Omnipresent Duke have long established themselves as one of the top programs in college basketball. Gonzaga are working on a resume that they hope can land them in those “best programs in the country” conversations.
A win today will definitely make the Bulldogs Linkedin profile pop.
In this matchup, Duke has the legacy, Gonzaga has the “on-court” experience. Duke doesn’t feel like they accomplished anything, while Gonzaga are on the verge of uncharted territory. Coach K has been to the Elite Eight 14 times (most of any current coach), Mark Few has been to the Elite Eight…I’m not sure, but I know it’s a heck of a lot less than 14.
But don’t think for a minute for the Blue Devils aren’t hungry. As referenced above, this group isn’t satisfied and feel no sense they’ve done anything special, as they’re judged by Duke standards – which are exceedingly high. They’re as hungry to move on as the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga vs. Duke Pick:
With an experienced group, I don’t see Gonzaga getting overwhelmed by the moment, but it is BIG for this program. Duke are playing their best basketball of the season and look like they could win it all. Offensively, they’re going to create problems for the Bulldogs, problems that I’m not sure Few and his crew can work out.
These are two very good teams, but I’ll give the edge to Coach K ad his troops.
I’m going to put my trust in Pitino. His record in this tournament when he’s had several days to prep goes beyond impressive ( I’m too lazy to do the Thesaurus thing, so let’s just leave it at “beyond impressive”).
Pitino doesn’t lose these Sweet Sixteen matchups – or more accurately, he rarely goes down to defeat, boasting an 11-1 mark in this round the 12 times he’s guided one of his teams here.
Clearly it’s not all about Pitino and prep, as he’s often arrived for those games with the better team and an expectation of winning. Which is what he does.
The Sweet 16 has been very sweet for Pitino
NC State tripped up Villanova in the round of 32. I know everyone is talking about the job the Wolfpack did defensively, holding ‘Nova to a putrid 31% from the field. Fair enough. But I watched that game and spent most it shaking my head at how a #1 seed could panic that easily, playing right into the hands of their less-talented opponent.
The Wildcats were making dumb decisions all over the court. Once the upset was in play, every time Villanova got the ball it was like Greg Norman with a Sunday lead at Augusta. I can still hear the coughing.
This isn’t a great Louisville team, make no mistake, but they caught a break getting to face the Wolfpack in this round. I don’t see them squandering it.
Yes, I have some anxiety around freshman guard Quentin Snider holding up under the pressure (both the mental pressure and the actual pressure from NC State). He’s had to step in after Chris Jones’ off-court activities proved to be too much for even a big program like Louisville to hide.
But the kid played like a champ vs. Northern Iowa, turning the ball over but once. I don’t care if he doesn’t score. If he hangs on to the ball and makes smart plays, the Cardinals should be headed for the Elite Eight.
Kaminsky hangs around for another year, the Badgers grab a 1-seed, face UNC in the Sweet 16 and move on to the Elite Eight and then the Final Four and on to the Championship game and then Frank cuts down the net after the big win….hold on a sec. That might be the storyline Kaminsky had in mind when he hung around for this season, but this is going to be a battle.
The Badgers do protect the ball so well and are efficient when they head down the court. Without those transition points, the Tar Heels could struggle, but we still think they have enough talent and scoring to fight through and keep it close.
The annual Xavier March Madness fun comes to an end on Thursday. Gotta give it up for the Musketeers though, as they love to give their fans a spring thrill.
But it is worth noting, Xavier haven’t played anyone yet that wasn’t a favorable matchup. Clearly that changes on Thursday. Arizona’s too loaded everywhere for this to be an upset. Arizona heads though to the Elite Eight and has a decent chance of covering double digits, but we won’t be laying the points.
Everyedge Lean: Arizona moves on, and likely does in convincing fashion, but not loving either side on the spread.
