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BIG AL's 1st ROUND GAME OF THE YEAR
(5-1 Last 6 Years)
At 12:40 pm, on Friday, our 1st Round Game of the Year is on the Wisconsin Badgers minus the points over Ole Miss. Wisconsin comes into this game off a 50-43 loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship game, but were very strong in the two games before that, with upset wins over Michigan and Indiana to reach the Finals. Likewiss, the Ole Miss Rebels were impressive last weekend in winning the SEC, and finished it off with a 66-63 win over Florida, as an 11.5-point underdog. But one of the things I love to do is fade teams off big upset wins in their conference tourneys. And especially when they're matched up against foes off a big loss to end their season. Indeed, since 1991, teams which won their NCAA Tourney as an underdog of 5+ points are a dismal 18% ATS in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tourney when matched up against an opponent off a loss by 7 or more points. Take Wisconsin
Free College Basketball Prediction from Doc's Sports
#824 Take Duke over Albany (Friday 12:15 pm CBS)
The Blue Devils were knocked off in the Round of 64 last season, and, thus, you can be sure that they will not take this game lightly on Friday. To be honest, this is just a completely different team with Ryan Kelly as they have only lost one time this season when he plays. Duke would have covered today's posted number in three of the last four years, winning those games by 42, 29, & 24 points, respectively. The way mid-majors beat high seeds is by shooting it well from the three-point line, and I just do not believe that the Great Danes have that ability since Duke has outstanding guards. Albany scores just over 64 points per game, and that is 250th in the country. Expect Duke to jump on them early and then cruise to a victory.
Free College Basketball Prediction From Vegas Sports Informer
Take #835 Over 145.0 Iona at Ohio State (7 p.m., Friday, March 22)
This play is all on the Iona Gaels offense as the Gaels are averaging over 80 points per game, and if Ohio State can't slow down the Gaels this game goes easily over, and the Buckeyes are possibly on upset alert. Ohio State's offense can score with the best as long as they are not playing Wisconsin. The Buckeyes again will probably have to score with the best, and I don't see them stopping the Gaels offense on Friday. This game will be an offensive game, and we cash our free play on the small school out of the Metro. Look for a lot of points here.
Duke has to be concerned after losing first ACC tourney game last week to Maryland, only second time in last 11 years they lost first ACC tourney game- they went 8-8 in ACC the other year (’07) and got upset by VCU 79-77 (-7) in a 6-11 first round game, but their concern would be with Saturday’s game, not this one- Albany finished 5th in America East, the #22 league this season. Great Danes lost by 22 at Ohio State, won at Washington, and otherwise played a dismal schedule (#315 non-league/#295 overall), getting lucky they had two home games in league tourney, where they upset top seed Stony Brook after losing to them by 16-5 during season. Blue Devils lost as 2-seed to Lehigh LY; they’re 4-6 vs spread in first round games last 10 years. Over last six years, #2 seeds are 13-11 vs spread in this round. Duke beat Binghamton of America East 86-62 (-22) in this round in ’09.
Wisconsin won its last six first round games; since 2002, they’re 6-2-1 vs spread as a first round favorite. Badgers split pair of games with SEC teams this year, losing 74-56 at Florida Nov 14, then beating Arkansas 77-70 on neutral floor 10 days later- their March 3 home loss to Purdue was only one of their 11 losses that wasn’t to top 30 team. Ole Miss won last five games after a 4-6 skid had them headed to NIT; they came back from down double digits twice in SEC tourney behind two sturdy senior big men and fiery guard Henderson, who has big mouth and the game to back it up. Ole Miss is #7 in country at protecting ball- they played #333 non-league schedule, and have otherwise ordinary resume. Over last 5+ years, underdogs are 12-8 vs spread in 5-12 games, but hard to buck tourney-tested Badgers with Ole Miss squad not used to being here. both teams played Sunday, so quick turnaround not an issue.
