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Saturday's Slate

February 17, 2012

We’re getting down to crunch time for bubble teams looking to bolster their respective resumes in hopes of garnering at-large invites to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Teams like UConn, Tennessee, Iowa St., Saint Mary’s, Davidson, Arizona, Northwestern, Illinois and others are in dire need of victories.

Let’s take a look at a pair of the televised night games before discussing a slew of topics in Bonus Nuggets.

**Ohio State at Michigan**

--Crisler Arena will be rocking Saturday night for this Big Ten showdown on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. BetOnline.com opened Ohio State (22-4 SU, 13-9 ATS) as a five-point favorite with a total of 125.

--Michigan (19-7 SU, 13-8-1 ATS) has won four of its last six games both SU and ATS, including Sunday’s 70-61 home win over Illinois as a five-point home ‘chalk.’ The 131 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 119-point total. Tim Hardaway Jr. led four UM scorers in double figures with a team-high 15 points. Zack Novak enjoyed another stellar performance, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and only one turnover on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 shooting at the charity stripe.

--Thad Matta’s squad saw its 39-game home winning streak snapped in last Saturday’s 58-48 loss to Michigan St. However, the Buckeyes bounced back by going to Minnesota on Tuesday and capturing a 78-68 win to hook up their backers as 8 ½-point road favorites. William Buford turned in another strong effort with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jared Sullinger added 23 points and eight boards.

--Ohio St. has been a road favorite seven times this season, posting a 4-3 spread record. As for Michigan, it owns a 5-4-1 spread record in 10 underdog situations.

--John Belein’s squad is unbeaten in 14 home games with a 7-4 spread record.

--Ohio St. has beaten Michigan six consecutive times, but the Wolverines are 6-1 ATS in the last seven encounters. The lone non-cover was the last meeting in Columbus on Jan. 29 when Ohio St. pulled away late to win a 64-49 decision as a 14-point home favorite. Lenzelle Smith Jr. led the winners with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Hardaway finished with a team-high 15 points in the losing effort.

--Totals have been an overall wash for Michigan (11-11-1), but the ‘under’ is in the midst of a 9-2 surge in its last nine games.

--The ‘over’ is 10-9-2 overall for the Buckeyes.

**Long Beach State at Creighton**

--BetOnline.com opened Creighton (22-5 SU, 14-9 ATS) as a five-point favorite with a total of 152.

--Creighton snapped a three-game losing streak both SU and ATS by spanking Southern Illinois on Valentine’s Day by a 88-69 count as a 6 ½-point road favorite. Doug McDermott made all seven of his shots from the floor en route to scoring a team-high 18 points. Antoine Young added 15 points, eight assists and three rebounds, while Gregory Echenique tallied 12 points, nine boards and two blocked shots.

--McDermott is one of the nation’s most prolific scorers, averaging 22.7 points per game while shooting at a 61.3 percent clip from the field. He’s draining 50 percent of his treys with 44 triples on 88 attempts.

--Creighton owns a 3-2 record against RPI Top 50 teams and can notch another victory here against Long Beach St., which is No. 45 in the RPI Rankings. The Bluejays are 5-4 against RPI Top 100 schools. They are 12-2 SU and 6-4 ATS at home for the year.

--Long Beach State (19-6 SU, 12-11 ATS) hasn’t tasted defeat since losing to Kansas State on Christmas Day. Since then, the 49ers have won 12 in a row. They played a brutal non-conference schedule, winning at Pittsburgh before beating Auburn and Xavier in holiday tournament in Hawaii. LBS lost by six at North Carolina, by eight at Kansas, by four at San Diego St. in overtime and by 13 at Louisville.

--Long Beach St. owns a 3-2 spread record in five underdog situations.

--The 49ers are led by senior point guard Casper Ware, who averages a team-high 17.1 PPG. Senior guard Larry Anderson is scoring at a 14.1 PPG clip, while senior forward T.J. Robinson averages 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.

--Tip-off on ESPN2 is slated for 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--I’m of the belief that we will soon have two SEC job openings at Ole Miss and South Carolina. When Vanderbilt hangs 102 on your team that’s at home and on the bubble, you know you’re in trouble. That’s what happened to Andy Kennedy’s Rebels on Thursday night when the Commodores captured a 102-76 victory at ‘The Tad Pad.’ Unless Ole Miss wins the SEC Tournament, Kennedy is going to be 0-for-6 in terms of NCAA Tournament invites. He’s recruited extremely well while in Oxford, the results just haven’t been good enough.

-Saint Mary’s star guard Matthew Dellavedova is ‘doubtful’ for Saturday’s game at Murray St. due to a sprained ankle. Dellavedova averages 15.5 points and 6.4 assists per game. The Gaels opened as 2 ½-point favorites against the Racers. They need to win this game after getting beaten at home by Loyola-Marymount earlier this week. Remember, Randy Bennett’s team has been snubbed on Selection Sunday two of the last three seasons.

--The Wynn in Las Vegas opened Wichita St. as a two-point favorite for Saturday’s game at Davidson. ESPN2 will televise this BracketBuster matchup at noon Eastern.

--Alabama will be without its two leading scorers, senior power forward JaMychal Green and junior small forward Tony Mitchell, for Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee. Also, starting sophomore point guard Trevor Releford is ‘questionable’ after suffering a blow to the head at Thursday’s practice. According to the Birmingham News, Releford wasn’t expected to practice Friday. And finally, freshman Nick Jacobs had to have a root canal this week after developing an infection in his mouth. Nevertheless, The Wynn opened Alabama as a five-point favorite, but that quickly moved to four when CRIS opened the number at three. UT is also without a key player as Cuonzo Martin suspended Kenny Hall indefinitely before Wednesday’s home win over Arkansas.

--Speaking of the Razorbacks, they are in desperate need of a victory when they host Florida at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. Arkansas will be welcoming back former head coach John Pelphrey, who is now an assistant on Billy Donovan’s staff at UF. As of early Friday evening, most books had the Gators as 4 ½-point favorites with a total of 146. Mike Rosario (hip) and Will Yeguete (concussion) were cleared to practice on Friday and how they performed would determine whether or not they’d make the trip to Fayetteville. Both key reserves sat out Tuesday’s win at short-handed Alabama.

--Ga. Tech has suspended Glen Rice Jr. (13.0 PPG) for Saturday's game at Va. Tech.

--The 'under' owns an incredible 17-3 overall record in Virginia games this year. The Cavs are 10-point home favorites Saturday vs. Maryland. The total is 120. The Terrapins have taken the cash in five of their last six games.
 

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Bracket Busters Weekend

February 16, 2012

Racers vs. Gaels Highlights Bracket Busters Weekend

If you're a hardcore college basketball fan, Saturday's game between Murray State and Saint Mary's has been circled on your calendar since the Bracket Busters matchups were announced at the end of January.

And while the Racers may no longer be undefeated after their shock loss to Tennessee State on Feb. 9, that shouldn't really matter for bettors. Because really, who cares about the Tennessee State one-off? This game's about seeing the Racers against a quality opponent, something they haven't seen too many of this year.

To be fair, Murray State isn't completely bereft of quality wins - the Racers knocked off Memphis at the FedExForum in December. But that sure seems like a long time ago now. And besides that, what have they really done? (You know, other than winning every game but one.)

We can do all the statistical analysis we want, trying to put a value on a 20-point win over some no-name school and wondering if that's better or worse than a 5-point loss to a powerhouse. However, we never really know what a team with an easy schedule is made of until it comes up against a quality opponent.

The Racers won't get the ultimate quality opponent in Saint Mary's, but it'll do. The Gaels have only lost three times, twice to good teams (Baylor and Gonzaga) and once very early in the season to Denver.

If Murray State can win this one, an at-large bid to March Madness would be all but assured. The only assumption is that the Racers don't completely melt down in the last two games of the regular season and/or the conference tournament.

Now, if the Racers lose, there's still a chance they could get an at-large bid, but there might be a better chance they don't. The best way to avoid the unnecessary stress would be to win. (In sports, it usually is.)

This is also an important game for college hoops bettors that might have only seen Murray State on the highlight reels. One of the toughest things about betting on the NCAA men's basketball tournament is how to differentiate between teams from mid-majors with near spotless records and teams from major conferences that have double-digit losses on the season. Again, you can crunch all the stats you want, but it never hurts to actually watch the team play, and this one will be on ESPN.

Murray State-Saint Mary's isn't the only Bracket Busters game we'll be watching closely at Bovada. Wichita State-Davidson is another one that's worth a look.

Remember, Davidson beat Kansas back in December, so you know the Wildcats can hang with the big boys. Not to be outdone, the Shockers have their own share of quality wins, including Friday's victory at Creighton, which plays a Bracket Busters game of its own against Long Beach State. (Wichita State also beat UNLV earlier in the season.)
 

