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College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

College Knowledge

Day games
Valparaiso is most experienced team in country, with two juniors and six seniors in rotation; Crusaders won last six games and 16 of last 18, but lost by hoop at Nebraska, one of worst teams in Big Dozen. Michigan State is 3-4 in last seven games, with all four losses to teams in top 15; they beat Loyola by 12, in only game vs Horizon foe. Spartans played toughest schedule in country; since 2000, Izzo is 3-2 as double digit favorite in this round, but covered just one of last four first round games. Last six years, #3 seeds are 16-8 against spread in this round; first round favorites of between 10-20 points are 27-22 vs spread.

Since 2001, Patriot League teams are 9-3 vs spread in this round, 2-1 if a single digit underdog; LY, Lehigh upset Duke in 2-15 game. Bucknell has a good resume, beating Purdue-New Mexico State-Kent State-LaSalle, losing by hoop at Missouri- this is highest seed for Patriot squad since Bucknell (+4) upset Arkansas 59-55 in an '09 8-9 game. Last four years, dogs are 11-5 vs spread in 6-11 games; since '09, first round underdogs of 5 or less points are 38-19 vs spread. Butler is 10-6 last 16 games after a 16-2 start; Stevens is master when given prep time- Butler was 3-1 as a favorite in two years they went to Finals (dog in six of ten wins).

Over last six years, underdogs are 18-6 vs spread in 8-9 games; since '99, underdogs of 4+ points are 5-2 in 8-9 games. Since '89, dogs are 16-8 SU in the 8-9 game in West region. Pitt missed tourney LY, then played the #339 non-league schedule this year; Dixon is 7-1 in first round tilts (5-3 vs spread), but all seven wins were as 5-seed or higher, loss as 9-seed to Pacific in '05. Wichita split its last six games, losing to Creighton twice; they lost to VCU in 5-12 game LY, their first tourney under Marshall. This figures to be a physical, low-scoring game. First round underdogs of 5 or less points are 38-19 against the spread.

Saint Louis played in Brooklyn last weekend, winning final on Sunday, now has early Thursday game in San Jose, not easiest travel schedule for veteran team that is fashionable pick as Final Foul sleeper. Billikens had rough 3-3 start, but are on 15-1 run now- they've got four juniors, three seniors in rotation, are in top 20 in country at getting to foul line, which could hurt if game isn't called tight. #4 seed in Midwest got upset four of last five years; other #4's are 9-6 vs spread (13-2 SU) during that time. New Mexico State has 7-5 freshman center; they've won 18 of 20 after a 6-8 start, are #3 team in country getting to line, but their best assist guy (Watson) has been injured. Aggies were in Vegas last week; less travel.

Davidson is very well-coached; they made run to Elite 8 in ’08 with Steph Curry, but those are SoCon’s only tournament wins since ’97. Since ’02, Wildcats are 1-4 in first round, losing by 5-8-12-7 points (lost 69-62 (+7) to Louisville LY). Marquette is 4-1 in last five first round games, winning last two years by 11-20 points (won 88-68 (-6) as 3-seed LY). Wildcats won last 17 games; they went 6-6 vs #16 non-conference schedule; best teams they beat were #83 Richmond, #85 Vandy. Marquette won six of last eight games, but lost in first Big East tourney game. First-round underdogs of 5 or less points are 38-19 vs spread, but over last 14 years, #3’s are 53-3 SU in this round.

Lot of pressure on Memphis coach Pastner, who went 19-0 in C-USA but has yet to win NCAA game, losing by 2-7 points last two years as replacement for Calipari, who was 12-3 in NCAAs three years prior to that. Tigers lost non-league game 64-62 at Xavier Feb 26, only loss since Dec 15 at home to Louisville. Memphis plays at #28 tempo; they'll try to wear down St Mary's with their better athletes. St Mary's played three starters 35+ minutes in methodical win Tuesday over an athletic Middle Tennessee team; Gaels are 24-4 in last 28 games, losing all three games with Gonzaga, by 5-17-14 points. Over last four years, underdogs are 11-5 vs spread in 6-11 games. St Mary's is 3-4 in NCAA games under Bennett, upsetting #2 Villanova on short prep time after beating #7 Richmond two days earlier, scenario similar to this one.

This is first time in five years the SWAC rep hasn’t gone to play-in game; they’re 2-4 vs spread in last six regular first-round games, losing last two by 43-41 points. Southern won 22 of last 26 games after its 1-6 start, losing to Iowa State by 23, Nebraska by 11, Wyoming by 7- they won at Texas A&M. Jaguars have #2 eFG% in country (41.6%) but no one in SWAC can shoot. From 2004-6, Gonzaga was #2-3-3 seed, won first round games by 27-10-4 points; this is its first #1 seed. Bulldogs are 11-0 vs teams ranked outside top 150, with 10 of 11 wins by 16+ points; they could be looking ahead to second round, vs Pitt/Wichita winner. Over last five years, #1’s are 13-7 vs spread in this round.

Oregon was 17-2 when PG Artis hurt his foot; they went 5-4 while he was out, are 4-2 since he came back, but 14 minutes he played in Pac-12 title game, and totals of 7-24 from floor, 2-11 inside arc since he came back indicate he isn’t close to 100%. Oklahoma State is in NCAAs for first time in three years, third time in seven years since Eddie Sutton retired; they won 12 of last 15 games, have one of two best freshmen in country in Smart (4-19 from arc in their last three losses, 3.4 3’s/game (13-41) in their last 12 wins). Last five years, underdogs are 12-8 vs spread in 5-12 games; since 1994, dogs are 15-4 vs spread in 5-12 Midwest game. Ducks took advantage of Jordan Adams’ injury to beat UCLA Saturday; 12-seed says they might be in NIT had they lost that game.

Night games
Since 1993, Louisville is 3-11-1 vs spread in first round games, losing in first round two of last three years; only other time they were a #1 seed, Cardinals (-20.5) beat Morehead State by 20. North Carolina A&T used four starters 31+ minutes in 73-72 play-in win Tuesday; Aggies lost at Cincinnati 93-39 in its only game against a Big East team. A&T is in serious trouble vs Louisville; they turn it over 22.5% of time, bad news vs Cardinal club that forces turnovers 27.6% of time, #2 in US. #1 seeds are 13-7 vs spread in this round, over last five years. Louisville is 3-0 vs teams ranked outside top 200 this season, winning by 26-41-52 points; they had 44-10 run in second half vs Syracuse, after being down 15 early in second half. Question is, will they let down after winning conference tournament, and looking ahead to winner of Missouri-Colorado State?

South Dakota State is solid offensive team that won at New Mexico, lost by 3 at Alabama, but also lost at Hofstra/Bakersfield. Jackrabbits make 39.4% behind arc, are #26 in eFG% (53.5%) but also lost by 24 at Minnesota, in their only game vs Big Dozen team. State doesn’t sub much, but is #43 experience team in country, while Michigan is #338. Wolverines (two juniors, no seniors in rotation) went 6-6 in last 12 games, after starting season 20-1; six of its seven losses came vs top 10 teams. Michigan is 2-1 in first round under Beilein, winning by 3-30, with dog covering all three games- they lost as 4-seed to Ohio LY. Last seven years, #4 seeds are 17-11 vs spread in this round. Summit League teams are 0-5 last five years, 2-3 vs spread, losing by 19-10-23-4-8 points, all as 13-14 seeds. Playing in Auburn Hills can’t hurt Michigan.

