The Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies face off on Thursday in Nashville for a round two SEC College Basketball Tournament game. The Tigers are -9 point favorites over the Aggies with an over/under point total set at 131.
The Missouri Tigers have put together a solid season as they look to get back to the NCAA Tournament to avenge their first round loss a year ago. Missouri is 11-7 in the SEC, 3-1 in neutral site games, but were just 2-8 on the road this season. As a team Missouri is averaging 77.2 points, 13.9 assists, and they are shooting 46.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 67.8 points, 11.4 assists, and their opponents are shooting 40.6 percent. Laurence Bowers is averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds, Jabari Brown is averaging 14 points, Phil Pressey is averaging 11.9 points and 7.1 assists, and Alex Oriakhi is averaging 10.9 points and 8.5 rebounds. Missouri’s only two conference road wins were at Mississippi State and South Carolina.
The Texas A&M Aggies had an up and down first season in the SEC but on Wednesday they were able to hold off a stubborn Auburn team to advance to the second round in Nashville. Elston Turner had a big night on Wednesday with 22 points while Alex Caruso had 14. Kourtney Roberson had 11 points and seven rebounds and Fabyon Harris had 11 points and six rebounds but more importantly he hit five of six free throws down the stretch. Texas A&M split the season series with Missouri with each team winning at home and of course this is the first SEC Tournament for both of these teams as they came over from the Big 12.
Missouri is 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 neutral site games, 5-2 against the spread following a loss, and 3-9 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Texas A&M is 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 neutral site games, 0-4 against the spread following a win, and 0-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Texas A&M has covered the point spread in 11 of the last 14 meetings of these two.
Texas A&M hasn’t been strong in conference and I know in tournaments is where teams generally make a stand but as little of a believer I am in Missouri coach Frank Haith I still see the Tigers blowing the Aggies out here.
Missouri Tigers -9 Texas A&M Aggies
The Marquette Golden Eagles and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish face off on Thursday in Madison Square Garden as they close out third round action of the Big East College Basketball Tournament. The Golden Eagles are -2 point favorites over the Fighting Irish with an over/under point total set at 126.5.
The Marquette Golden Eagles had a solid season winning their last four games and six of their last seven games. Marquette is 14-4 in Big East play, 2-1 in neutral site games, and they finished the year ranked 12th in the nation. As a team Marquette is averaging 69.1 points, 14.5 assists, and they are shooting 46.7 percent while defensively they are allowing 62.6 points, 13.5 assists, and their opponents are shooting 40.6 percent. Vander Blue is averaging 14.4 points, Davante Gardener is averaging 11.5 points, and Jamil Wilson is averaging 9.2 points. Marquette has been a typical Buzz Williams coached team with a workman like approach.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won four of their last six games including their second round game of the Big East Tournament against Rutgers on Wednesday. Pat Connaughton went off for 21 points and Tom Knight had 18 points and nine rebounds. Jack Cooley also grabbed nine rebounds while Jerian Grant had 11 points. Notre Dame is 3-1 in neutral site games this season but 2-4 against teams ranked in the top 25. Notre Dame lost the only meeting of these two this year in a game played at Marquette. Win or lose the Irish are in the NCAA Tournament field.
Marquette is 2-6 against the spread following a win, 10-3 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover the spread, and 105 against the spread in their last six Thursday games. Notre Dame is 3-7 against the spread against a team with a winning percentage over .600, 1-6 against the spread following a cover, and 1-5 against the spread following a win.
The total here looks aggressively low and it’s just a slight lean to the over for me.
The Louisville Cardinals and the Villanova Wildcats face off on Thursday as the Big East Tournament continues in Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals are -3.5 point favorites over the Wildcats with an over/under point total set at 123.5.
The Louisville Cardinals are looking to defend their Big East Tournament title from last season but it isn’t going to be an easy road to get there. Louisville is 14-4 in Big East play, 3-1 in neutral site games, and have won their last seven games and 10 of their last 11. As a team Louisville is averaging 73.5 points, 14.9 assists, and they are shooting 4.6 percent while defensively they are allowing 59.4 points, 10.3 assists, and their opponents are shooting 38.8 percent. Russ Smith is averaging 17.9 points, Chane Behanan is averaging 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds, Gorgui Dieng is averaging 10.3 points and 10.1 rebounds, and Peyton Siva is averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 assists. Louisville looks to be peaking just at the right time.