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No. 3 Missouri visits Texas A&M Saturday

MISSOURI TIGERS (24-2)

at TEXAS A&M AGGIES (13-12)


Tip-off: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Missouri -7, Total: 130½

No. 3 Missouri aims for a seventh straight win, and 11th victory in the past 12 games, when it visits College Station Saturday for a matchup with Texas A&M.

This game pits the high-scoring Tigers (80.3 PPG, 8th in nation) with the offensive-lacking Aggies (61.2 PPG, 307th in nation). Missouri has been one of the best bets in the nation at 13-7-1 ATS (65%), but Texas A&M is a stellar 10-3 ATS in Big 12 action this season. Can the Aggies hang around with the third-best team in the nation too? For the answer, check out the College Basketball Weekday 6-Pack for picks covering all the big games in college basketball each week.

The Tigers have hated visiting College Station, losing five in a row (1-4 ATS) at Reed Arena. Missouri averages 10 points less on the road (72.7 PPG) than at home, going 3-4 ATS on the road this season. But this team has been playing great basketball during its win surge, including crushing Oklahoma State 83-65 on Wednesday. Leading scorer G Marcus Denmon (17.9 PPG) had 17 points in the victory, and has been on fire in his past four games (57% FG, 52% 3-pt FG). Denmon scored 19 points in last year’s 91-89 OT loss in College Station. F Ricardo Ratliffe (14.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG) also had 19 points in that game. This season, Ratliffe leads the country with an outstanding 73.4% FG clip. This three-star FoxSheets trend expects the Tigers to win and cover:

MISSOURI is 11-2 ATS (84.6%, +8.8 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season. The average score was MISSOURI 79.7, OPPONENT 63.7 - (Rating = 3*).

Although the Aggies offense is horrendous, they play extremely tough defense on their home court, allowing just 57.1 PPG on 37.5% FG. That’s a huge reason why they are 6-3 ATS at Reed Arena. When the Aggies topped Missouri in overtime last year, Khris Middleton scored 28 points in the victory. But Middleton (11.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG) has had a rough, injury-laden junior season. He is shooting below 40% from the floor (45% last season) and is making only 25% of his threes (36% last season). The Aggies are coming off a nine-point win over Texas Tech on Tuesday. Although the score was an offense-less 47-38, Texas A&M was paced by leading scorer Elston Turner (14.6 PPG) who had 16 points. Turner has 16+ points in three of his past four games. This three-star FoxSheets coaching trend also sides with the Aggies.

Billy Kennedy is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) revenging a road loss vs opponent of 10 points or more in all games he has coached since 1997. The average score was Kennedy 62.5, OPPONENT 64.3 - (Rating = 3*).
 

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No. 11 UNLV visits The Pit on Saturday

UNLV RUNNIN’ REBELS (22-5)

at NEW MEXICO LOBOS (21-4)


Tip-off: Saturday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: New Mexico -5½, Total: 141½

No. 11 UNLV looks to bounce back from an overtime loss when it visits red-hot New Mexico, winners of six straight (SU and ATS), on Saturday afternoon.

UNLV is 7-2-1 ATS (5-5 SU) in its past 10 trips to University Arena, better known as The Pit, including two straight wins (74-62 and 77-74 in OT last year). But the Rebels have been terrible on the road this season (1-8 ATS), and the Lobos have won their past six games by an average of 20.8 PPG. Can New Mexico take down the 11th-best team in the country and cover the moderate point spread? For the answer, check out the College Basketball Weekday 6-Pack for picks covering all the big games in college basketball each week.

UNLV ranks ninth in the nation with 80.1 PPG. The Rebels are second in the country in assists (18.6 APG) and 24th in rebounding (38.8 PPG). Because they pass so well and hit the offensive glass for high-percentage second chances, they also shoot 47.4% FG (31st in D-I). F Mike Moser averages a double-double with 15.0 PPG and 11.3 RPG. He has scored in double-figures in eight straight games, averaging 17.5 PPG and 11.6 RPG in this stretch. Moser scored 22 points with nine rebounds on Wednesday, but his team couldn’t hold onto an 18-point lead to TCU and lost 102-97 in overtime. F Chace Stanback (13.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG) has been slumping a bit, with five points or less in three of his past five games. But he did score 17 against TCU, hitting 5-of-7 threes to bring his percentage up to a whopping 46% from three-point land. G Anthony Marshall (11.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.0 APG), who also had 17 points in the loss to the Horned Frogs, played very well against New Mexico on Jan. 21, scoring 13 points with nine assists and six rebounds. This three-star FoxSheets trend likes UNLV as the ATS winner Saturday:

Play On - Any team (UNLV) - after failing to cover the spread in 3 or more consecutive games against opponent after successfully covering the spread in 4 or more consecutive games. (114-66 over the last 5 seasons.) (63.3%, +41.4 units. Rating = 2*).

The Lobos have been a tremendous bet all year at 17-5 ATS (77%). Their last loss was a 78-63 defeat at UNLV on Jan. 21. In that contest, UNM had 21 turnovers and the Rebels made 62% of their two-point field goal tries. But the Lobos defense has corrected itself during the win streak (50.6 PPG, 35% FG), holding five of the six opponents under 55 points and below 41% FG. The exception was Wednesday’s 77-67 win at No. 13 San Diego State, when the Aztecs shot 46% FG in the loss. New Mexico’s defense has been quite stingy at home this season too, allowing just 54.5 PPG on 36% FG. Senior F Drew Gordon averages a double-double with 12.1 PPG and 10.7 RPG. He’s coming off a monster night in the upset over SDSU, scoring 17 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Gordon also had 14 points and 12 rebounds in last month’s loss to UNLV. Kendall Williams leads the team in scoring (12.5 PPG) and assists (4.2 APG), as he pumped in 21 points against the Aztecs, making 5-of-6 threes. This rare five-star FoxSheets coaching trend also backs the Lobos.

Steve Alford is 19-3 ATS (86.4%, +15.7 Units) after 3 straight wins by 10 points or more as the coach of NEW MEXICO. The average score was NEW MEXICO 73.5, OPPONENT 60.9 - (Rating = 5*)..
 

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Early Best Bets:

02/18/2012 @ 09:00 AM CBB [512] CONNECTICUT -3½ 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [513] UCLA -5 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [519] TOTAL o135 1.91
(FLORIDA ST vrs NC STATE)

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [520] NC STATE -2 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [521] TOTAL o121 1.91
(MARYLAND vrs VIRGINIA)

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [522] VIRGINIA -10 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 10:00 AM CBB [523] TOTAL o132½ 1.91
(UTEP vrs MEMPHIS U)

02/18/2012 @ 10:45 AM CBB [528] SOUTH CAR -3 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 10:45 AM CBB [530] BAYLOR -7½ 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 11:00 AM CBB [533] MISSOURI -7½ 1.91
 

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Mid Day Best Bets:

02/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM CBB [549] CLEMSON +11½ 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM CBB [552] SAINT LOUIS -21 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM CBB [553] ST. JOSEPHS -3½ 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM CBB [555] TEXAS -4 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM CBB [558] CINCINNATI -6 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 01:30 PM CBB [562] NORTH TEXAS -6 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 03:00 PM CBB [571] FLORIDA -5½ 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 03:00 PM CBB [573] CHARLOTTE U +6 1.91

02/18/2012 @ 03:30 PM CBB [577] FLORIDA ATL +9½ 1.91
 

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UNLV Rebels In Key Clash At New Mexico Lobos

Drexel and Cleveland State will tip Saturday's college hoops schedule at 11:00 a.m. (ET), while Long Beach State and Creighton cap the night off with their start 11 hours later. In between those two games are more than 150 other contests.

Overwhelming? Yes, but worth it, and whoever came up with this BracketBusters idea should be knighted.

While Mike Robinson previews some of the top Big 6 matchups, here are three outside those conferences that piqued my interest.

UNLV at New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM – 1:00 p.m. (ET) CBS

Though not part of the BracketBuster slate, this just might be the most important game Saturday outside of the Big 6 conferences. Hell, it could be the biggest game including the Big 6. New Mexico begins the weekend a game ahead of both UNLV and San Diego State in the Mountain West, and the Lobos have an excellent opportunity to really take charge in the conference with a victory.

New Mexico is coming off Wednesday's solid 77-67 win at San Diego State. The victory marked the Lobos' sixth straight – covering all six as favorites – since a 78-63 defeat at UNLV on Jan. 21. Five of their last seven have remained 'under' the total.

The Running Rebels find themselves in a bit of a rut with two losses in their last three games, and just 1-5 against the spread since the win over the Lobos. Tuesday's 102-97 setback in overtime at TCU was especially disheartening after blowing a big lead early in the second half. UNLV was 8½-point chalk and now stands 0-5 ATS in MWC road affairs.