Belmont is in NCAAs for 6th time since 2006; they’re 0-5 SU, 1-4 vs spread, losing by 34-25-1-14-15 points, with only cover 71-70 (+20) loss to Duke in 2-15 game five years ago- they lost by 14-15 points last two years. Bruins won at Stanford, but lost to VCU by 10, Kansas by 29. Belmont’s 56.8% eFG% is #2 in country; they make 37.6% behind arc, 57.1% inside arc (#1 in country). Since 1985, Arizona is 3-7 SU in first round of NCAAs when lower than a 4-seed; they’re 5-5 in last 10 games after a 20-2 start. First round underdogs of 5 or less points are 38-19 vs spread; over last four years, underdogs are 11-5 vs spread in 6-11 games. Game is in altitude in Salt Lake City; Belmont ranks #284 in bench minutes; will longer TV timeouts save them from getting worn down?

UNLV (+1.5) won 76-75 at Cal Dec 9; Thomas put back airball for win at buzzer, in game Birch didn't play and Moser got hurt in, playing five minutes. Now Rebels go back to NoCal (San Jose) for semi-road game vs Bears, who lost last two games after winning previous seven. Solomon was 7-13 from floor in first game; doubt he'll do as well with defensive ace Birch in paint. Over last five years, dogs are 12-8 vs spread in 5-12 games; underdogs of 5 or less points are 38-19 vs spread. UNLV lost its last three first round games (favored in all three), so certain amount of pressure on Coach Rice, who doesn't have true PG on this roster. Cal lost three of its last four first round games, losing play-in game LY to South Florida. Bears hardly sub; they get 62% of points on 2-pointers (#5 in country), so Rebels' edge inside should be the difference.

Missouri PG Pressey is loose cannon, not a dependable PG, turning ball over 25.5% of time; Tigers are 8-6 in last 14 games, with all six losses by 3 or less points, or in OT- one of losses was on this floor in OT Feb 23. Colorado State starts five seniors, but PG Greene tweaked ankle at end of UNLV game Friday, is a ? here. Rams are #308 in bench minutes, so they need Green to be healthy, especially vs Missouri team that will be anxious to atone for upset loss in a 2-15 game LY. Colorado State is top rebounding team in country (#2 on offensive, #1 on defensive boards); Iverson-Oraihki matchup will be fun. Over last six years, underdogs are 18-6 vs spread in 8-9 games; over last 13 years, dogs are 11-2 vs spread in Midwest 8-9 game in. Winner of game gets Louisville Saturday, when Lexington locals will pull for them and against the Cardinals.

Akron PG Abreu got arrested/suspended two weeks ago; Zips won the MAC tourney without him, thanks to double bye, but now face a VCU team that forces turnovers 28.7% of time, #1 in country. Important for VCU to make 3's (35.2% from arc) to negate 7-foot Marshall, defensive force for Zips- two teams Akron played without Abreu, Kent/Ohio, are not good shooting teams. Rams beat Akron 70-53 in '10 Bracket Buster game, then won by point in OT at Akron in return game LY. Since 2006, first round favorites of between 5-10 points are 28-23 vs spread. Dogs are 10-6 vs spread in 5-12 games last four years. VCU won 10 of last 13 games, with only losses to Saint Louis/Temple, teams with outstanding guards. Atlantic 16 is #8 conference this year, MAC is #15. Since 2004, MAC teams are 1-7 in first round games, covering four of last five.

New Mexico is underrated as #3 seed, winning nine of last 10, beating UNLV on its home floor in MWC title game. Key here is to defend the 3-ball; Harvard is #8, making 40.8% behind arc. Crimson didn't exactly dominate Ivy League, losing three games; since 1999, Ivy League teams are 1-13 in first round games, 3-11 vs spread; Harvard (+6.5) lost 79-70 to Vandy in LY's tourney, but two guys from LY that were supposed to return didn't for off-court reasons, so they're #286 in experience, #343 in bench minutes, which will hurt in Salt Lake altitude. Crimson lost its last two road games; they're #2 in country at getting to foul line- Lobos are #8 team in country at not fouling- their two big fellas inside should enjoy playing vs Ivy League bigs after banging with more athletic Mountain West bigs all winter.

Long road trip for Syracuse after playing four games in four days in New York last week; they've won last four first round games, by 15-23-17-7 points. Montana is 93-34 last four years, so they've got guys who are used to winning, but without 6-7 inside star Ward, would have to shoot high percentage of 3's (37.8% for year) against team thats more athletic across board. Over last six years, #4 seeds are 14-10 vs spread in this round; last time #4 seed in East got beat was 1991, though six other #4's have lost in last five years. Cal's fans will be there too; their coach was Montana's coach long time ago (he coached Griz coach Tinkle for year), so if this game stayed close, expect the crowd to turn on eastern favorite and pull for underdog Griz, but Big Sky teams are 1-13 in first round last 14 years, losing last six years (1-5 vs spread) by 28-24-18-5-18-24.

Other tournaments
Very difficult to prep for Princeton offense in a day, but Maryland beat Northwestern by 20 back in December, so they've worked on it before. Long travel for Denver (18-2 in last 20 games)- they were 15-29 at the foul line in four-point win over Ohio Tuesday.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: California vs. UNLV
By Otto Sports

NCAA Tournament - Midwest Region
Thursday, 4:25 pm PT, at San Jose, Calif. 
No. 12 California vs. No. 5 UNLV
CRIS Opener: UNLV -2.5 O.U 132
CRIS Current: UNLV -2.5 O/U 131
Recommendation: California

There are a couple oddities surrounding this game that I certainly wouldn’t expect to see very often in the “second” round of the NCAA Tournament. Firstly this is a non-conference rematch of a regular season game between these two squads and secondly it’s a virtual home game for a No. 12 seed. In yet another strange twist Cal was originally drawn as a No. 11 seed only to be moved down due to logistical reasons according to the selection committee! The Golden Bears were defeated at home in the first meeting on a last second tip-in by UNLV; this despite the fact that the Rebel had lost their best play at the time – Mike Moser – to a dislocated elbow. Is revenge in the air or can UNLV muster that same strength and win in what figures to be a hostile environment?

Before we get to the breakdown I want to convey that I’m of the belief that short term momentum, positive or negative, matters not when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. Players on both teams have worked the entire year to get this opportunity and they want to show up with their best effort whether they lost or won their last few games during the regular season and/or conference tournament. Anyone writing off Cal in this contest because of recent losses to Stanford and Utah or anyone writing off UNLV because of losses to Fresno and New Mexico is foolish. These are two teams that over the course of the year have proven they deserve to be here; don’t focus solely on one or two games or the big picture gets lost.

When we examine these two teams from a big picture perspective I think we see two fairly evenly matched sides. For my money the Mountain West is a tad overrated so I’d give Cal a slight bump in strength of schedule for conference play and I think Cal challenged itself out of conference a little more than the Rebels. Strictly by the numbers however we see almost identical profiles; two teams that were above average both offensively and defensively but struggled at times with execution and shot selection.

If you watched either of these teams this year you’ll have undoubtedly have seen some mind boggling decision making. For UNLV I think that comes down to some poor coaching and an overall youthful roster where three of their top four players (Bennett, Dejean-Jones and Reinhardt) are all underclassmen. For Cal I think that comes down to its two best players (Crabbe and Cobbs) thinking they had to carry the burden of scoring alone. Still at any point during this game one of the aforementioned players is more than capable of single handedly carrying his team. And yes, we’ve seen it already whether that was Bennet and Dejean-Jones combining for 47 points in the first meeting between these schools or Crabbe going off for more than 30 on his own in a win at Arizona. These are teams that live and die by the stars’ collective play which should make for a wild game.