Temple is 1-4 in last five first round games; they're 0-3 as underdog in tourney under Dunphy; Owls have senior guard Wyatt who will take a ton of shots- they go how he goes. NC State holds opponents to 29.9% from behind arc (#19 in country); since 1989, they're 7-1 in first round, winning last four by 12-6-9-14 points. Underdogs are 20-6 vs spread in 8-9 games last 6+ years. Wolfpack was overrated in fall, then ripped as disappointment by media that overrated them; State is 20-2 this season vs teams ranked outside top 50. Temple won seven of last eight games overall- they lost to Duke by 23, in only game vs ACC foe. Owls take a lot of 3's; Wyatt/Randall combined to shoot 32% from arc on 403 tries, not very good. State beat UMass by 18, St Bonaventure by 19 in its two games vs A-16 teams this season.
Pacific won Big West title as #2 seed last week, giving retiring Thomason going away present, as he retires after 25 years coaching his alma mater. Tigers are in NCAAs for first time since '06; they won last seven games overall, are 1-3 vs top 60 teams, losing by 20-18-28 points, with upset of St Mary's Nov 23. Big West teams are 0-7 in first round last seven years (2-5 vs spread), with five losses by 12+ points; Pacific was last Big West team to win in tourney, beating Providence in 8-9 game in '05. Miami won ACC title for first time last week, after going 2-3 in last five regular season games; they figure to have letdown here, looking ahead to facing Illinois-Colorado winner Sunday. Three of Miami's six losses are against teams ranked outside top 100; sometimes they play to level of opponent, then pull game out late. Both sides are top 10 in experience.
Creighton makes 42.1% (#1) behind arc, 56.4% (#2) inside arc, one of best offensive teams in country; Bluejays' 58-57 first round win (+1.5) over Alabama LY was their first in tournament since '02. Creighton split six games vs top 50 teams; they started year 17-1, won last five games, but went 5-6 in ugly stretch in between. Over last four years, underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in 7-10 games. Cincinnati is 2-0 in first round games under Cronin; favorites are 4-1 vs spread in his tourney games. Bearcats started season 12-0, beating Oregon/Iowa State/Xavier on neutral floors, but stumbled to 4-7 finish- they scored 55 or less points in seven of last eight losses. Cincy is strong defensive team, with #9 eFG% in country; they hold teams to 30% from arc, block 16% of opponents' shots, so is fascinating to see whether Creighton can get McDermott going inside.
LaSalle won first tourney game since 1990 Wednesday, making 11-21 on arc for an eFG% of 74.5%; they use four guards, spread court, expect its guards to make plays. Explorers are 2-2 vs top 50 teams; Villanova and VCU are best two they had beaten before Boise State win. Over last six years, #4 seeds are 14-10 vs spread in this round. Kansas State is 20-5 in its last 25 games, but they were 0-3 vs Kansas, 20-2 vs everyone else in that stretch; Weber took Frank Martin's players and ran with it- they won 65-62 at George Washington, their only game vs 1-16 foe. LaSalle scored 54-58 points in last two games, had to be thrilled just to get into play-in game, now they've got chance to duplicate VCU's run of couple years ago. Kansas City site has to favor K-State, which plays conference tourney here; Wildcats are 11-2 out of conference, with neutral court win over Florida, losses to Florida and Michigan.
James Madison is ranked lower than every team in Big Dozen, Penn St. included; Indiana is 8-0 vs teams ranked outside top 170, with all eight wins by 31+ points. JMU got off to 1-5 start this year, losing to UCLA by 30, North Dakota State by 22, but they've now won five games in a row but played 26 games in a row vs teams ranked outside top 140. #3 Indiana split its last six games, losing to Wisconsin for 12th straight time in Big Dozen tourney- worst team Hoosiers lost to this season is #53 Butler, a local rival. Over last 5+ years, #1 seeds are 14-8 vs spread in first round games. JMU scored lot in transition vs a lousy LIU defense, won't have that luxury against Hoosiers, whose 44.0 eFG% is #18 in country. Indiana was in tourney LY for first time in five years; they won last two first round games by 13 points each.