January's meeting at Thomas & Mack Center closed with the Rebels laying 6½ and turned on a 12-5 UNLV run to begin the second half. The Rebels held the Lobos to just one field goal in the final four minutes of the game. UNLV pulled out a 77-74 win here at The Pit last season, just covering the 2½-point spread.

Nevada at Iona
New Rochelle, NY – 4:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN2

If you haven't been keeping up with either the Wolf Pack or the Gaels, you've missed some great basketball. Nevada and Iona begin this game atop their respective conferences, and favored to represent the WAC and MAAC at the NCAA Tournament in March. At stake in Saturday's clash is a possible at-large bid should either the Wolf Pack or Gaels stumble in their runs to conference championships.

Iona and Nevada sit very close in the latest RPI rankings; the Gaels are 51st and the Wolf Pack at No. 58. They've reached this point with disparate styles, Nevada ranking first among WAC schools in scoring defense (63.4 PPG) and Iona second in the country on the offensive end (82.9 PPG).

Nevada got off to an 0-2 start to the campaign, but have reeled off 20 wins in 22 games since a defeat at UNLV in mid-November. The Wolf Pack were really making friends with bettors until hitting a rough patch a few weeks back. They covered 13 of their first 16 lined contests, but have since dropped the cash in four of the last five.

Iona's offense has translated just to a 13-12 edge to the 'over' in totals betting, so give oddsmakers credit there. Wednesday's 75-62 victory at Rider never really threatened the 162-point barrier, snapping a 4-game run for the 'over.'

Saint Mary's at Murray State
Murray, KY – 6:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN

Don't shrug this game off just because both teams have recently suffered upset defeats. This remains one of the marquee matchups on Saturday, one of only two between ranked schools, and a contest that will pit two very efficient clubs on the offensive end of the court.

Murray State saw its unbeaten season end a little over a week ago in a 72-68 loss at home to Tennessee State. The Racers were 10½-point favorites in that game which was preceded by a 0-6-1 ATS run. They've since bounced back very strongly with wins and covers vs. Austin Peay and at Southeast Missouri State.

Saint Mary's could still be feeling the effects of Wednesday's 75-60 setback to Loyola Marymount, the first loss at home all season for the Gaels who were huge 14-point favorites in the game. Saint Mary's struggled from the floor on 22-of-57 shooting overall, and just 6-of-28 from outside the arc. It was very similar to their effort at Gonzaga a little more than a week ago, a 73-59 defeat which stopped a 12-game win streak. The Gaels are on a 4-game losing streak against the spread, and just 3-9 ATS their last 12.
 

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Georgetown Leads Saturday Big East Road Brigade

There’s a huge Saturday of college basketball betting, so big in fact that we had to break it up into two parts.

Don Best editor and hoops aficionado Willie Bee is focusing on smaller conference schools, including the BracketBuster biggie between No. 14 Murray State and No. 16 Saint Mary’s.

This article is focusing on the Big East, with four ranked teams in action. They’re all on the road and three of them among the best ATS away teams during Big East play (see below). We’ll finish with a can’t-miss top-25 matchup in the Big Ten, Ohio State at Michigan.


TEAM ATS AWAY
Marquette 5-1

Cincinnati 5-2

Syracuse 5-2

Louisville 4-2

Notre Dame 4-2



No. 13 Marquette Golden Eagles at Connecticut Huskies
12:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

Marquette (21-5 SU, 12-10-1 ATS) is tied for second-place (10-3 SU) in the Big East with Notre Dame. Both teams only trail Syracuse (13-1 SU), who visits Rutgers on Sunday.

The Golden Eagles are 9-3 ATS in their last 12, including 5-1 ATS away. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in those road contests. Forward Davante Gardner (9.8 PPG. 5.4 RPG) is doubtful after missing the last four games, but they have two of the conference’s top scorers in Darius Johnson-Odom (18.4 PPG) and Jae Crowder (16.2 PPG)

The Huskies (16-9 SU, 8-13 ATS) are without coach Jim Calhoun (medical leave) and have struggled after winning March Madness. They’re 2-6 SU and ATS in the last eight, although the last two at home have been wins and covers over DePaul (80-54) and Seton Hall (69-46). This is the first meeting against Marquette this year. The road team is 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four.

No. 18 Louisville Cardinals at DePaul Blue Demons
12:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3

The Cardinals (20-6 SU, 14-8-1 ATS) are peaking late in the season under coach Rick Pitino, something he is famous for. Louisville did have a 6-game winning streak snapped at home against Syracuse on Monday (52-51 loss), but it was the seventh-straight cover. Scoring had jumped to 75.3 PPG in the prior six (the ‘over’ 5-1) before slowing against Syracuse.

DePaul (11-14 SU, 11-10 ATS) is 15th in the Big East at 2-11 SU, with the ATS mark a better 5-8. The Blue Demons don’t have much trouble scoring, 75 PPG in their last five at home, but they allowed 83 PPG over that span. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in their last six home games overall.

Louisville beat DePaul last month, 76-59 as 15½-point home favorites. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in the last three meetings and 7-2 in the last nine.

No. 9 Georgetown Hoyas at Providence Friars
7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3

The Hoyas (19-5 SU, 11-8 ATS) are just 3-3 SU and ATS away in the conference, most recently losing at Syracuse (64-61 OT) and Pittsburgh (72-60). The former was a cover as 9-point ‘dogs. Georgetown is 16th in the nation in scoring defense (58.9 PPG), but the ‘over’ and ‘under’ have alternated the last nine games, with an ‘under’ due Saturday if the trend holds.

Providence (13-14 SU, 10-11 ATS) is in the Big East cellar at 2-12 SU. Both of those wins were at home, including a 90-59 shocker over Louisville as 9-point ‘dogs on January 10. The Friars are 3-2 ATS in their last five home games with the ‘under’ 4-1.

The road team has dominated this matchup, 7-0 ATS in the last seven. That includes a 49-40 Georgetown win as 13½-point home favorites on December 31.

No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Villanova Wildcats
9:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU

Notre Dame (18-8 SU, 9-9-2 ATS) is on a 7-game winning streak and covered six of them. Defense has been the key during this span at 55.3 PPG allowed. Team scoring has been boosted to 71.5 PPG in the last four. That’s helped the ‘over’ go 3-1 after the ‘under’ started 8-1 in the conference.

Villanova (11-14 SU, 6-16 ATS) is among the worst ATS teams in the entire nation. That includes going 0-5 ATS in the last five (two at home). Leading scorer Maalik Wayns (17.8 PPG) missed last game at South Florida (65-51 loss) and is questionable for this one. Scoring will be very tough without him.

This is the first meeting this season. Nova won (90-72) the last home encounter in January 2010, but that was a completely different squad.

No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 19 Michigan Wolverines
9:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

The Buckeyes (22-4 SU, 13-8 ATS) are tied with Michigan State (10-3 SU) at the top of the Big Ten standings. They’ll meet in the final game of the season in East Lansing. Ohio State had a couple of early conference road losses at Indiana (74-70) and Illinois (79-74), but is 3-0 SU and ATS the last three away, including a win (58-52) at then No. 20 Wisconsin.

The Wolverines (19-7 SU, 13-9-1 ATS) are 14-0 at home this year, 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS in the conference. They lead the Big Ten in three-point attempts (603) and make a respectable amount (35.2 percent). They’ll need to shoot well as they have trouble matching Ohio State on the boards.

Ohio State won and just barely covered (64-49 as 14-point favorites) the meeting in Columbus on January 29. Michigan covered the previous six, with two of them coming in Ann Arbor.
 

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Saturday’s betting tips: Georgia Tech suspends Rice Jr.

Who’s hot

NBA: San Antonio is 8-1-1 against the spread in its last 10 overall.

NBA: Memphis has covered in four of its last five meetings with Golden State.

NHL: The under is 7-0-1 in the last eight Stars-Coyotes matchups.

NHL: Pittsburgh has won seven of its last nine games in Philadelphia.

NCAAB: Louisville is 11-4 ATS in its last 14 meetings with DePaul.

NCAAB: New Mexico is 18-7-1 against the spread in its 26 overall.

Who’s not

NBA: The New Jersey Nets are 1-6 against the number in their last seven.

NBA: Portland is 0-6 against the spread in its last six meetings with Atlanta.

NHL: Minnesota has won just five of its last 27.

NHL: Calgary is 3-9 in its last 12 road games.

NCAAB: N.C. State is 5-15-1 against the spread in its last 21 home games.

NCAAB: Baylor is 8-21 against the number in its last 29 Big 12 games.