In the end I give a slight edge to Cal. They have shown an ability to win away from home, securing a season sweep over the Oregon schools, beating Arizona and playing Arizona State to the wire. They also went 3-0 in neutral site games earlier in the season included a victory over a very good Denver team at Magness Arena. The Golden Bears have an experience edge including a trip to the NCAA Tournament last year so there will be no surprises in what to expect. UNLV on the other hand, while deeper as a team, has to travel to a virtual away site and they’ve struggled on the highway all year. The Rebels lost all but one key conference road game and lost against the spread in their two key non-conference road tests against North Carolina and this very same Cal team.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

Thursday's Early Action
By David Schwab

The 2013 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament officially got underway this past Tuesday from Dayton with two games in the First Four Round, but starting this Thursday afternoon things really heat up with the first eight games in the Round of 64. To help get you ready for all the action the following is a brief betting preview of all eight games with lines provided by 5Dimes.

Midwest Regional – The Palace, Detroit

No. 14 Valparaiso Crusaders (26-7) vs. No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (25-8)

Pointspread: Michigan State -10½
Total: 126½

The Crusaders earned its spot in the Midwest Region by winning the Horizon League Tournament after already claiming the regular season title. They went 9-1 straight-up in their last 10 games but were just 5-4-1 against the spread. The total stayed UNDER in four of their last five games. Valpo is averaging 71.7 points a game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field.
Michigan State bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament with a 61-58 loss to Ohio State as a 1 ½-point underdog. It had won six of its previous nine games while going 4-4-1 ATS. The Spartans are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a SU loss. Look for Keith Appling and Gary Harris to lead the way after combining for an average of 26.5 points a game this season.

East Regional – Rupp Arena, Lexington

No. 11 Bucknell Bison (28-5) vs. No. 6 Butler Bulldogs (26-8)

Pointspread: Butler 3½
Total: 122

Bucknell claimed the Patriot League title to punch its ticket to the Big Dance. It comes into this matchup riding a seven-game winning streak but it has failed to cover in its last three games with a posted line. The Bison are averaging 67.3 points while holding their opponents to just 57.7 points a game.

The Bulldogs are back in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large entry after posting an 11-5 SU record in their first season in the Atlantic 10. They went just 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS in their last seven games and the total has stayed UNDER in four of their last six. The top scorer for Butler this season has been Rotnei Clarke with an average of 16.7 points a game.

West Regional – EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City

No. 9 Wichita State Shockers (26-8) vs. No. 8 Pittsburgh Panthers (24-8)

Pointspread: Pittsburgh -4½
Total: 118½

The Shockers earned their at-large bid in the Midwest Region with a 12-6 record in the Missouri Valley Conference but come in with just two SU wins in their last five games and a 1-4 record ATS. The total has gone OVER in four of their last six games. To advance, Wichita State will need a big game from Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall, who combined for 26.4 points and 12.3 rebounds this year.

Pittsburgh finished fourth in the Big East regular season standings at 12-6 and came up short in the tournament with a 62-59 loss to Syracuse as a 2 ½-point favorite. The Panthers are just 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games and the total has gone OVER in their last three. They are averaging 69.6 points a game while shooting a very respectable 47.5 percent from the field. 

Midwest Regional – HP Pavilion, San Jose

No.13 New Mexico State Aggies (24-10) vs. No.4 Saint Louis Billikens (27-6)

Pointspread: St. Louis -9
Total: 122

New Mexico State rolled through the Western Athletic Tournament to gain its automatic bid. It went 8-2 SU down the stretch but failed to cover in five of the 10 games. The total stayed UNDER in its last three games. Daniel Mullings led the Aggies in scoring with 14 points a game with Bandja Sy chipping-in 11.7 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.

The Billikens are 15-1 SU in their last 16 games and have been extremely profitable to wager on during this run with an identical record ATS. They rolled through the A 10 Tournament after winning the regular season title with a conference record of 13-3. St. Louis has five players averaging over nine points a game led by Dwayne Evans’ team-high 13.7 points.

Midwest Regional – The Palace, Detroit

No. 11 St. Mary’s Gaels (28-6) vs. No. 6 Memphis Tigers (30-4)

Pointspread: St. Mary's -1
Total: 138

The Gaels already got their feet wet in tournament action with a solid 67-54 victory over Middle Tennessee as 2 ½-point favorites in Tuesday night’s First Four Round. They went 16-3 SU in the West Coast Conference this season with all three losses coming to Gonzaga. The player to watch on this team is Matthew Dellavedova, who is averaging 15.8 points game.

Memphis cruised through its Conference USA schedule this season with a perfect 16-0 SU record, but it is just 5-4 ATS in its last nine games. The total has gone OVER in its last four outings. The Tigers have been a tough out all year long behind an offense that is averaging 75.9 points a game while shooting 47.9 percent from the field

West Regional – Rupp Arena, Lexington

No. 14 Davidson College Wildcats (26-7) vs. No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles (23-8)

Pointspread: Marquette 3½
Total: 133

Davidson may be a 14 seed but it brings a 17-game winning streak into this matchup that culminated in a Southern Conference Championship. The Wildcats are 3-1 ATS in their last four games and the total has stayed UNDER in three of their last five games. They are averaging 73.7 points led by Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks, who combine for 28.6 points a game.

The Golden Eagles bowed out of the Big East Tournament with a 73-65 loss to Notre Dame as three-point favorites. They are 4-2 SU in their last five games but just 2-4 ATS and the total has gone OVER in four of the games. Marquette is 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 games following a SU loss but only 5-11-1 ATS in its last 17 non-conference games.

West Regional – EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City

No. 16 Southern University A&M Jaguars (23-9) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (31-2)

Pointspread: Gonzaga -21½
Total: 126½

By virtue of winning the Southwestern Athletic Tournament crown, the Jaguars earned the right to try and make NCAA Tournament history by taking out a top seed. They come in with seven SU wins in their last eight games and are averaging 67.7 points a game while holding opponents to 58.4 points on the other end of the court.

The pressure will be on the Bulldogs as not only a one seed in this tournament but as the No.1 ranked team in the country. They have been opened at 10/1 to keep their current 14-game winning streak going for six more games all the way to a national title. Gonzaga has not been as reliable ATS with a 5-3-1 record in its last nine games. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of those games.
Midwest Regional – HP Pavilion, San Jose

No. 12 Oregon Ducks (26-8) vs.  No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (24-8)

Pointspread: Oklahoma State -3
Total: 134½

Oregon claimed this season’s Pac-12 Tournament title with a 78-69 win over UCLA as a 1 1/2-point favorite.  While it covered in that game, it went just 2-5-1 ATS in its previous eight games and the total has gone OVER in six of its last nine games. The Ducks have a trio of solid scorers in EJ Singler, Carlos Emory and Damyean Dotson, who are each averaging around 11 points a game.

The Cowboys came up short in their bid to win the Big 12 Tournament with a 68-57 loss to Kansas State as 1 ½-point underdogs. They went 5-2 SU in their last seven games and 3-3-1 ATS. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five games. Oklahoma State has four players scoring in double figures led by Marcus Smart (15.4 points) and Markel Brown (15.4 points).

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: Oregon Ducks vs. Oklahoma State
By Ian Cameron

NCAA Tournament - Midwest Region
Thursday, 1:40 pm PT, at San Jose, Calif. 
No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State
CRIS Opener: Oklahoma State -3.5 O/U 135
CRIS Current: Oklahoma State -3 O/U 135
Recommendation: Oregon

The Oregon Ducks, like most NCAA Tournament teams, had their ups and downs this season but much of their struggles can be attributed to having to adjust to being without starting pointguard Dominic Artis. He suffered a foot injury against Washington State on January 23rd. Prior to that game, Oregon was 16-2 SU and 9-7 ATS. Following the Artis injury, Oregon went into a mini tailspin going 4-4 SU but only 1-7 ATS. Since Artis’s return against Oregon State on February 28th, Oregon has showed signs of getting back on track including a perfect 3-0 SU run in the PAC-12 Tournament.