Gonzaga catches a break getting UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen. It’s not a great matchup for the Bruins, but we don’t think they’ll get steamrolled by this ‘Zag offense. Gonzaga goes through, but UCLA acquits themselves well while bowing out.
Finally. After knocking on the Jayhawks’ door for years, with no answer, Wichita State took an axe and busted the door in (metaphorically speaking of course).
When the Shockers clawed their way to that win over the Hoosiers on Friday, it was their “Here’s Johnny” moment.
Here’s Wichita State
Kansas can’t hide behind the door any longer.
After years of pretending not to know them at those NCAA cocktail receptions, of forgetting to invite them to neighborhood block parties and explaining away no response to emails by muttering about new “spam” settings and “junk folders” – the gigs up.
The NCAA Tournament Committee accomplished something Wichita State hasn’t been able to arrange for 23 years; a matchup with Kansas.
And the timing couldn’t be better for the Shockers, because they might be the better team right now (although I have a bit more to say about that).
A Shocker win today won’t be a shocker at all (yeah, I know, a weak line, but when it’s that easy and obvious I feel obligated to toss it in somewhere, so bear with me).
This group at Wichita State are maybe the most cohesive unit in Div 1 hoops, with tons of tournament experience and all they do is go out and win games (this program has only been on the losing side of a handful of games over the last three years).
The line has been steadily moving to Wichita State, with Pinnacle Sports currently sitting at the Shockers -1.
It opened Kansas -1.5.
(You can check all the updated lines and the line history for every game with the Everyedge NCAA Tournament Odds Feed).
Kansas didn’t come into the tournament in top form, but did look good in their opener (while Wichita State struggled).
And if you take into account how the Big 12 have fared so far, which has been dreadful, that doesn’t bode well for the Jayhawks tonight.
But I still give the edge to Kansas. They’ve played the tougher schedule all year (facing 20 tournament teams vs. Wichita’s five), they’re longer and I expect Perry Ellis to be a real factor; as he gets healthier, he’ll play more minutes and will create matchup issues.
It’s been a long time coming for Wichita State and they’re primed to give Kansas all they can handle, but I still feel the Jayhawks have enough of the small edges and enough battle-testing to get the win.
It opened at -5, but Butler money quickly edged it down to 4.5, where it stayed for about 24 hours before dropping again to the current line of -3.5.
Something occurred to me though as I was breaking this game down….I hope Touchdown Jesus is a basketball fan. At least for today. I hope he’s not the petty-type; not wanting to share attention with the b-ball program.
I hope TD Jesus is a b-ball fan
I actually can’t remember writing up a Fighting Irish basketball play. I know they’ve had some success on the hardcourt over the years, but like most of us, I still think of Notre Dame as a football school.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few games at Notre Dame Stadium, seeing TD Jesus up close. In all that time spent on campus, I can’t recall a single person ever mentioning the basketball team…but alas, today, it’s all about that other program.
Hopefully, Touchdown Jesus has my back as I make this play:
I’m in at -3.5, putting a unit on the Fighting Irish.
However, for anyone looking to follow this play, I’d hold off on booking it until later in the afternoon. I still think this number has a good chance of dipping down to 3 at some point today. And if it does turn and start heading the other way, I’m still comfortable playing ND laying the 4.
You can check all the updated lines and the line history for every game with the Everyedge NCAA Tournament Odds Feed.
The Butler money pushing this line down is largely a reaction to Notre Dame’s unimpressive performance over NE. I’m not concerned…at all.
I’ll happily take the extra line value on the better team, who I’m fully expecting will be much better than they showed last time out. Look for a complete game from the favorite tonight. And if they do come out focused, I just can’t see Butler keeping this close.
I don’t see Butler being able to handle Notre Dame’s offense. Nor do I see the Irish struggling when Butler has the ball. That’s a tough combo for the Bulldogs.
Butler vs. Notre Dame Pick
Notre Dame at -3.5 is a solid value play.
The ND offense should wear them down with an attack that comes from all over the floor.