Illinois got off to 12-0 start, with 94-64 win over USC its only game vs Pac-12 opponent; they lost 8 of 11 after that, then won five in row, but finished on 2-4 skid. Illini is 10-1 in last 11 first round games, under few coaches, with only loss as 5-seed vs Western Kentucky in '09. Over last four years, underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in 7-10 games. Young Colorado has only one senior in rotation (#311 in experience); they've won four of last six road/neutral games, are 7-4 vs top 50 teams. Buffaloes won first round game LY, upsetting UNLV; they hold teams to 32.3% behind arc, in top-third in country. Illini gets 33.6% of its points behind arc, only make 32.3% of 3's, which is why they've had droughts this year. Buffs played #55 non-league schedule, Illinois #139.
Second year in row Georgetown gets A-Sun champ in first round; A-Sun teams are 0-9 in tourney, 0-3 vs spread last three years; Florida Gulf Coast is in its sixth year of D-I ball; they went 6-5 against the #40 non-league schedule this year, with 63-51 win over Miami Nov 13, in game Durand Scott missed for 'canes. Eagles lost at Duke by 21, at VCU by 23, Iowa State by 11, but they've won 12 of last 14 games, are #48 in forcing turnovers (22.4% of time). Other than Miami, best team FGCU beat is #118 Mercer (2 of 3). Since 1990, Georgetown is 5-4 vs spread in first round, but they lost two of last three years, as 3/6 seeds. Hoyas have #6 eFG% defense in country (42.8%); other than Porter, it is a young team- when he got in foul trouble at USF, Hoyas got upset. Over last six years, #2 seeds are 13-11 vs spread in this round.
Since 1985, MAAC teams are 3-30 in non-play-in tourney games, losing last four by 8-22-6-19 points; '09 Siena was last MAAC team to win a tourney game, beating Ohio State in double OT, now Buckeyes face an Iona team that has Arizona transfer Jones at guard (23 ppg). Gaels went 6-6 vs #51 non-league schedule, 2-2 vs top 100 teams, losing at LaSalle by 14, St Joe's by 5. Iona went 1-6 in one stretch, with all six losses by 3 or less points, or in OT. Ohio State won last eight games, taking title in Big Dozen tourney; they're 5-1 in first round under Matta, covering last two years in wins by 29-19 points. Buckeyes beat Loyola in first round LY, so this is third time in last five years they've played MAAC team in first round. Iona plays fast, is chaotic and dangerous. Over last six years, #2 seeds are 13-11 vs spread in this round.
Villanova's #9 seed said they made tourney easily; I'm not sure why, but they do lead country in getting to foul line, getting 28.1% of points from charity stripe. Wildcats are young (#275 in experience), don't sub much (#236 in bench minutes); they're 4-6 vs top 50 teams, with all four wins at home. North Carolina won eight of last nine games, losing to Miami in ACC tourney finals; they've won last ten first round games, last losing in first round in '99 to Weber State, but this is first time since '04 they're lower than a 3-seed. Tar Heels are 1-7 vs top 30 teams, 23-3 vs all other teams; Villanova is #45. Over last 6+ years, underdogs covered 20 of 26 8-9 games. UNC is #16 at not fouling so will be interesting to see if the young Wildcats can get points from line. Carolina scored 76+ points in seven of its last eight games.
Northwestern State last made tourney in '06, when they upset Iowa by point in 3-14 game (+7.5), but this Florida team is better than that Iowa club was. Demons lost by 7 at LSU, 13 at Texas A&M, 4 at Oklahoma, 18 at Arkansas; they've won 13 of last 15 games, are deep (#6 in nation in bench minutes) and lead country in scoring. Southland teams are 0-6 in non-play-in games since then (2-4 vs spread) losing by 13-24-15-9-29-12 points. Florida won/covered four of last five first round games, with only loss as 10-seed in 2010. Florida is just 5-4 in last nine games; they beat SE Louisiana of Southland 82-43 in December. Gators score well in metrics, but are 0-6 in single digit games, which means all 26 of its wins are by 10+ points. #3 seeds are 7-4 vs spread last 2+ years, have been upset only twice in 6+ years since Northwestern St beat the Hawkeyes.