Artis hasn’t scored more than six points in a game since his return and he was scoreless in 13 minutes of action in Oregon’s win over UCLA in the PAC-12 Championship. Why is that significant? It’s because after struggling for so long to adjust to being able to play well and win without Artis, Oregon has finally shown they can win without him. During this recent stretch of games, fellow freshman point guard Jonathan Loyd has stepped up with three double-digit scoring efforts in his last six games including the win over UCLA. Forward Carlos Emory has also been big for Oregon in the last two games registering double-digit points including a 20-point effort against the Bruins. Oregon’s defense has played well for the most part even when their offense went through tremendous struggles. The Ducks are only allowing 63.6 points per game on 41.3% shooting for the season. I think Oregon head coach Dana Altman has done great work keeping this team focused and helping them survive a difficult stretch.

Oklahoma State had a very good season under head coach Travis Ford. The Cowboys went 14-6 in Big XII play but I think the situational factors are against them here. Marcus Smart is the star for this Okie State team and he beat out a talented field to join Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley as the only players to win Big XII Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in the same season. The freshman point guard is ranked in the top 10 in the conference in scoring (15.4), rebounds (5.7) and assists (4.2). The Cowboys have the scoring prowess to keep up with Oregon but I’m concerned with their defensive abilities to slow down Oregon and the problems that someone like Arsalan Kazemi may cause. OSU’s biggest weakness is rebounding. Oregon has a +1.3 rebounding margin advantage over Oklahoma State entering this game and the Cowboys don’t have a player who averages more than 6.2 rebounds per game. It’s worth noting Oklahoma State was one-and-done in its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010 when they were defeated by Georgia Tech in the opening round.

Oregon should have the travel edge here as well. This game is being played at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The Ducks have a much easier and quicker route to get there and will likely have more fan support in attendance. The Ducks went 3-1 in neutral court games this season and we’ve seen an ability to win against good teams away from home with wins over the likes of UCLA and UNLV. Oregon might also play with an extra chip on its shoulder after receiving the No. 12 seed despite winning the PAC-12 Tournament. We see No. 12 seeds upset No. 5 seeds in the NCAA Tournament every year and I see that potential here.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: Akron vs. VCU
By Teddy Covers

NCAA Tournament - South Region
Thursday, 6:45 pm PT, Auburn Hills, Mich.
No. 12 Akron vs. No. 5 VCU
CRIS Opener: VCU -6.5 O/U 136
CRIS Current: VCU -7.5 O/U 134.5
Recommendation: Akron

Ohio U’s strong performance in a truly awful spot at Denver in the NIT on Tuesday Night helps make the case that Akron really is worth supporting in a matchup that looks very bad for the Zips at first glance.  Remember, the Bobcats lost to the Zips in all three meetings this year, including an embarrassing blowout loss in the second half of the MAC Championship game.   So, when Ohio U can hang around at a quality Denver squad for the full 40 minutes in a tough emotional and travel spot, it makes the Zips look that much better as they make the short trip to suburban Detroit to face their own tough test against VCU.

Everyone knows that Akron point guard Alex Abreu got kicked off the team after a very nasty looking drug bust just prior to their run through the MAC Tournament, leaving untested frosh Carmelo Betancourt to run the offense.  Betancourt has been decent, but certainly not spectacular: 11 points, nine assists and six turnovers in 74 minutes of playing time over his first three career starts, although it’s surely worth noting that all three game against solid foes Kent and Ohio U.

And everyone knows that VCU’s “havoc” defense ranks among the nation’s leaders in steals and forced turnovers. Clearly, it’s a bad fundamental matchup for the underdog!   But that’s most assuredly factored into this pointspread – VCU backers aren’t getting any bargains that the betting markets aren’t aware of, regardless of how strong the TV talking heads were in their opinion that the Zips were likely to get crushed here.

There aren’t many coaches in the country who know how to handle Shaka Smart’s press better than Keith Dambrot – Smart spent two years as an assistant under Dambrot at Akron!  These teams met last year; an overtime thriller won by VCU by a single point, and there’s no reason to think that Akron is going to be outclassed or decimated by easy turnovers in Thursday’s rematch.  We certainly should note that Akron lost by more than seven points only twice all season – an early step-up-in-class game at Creighton and a late season ‘we’re getting a bit gassed’ game at Buffalo.

VCU is a very popular team right now in the betting markets, and we shouldn’t forget that the Rams have enjoyed a 7-1 pointspread run over the last two NCAA tournaments.  That being said, VCU was an overvalued commodity in the betting markets all year, just 10-17 ATS for the season, including a 2-6 ATS mark down the stretch.

The Rams offense is often like fingers on a chalkboard; ugly to watch and heavily reliant on their ability to make three point shots.  Akron’s defense beyond the arc has been stellar all year, holding foes to 32% shooting from long range.  A similar showing on Thursday and we can expect the Zips to hang within this generous number.  A healthy dose of contrarian thought goes a long way at this time of year...remember, there are no accidental pointspreads posted – ever!

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

Thursday's Prime-Time Tips
By Brian Edwards

North Carolina A&T vs. Louisville

Louisville (29-5 straight up, 20-14 against the spread) and its fans will revel in taking over Rupp Arena this weekend, especially since the host school in Lexington saw its season end with an embarrassing loss at Robert Morris in the NIT. The Cardinals are the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament although the Midwest region looks like the toughest with power programs and Hall of Fame coaches (Duke and Michigan St.), not to mention dangerous and athletic teams like Memphis and Missouri.

Most books have made U of L the +450 ‘chalk’ to win its first national championship since 1986. The Cardinals are the even-money favorites to win the Midwest region.

Most shops have installed Louisville as a 26-point favorite with the total in the 123-124 range. 5Dimes has issued the Aggies with 75/1 odds to win outright (risk $100 to win $7,500).

Louisville owns a 13-7 spread record in 20 games as a double-digit favorite.

Rick Pitino’s team rolled through the Big East Tournament with wins over Villanova (74-55), Notre Dame (69-57) and Syracuse (78-61). Trailing the Orange 35-22 at halftime of the finals, U of L poured it on in the second half to capture the victory as a 5.5-point ‘chalk.’ Montrezl Harrell enjoyed a monster game from off the bench, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time. Peyton Siva added 11 points, eight assists and four steals.

The Cardinals are led by junior guard Russ Smith, who averages 17.9 points per game. Siva dishes out a team-high 5.9 assists per contest, while Gorgui Dieng averages a double-double (10.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG) and provides a defensive presence in the paint.

North Carolina A&T (20-16 SU, 7-1 ATS) advanced with Tuesday’s First Four win over Liberty by a 73-72 count as a three-point favorite in Dayton. The Aggies got a defensive stop as time expired. Jeremy Underwood exploded for a team-high 19 points, making all six of his shots from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Bruce Beckford added 16 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.

Totals have been an overall wash (3-3) for the Aggies in their six games with a total.

Totals have also been an overall wash (14-14) for the Cardinals, but they have seen the ‘over’ hit in each of their last four games.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

South Dakota St. vs. Michigan

This is a 4/13 matchup that will be played at The Palace of Auburn Hills (obviously favoring the fourth-seeded Wolverines). Most spots are listing Michigan (26-7 SU, 14-16-1 ATS) as an 11.5-point favorite with the total in the 138-139 range. The Jackrabbits are +550 on the money line (risk $100 to win $550).

John Beilein’s team is mired in an abysmal 2-10 ATS slump, losing six of those games outright. Michigan dropped a 68-59 decision to Wisconsin as a two-point favorite in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Trey Burke had 19 points and seven assists, but he made only 8-of-22 shots and committed four turnovers. Tim Hardaway Jr. shook off a turned ankle to score 14 points and grab nine boards despite getting only nine looks from the field.

