SUU twice this year, 75-68 (-5) on road Jan 5, then 66-56 (-15) at home Feb 4. Jackrabbits are team with four guys who make 40%+ behind arc (39.6% as team, #4 in country protecting ball). SUU'swin last night was tough game.

Sun Belt tournament
North Texas is 14-3 in this tournament last five years, losing in final LY after winning it year before; Mean Green won Sunday night, despite star Mitchell being held to 5 points- home team won both their games with . Arkansas State this season. ASU upset top-seed Middle Tennessee last night, thanks to Blue Raiders going 0-5 from foul line in last minute; ASU's bench played a total of only 63 minutes in last two games, with all five starters going 30+ minutes both games last two nights.

Western Kentucky covered 11 of their last 13 games, winning SU as the underdog last two nights; they've won last four games overall, but lost 78-65 (+15) at Denver Jan 15, with Pioneers making 10-17 behind arc in game they led 43-16 at half. Denver won its last five games, all by 11+ points covering four, and non-cover was win by 19 over UL-Monroe in game they laid 20.5. Denver's Princeton offense tough to prep for in a day, tough to guard when playing third day in row.

WCC tournament
WCC finalists had Sunday off, so this should be higher quality game, as Gonzaga-St Mary's meet in WCC final for fourth year in row, Bulldogs won two of previous three, all decided by 12+ points- they've won six of last eight WCC tourneys overall. Home side won both Gonzaga-St Mary's games this season; Gaels (-4) won 83-62 in first meeting Jan 12, then lost rematch 73-59 (+3.5) Feb 9 in Spokane. Defensive ace Holt is still out for St Mary's. Both teams are in NCAAs, no pressure here.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:41 PM


Monday, March 5

Conference tourneys: Coaches who care and others who don't

Roy Williams doesn't care about the ACC tourney and he doesn't care if you know.

"It's what it is," Williams told reporters in March 2009. "I said it's for money, said it's the biggest cocktail party. It's still a party, I don't care what anybody says. It's a party to make money. ... I loved it as a fan, I don't love it as much as a coach with the attention the other tournament gets and the emphasis we try and put on it.”

The North Carolina Tar Heels have won or shared the regular season ACC crown five times since Williams took over the program in 2003, but they’ve only won the ACC tourney twice under Williams.

The Heels are 0-8-1 against the spread in the last four seasons and 2-13-2 ATS overall in conference tournament games since Williams returned to Chapel Hill. This is normally the part where we make a judgment call and guess that Williams doesn’t care too much for conference tournaments but thankfully Williams doesn’t hide his feelings for pre-Tournament tournaments.

That’s why we love conference tournament time so much. Everyone’s motivated for the Big Dance; that’s not the case for conference tournaments.

Here’s a look at a few other big-name coaches and how they fare in conference tournaments.


Tom Izzo, Michigan State

You think Big Ten basketball and Michigan State is the first program that comes to mind. The Spartans have made it to the Final Four six times since 1999 and, if they beat Ohio State Sunday, will have seven Big Ten championships since 1998.

Izzo is a master motivator and always gets the most out of his teams, but not in the Big Ten tournament. MSU hasn’t won one since 2000 and is 8-11 ATS with four one-and-dones since.


Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

Coach K is OK with conference tourneys. The Blue Devils have won 10 of the last 13 ACC tournaments. Duke is 19-19 ATS in ACC tourney games since 1998 but went 3-0 last year.

John Calipari, Kentucky

Dating back to his days at Memphis, Calipari has won six straight conference tournaments. Sure, only two of those came at Kentucky and the competition in C-USA isn’t the same, but at least we can tell Coach Cal isn’t holding anything back for conference tournaments.


Here are a few numbers to remember courtesy of Covers Expert Marc Lawrence:

Roy Williams, at UNC, is 7-0 SU and ATS in ACC conference tourney games versus .500 or worse opponents, and 0-6 SU and ATS versus .800 or greater foes.

More diddies from Lawrence’s DB (since 1990):

Jim Boeheim 27-18 SU and ATS / 12-5 ATS L17 / 13-2 ATS as dog of 6 or less
John Calipari 39-7 SU and 28-18 ATS / 20-5 SU and 19-6 ATS vs. opponents with .600 or better winning percentage
Billy Donovan 20-12 SU and 17-13-2 ATS / 1-5 ATS as dog
Bob Huggins 34-11 SU and 23-21-1 ATS / 0-5 ATS vs. No. 11 or lower seed
Tom Izzo 15-12 SU and 12-15 ATS / 1-5 ATS as double-digit fave
Rick Pitino 31-8 SU and 23-15-1 ATS / 5-0 ATS as favorite larger than 16
Bill Self 22-5 SU and 13-14 ATS / 4-8 ATS L12 / 4-0 SU and ATS vs .800 or better opponents

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33180 Followers:38
03/05/2012 05:42 PM


Monday, March 5

College funds: Monday's best NCAAB bets

Miami RedHawks at Toledo Rockets (-2, 127.5)

Toledo gets to play at home in the first round of the MAC tournament, and the Rockets enter this 7 vs. 10 matchup on a high note.

In Saturday’s 76-51 win over Eastern Michigan, Rian Pearson had 27 points and 11 rebounds, his eighth double-double this season. Curtis Dennis added a career-high 21 points.

Toledo has gone 6-2 SU and ATS in its last eight games, and is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 home games.

In the earlier meeting between these teams, the Rockets won 63-61 on Jan. 25. They’re playing better ball now. Miami, meanwhile, has dropped three straight.

Pick: Rockets

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary’s Gaels (1.5, 133.5)

Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos torched the Gaels for 27 points when they met in Spokane on Feb. 9, a 14-point Bulldogs win.

On Saturday, Pangos poured in 30 points as Gonzaga dismantled BYU. Now it's up to the Gaels to stop him in the WCC championship game in Vegas.

"Every way you can get a shot, he knows how to get it," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "But he's more than that. He's a good penetrator. I think he's become the head of the monster up there. He's what makes them go."

The Bulldogs won’t even have defensive stopper Stephen Holt to try to defend Pangos. He is rehabbing an injured knee.

Gonzaga is 4-0 ATS in its last four neutral-site games.

Pick: Bulldogs

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