We picked up a nice win yesterday to start the tournament, tapping Georgia State as our one play. We liked them getting the 9-points, but certainly didn’t call for the outright upset (in fact, I think we had a line that went something like this, “Can Georgia State win this game? No!”)…but nonetheless we booked a unit.
Who doesn’t love Izzo? (quiet down Ann Arbor)
Georgia vs. Michigan State Pick
Izzo!!! Love Izzo. Who doesn’t (Ann Arbor residents aside).
Michigan State bullied their way to the final of the Big 10 tourney, before getting clipped in overtime by top-seeded Wisconsin. It was an impressive performance, but somewhat expected from Izzo and MSU, who are used to dialing things up come March (they’ve only been on the sidelines for one Sweet Sixteen since 2007).
This isn’t a Spartan team with a lot of depth, but with three leaders who’ve been down this road before (senior guards Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, and junior Denzel Balentine) and Izzo coaching them up as always, they could bust up a few brackets with another deep run.
We’re not big fans of the Bulldogs in this spot. They’ve struggled vs. good teams all year (2-6 when facing programs who are in this spring’s tournament), including most recently getting throttled by Arkansas.
We just don’t have a lot of confidence in Georgia being able to bring enough to the table today.
We usually don’t like laying this many points (we really like digging up underdogs with value), but we’ll take a shot on Michigan State to cover vs Georgia.
It’s Georgia State vs. Baylor as one of the feature matchups on the opening Thursday of the NCAA Tournament.
We’ve got a pick for this one.
Georgia State Panthers (24-9) at Baylor Bears (24-9) NCAA Basketball: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)
You can catch the game on TBS
NCAA Line: Baylor -9
Okay, we’ve got the details out of the way.
As noted above, the Bears are 9-point favs over the Sun Belt champ Panthers.
Are Georgia State going to advance to the Round of 32? In a word – no. That’s not going to happen (or at least quite unlikely).
Are Georgia State good enough to give the Bears a battle to open the tourney – that we say yes to.
Georgia State could be a peach of a pick on Thursday
Baylor, the 3-seed in the West Region, have a shot at an impressive run in this year’s bracket, but the 14-seed Panthers have the game to book a respectable showing in their one and only tournament start.
Yes, we’re a little concerned about the Panthers’ record vs. quality opponents (they’re 0-4 ATS this season as an underdog, including losses to Iowa State (81-58) and Colorado State (80-70)). And adding to that bit of concern is the “dead man walking” impression they pulled against Georgia Southern in their conference tournament final on Sunday.
That Sunday game is at least partially responsible for this line climbing up from -7.5 to -9.
But it’s also what gives us some value. This is a much better team than the one bettors saw last weekend.
The Panthers can score with an up-tempo game, while also being defensively responsible. Their last start wasn’t indicative of what this team brings to the court. Sure they give up matchup edges, that’s why they’re a #14 and Baylor’s a #3. But they have experience and will work hard at both ends. Even if they get down by double digits, we don’t expect this group to fold, but rather battle back.
They should be able to keep it close enough to cover the number.
Georgia State vs. Baylor Pick:
We’re taking Georgia State +9
March Madness tips off today with a slew of games, including the Oregon Ducks vs. BYU Cougars.
Online sportsbook odds have the Ducks as a 5-point favorite for this 3:10 pm (ET) tipoff to be played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Oregon comes into the tournament on a nice run, going on a bit of a tear down the stretch to grab an at-large bid. Their guard play is what paces this team and it’s what will get them a win and cover today. They should be able to take advantage of the huge loss BYU suffered when Kyle Collingsworth went down with a blown knee.
After beating Florida 79-59 as a small underdog in the Elite 8, the Michigan Wolverines got past Syracuse to earn the right to take on the Louisville Cardinals in tonight’s NCAA Men’s basketball final from Atlanta
Louisville are favored for tonight’s game but the early numbers suggest more bettors are backing Michigan on both the moneyline and pointspread