Burke and Hardaway lead the way for the Wolverines, but they get solid contributions from a trio of freshmen in Mitch McGary (57% FGs, 5.5 RPG), Glenn Robinson III (10.6 PPG) and Nik Stauskas (45% 3’s, 87% FTs).

Since allowing a big lead to get away in a loss at Murray St. on BracketBuster Saturday, South Dakota St. (25-9 SU, 16-13 ATS) has won four in a row while going 3-1 versus the number. Scott Nagy’s squad beat North Dakota 73-67 as a one-point underdog in the Summit League Tournament finals. Nate Wolters scored a game-high 27 points while also pulling down six rebounds, dishing out six assists and making four steals. Jordan Dykstra added 18 points and seven boards.

Wolters is one of the nation’s most underrated players, averaging 22.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds per contest. Dykstra is also a terrific player. The six-foot, eight-inch power forward can bang in the lane and step out and stroke it from 3-point land. Dykstra, who averages 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, drains 3’s at a 43.0 percent clip. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, Dykstra made 51.5 and 47.3 percent of his treys, respectively.

Michigan is 8-7-1 ATS in 16 games as a double-digit favorite.

South Dakota St. owns a 7-3 spread record as an underdog this year, going 1-1 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog. The Jackrabbits won outright (70-65) at New Mexico as 15-point ‘dogs with Wolters producing 28 points, seven assists and five rebounds. They got drilled 88-64 at Minnesota but Wolters did not play due to a sprained ankle.

The ‘over’ is 19-12 overall for Michigan.

The ‘over’ is 10-9-1 overall for the Jackrabbits.

CBS will have the telecast at 7:15 p.m. Eastern.

Belmont vs. Arizona

This 6/11 matchup will be played in Salt Lake City. Most books are listing Arizona (25-7 SU, 14-16 ATS) as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 140. Gamblers can take the Bruins to win outright for a +170 return (risk $100 to win $170).

Arizona beat Colorado 79-69 as a 4.5-point favorite in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals behind a team-high 18 points from Nick Johnson. In the semifinals, the Wildcats allowed a double-digit second-half advantage to get away in a 66-64 loss to UCLA.

Belmont (26-6 SU, 14-15 ATS) played from behind nearly the entire game but still found a way to capture a 70-68 overtime win over Murray St. in the Ohio Valley Tournament finals. However, the Racers took the cash as 7.5-point underdogs. Kerron Johnson was the hero, hitting a jumper to force OT at the end of regulation before scoring the game-winner with 1.2 seconds remaining in the extra session. J.J. Mann produced a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds for the winners.

Belmont has been an underdog three times this season, going 1-2 both SU and ATS. The Bruins won 70-62 at Stanford as seven-point ‘dogs, but they lost 75-65 at VCU and 89-60 at Kansas.

Rick Byrd’s squad had its best wins over South Dakota St. (76-49), Middle Tennessee (64-49) and Ohio (81-62).

Sean Miller’s team is mired in a 7-14 ATS slide in its last 21 games. The Wildcats have lost outright in five of their last 10 games after getting off to a 20-2 start.

Arizona has been a single-digit favorite 15 times this year, posting a 6-9 spread record. has Arizona with 50/1 odds to cut the nets down in Atlanta. Belmont's future number is 750/1 at the offshore website.

The ‘under’ is 17-9-1 overall for Arizona.

Although the ‘under’ has connected in four of its last six games, the ‘over’ is 13-9 overall for Belmont.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

California vs. UNLV

This 5/12 matchup in San Jose is a rematch of a regular-season game played in Berkley, where UNLV captured a 76-75 win on Quintrell Thomas’s tip-in with 1.2 seconds remaining. However, California took the cash as a 1.5-point home underdog, while the 151 combined points slithered ‘over’ the 147-point total. Anthony Bennett led the way for the Runnin’ Rebels with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Allen Crabbe finished with a team-high 18 points for the Golden Bears.

Most books are listing UNLV (25-9 SU, 13-20 ATS) as a three-point favorite with a total of 131. Bettors can take Cal to win outright for a +135 payout (risk $100 to win $135).

California (20-11 SU, 12-16-1 ATS) carried a seven-game winning streak into its regular-season finale at home against arch-rival Stanford. But the Cardinal took it to the Bears in an 83-70 victory as a 5.5-point road underdog. Then at the Pac-12 Tournament, Mike Montgomery’s squad suffered a 79-69 loss to Utah in overtime as an eight-point ‘chalk.’ Justin Cobbs scored a game-high 26 points in the losing effort.

UNLV has won seven of its last nine games, beating Air Force and Colorado St. by double-digit margins to make the Mountain West Conference Tournament finals on its home floor at the Thomas & Mack Center. But New Mexico won the MWC Tourney by collecting a 63-56 win as a 2.5-point underdog. Bryce Dejean-Jones had a team-high 19 points for the Rebels, while Bennett finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Bennett, the 6’8” 240-pound freshman, averages team-highs in scoring (16.1 PPG), rebounding (8.1 RPG) and field-goal percentage (53.8%).

Crabbe and Cobbs are Cal’s leading scorers, averaging 18.7 and 15.5 PPG, respectively.

California has been an underdog nine times this season, compiling a 3-6 record both SU and ATS.

UNLV has been a single-digit favorite 14 times this year, going 6-8 ATS.

Since 2003, UNLV has won four of five head-to-head meetings against Cal both SU and ATS.

The ‘under’ is 16-9 overall for California.

The ‘under’ is on a 7-2 run for the Rebels to improve to 17-9 overall.

Tip-off is slated for 7:25 p.m. Eastern on TruTV.
Missouri vs. Colorado State

For this 8/9 encounter, most books are listing Missouri (23-10 SU, 14-15 ATS) as a three-point favorite with a total of 142.5. Gamblers can back the Rams on the money line for a +140 return.

Colorado St. (25-8 SU, 13-15-1 ATS) is mired in a 2-8-1 ATS slump in its last 11 games. The Rams lost a 75-65 decision to UNLV as five-point ‘dogs in the MWC Tourney semifinals. Colton Iverson was sensational in defeat, tallying 24 points and 16 boards.

Colorado St. senior guard Dorian Green might not be at full speed as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle that kept him out of his team’s win over Fresno St. in the MWC Tourney quarterfinals. Green tried to play in the semifinal loss to UNLV, but he clearly wasn’t himself in 18 minutes of playing time, contributing just five points without any rebounds or assists. Green averages 12.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Frank Haith’s team let a comfortable lead get away in the second half of a 64-62 loss to Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals last Friday night. The Tigers committed 16 turnovers and made only 7-of-13 free throws. Alex Oriakhi finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

If there’s a bright side to Missouri’s early exit from its first SEC Tourney in Nashville, the Tigers will have fresh legs this weekend at Rupp Arena in Lexington. They played at this venue on Feb. 23, losing 90-83 at Kentucky in overtime. Phil Pressey had 27 points, 10 assists and four steals in the loss to the ‘Cats.

Missouri has been a single-digit ‘chalk’ nine times this year, posting a 5-4 spread record.

Pressey is the catalyst for the Tigers and one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards. He averages team-highs in scoring (11.6 PPG), assists (7.1 APG) and steals (1.8 per game).

Larry Eustachy’s squad is 3-4 ATS in seven games as an underdog.

The ‘over’ has hit at a 6-0-1 clip in the Rams’ last seven games to improve to 11-9-1 overall.

The ‘under’ has cashed in three consecutive games for Missouri, but the ‘over’ is 15-10 overall for the Tigers.

The winner will face top-seeded Louisville unless North Carolina A&T becomes the first No. 16 seed to ever beat at No. 1 in NCAA Tournament history.