Key stat

73.4 – Missouri Tigers forward Ricardo Ratliffe leads the nation shooting 73.4 percent from the floor, which has him in the running to set a 31-year-old NCAA record set by Oregon State’s Steve Johnson, who hit 74.6 percent of his shots in 1980-81. The Tigers visit Texas A&M as 6.5-point favorites.

Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers – Aldridge (ankle) was a limited participant in Friday’s practice and is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday’s matchup with Atlanta. He will give it a go at Saturday’s shootaround and evaluate his status again then. Aldridge averages 22.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

Game of the day

San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers (-3, 192)

Notable quotable

“Our whole team right now is starting to jel together. In the past week, this might be the biggest leap I’ve seen (this season), just in terms of guys playing basketball the way we play, especially offensively. It’s good. It’s heading in the right direction.” – Michigan senior guard Zack Novak on the Michigan Wolverines’ preparation for Saturday’s meeting with Ohio State. The Wolverines are set as 5-point home underdogs and as of Friday evening and more than 66 percent of *********** Consensus bettors were supporting the Wolverines.

Notes and tips

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have suspended junior guard Glen Rice Jr. indefinitely on Friday, but wouldn’t disclose the reason for the suspension. He will miss Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech. Rice leads the Georgia Tech averaging 13 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. The Yellow Jackets were set as 9-point underdogs as of Friday evening.

The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Hal Gill from the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. The Predators also received a conditional 2013 draft pick, in exchange for forwards Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a 2012 second-round pick. Gill has 36 goals and 143 assists in 1,047 regular-season games. The 36-year-old also has 105 games of playoff experience. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Predators host Chicago Saturday.

Purdue kicked guard Kelsey Barlow off the team and suspended forward D.J. Byrd following an early-morning incident at a bar on Friday. Byrd allegedly assaulted a bouncer at Where Else bar near the Purdue campus and Barlow was kicked out of the bar earlier in the night. Barlow was suspended last season for conduct detrimental to the team just before last year's NCAA tournament, which led to his final dismissal from the squad. Byrd was arrested for public intoxication by Indiana State Police and spent five hours in jail. He will miss Sunday's home game against Michigan State.

The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates have come to terms on a deal for righthander A.J. Burnett, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday. The trade, which also includes a pair of prospects heading to the Yankees, will need the approval of Major League Baseball due to the money involved. It is not immediately known the identities of the prospects. Pittsburgh is expected to absorb $13-15 million of the $33 million that the 35-year-old Burnett is owed for the 2012-13 seasons. Burnett posted an 11-11 record with a 5.15 ERA in 32 starts last season. He has recorded a 34-35 mark with a 4.79 ERA since signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract prior to the 2009 campaign.
 

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Armadillo: Saturday's six-pack

-- Knicks signed JR Smith, then went out and lost to Smith's old team, the 7-23 Hornets, 89-85. Rough first half for Jeremy Lin, turning ball over eight times. New York hosts the Mavericks Sunday.

-- 76ers led Dallas 51-37 at the half, then got outscored 45-24 in second half; both teams are now 20-11. How does an NBA team, expecially a good team, score 24 points in 24 minutes?

-- Minnesota is the only NBA team with a winning road record and a losing home record; 15-16 T'wolves won 111-98 at Houston Friday, as they beat one of Coach Adelman's former employers.

-- Miami was up 23-5 at Cleveland, won by 24; can't be lot of fun for Cavalier fans to see Lebron James come to town as the enemy.

-- Monta Ellis/Russell Westbrook both got hurt in Golden State's loss at Oklahoma City. Condensed schedule is causing lot of injuries, and even if thats not the cause, people like me will say it is.......lol

-- Home teams won both Bracket Buster games, VCU by 9 over UNI and Loyola Marymount over Valparaiso by 8.


*******************


Armadillo: Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........

13) Felt bad the other night watching a 9-minute clip of Bruce Weber’s press conference after Illinois lost at home to Purdue; at first, I thought Weber was going to resign on the spot, but he just vented for a few minutes, obviously disappointed with where his program his headed.

Rumors are out there that it might not be his program much longer, if things don’t turn around. Illinois is a talent-rich state; while there is no doubt that Weber is a skilled tactician, there is a lot of doubt whether he can recruit well enough to stay at the top of Big Dozen standings. Got to have players to win.

12) There are two main arguments against Illinois pulling the plug on Weber after this season:
a) He’s an honest man/solid coach who has taken his team to the Final Four and........
b) Illini paid football coach Ron Zook $2.6M to go away; it would cost them $3.9M more to buy out Weber’s deal.

Might be simpler to give Weber one more year to see what he can do to salvage his program, which is 60-56 in conference play since the Final Four season in 2005. Thats not exactly horrendous, just that people get greedy and expect their team to win all the time.

11) There are 120 I-A college football teams; since West Virginia bought out of its game this fall with Florida State for $350,000, Seminoles have talked to 31 different programs, trying to replace WVU on its schedule. So far, no luck, but hard to believe someone won’t take FSU’s money to go down south and get spanked in September.

Otherwise, guess they’ll schedule a I-AA opponent, which cheats the fans out of seeing a decent game.

10) Tuesday night, Creighton had one of the greatest shooting games in college basketball history; they shot a ludicrous 77.5% (31-40) from the floor, 12-14 from the arc, only 14-20 from the foul line. Weird thing is that Bluejays lost their last three games before that, supporting the theory that says defense is more of a constant than offense.

9) Speaking of hot shooting in the MVC, Indiana State set a record last week, going 12-12 from the arc in a game; it was the most made 3’s in one game without a miss.

8) One of the newest rumors has Sacramento Kings moving into the new $450M arena they’re going to build in Seattle, where they’re also trying to lure an NHL team (Islanders?). Both Seattle/Sacramento deserve an NBA team; why not the Hornets to Seattle?

7) College baseball starts this week, which is good for me, since I have about 1,000 TV stations on DirecTV, got to catch end of the Washington-San Diego State game Friday. Nothing like the sound of a composite bat meeting the cowhide ball, or something like that.......

6) Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney bagged $265,000 in bonuses for Clemson’s season LY; he passed that money onto his assistant coaches, so they could get raises. Now that’s how to foster loyalty amongst your employees.

5) NC-Charlotte is starting up a football program, which will make them a more attractive candidate for conference expansion. 49ers haven’t been same in hoops since they bolted Conference USA for the Atlantic 14.

4) Turns out that NBA players haven’t been getting their full licensing check from the Players’ Association for the last five years; union was holding back money as a war chest for players in the event of a cancelled season this year. Now the players will be getting that money. Every player makes the same amount, by the way; Lebron James gets the same licensing check that Brian Scalabrine does.

3) From Easy Decision Department: Marlins offered Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes $36M for six years; Oakland offered him $36M for four years. Advantage, Oakland.

2) Once Final Four is over, does that mean all these college conferences start switching teams again? I mean, there is a rumor that East Carolina and Hawai’i might wind up in the same football conference. That is just plain dumb, but only slightly dumber than San Diego State/Rutgers being conference rivals, and that’s already etched in stone.

1) Been a big month in New York for greedy bastards; Gas is up to $3.87 a gallon, they’re making smaller candy bars while charging same amount, but at least Time Warner/MSG Network settled their messy dispute, in part due to demand from New Yorkers who want to watch the Knicks, now that they're good. So of course, with MSG back on cable, the Knicks go out and lose to a 7-23 team. Maybe it was Time Warner's fault.
 