The Villanova Wildcats look to be in the NCAA Tournament but a win in this game would cement their position in March Madness. Villanova took care of business on Wednesday knocking off a St. John’s team which is known for playing tough in madison Square garden. Mouphtaou Yarou had 18 points and seven rebounds in the win and Ryan Arcidiacono ad 15 points including going seven of eight from the free throw line. JayVaughn Pinston added 12 points and nine rebounds and Tony Chennault had eight points. Villanova played the 24th ranked schedule in the nation tis year and went 4-4 against teams ranked in the top 25 including beating Louisville soundly in their only meeting this season.
Louisville is 11-2 against the spread in their last 13 neutral site games, 30-11 against the spread following a win, and 4-0 against the spread in their last four games. Villanova is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games, 4-0 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 4-11 against the spread in their last 15 neutral site games.
The total is set at 123.5 and I have this one staying under that number.
The Missouri Tigers and the Vanderbilt Commodores face off on Saturday at Mizzou Arena in SEC college hoops action. The Tigers are -14 point favorites over the Tigers with an over/under point total set at 124.
The Missouri Tigers have been taking care of business against the lesser teams in the SEC but when they have been called on to step it up recently they have struggled. Missouri has gone 11-0 at home and have played the 33rd ranked schedule in the country but away from home they are winless. As a team Missouri is averaging 75.3 points, 13.8 assists, and they are shooting 44.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 65.7 points, 11.3 assists, and their opponents are shooting 39.4 percent. Laurence Bowers has been out but he leads Missouri averaging 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds, Phil Pressey is averaging 11.9 points and 7.2 assists, and Alex Oriakhi is averaging 10.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Missouri is clearly a better team with Bowers and they will need him to be at 100 percent in March.
The Vanderbilt Commodores have won their last two games and while they are still below .500 they are playing their best basketball of the season. Vandy is 2-2 on the road this season, 0-3 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they have played the 53rd ranked schedule in the nation. As a team Vanderbilt is averaging 59.8 points, 11.5 assists, and they are shooting 40.7 percent while defensively they are allowing 60.6 points, 10.8 assists, and their opponents are shooting 41.1 percent. Kedren Johnson is averaging 15.1 points, Kyle Fuller is averaging 10.8 points, and Rod Odom is averaging 9.2 points. Vandy plays three of their next four games on the road.
Missouri is 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games, 3-7 against the spread against the SEC, and 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against a team with a losing record. Vanderbilt is 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games, 6-2 against the spread against the SEC, and 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games overall.
We are going to see plenty of scoring in this one and the total looks to maybe even be more than 10 points to the light side making the over an easy choice.
It’s KU versus UK In the NCAA Tournament Final as the Kansas Jayhawks and the Kentucky Wildcats meet in the final game on Monday Night in New Orleans in the Super Dome. The Wildcats are -6.5 point favorites over the Jayhawks with an over/under point total set at 139.5.
It’s tough to overstate the resiliency of the Kansas Jayhawks as Bill Self’s team was down by 13 points several times against Ohio State in their Final Four match up but rallied in the second half to get the win. Kansas missed plenty of easy shots and failed to get to the line against Ohio State in the first half but in the second half they made the most of their chances to get the game close and to eventually get the win in the end. Thomas Robinson shook off a bad first half to finish with 19 points and eight rebounds, Travis Releford had 15 points and six rebounds, Elijah Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyshawn Taylor had 10 points and nine assists. Jeff Withy came up huge against the Buckeyes while he scored just four points he had eight rebounds and seven blocks and he disrupted the OSU offense all night long. Kansas shot 44.6 percent for the night, 27.3 percent from beyond the three point arc, and 78.6 percent from the free throw line. While Kansas has had their share of ups and downs all season long none of it matters except for the 40 minutes of basketball they have left.
The Kentucky Wildcats have been near or at the top of the national rankings all season long and John Calipari’s team showed on Saturday Night that they can beat a very good team without playing their very best. Kentucky was up by seven at the half and eventually won by eight but not before Louisville at least put a scare in them by mounting a comeback. Anthony Davis had 18 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocks, Darius Miller had 13 points, and Doron Lamb had 10 points. Terrance Jones had six points and seven rebounds but he came up with some very big plays and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist spent a lot of time on the bench after getting in early foul trouble. As a team UK shot 57.1 percent from the floor, 28.6 percent from beyond the three point arc, and 55 percent from the free throw line. Kentucky beat Kansas earlier this season by 10 but that game was over four and half months ago.