TBS will provide television coverage 30 minutes after the conclusion of Louisville-North Carolina A&T.

Akron vs. Virginia Commonwealth

Most books are listing No. 5 seed VCU (26-8 SU, 10-17 ATS) as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 134.5. Gamblers can take the Zips to win outright for a +320 return (risk $100 to win $320).

Akron (26-6 SU, 14-12-1 ATS) got a tough draw by getting matched up with a VCU team that probably has the nation’s best full-court pressure defense. This is especially disconcerting for head coach Keith Dambrot because the Zips just lost their starting point guard and floor general Alex Abreu, who was suspended from the team less than two weeks ago following his arrest for multiple felonies stemming from a marijuana purchase from undercover officers. Abreu was averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 assists per game.

Akron’s senior seven-foot center Zeke Marshall is fourth in the country in blocked shots, swatting away 3.7 shots per game. Marshall averages 13.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per contests. He is also fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage (65.4%).

Shaka Smart’s squad is in the midst of a 2-6 ATS slump. When I backed the Rams as 7.5-point favorites vs. St. Joseph’s in the A-10 Tournament quarterfinals last Friday, they won by an 82-79 count but failed to cover after leading by 10 at halftime and by 16 with less than five minutes remaining.

After beating St. Joe’s, VCU knocked off UMass 71-62 as an 8.5-point favorite to advance to the A-10 Tourney finals. The Rams came up short against Saint Louis, which won 62-56 as a 1.5-point ‘chalk.’

VCU has a 4-8 spread record in 12 games as a single-digit favorite. Meanwhile, Akron has a 2-2-1 spread record with a pair of outright victories in five underdog spots. The Zips lost 69-65 to Oklahoma St. as four-point ‘dogs in the game that pushed.

When these schools squared off last season, VCU won a 76-75 decision at Akron in overtime. However, the Zips hooked up their backers as 1.5-point home underdogs. The 151 combined points went ‘over’ the 140.5-point total thanks to OT (11 combined points scored in the extra session).

The ‘under’ has cashed in four straight games for Akron to improve to 16-6-1 overall.

Totals have been an overall wash (13-13) for VCU, but the ‘over’ has hit at a 7-3 pace in its last 10 games.

This 5/12 matchup on CBS will tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of Michigan-South Dakota St. The winner gets the SDS-Michigan winner on Saturday.

Harvard vs. New Mexico

After missing the NCAA Tournament every season since 1946, Harvard (19-9 SU, 13-12-1 ATS) is back in the Big Dance for a second straight year. This time around, the Crimson hopes to get its first win in school history. They lost 79-70 to Vandy last year in ‘The Brain Brawl.’

Most books are listing third-seeded New Mexico (29-5 SU, 19-12-2 ATS) as an 11-point favorite with the total in the 125-126 range. Bettors can take the Crimson on the money line for a +550 payout (risk $100 to win $550).

Steve Alford’s squad lost its regular-season finale 89-88 at Air Force as a four-point road favorite. The Lobos responded nicely by winning three in a row both SU and ATS in Las Vegas to win the MWC Tourney. They got a 21-point effort from Tony Snell in the win over UNLV to garner the league’s automatic bid.

UNM has a 4-5-1 spread record in 10 double-digit ‘chalk’ situations this season.

The Lobos are led by junior guard Kendall Williams, who averages 13.5 points, 4.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Snell averages 12.6 PPG and makes 84.3 percent of his free throws.

Harvard won its last two regular-season games to wrap up the Ivy League title, but it has dropped three in a row ATS. The Crimson was able to recover from the loss of its two best players (Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry) due to suspensions in November. Wesley Saunders, a sophomore, was the main reason why. Saunders led his team in scoring (16.5 PPG), field-goal percentage (53.8%) and steals (1.9 per game).

Tommy Amaker’s team has thrived as an underdog this year, compiling a 7-2 spread record. Even better, Harvard is 4-0 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog. The Crimson covered the number as a double-digit ‘dog in a 67-64 loss at UMass, a 60-50 loss at Memphis, a 70-69 loss at Saint Mary’s and a 67-62 win at California.

The ‘under’ is 17-10-2 overall for UNM.

Harvard has watched the ‘under’ go 6-2 in its last eight games to improve to 11-10 overall.

This game will tip from Salt Lake City 30 minutes after the end of Arizona-Belmont.

Montana vs. Syracuse

After playing four games in four days at the Big East Tournament last week, the last thing Jim Boeheim wanted was to play on Thursday and do so out West (San Jose) against a well-rest team from out West. Furthermore, if the ‘Cuse advances, it will face either Cal or UNLV, both of whom hail from the West coast.

Most books are listing Syracuse (26-9 SU, 17-14 ATS) as a 12.5-point favorite with a total of 127.5. The Grizzlies are +700 on the money line.

Montana (25-6 SU, 17-11-1 ATS) has won six in a row and has taken the cash in each of its last seven games. The lone loss over this span was a 93-87 setback at Davidson in overtime. The Grizzlies took the cash as 14-point ‘dogs in the loss to Bob McKillop’s bunch.

Montana has been without one of its best players for five consecutive games. Mathias Ward, who averages 14.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, remains ‘out’ with a broken foot.

Wayne Tinkle’s team has been an underdog six times, going 3-3 ATS. The Grizzlies are 1-1 ATS in a pair of double-digit ‘dog spots. They got blasted 85-60 at BYU but took the money in the aforementioned defeat at Davidson.

Syracuse owns a 9-5 spread record in 14 games as a double-digit favorite.

The ‘under’ is 15-14 overall for the ‘Cuse, but the ‘over’ has cashed in three of its last four outings.

The ‘over’ is 12-10 overall for Montana even though the ‘under’ has connected in three of its last four contests.

The winner will get the UNLV-Cal winner.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

Midwest Regional: Day 1 NCAAB Betting Preview

No. 3 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 14 Valparaiso Crusaders (+10.5, 126)

Playing in the Big Ten conference, Michigan State didn't have to look far to find stiff competition. When the Spartans make their 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, they won't have to travel too far to find their next opponent, either. Third-seeded Michigan State will make the trek to The Palace of Auburn Hills, where they'll face 14th-seeded Valparaiso on Thursday in the second round of the Midwest Region.

The Spartans recorded 25 wins and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament before being bounced by eventual champion Ohio State on Saturday. With the conference sending seven representatives to the Big Dance, one can easily see why coach Tom Izzo believes his team is battle-tested. "I'd play the (Los Angeles) Lakers tomorrow instead of some of the teams I've played recently," Izzo said moments after Michigan State dropped a 61-58 decision to the Buckeyes.


* Crusaders are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big Ten.
* Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 9-2 in Spartans last 11 vs. Horizon League.

No. 4 Saint Louis Billikens vs. No. 13 New Mexico State Aggies (+9, 122)

Saint Louis will have its hands full with red-hot New Mexico State freshman Sim Bhullar when the teams meet Thursday in the second round of the Midwest Region at San Jose, Calif. The fourth-seeded Billikens learned their fate at a Best Buy store in Secaucus, N.J., mere hours after winning their first Atlantic 10 tournament title in Brooklyn. Saint Louis is 24-3 since coach Rick Majerus passed away in December. The veteran Billikens used a balanced offense and disciplined defense to run through the A-10 and earn the program's highest NCAA Tournament seed. Junior forward Dwayne Evans gives Saint Louis its own strong presence under the basket.

New Mexico State is the No. 13 seed after winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament for the second straight year. The Aggies have won 18 of their past 20 games and have four players averaging in double figures. New Mexico State has been without senior forward Tyrone Watson, who missed four games with an injured ankle after returning from a 30-day suspension stemming from an arrest. Thursday's winner faces either No. 5 Oklahoma State or No. 12 Oregon.