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Dunkel


First Post

Notre Dame at Villanova
The Irish look to take advantage of a Villanova team that is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 Saturday games. Notre Dame is the pick (-1 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Irish favored by 6. Dunkel Pick: Notre Dame (-1 1/2). Here are all of today's early games.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

Game 509-510: Louisville at DePaul (12:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Louisville 66.182; DePaul 58.948
Dunkel Line: Louisville by 7 1/2; 144
Vegas Line: Louisville by 10; 148 1/2
Dunkel Pick: DePaul (+10); Under

Game 511-512: Marquette at Connecticut (12:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Marquette 65.459; Connecticut 68.892
Dunkel Line: Connecticut by 3 1/2; 142
Vegas Line: Connecticut by 2; 137
Dunkel Pick Connecticut (-2); Over

Game 513-514: UCLA at St. John's (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UCLA 64.377; St. John's 59.370
Dunkel Line: UCLA by 5; 133
Vegas Line: UCLA by 3; 138
Dunkel Pick: UCLA (-3); Under

Game 515-516: UNLV at New Mexico (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UNLV 67.541; New Mexico 70.515
Dunkel Line: New Mexico by 3; 147
Vegas Line: New Mexico by 5 1/2; 141 1/2
Dunkel Pick: UNLV (+5 1/2); Over

Game 517-518: Wake Forest at Miami (FL) (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wake Forest 55.002; Miami (FL) 67.110
Dunkel Line: Miami (FL) by 12; 139
Vegas Line: Miami (FL) by 14 1/2; 135
Dunkel Pick: Wake Forest (+14 1/2); Over

Game 519-520: Florida State at NC State (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida State 65.024; NC State 67.643
Dunkel Line: NC State by 2 1/2; 129
Vegas Line: NC State by 1 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: NC State (-1 1/2); Under

Game 521-522: Maryland at Virginia (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Maryland 57.396; Virginia 69.546
Dunkel Line: Virginia by 12; 123
Vegas Line: Virginia by 9; 119
Dunkel Pick: Virginia (-9); Over

Game 523-524: UTEP at Memphis (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UTEP 57.475; Memphis 70.047
Dunkel Line: Memphis by 12 1/2; 128
Vegas Line: Memphis by 15; 132 1/2
Dunkel Pick: UTEP (+15); Under

Game 525-526: Tennessee at Alabama (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tennessee 62.709; Alabama 70.834
Dunkel Line: Alabama by 8; 124
Vegas Line: Alabama by 3; 119 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Alabama (-3); Over

Game 527-528: LSU at South Carolina (1:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LSU 63.164; South Carolina 60.417
Dunkel Line: LSU by 2 1/2; 122
Vegas Line: South Carolina by 2 1/2; 124
Dunkel Pick: LSU (+2 1/2); Under

Game 529-530: Kansas State at Baylor (1:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas State 66.662; Baylor 72.250
Dunkel Line: Baylor by 5 1/2; 144
Vegas Line: Baylor by 7 1/2; 136 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas State (+7 1/2); Over

Game 531-532: Oklahoma at Iowa State (1:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma 58.550; Iowa State 70.482
Dunkel Line: Iowa State by 12; 133
Vegas Line: Iowa State by 8; 139 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Iowa State (-8); Under

Game 533-534: Missouri at Texas A&M (2:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Missouri 73.086; Texas A&M 64.269
Dunkel Line: Missouri by 9; 142
Vegas Line: Missouri by 6 1/2; 130
Dunkel Pick: Missouri (-6 1/2); Over

Game 535-536: Duquesne at Temple (2:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Duquesne 58.395; Temple 68.127
Dunkel Line: Temple by 10; 141
Vegas Line: Temple by 12; 147
Dunkel Pick: Duquesne (+12); Under

Game 537-538: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Georgia Tech 54.127; Virginia Tech 60.876
Dunkel Line: Virginia Tech by 6 1/2; 122
Vegas Line: Virginia Tech by 9; 118
Dunkel Pick: Georgia Tech (+9); Over

Game 539-540: Arizona at Washington (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona 65.087; Washington 69.493
Dunkel Line: Washington by 4 1/2; 135
Vegas Line: Washington by 3 1/2; 139
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-3 1/2); Under

Game 541-542: Marshall at SMU (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Marshall 59.479; SMU 57.254
Dunkel Line: Marshall by 2; 114
Vegas Line: Marshall by 4 1/2; 117
Dunkel Pick: SMU (+4 1/2); Under

Game 543-544: TCU at Boise State (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: TCU 54.948; Boise State 61.935
Dunkel Line: Boise State by 7; 146
Vegas Line: Boise State by 5; 141
Dunkel Pick: Boise State (-5); Over

Game 545-546: San Diego State at Air Force (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego State 63.962; Air Force 54.861
Dunkel Line: San Diego State by 9; 115
Vegas Line: San Diego State by 4; 119
Dunkel Pick: San Diego State (-4); Under

Game 547-548: Mississippi at Kentucky (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Mississippi 59.458; Kentucky 78.527
Dunkel Line: Kentucky by 19; 138
Vegas Line: Kentucky by 22; 133
Dunkel Pick: Mississippi (+22); Over

Game 549-550: Clemson at North Carolina (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Clemson 61.526; North Carolina 77.273
Dunkel Line: North Carolina by 16; 140
Vegas Line: North Carolina by 12 1/2; 143
Dunkel Pick: North Carolina (-12 1/2); Under

Game 551-552: Fordham at St. Louis (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Fordham 48.178; St. Louis 68.171
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 20; 129
Vegas Line: St. Louis by 21 1/2; 125
Dunkel Pick: Fordham (+21 1/2); Over

Game 553-554: St. Joseph's at George Washington (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Joseph's 61.539; George Washington 59.713
Dunkel Line: St. Joseph's by 2; 128
Vegas Line: St. Joseph's by 3 1/2; 132
Dunkel Pick: George Washington (+3 1/2); Under

Game 555-556: Texas at Oklahoma State (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas 69.405; Oklahoma State 64.738
Dunkel Line: Texas by 4 1/2; 140
Vegas Line: Texas by 2 1/2; 135 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-2 1/2); Over

Game 557-558: Seton Hall at Cincinnati (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seton Hall 61.561; Cincinnati 69.674
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 8; 136
Vegas Line: Cincinnati by 6; 129 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-6); Over

Game 559-560: Rhode Island at St. Bonaventure (4:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Rhode Island 53.331; St. Bonaventure 62.606
Dunkel Line: St. Bonaventure by 9 1/2; 133
Vegas Line: St. Bonaventure by 11 1/2; 136
Dunkel Pick: Rhode Island (+11 1/2); Under

Game 561-562: UL-Lafayette at North Texas (4:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UL-Lafayette 51.459; North Texas 61.463
Dunkel Line: North Texas by 10; 144
Vegas Line: North Texas by 6; 139 1/2
Dunkel Pick: North Texas (-6); Over

Game 563-564: Illinois at Nebraska (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Illinois 63.030; Nebraska 62.280
Dunkel Line: Illinois by 1; 117
Vegas Line: Illinois by 2 1/2; 121
Dunkel Pick: Nebraska (+2 1/2); Under

Game 565-566: Colorado at Utah (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado 61.190; Utah 53.393
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 8; 119
Vegas Line: Colorado by 10 1/2; 123 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Utah (+10 1/2); Under

Game 567-568: LaSalle at Massachusetts (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LaSalle 61.441; Massachusetts 65.428
Dunkel Line: Massachusetts by 4; 147
Vegas Line: Massachusetts by 2 1/2; 140
Dunkel Pick: Massachusetts (-2 1/2); Over

Game 569-570: UL-Monroe at Denver (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UL-Monroe 41.667; Denver 60.874
Dunkel Line: Denver by 19; 123
Vegas Line: Denver by 21; 127
Dunkel Pick: UL-Monroe (+21); Under

Game 571-572: Florida at Arkansas (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 67.827; Arkansas 61.383
Dunkel Line: Florida by 6 1/2; 153
Vegas Line: Florida by 4; 146
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-4); Over

Game 573-574: Charlotte at Richmond (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 52.506; Richmond 61.740
Dunkel Line: Richmond by 9; 132
Vegas Line: Richmond by 7; 136 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Richmond (-7); Under

Game 575-576: Cornell at Princeton (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings:
Dunkel Line:
Vegas Line:
Dunkel Pick:

Game 577-578: Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee State (6:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida Atlantic 51.880; Middle Tennessee State 60.190
Dunkel Line: Middle Tennessee State by 8 1/2; 133
Vegas Line: Middle Tennessee State by 10; 126 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida Atlantic (+10); Over

Game 579-580: Georgetown at Providence (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Georgetown 69.315; Providence 60.528
Dunkel Line: Georgetown by 9; 127
Vegas Line: Georgetown by 7; 133
Dunkel Pick: Georgetown (-7); Under

Game 581-582: Columbia at Pennsylvania (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings:
Dunkel Line:
Vegas Line:
Dunkel Pick:

Game 583-584: Brown at Dartmouth (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings:
Dunkel Line:
Vegas Line:
Dunkel Pick:

Game 585-586: Yale at Harvard (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings:
Dunkel Line:
Vegas Line:
Dunkel Pick:

Game 587-588: East Carolina at Central Florida (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: East Carolina 53.750; Central Florida 65.078
Dunkel Line: Central Florida by 11 1/2; 127
Vegas Line: Central Florida by 9; 133 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Central Florida (-9); Under

Game 589-590: Minnesota at Northwestern (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 65.135; Northwestern 66.017
Dunkel Line: Northwestern by 1; 138
Vegas Line: Northwestern by 4; 135 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+4); Over

Game 591-592: BYU at Santa Clara (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: BYU 66.133; Santa Clara 50.570
Dunkel Line: BYU by 15 1/2; 150
Vegas Line: BYU by 13; 153 1/2
Dunkel Pick: BYU (-13); Under