Lon Kruger went 1-8 in his last nine games vs San Diego State when he was at UNLV; Oklahoma is in tournament for first time since '09- they are 1-5 in last six road/neutral games, lost three of last five games overall, with ugly loss at TCU- four of its last six losses are by 3 or less points, or in OT. San Diego State is 8-8 in its last 16 games after a 14-2 start, 4-5 in last nine; they're 19-3 vs teams ranked outside top 50, but are 1-2 in first round games last three years, with only win as #2 seed two years ago. Sooners are 5-7 vs top 40 teams. 10 of last 11 Oklahoma tilts went over total; four of last five Aztec games stayed under. Mountain West teams are 1-3 already in tournament, with Colorado State only winner; Over last four years, underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in 7-10 games.
Iowa State is #13 experience team in country, but lot of experience was in other places; four of its five seniors are transfers. Cyclones are 3-2 in last five road/neutral games, after struggling on foreign soil prior to that. ISU beat UConn of Big East in first round LY; they're #8 in offensive efficiency this year. Notre Dame is #305 in bench minutes; they're 5-4 in last nine games since winning three OT games in 12 days, but none of those nine were decided by less than 8 points. ND had a week to prep after losing to Louisville in tourney last week. Irish is 2-3 in first round since 2007, winning as 2-5 seeds, losing as 6-6-7's- they were favored in all five of those games. Iowa State gets 43.9% of its shots outside arc, #8 in US. Over last four years, underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in 7-10 games.
Over last two years, Western Kentucky is 17-19 in regular season games in Sun Belt, 8-0 in Sun Belt tournament, which is why they're #16 seed. Sun Belt clubs are 2-9 in this round last 11 years- Hilltoppers got both wins, in '09/'09, back when they were actually best team in league. WKU is 2-5 vs #78 non-league schedule, losing to VCU by by 32, Louisville by 23, Iowa by 8, Murray State by 5. Kansas blocks 17.9% of its foes' shots as Withey dominates paint; their eFG% defense is #1 in country (41.5%). Jayhawks won last six first round games (3-3 vs spread) after losing to Bucknell/Bradley in '05/'06, winning by 40-24-16-19 last four times they were a #1 seed. Of North Carolina wins opener of twinbill, Kansas better not look past Hilltoppers to Sunday mathcup with their old coach, UNC mentor Roy Williams.
UCLA lost its best player (Adams) for season last week, then went out and got beat by Oregon in Pac-12 final, basically playing six guys (7th kid played four minutes). Bruins are weird team, going 4-1 vs teams in top 30 (only loss by 8 to Georgetown)- they're 3-0 vs Arizona, the best team they've played this season, but they're #315 in experience, signal of how erratic they've been. Minnesota lost its last three games, dropping games at Nebraska/at Purdue and then in last minute to Illinois last week in Big Dozen tourney, when they went braindead in last minute and lost by a hoop. UCLA won its last five first round games, but last two wins were by total of three points. Since start of LY's tournament, favorites are now 5-2 vs spread in last seven 6-11 games. Not lot to choose from.
The Wildcats look to take advantage of a LaSalle team that has a 1-6 ATS record in its last 7 games against Big 12 opponents. Kansas State is the pick (-5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Wildcats favored by 7 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Kansas State (-5 1/2). Here are all of today's games.