* Aggies are 5-2 ATS in their last seven neutral-site games.
* Billikens are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games overall.
* Under is 18-7-2 in Aggies' last 27 neutral site games.

No. 6 Memphis Tigers vs. No. 11 St. Mary's Gaels (+1, 135)

Memphis has lost only once in the last 25 games, but the talented Tigers are somewhat unproven with a 1-3 record against NCAA Tournament teams. Sixth-seeded Memphis gets a chance to start showing it belongs as a contender when it plays Saint Mary’s in the second round of the Midwest Regional on Thursday at Auburn Hills, Mich. The Tigers’ losses to NCAA entrants Virginia Commonwealth, Louisville and Minnesota were all before Dec. 16 and Memphis went unbeaten in Conference USA after that. Memphis is balanced offensively and averages almost 76 points.

Saint Mary’s handled Middle Tennessee 67-54 in Tuesday's first round, getting 22 points and four assists from senior Matthew Dellavedova. The Australian guard is the program’s all-time leader in scoring and assists, opening up the floor for a team that has made 270 shots from behind the 3-point line.


* Tigers are 15-35-1 ATS in their last 51 non-conference games.
* Under is 4-0 in Gaels last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 10-2 in Tigers last 12 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. No. 12 Oregon Ducks (+3, 134)

Oregon won the Pac-12 tournament over the weekend but that effort only earned the Ducks a No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region, where they’ll take on fifth-seeded Oklahoma State on Thursday in San Jose, Calif. Oregon hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2008, when it lost its opener to Mississippi State. The Cowboys are returning to the tournament for the first time since 2010, when they lost their opener to Georgia Tech. Oklahoma State is looking for its first win since beating Tennessee in the opening round of the 2009 tournament.

The Cowboys last played a Pac-12 team at the 2011 NIT Preseason Tournament in Madison Square Garden, losing to Stanford 82-67. Both teams faced Portland State two weeks apart in November. Oregon beat the Vikings 80-69 on Nov. 12 and the Cowboys knocked them off 81-58 on Nov. 25. The winner of this game will play either 13th-seeded New Mexico State or No. 4 Saint Louis in Saturday’s second round.


* Ducks are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 vs. Big 12.
* Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Under is 12-4 in Cowboys last 16 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 1 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T Aggies (+26, 123)

Louisville comes into the NCAA Tournament as the consensus favorite after winning 10 straight games by an average of 15.6 points. The Cardinals begin their quest for a third national title against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina A&T in the second round of the Midwest Regional on Thursday at Lexington, Ky. Louisville reached the Final Four last season and came back with a deep, balanced group to win the Big East. The Cardinals lean of their defense, which has allowed an average of 58 points and 10.7 steals.

North Carolina A&T defeated Liberty 73-72 in Tuesday's first round for its first win in 10 NCAA games. The Aggies also rely on their defense, which has limited opponents to 38.3 percent shooting. North Carolina A&T has played two other Big East opponents, losing to Cincinnati by 54 and Seton Hall by 11.


* Aggies are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Cardinals are 5-0 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 7-1 in Cardinals' last eight NCAA Tournament games.

No. 8 Colorado State Rams vs. No. 9 Missouri Tigers (-3, 143)

Two of the nation's top rebounding teams square off on Thursday when eighth-seeded Colorado State takes on ninth-seeded Missouri in the Midwest Region in Lexington, Ky. Overall No. 1 seed Louisville - and a rabid partisan crowd - likely awaits the winner. The Rams and Tigers are both strong in the post, as Missouri ranks second in the nation in rebounding (41.4) and Colorado State is fourth (40.4).

It's the second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Rams, who have won a school-record 25 games. Missouri is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, tying a school record. The Tigers also made five straight appearances from 1986-90 and 1999-2003. The teams are meeting for only the third time - and the first since 1969. They have split the first two contests.


* Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Rams are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. Southeastern.
* Over is 25-10 in Tigers' last 35 overall.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

South Regional: Day 1 NCAAB Betting Preview

No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 13 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (+10.5, 126)

Michigan enjoyed tremendous success at home this season and begins its pursuit of a Final Four berth just miles from campus. The Wolverines will travel to nearby Auburn Hills to host Summit League champion South Dakota State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. Coach John Beilein's team makes its fourth trip in six years to the Big Dance and matched its No. 4 seed from a season ago, when Michigan was upset by Ohio in the second round.

The Wolverines, who suffered their lone home loss in 18 games with a one-point setback to top-seeded Indiana, feature a prominent offensive attack. Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke leads the team in scoring (19.2) and assists (6.7). He will share top billing in the opening game with Jackrabbits senior star Nate Wolters, who won the honor in the Summit League after leading the conference in scoring and assists. Wolters had 19 points in South Dakota State's loss to Baylor in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in its first-ever entry. The winner of this one plays either Virginia Commonwealth or Akron in the third round Saturday.


* Jackrabbits are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Wolverines are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
* Over is 12-3 in Jackrabbits' last 15 non-conference games.

No. 5 VCU Rams vs. No. 12 Akron Zips (+8, 134.5)

Fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth will take on No. 12 Akron on Thursday in an NCAA Tournament second-round South Regional matchup in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Rams lost to St. Louis 62-56 in the Atlantic-10 tournament final Sunday, but will head to their third straight Big Dance. The teams had a memorable meeting Dec. 29, 2011, when Akron led by as many as 20 points and 12 in the second half before the Rams forced overtime. Darius Theus' layup with one second remaining gave VCU a 76-75 victory.

Akron avenged its MAC tournament championship game loss to Ohio last year with a 65-46 victory in this year’s final. The Zips reeled off 19 consecutive wins before starting point guard Alex Abreu (10.3 points, 6.0 assists) was suspended indefinitely March 6 following his arrest for suspected marijuana trafficking. Akron lost two of its last three regular-season games prior to the MAC tournament, but recovered to punch its ticket to its third NCAA Tournament in five years. The Zips have never won an NCAA game. Seven-foot senior Zeke Marshall paces Akron with 13 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.7 blocks on 65.4 percent shooting.


* Zips are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 neutral-site games.
* Rams are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 15-5-1 in Zips last 21 overall.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

West Regional: Day 1 NCAAB Betting Preview

No. 8 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. No. 9 Wichita State Shockers (+4.5, 118.5)

Wichita State earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth despite losing its final two regular-season games and dropping the Missouri Valley Conference final, The ninth-seeded Shockers, who will face eighth-seeded Pittsburgh in the second round of the West Region on Thursday, will vie for their first tournament victory since 2006. The Panthers missed the Big Dance last season for the first time since 2001, but closed their Big East campaign with four straight wins before losing to Syracuse in the conference tournament quarterfinal.

Pittsburgh proved its worth with wins over ranked opponents Georgetown, Syracuse and Cincinnati, but also struggled by losing three of four to start conference play - and three of six leading into its four-game winning streak to end the season. Wichita State dropped a season-high three consecutive games from Jan. 29-Feb. 5 and was held to 62 points or fewer in each contest. Junior forward Cleanthony Early and senior forward Carl Hall drive the Shockers’ offense, averaging a combined 26.4 points.


* Panthers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine NCAA Tournament games.
* Shockers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight vs. Big East.
* Over is 20-8 in Panthers last 28 non-conference games.

No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 16 Southern Jaguars (+21.5, 126.5)

Gonzaga celebrates its first 1 seed in program history with a second-round West Regional game against 16th-seeded Southern University on Thursday in Salt Lake City. The Zags have won a school-record 31 games and are bullish about making a Final Four run after landing the top seed in the West. Gonzaga is making its 15th straight appearance, fourth-best nationally. Southern is in the tourney for the eighth time, and the first since 2006.