Game 593-594: Texas Tech at Kansas (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas Tech 52.137; Kansas 75.943
Dunkel Line: Kansas by 24; 133
Vegas Line: Kansas by 25 1/2; 127 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas Tech (+25 1/2); Over

Game 595-596: Mississippi State at Auburn (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Mississippi State 63.120; Auburn 58.094
Dunkel Line: Mississippi State by 5; 127
Vegas Line: Mississippi State by 2 1/2; 131 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Mississippi State (-2 1/2); Under

Game 597-598: Florida International at Arkansas State (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida International 51.007; Arkansas State 54.950
Dunkel Line: Arkansas State by 4; 122
Vegas Line: Arkansas State by 5 1/2; 125 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida International (+5 1/2); Under

Game 599-600: Western Kentucky at South Alabama (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Western Kentucky 51.381; South Alabama 56.657
Dunkel Line: South Alabama by 5 1/2; 139
Vegas Line: South Alabama by 4 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: South Alabama (-4 1/2); Over

Game 601-602: Gonzaga at San Francisco (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Gonzaga 66.877; San Francisco 63.035
Dunkel Line: Gonzaga by 4; 151
Vegas Line: Gonzaga by 5 1/2; 147 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+5 1/2); Over

Game 603-604: Rice at Tulsa (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Rice 55.443; Tulsa 65.669
Dunkel Line: Tulsa by 10; 126
Vegas Line: Tulsa by 8; 130 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tulsa (-8); Under

Game 605-606: Tulane at UAB (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tulane 54.743; UAB 60.594
Dunkel Line: UAB by 6; 108
Vegas Line: UAB by 7; 112
Dunkel Pick: Tulane (+7); Under

Game 607-608: Dayton at Xavier (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Dayton 57.723; Xavier 62.478
Dunkel Line: Xavier by 5; 147
Vegas Line: Xavier by 8; 143
Dunkel Pick: Dayton (+8); Over

Game 609-610: Arizona State at Washington State (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona State 51.489; Washington State 64.630
Dunkel Line: Washington State by 13; 136
Vegas Line: Washington State by 9 1/2; 130
Dunkel Pick: Washington State (-9 1/2); Over

Game 611-612: Arkansas-Little Rock at Troy (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arkansas-Little Rock 54.856; Troy 48.740
Dunkel Line: Arkansas-Little Rock by 6; 129
Vegas Line: Arkansas-Little Rock by 2 1/2; 138
Dunkel Pick: Arkansas-Little Rock (-2 1/2); Under

Game 613-614: Southern Mississippi at Houston (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Southern Mississippi 60.983; Houston 54.174
Dunkel Line: Southern Mississippi by 7; 145
Vegas Line: Southern Mississippi by 9 1/2; 142 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+9 1/2); Over

Game 615-616: Wyoming at Colorado State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wyoming 59.795; Colorado State 63.476
Dunkel Line: Colorado State by 3 1/2; 121
Vegas Line: Colorado State by 2; 125 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado State (-2); Under

Game 617-618: Ohio State at Michigan (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ohio State 75.359; Michigan 72.891
Dunkel Line: Ohio State by 2 1/2; 129
Vegas Line: Ohio State by 5 1/2; 126
Dunkel Pick: Michigan (+5 1/2); Over

Game 619-620: Notre Dame at Villanova (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Notre Dame 70.547; Villanova 64.353
Dunkel Line: Notre Dame by 6; 131
Vegas Line: Notre Dame by 1 1/2; 135
Dunkel Pick: Notre Dame (-1 1/2); Under

Game 621-622: Oregon State at California (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oregon State 59.984; California 67.807
Dunkel Line: California by 8; 157
Vegas Line: California by 10; 151
Dunkel Pick: Oregon State (+10); Over

Game 623-624: Portland at Pepperdine (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Portland 48.866; Pepperdine 49.544
Dunkel Line: Pepperdine by 1; 122
Vegas Line: Pepperdine by 3; 127
Dunkel Pick: Portland (+3); Under

Game 625-626: Western Carolina at Elon (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Western Carolina 45.811; Elon 50.408
Dunkel Line: Elon by 4 1/2; 139
Vegas Line: Elon by 2 1/2; 143 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Elon (-2 1/2); Under

Game 627-628: Furman at Samford (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Furman 47.687; Samford 52.781
Dunkel Line: Samford by 5; 133
Vegas Line: Samford by 1; 129
Dunkel Pick: Samford (-1); Over

Game 629-630: The Citadel at Chattanooga (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: The Citadel 41.022; Chattanooga 50.068
Dunkel Line: Chattanooga by 9; 133
Vegas Line: Chattanooga by 11; 138 1/2
Dunkel Pick: The Citadel (+11); Under

Game 631-632: NC Greensboro at Georgia Southern (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NC Greensboro 50.036; Georgia Southern 56.331
Dunkel Line: Georgia Southern by 6 1/2; 144
Vegas Line: Georgia Southern by 5; 140
Dunkel Pick: Georgia Southern (-5); Over

Game 633-634: Drexel at Cleveland State (11:00 a.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Drexel 61.252; Cleveland State 61.162
Dunkel Line: Even; 111
Vegas Line: Cleveland State by 3 1/2; 117
Dunkel Pick: Drexel (+3 1/2); Under

Game 635-636: Wichita State at Davidson (12:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wichita State 67.759; Davidson 66.135
Dunkel Line: Wichita State by 1 1/2; 155
Vegas Line: Wichita State by 3; 149 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Davidson (+3); Over

Game 637-638: Tennessee Tech at Coastal Carolina (12:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tennessee Tech 47.150; Coastal Carolina 54.776
Dunkel Line: Coastal Carolina by 7 1/2; 138
Vegas Line: Coastal Carolina by 4 1/2; 144 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Coastal Carolina (-4 1/2); Under

Game 639-640: College of Charleston at Kent State (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: College of Charleston 51.186; Kent State 63.813
Dunkel Line: Kent State by 12 1/2; 147
Vegas Line: Kent State by 8; 144
Dunkel Pick: Kent State (-8); Over

Game 641-642: Liberty at Morgan State (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Liberty 50.615; Morgan State 43.113
Dunkel Line: Liberty by 7 1/2; 141
Vegas Line: Morgan State by 2; 137 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Liberty (+2); Over

Game 643-644: Stony Brook at Northeastern (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Stony Brook 52.122; Northeastern 53.766
Dunkel Line: Northeastern by 1 1/2; 117
Vegas Line: Northeastern by 3; 122
Dunkel Pick: Stony Brook (+3); Under

Game 645-646: Buffalo at South Dakota State (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 58.632; South Dakota State 67.751
Dunkel Line: South Dakota State by 9; 143
Vegas Line: South Dakota State by 7; 146 1/2
Dunkel Pick: South Dakota State (-7); Under

Game 647-648: William & Mary at VMI (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: William & Mary 44.340; VMI 50.034
Dunkel Line: VMI by 5 1/2; 163
Vegas Line: VMI by 4; 155
Dunkel Pick: VMI (-4); Over

Game 649-650: Hampton at Delaware (2:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Hampton 49.015; Delaware 58.833
Dunkel Line: Delaware by 10; 141
Vegas Line: Delaware by 12; 137
Dunkel Pick: Hampton (+12); Over
 

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Armadillo's Write-Up

Saturday, February 18


Marquette won eight of last nine games, but road wins during run came at Providence-Villanova-DePaul, three of Big East's worst teams; Eagles are 2-0 as Big East dog, covering in losses at Georgetown/Syracuse, by 3-7 points. UConn lost five of last seven games, are still without coach Calhoun (back); Huskies are 3-2-1 as Big East home fave, 4-2 SU, with two losses by combined total of 5 points. Big East home teams are 13-8 vs spread when number is 2 or less points.

New Mexico (+7) lost 80-63 at UNLV Jan 21, turning ball over 21 times in game they trailed by just 4 at half; Lobos are 6-0 since then, winning at San Diego State last game- they won last three home games, by 33-17-10 points. UNLV is underdog for first time since beating Illinois by 16 in Chicago Dec 17; they're 2-1 as dog this year, but 2-3 SU on MWC road, with three of five games going to OT. Mountain West single digit home favorites are 3-8 against the spread.

NC State blew 20-point 2nd-half lead in Thursday's loss at Duke, while Florida State was down 9 with 1:13 left, but rallied to win 48-47 at home over Va Tech; interesting to see how teams do on quick turnaround here. Seminoles won nine of last 10 games, but didn't cover any of last five; its loss at BC in last road game is red flag. ACC home favorites of less than 5 points are 2-5 vs spread. As good a season as NC State is having, they are 1-6 vs teams ranked in top 40 (FSU is #25).