FRIDAY, MARCH 22
Time Posted: 6:00 a.m. EST
Game 823-824: Albany vs. Duke (12:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Albany 55.486; Duke 71.305
Dunkel Line: Duke by 16; 137
Vegas Line: Duke by 18 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: Albany (+18 1/2); Over
Game 825-826: Cincinnati vs. Creighton (2:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati 63.585; Creighton 68.632
Dunkel Line: Creighton by 5; 124
Vegas Line: Creighton by 3 1/2; 128 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Creighton (-3 1/2); Under
Game 827-828: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown (6:50 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida Gulf Coast 57.126; Georgetown 72.604
Dunkel Line: Georgetown by 15 1/2; 127
Vegas Line: Georgetown by 13 1/2; 123 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Georgetown (-13 1/2); Over
Game 829-830: Oklahoma vs. San Diego State (9:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma 63.829; San Diego 68.049
Dunkel Line: San Diego State by 4; 130
Vegas Line: San Diego State by 2 1/2; 133 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego State (-2 1/2); Under
Game 831-832: James Madison vs. Indiana (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: James Madison 56.789; Indiana 72.085
Dunkel Line: Indiana by 15 1/2; 140
Vegas Line: Indiana by 21 1/2; 136
Dunkel Pick: James Madison (+21 1/2); Over
Game 833-834: Temple vs. NC State (1:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Temple 63.489; NC State 69.306
Dunkel Line: NC State by 6; 145
Vegas Line: NC State by 4; 150
Dunkel Pick: NC State (-4 ); Under
Game 835-836: Iona vs. Ohio State (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Iona 57.783; Ohio State 75.827
Dunkel Line: Ohio State by 18; 141
Vegas Line: Ohio State by 14; 145
Dunkel Pick: Ohio State (-14); Under
Game 837-838: Iowa State vs. Notre Dame (9:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Iowa State 68.505; Notre Dame 67.168
Dunkel Line: Iowa State by 1 1/2; 144
Vegas Line: Notre Dame by 1; 139 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Iowa State (+1); Over
Game 839-840: Western Kentucky vs. Kansas (9:50 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Western Kentucky 52.571; Kansas 74.850
Dunkel Line: Kansas by 22 1/2; 127
Vegas Line: Kansas by 20 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: Kansas (-20 1/2); Under
Game 841-842: Villanova vs. North Carolina (7:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Villanova 67.221; North Carolina 69.310
Dunkel Line: North Carolina by 2; 148
Vegas Line: North Carolina by 4 1/2; 143 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Villanova (+4 1/2); Over
Game 843-844: Mississippi vs. Wisconsin (12:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Mississippi 68.406; Wisconsin 72.188
Dunkel Line: Wisconsin by 4; 133
Vegas Line: Wisconsin by 6 1/2; 128 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Mississippi (+6 1/2); Over
Game 845-846: LaSalle vs. Kansas State (3:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LaSalle 62.722; Kansas State 70.240
Dunkel Line: Kansas State by 7 1/2; 128
Vegas Line: Kansas State by 5 1/2; 132 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas State (-5 1/2); Under
Game 847-848: Northwestern State vs. Florida (7:27 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Northwestern State 53.615; Florida 75.892
Dunkel Line: Florida by 22 1/2; 137
Vegas Line: Florida by 20; 141 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-20); Under
Game 849-850: Minnesota at UCLA (9:57 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 65.063; UCLA 65.093
Dunkel Line: Even; 138
Vegas Line: Minnesota by 3; 134 1/2
Dunkel Pick: UCLA (+3); Over
Game 851-852: Pacific vs. Miami (FL) (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pacific 57.316; Miami (FL) 72.414
Dunkel Line: Miami (FL) by 15; 121
Vegas Line: Miami (FL) by 13; 125 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (FL) (-13); Under
Game 853-854: Colorado vs. Illinois (4:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado 65.198; Illinois 64.385
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 133
Vegas Line: Illinois by 1 1/2; 127
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+1 1/2); Over
Game 855-856: Arizona State at Baylor (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona State 62.373; Baylor 74.672
Dunkel Line: Baylor by 12 1/2; 142
Vegas Line: Baylor by 9; 146
Dunkel Pick: Baylor (-9); Under
Game 857-858: Stony Brook at Iowa (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Stony Brook 62.193; Iowa 69.537
Dunkel Line: Iowa by 7 1/2; 137
Vegas Line: Iowa by 8 1/2; 132
Dunkel Pick: Stony Brook (+8 1/2); Over