Southern earned its spot in the tournament by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. The Jaguars downed Prairie View A&M in the championship game for their seventh win in eight games. Gonzaga has only won two NCAA tournament games once over the past six seasons so there is a bit of pressure for the Bulldogs to live up to their top-seed billing. Gonzaga has won 14 consecutive games and defeated Saint Mary’s in the championship game of the West Coast Conference tournament.


* Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
* Jaguars are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Over is 20-7 in Bulldogs last 27 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 6 Arizona Wildcats vs. No. 11 Belmont Bruins (+4.5, 140)

Arizona’s season has played like a country music song, so it’s fitting that the sixth-seeded Wildcats will meet No. 11 seed Belmont on Thursday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional in Salt Lake City. Belmont, a private school located in Nashville, earned its sixth NCAA Tournament berth in the last eight seasons with a dramatic 70-68 win over Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference title game.

Arizona, which is facing Belmont for the first time in school history, fell to UCLA for the third time this season in the Pac-12 semifinals. The Wildcats opened the season with 14 straight wins and defeated Miami and Florida in non-conference play, but they won just five of their final 10 games. Belmont is 1-4 all-time against Pac-12 opponents, including a 70-62 win at Stanford on Nov. 18.


* Bruins are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Wildcats are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 9-4 in Wildcats last 13 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 3 New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 14 Harvard Crimson (+11.5, 125)

New Mexico coach Steve Alford said 29 victories and a second consecutive Mountain West Conference tournament title - accomplished against the second-toughest schedule in the nation - warranted at least a No. 2 seed. The Lobos will settle for a No. 3 in the West Regional and will open their NCAA Tournament against No. 14 seed Harvard on Thursday in Salt Lake City. The Lobos roar into the NCAAs off a 63-56 victory at UNLV in the MWC title game Saturday. Junior guard Kendall Williams, the MWC Player of the Year, averages 13.5 points while leading the conference in minutes played and finishing second in assists.

Harvard has not played since beating Cornell on March 9 to clinch the Ivy League title and automatic berth. The Crimson will put New Mexico’s perimeter defense to the test. Harvard is tied for sixth in the nation in 3-point shooting (40.1 percent) and 12th in field-goal percentage (48.2). The Crimson are in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season after pushing Vanderbilt hard in a 79-70 loss in last year’s second round. The Crimson lost by three at Massachusetts, by eight at Connecticut and by 10 at Memphis this season.


* Crimson are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games.
* Lobos are 42-18-2 ATS in their last 62 games overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Lobos last five NCAA Tournament games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

East Regional: Day 1 NCAAB Betting Preview

No. 6 Butler Bulldogs vs. No. 11 Bucknell Bison (+4, 121.5)

Sixth-seeded Butler will meet No. 11 Bucknell in an East Regional second-round matchup on Thursday in Lexington, Ky. The mid-major battle features a pair of 6-11 centers in the paint. Mike Muscala leads the Bison with 19 points and 11.2 rebounds, ranking 28th and fourth in the nation, while the Bulldogs counter with Andrew Smith (11.1, 5.7). If Smith can hold the Patriot League’s Player of the Year in check, traditional giant-killer Butler will likely avoid an upset in their return to the Big Dance.

Led by Muscala, the program’s all-time leading scorer, Bucknell won 12 of its last 13 games to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons and fourth in nine. Muscala had 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Bison dispatched Lafayette 64-56 in the Patriot League final Wednesday. With no other player averaging at least 10 shots, Bucknell will only go as far as Muscala carries it.


* Bison are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
* Bulldogs are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 8-3 in Bulldogs last 11 NCAA Tournament games.

No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No. 14 Davidson Wildcats (+3, 133)

Marquette might be the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Region, but the Golden Eagles are in tough against an experienced No. 14-seeded Davidson squad in Friday's second-round meeting in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats, the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament champions, are making their second straight appearance in the Big Dance and their fifth in the last eight seasons. Marquette is making its eighth straight appearance, including Sweet 16 runs the past two years.

The Eagles come in having won six of their last eight, though they were upset in the Big East tournament quarterfinals by Notre Dame. Davidson, meanwhile, has the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games and coach Bob McKillop will make sure his team plays with no fear. The Wildcats like to bomb away from beyond the 3-point arc, which should help against a Marquette team that ranked ninth in the Big East in 3-point field goal defense (.318).


* Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Golden Eagles are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 non-conference games.
* Under is 5-1 in Golden Eagles last six NCAA Tournament games.

No. 5 UNLV Runnin' Rebels vs. No. 12 California Golden Bears (+2.5, 131)

UNLV looks to end a three-year NCAA Tournament drought as it faces California in a second-round East Regional showdown Thursday in San Jose. The fifth-seeded Rebels have failed to win a game in each of their last three trips to the Tournament, including a 68-64 loss to Colorado last year. UNLV, which won the national championship in 1990 under Jerry Tarkanian and lost to Duke in the Final Four in 1991, has advanced to the Sweet 16 just once since then.

California, which placed second in the Pac-12 Conference with a 12-6 record, will be making its second straight NCAA tournament appearance and 13th since 1990. The 12th-seeded Bears were upset by Utah 78-69 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday in Las Vegas but have won nine of their last 12 games - including victories over tourney teams Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Colorado. UNLV defeated the Bears 76-75 on Dec. 9 in Berkeley when forward Quintrell Thomas grabbed an airball and scored with 1.2 seconds remaining.


* Golden Bears are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Runnin' Rebels are 0-4 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games.

No. 4 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 13 Montana Grizzlies (+13, 127)

Syracuse, which received an at-large bid and the No. 4 seed in the East Region, will play No. 13 seed Montana on Thursday in San Jose, Calif. The Orange, who are 56-35 in 35 years at the Big Dance, were a No. 1 seed but lost to No. 2 seed Ohio State in the Elite Eight last season. Syracuse is coming off a 78-61 loss to Louisville in the Big East tournament championship game. The Grizzlies earned an automatic bid as the Big Sky tournament champion.

Montana, which is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th overall, was a popular upset pick in last season’s Big Dance but lost 74-49 to Wisconsin. The Grizzlies have a six-game win streak, including a 67-64 victory over Weber State in the Big Sky tournament championship game. Montana and Syracuse have never met and did not play any common opponents this season.


* Grizzlies are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Orange are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 4-1 in Orange last five neutral site games.

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Re: College Basketball Betting News and Notes Thursday, March 21

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: South Dakota State vs. Michigan
By Alatex Sports

NCAA Tournament - South Region
Thursday, 4:15 pm PT, Auburn Hills, Mich.
No. 13 South Dakota State vs. No. 4 Michigan
CRIS Opener: Michigan -12 O/U 138.5
CRIS Current: Michigan -11 O/U 141
Recommendation: South Dakota State

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have a tough matchup in playing Michigan in Auburn Hills. They were a team that I thought had a good shot at a Cinderella run, but this is a very tough draw in the first round. South Dakota State has an experienced, talented team led by point guard Nate Wolters. He led them to a road win at New Mexico earlier this year and they also battled Baylor in the first round last year’s Big Dance before falling by eight points. Again, I thought they might be the team that surprised everyone this year, but they had no luck in drawing Michigan in their home state. Also, Michigan was a first round upset victim against Ohio last year, so they certainly will not take the Jackrabbits lightly. However, covering a double digit pointspread and winning straight up are two different things, and South Dakota State will keep this game close. They were just +7.5 last year against a Baylor team that entered the tournament rated as high as Michigan is this year. This year’s SDSU team is better than they were a year ago and they are getting four extra points against the Wolverines. Take SDSU and expect a game that comes right down to the wire.

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