Baylor (+3.5) won 75-73 at Kansas State Jan 10, when both sides were playing better than they are now; both teams shot 50%+ in that game, with 18+ turnovers. Bears lost two of last three games, are 2-7 vs spread in last nine; they're 2-4 as Big X home favorite. Big X single digit home favorites are 12-8 against the spread. K-State lost last two games, by 11-6 points; they're 1-4 as Big X underdog, losing away games by 18-9-2-11 points, with wins at Oklahoma State/Texas Tech.

Washington (+4.5) won 69-67 at Arizona Jan 28, even though they got outscored 21-7 on foul line. Huskies won seven of last eight games, are 5-2 as Pac-12 home favorite, winning 6 of 8 home games by 8+ points. Arizona won its last five games, with three of five on road; they're 4-1 as a Pac-12 road dog, with last three conference losses all by 1 or 2 points. Pac-12 underdogs are 17-10 vs spread in games where spread is 4 or less points. Huskies' last home game; Gant is only senior who plays.

Cincinnati won three of last four games; they're 2-3 as a Big East home favorite, with three of four home wins by 8+ points. Seton Hall won its last three games, allowing 61.3 ppg, after 6-game skid that put them on bubble; Pirates are 3-7 in last 10 games vs top 100 teams, 2-3 as Big East road underdog, with only wins on Big East road at Providence/Rutgers. Pirates lost 70-53 in their visit to Cincinnati LY. Big East home favorites are 12-19 when spread is less than 7 points.

Arkansas is 5-0 at home in SEC games, 0-6 on road; they've already got home upsets over Miss State/Vanderbilt, and they also beat Michigan by hoop on this court. Florida lost two of last three games, winning its last game at undermanned Alabama; Gators are 3-2 on SEC road, with wins by 14-4-9 points, and losses at Tennessee/Kentucky. SEC home dogs of 6 or less points are 8-6 vs spread; SEC home teams are 14-6 vs spread when pointspread is 5 or less points. Florida assistant coach Pelphrey was the Arkansas head coach until he got fired last spring.

Michigan (+14) lost 64-49 at Ohio State Jan 29, shooting 35.8% from floor in game Buckeyes led by 7 with 5:00 left. Ohio State had 15-3 edge on foul line that game. Wolverines are 7-0 at home in conference games, upsetting Badgers/Spartans here- they held last four opponents to 56.8 ppg. Big Dozen home underdogs of 7 or less points are 13-7 against the spread. Ohio State won seven of last eight games, winning last three on road by 29-6-10; their road losses are at Indiana/Illinois.

Drexel won its last 14 games, but is just 2-3 vs teams ranked in top 100; they've got one senior who plays. Cleveland State lost last three games, last two by combined total of 5 points; they lost last game 86-84, after they scored 41-49 points in previous two games, so they're struggling to find their way. Vikings lost by 10 to CAA's Hofstra on neutral court in November. CAA road underdogs of 7 or less points are 4-16 against spread; Horizon home favorites are 4-9 against the spread.

Davidson is 14-2 in Southern Conference, 6-4 outside it because they've played #15 non-league schedule in country; Wildcats beat Kansas, so they're capable foe for Wichita State squad that is 13-1 in last 14 games, winning by 21 at Creighton in last road game. Missouri Valley road favorites of 5 or less points are 8-2-1 vs spread; So Con home underdogs are 6-6, but 1-5 if spread is less than 5 points. Davidson lost to Duke by 13, Vandy by 4, UMass by 8- best three teams that beat them.

Long trip for Nevada team that was in Hawai'i last week; Wolf Pack has won 19 of last 20 games after 3-3 start; they beat Washington, won on a tough Montana court, lost by only 4 at UNLV, but have to question if travel to NYC area will be issue. Iona is much more veteran team playing in weaker (#19) league (WAC is #12). WAC road underdogs are 19-11-1 vs spread, 10-7 if spread is single digits. MAAC home favorites are 2-6 against the spread out of conference.

Was all set to use St Mary's as a pick today, but they come east banged up, with defensive ace Holt out, best guard Dellavedova doubtful, so no play on Gaels, who lost two of last three games and haven't been east of Rockies this year. Murray State won last two games after finally losing for first time, but they're dominating the #25 OVC, while St Mary's is on top of #11 WCC. Murray State beat WCC's San Francisco by 3 in Alaska in November, on its way to winning the Alaskan Shootout.

Creighton snapped 3-game skid last game, shooting 78% in 88-69 win at Southern Illinois; Bluejays represent #8 MVC, while Long Beach is from #22 Big West, though they're by far best team in that conference. 49ers played the #3 non-league schedule in country, but they're 0-4 vs top 50 teams. MVC home favorites of 7 or less points are 5-8 vs spread. Big West road underdogs of less than 9 points are 9-4 against the spread. Both these teams had close calls at San Diego State back in November.
 

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Saturday, February 18


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Game of the day: Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
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Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Wolverines (5, 126)

THE STORY
: The time is now for No. 19 Michigan if it wants to stake its claim in the Big Ten race. The Wolverines, who are 14-0 at the Crisler Center, find themselves one game out of first place in the conference standings behind co-leaders Michigan State and Ohio State with five games left on their schedule.

However, the No. 6 Buckeyes – who have won six straight in this series, including a 64-49 triumph on Jan. 29 – will present the biggest challenge to Michigan’s home winning streak yet as the highest-ranked opponent the Wolverines have faced at Crisler this season.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN3.com

LINE: Oddsmakers had the Wolverines set as 5-point home underdogs with a 126-point total at the open.

ABOUT OHIO STATE (22-4, 10-3 Big Ten): As one of the top-scoring teams in the conference that leads the Big Ten in scoring margin (18.7) and field goal percentage (48.1), it’s not surprising the Buckeyes have lost two of the five games in which they were either held to 67 points or less or shot less than 43.1 percent from the field.

Michigan held the Buckeyes to their third-lowest point total of the season and fourth-lowest shooting percentage (42.6) in January. While standout Jared Sullinger struggled in the first meeting, sophomore Lenzelle Smith Jr. emerged with 17 points and 12 rebounds for his only career double-double.

ABOUT MICHIGAN (19-7, 9-4): The Wolverines are one of two Big Ten teams – along with Michigan State – who are undefeated at home this season. Michigan held Sullinger to 13 points in the teams’ first meeting – his low in conference play – and will likely need another strong defensive performance from 6-foot-8, 250-pound Jordan Morgan to reverse its fortunes in this contest.

In the four games since the loss to the Buckeyes last month when the Wolverines committed 13 turnovers and shot 35.8 percent from the field, Michigan has averaged only eight turnovers and shot 47.8 percent or better in three of those contests.

TRENDS:

- Michigan has covered the number in six of its last seven meetings with Ohio State.
- Ohio State is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight.
- The under is 9-2 in Michigan's last 11 overall.

TIP-INS:

1. Ohio State has five wins in eight tries against ranked teams this season.

2. Michigan has shot better than 40 percent from the 3-point line three times in the last four games, one more than it did in its first nine conference games.

3. Sullinger and William Buford each need three rebounds to reach 600 for their careers, which would allow them to become the 18th and 19th players in school history to do so.
 

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Saturday, February 18


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Mid-Major Report: Betting the BracketBusters
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Last February, VCU went into its BracketBuster matchup as a 9-point road underdog against a solid Wichita State team. The Rams were on a two-game losing streak and had little chance of making the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Shaka Smart, however, had his squad pull off a huge 68-67 upset win over the Shockers. Smart’s team was, of course, later granted an at-large play-in spot in the NCAA and pulled off the unthinkable by reaching the Final Four. If that isn't a BracketBuster, we don't know what is.

This year the quality of mid-major hoops is the highest it’s been in years and this weekend’s slate of BracketBusters provides the best of what small schools have to offer. Here’s a closer look at some of the key games.

Wichita State Shockers at Davidson Wildcats (3, 149.5)

All the mid-major talk has been about St. Mary’s, Murray State and Creighton. But the 23-4 Shockers have been the hottest small-conference team in recent weeks. Their biggest win came last week in an 89-68 road win over Creighton, which placed them in the Top 25 polls. Beating Davidson on the road will be no easy task for Wichita State. The Wildcats are 20-6 this season and have only lost once game at home (9-2 ATS at home) - a close 87-83 defeat to Vanderbilt of the SEC.

Akron Zips at Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (-4.5, 140.5)

The Summit League is one of the hidden gems of college basketball, with almost every school playing an up-tempo game. Oral Roberts has maintained a 16-1 conference record and will look to stay undefeated at home (4-8 ATS at home) against a balanced Akron team. The Zips are averaging a decent 73.4 points per game, but their leading scorer is Zeke Marshall, who is averaging just 10.5 points per game. He’s one of seven players averaging 7.5 points or more on the year for a deep Akron attack.

Nevada Wolf Pack at Iona Gaels (-7.5, 149.5)

It’s the best in the WAC against the best in the MAAC and this could be the most exciting game of the weekend. The 22-4 Wolf Pack have a veteran squad and will look to slowdown an Iona offense that is averaging 82.9 points per game - second highest in the Div. I hoops. The Gaels are 13-12 over/under but have topped the total in four of their last five contests.

St. Mary’s Gaels at Murray State Racers (N/A)

When the BracketBuster matchups were announced, this was billed as the marquee matchup, but both have had recent struggles. The Racers saw their drive to perfection end with a loss to Tennessee State, while the Gaels had double-digit losses to Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount. Key matchups will be at point guard, with St. Mary's Aussie guard Matthew Dellavedova taking on MSU’s Isaiah Canaan, that's if Dellavedova plays. As of press time, he was listed as questionable.

UT-Arlington Mavericks at Weber State Wildcats (-3.5, 147)

The main reason to watch this matchup is Damian Lillard. The senior guard leads the NCAA in scoring and is projected to go in the second round of the NBA Draft. Lillard has surpassed the 30-point mark seven times this season and will be looking to raise his stock with ESPN cameras around. He's helped over bettors cash in on a 14-9 over/under mark on the year, with the Wildcats topping the number in six of their past 10 outings.

Long Beach State 49ers at Creighton Bluejays (-4.5, 151.5)

A couple weeks ago, Creighton was seen as a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but it’s lost three of its last four outings (1-3 ATS). If Long Beach State pulls off an upset, the Bluejays will have no choice but to win the MVC to get into the Big Dance. The 49ers head into this contest on a 12-game winning streak (6-6 ATS).

Full ESPN BracketBusters schedule

Northern Iowa vs. VCU - 7:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 17, ESPN2
Valparaiso vs. LMU - 9:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 17, ESPN2
Drexel vs. Cleveland State - 11:00 a.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPNU
Wichita State vs. Davidson - 12:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPN or ESPN2
Buffalo vs. South Dakota State - 1:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPNU
Akron vs. Oral Roberts - 2:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPN or ESPN2
Drake vs. New Mexico State - 3:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPNU
Nevada vs. Iona - 4:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18. ESPN or ESPN2
Old Dominion vs. Missouri State - 5:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPNU
Saint Mary's vs. Murray State - 6:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPN or ESPN2
UNC-Asheville vs. Ohio - 7:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPN3
UT-Arlington vs. Weber State - 8:00 p.m., Feb. 18, ESPN3
Long Beach State vs. Creighton - 10:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 18, ESPN2
 

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Saturday, February 18


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What to watch: College basketball betting TV guide
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Drexel Dragons at Cleveland State Vikings, 11 a.m., ESPNU (-2.5, 117)

The Vikings have been a shell of their former selves since a groin injury to swingman D’Aundray Brown. The senior was averaging 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game but will miss the matchup with the Dragons as he rehabs from his injury. Cleveland State is just 1-3 since Brown got hurt.

"We're missing a major part of us," Vikings coach Gary Waters told Cleveland.com. "D'Aundray is a major piece of what we're doing. He's going to be out a while, at least a week and a half, at least. If we don't get our two scorers going, we can forget about it."

Marquette Golden Eagles at Connecticut Huskies, 12 p.m., ESPN (-2, 139)

Jamil Wilson has been a beast for the Golden Eagles. The sophomore forward, starting in place of the injured Davante Gardner, has averaged 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 31 mpg since stepping into the starting lineup over the past four games. Gardner is doubtful against the Huskies, clearing the way for Wilson to continue his emergence for Marquette.

“I think we’ve just been good enough to hang in there,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’ve been ravaged by injuries and they’ve been at the same position which has really changed the complexion of our team. But I think our guys have continued to try.”

Clemson Tigers at North Carolina Tar Heels, 4 p.m., ESPN (-13.5, 143)

Clemson may be 0-55 all-time in Chapel Hill, but the Tigers have a new secret weapon: Devin Coleman. The freshman guard is averaging just 1.6 points per game but has scored nine points in each of the past two outings – wins over Virginia and Wake Forest. In those games he is 8 of 12 from the field. Coleman was a combined 2 of 23 on the season before his scoring binge.

“That’s what our team has been missing,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell told Orangeandwhite.com. “We’ve been missing one guy, a freshman, to make a couple shots in a game. If he’d have done that any other game, we’d have two more conference wins.”

Dayton Flyers at Xavier Musketeers, 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network (-8, 143)

Chris Mack claims to be planning drastic changes. The Xavier coach opted to close practice this week as he overhauled chunks of the team’s offense and defense in anticipation of the matchup with the Flyers, who haven’t beaten the Musketeers in Cincinnati since 1981.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Mack told Cincinnati.com. “You have the opportunity to correct some things on your terms and on your team (this week.) We have some functional things we need to correct.”

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines, 9 p.m., ESPN (5, 126)

Tim Hardaway Jr. might have his stroke back. The sophomore scored a combined 10 points on 4-of-21 shooting against Nebraska and Michigan State before exploding for 15 in a win over Illinois last weekend. Most importantly, he was 2 of 3 on 3-pointers after missing his previous nine attempts.

"It's common among great scorers that they'll go through times like this. Just like great hitters would or a quarterback will throw a bunch of interceptions all of the sudden," Michigan coach John Beilein told 107.3 WBBL. "A little slippage in a couple areas and then you try to do too much."

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Villanova Wildcats, 9 p.m., ESPNU (1.5, 131.5)

No one knows how the Wildcats will score if Maalik Wayns is still out with an MCL strain on Saturday. Wayns averages 17.8 points and 4.5 points per game and Villanova desperately missed him in a brutal, 65-51 loss at South Florida this week. Wayns injured his left knee on Feb. 7 but there are no updates and he likely will be a game-time decision.

“The No. 1 concern for all of us is Maalik’s long-term health,” coach Jay Wright told Philly.com. “We will be conservative with his rehab and recovery from this setback.”

Long Beach State 49ers at Creighton Bluejays, 10 p.m., ESPN2 (-5.5, 151.5)

Antoine Young just might be the key to the Bluejays turning their season around. The team’s only senior scored 15 points against Southern Illinois this week to lead the team to an 88-69 win that saw Creighton shoot a school and Missouri Valley Conference-record 77.5 percent from the field. Just as important, Young has been giving the locker room speeches and has emerged as the team’s leader.

"I told the guys this is all about having fun," Young told Omaha.com. "If we're not having fun with what we're doing, it's all going to sink. We've been working really hard the last couple of days in getting back to our principles."
 

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Saturday, February 18


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College funds: Saturday's best NCAAB bets
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Marquette Golden Eagles at Connecticut Huskies (-2, 139)

Struggling UConn needs another strong game from freshman center Andre Drummond and junior Alex Oriakhi against undersized Marquette, which has been without 6-foot-11 center Chris Otule (torn ACL) for most of the season.

The Golden Eagles will spread the Huskies out with a 4-out, 1-in motion offense to take advantage of UConn's porous perimeter defense. The Golden Eagles lead the Big East in assists (17.5) and are second in scoring (76.7).

The roles are reversed from last season when it was Buzz Williams’ team that needed a quality win to boost its NCAA Tournament chances. Darius Johnson-Odom scored nine of his 17 points in overtime and Marquette left Hartford with a 74-67 win over then-No. 14 UConn.

Oriahki had 12 points and 15 rebounds.The Golden Eagles have won nine of 10 by using their helter-skelter style to wreak havoc on opponents. Marquette, which is third in the Big East in steals (8.8), scored 25 points off 14 turnovers in Saturday’s win 95-78 win over Cincinnati.

Pick: Golden Eagles


Texas Tech Red Raiders at Kansas Jayhawks (-25.5, 127.5)


Texas Tech traveling to Allen Fieldhouse for a meeting with No. 5 Kansas is just about the most lopsided matchup possible in the Big 12. The Jayhawks, who are tied with No. 3 Missouri atop the conference, are in solid contention for their eighth straight league title.

The Red Raiders, by contrast, picked up their first Big 12 victory a week ago. Texas Tech has seven freshmen on its roster, while Kansas is much more seasoned with senior guard Tyshawn Taylor and junior big man Thomas Robinson, a national player of the year frontrunner, leading the way.

There is no doubt that Robinson is the Jayhawks’ go-to player inside, but 7-footer Jeff Withey has burst onto the scene to help create perhaps the best one-two inside punch in the country.

Withey, a redshirt junior, is averaging 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.3 blocks over the past three games since being held scoreless in a loss at Missouri on Feb. 4. Withey has 53 blocks in conference play, which is more than twice as many as any other Big 12 player.

Pick: Jayhawks
 

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