Kansas is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games against SEC teams, 1-4 against the spread following a cover, and 19-7 against the spread in their last 26 Monday games. Kentucky is 3-1-1 against the spread against the Big 12, 5-15-1 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover, and 3-12-1 against the spread in their last 16 non-conference games.
The total in this one is at 139.5 and the way these two teams play defense more than offsets the offensive star power and I have this one coming in under.
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Kansas Jayhawks meet for game two of the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in New Orleans. The Buckeyes are -2.5 point favorites over the Jayhawks with an over/under point total set at 134.5.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have had one goal all season long and that was to make the Final Four and to win the National Championship and while Thad Matta’s team has made the Final Four they are two wins away from a championship. OSU has been impressive thus far in the tourney knocking off Loyola-Maryland in round one and then beating a tough Gonzaga team before beating Cincinnati and Syracuse. For the season the Buckeyes are averaging 75 points and they are shooting 48 percent while defensively they are allowing 59.7 points and their opponents shoot 40.6 percent. Jared Sullinger is averaging 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds, Deshaun Thomas is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, William Buford has averaged 14.4 points but he has gone cold and Lenzelle Smith has picked it up while Aaron Craft has been an emotional leader and one of the nation’s best defenders is playing his best defense of the season. Ohio State lost earlier this season at Kansas in a game that Sullinger didn’t play in and with it being on the road it would be tough to call it any kind of indicator for this one.
The Kansas Jayhawks didn’t look to be in very good shape when they lost in the Big 12 Tournament to Baylor and lost their shot at a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament in the process but Bill Self’s team has done what they need to do and are back in the Final Four. Kansas looked convincing against Detroit in the first round before squeaking by Purdue and North Carolina State by three points each and then in the Regional Semifinal they turned a close game against North Carolina into a one sided affair. For the season Kansas averages 74.2 points, 15.2 assists, and they shoot 47.6 percent while defensively they allow just 61.6 points and their opponents shoot 38 percent. Thomas Robinson is averaging 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, Tyshawn Taylor is averaging 16.7 points and 4.6 assists, and Elijah Johnson averages 10 points. The Jayhawks expectation every year is to be in this spot so they will not be overwhelmed by the big stage.
Ohio State is 6-2 against the spread in the last eight games overall, 2-11 against the spread in their last 13 games against the Big Ten, and 0-4 against the spread following a cover. Ohio State is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games as a neutral site favorite, 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite of up to 6.5 points, and 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four games against the Big 12.
Look for this one to be a war with Robinson and Sullinger, Taylor and Craft, and so on and look for fouls to be plenty and points to be few and for that reason I see the under as being the play.
The Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats battle it out on Saturday in New Orleans in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four with the winner going to the NCAA Finals. The Wildcats are -9 point favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under point total set at 137.5.
It has been a somewhat improbable ride for the Louisville Cardinals as Rick Pitino’s team won the Big East Tournament and then ripped through their bracket in the NCAA Tournament to land in New Orleans. It hasn’t been an easy road for Louisville as they drew Davidson in the first round followed by New Mexico, top seeded Michigan State, and Florida. For the season the Cardinals are averaging 68.4 points and they are shooting 42.5 percent while defensively they are allowing 60.8 points and their opponents shoot just 38.4 percent from the floor. Kyle Kuric hasn’t heated up during the tournament but for the year he is averaging 12.7 points and 4.2 rebounds, Russ Smith averages 11.6 points, Chis Smith averages 9.7 points, and Peyton Siva is averaging 9.1 points and 5.6 assists. Two key player for Louisville in this one will be Chane Behanan who has woken up in the NCAA Tournament and is looking like one of the better players and Gorgui Dieng who averaged nine rebounds a game during the regular season and 3.2 blocks and whose presence defensively will be counted on. Louisville lost by seven to UK at Rupp Arena by seven but the game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.
The Kentucky Wildcats have been playing like a team on a mission and John Calipari’s team may be playing their best basketball of the season. Kentucky has destroyed their competition in the NCAA Tournament thus far knocking off Western Kentucky, Iowa State, putting 102 points on the board against Indiana, and blowing out Baylor early. For the season the number one ranked Wildcats averaged 77.9 points and shot 48.8 percent from the floor while defensively they allowed 60.6 points and their opponents shoot 37.5 percent. Anthony Davis averages 14.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks per game, Doron Lamb averages 13.6 points, Terrance Jones is averaging 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 12 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Kentucky has so many players and so many ways to beat teams but they would very much like to erase the memory of their last game in New Orleans where they lost to Vandy in the SEC Tournament final.
Louisville is 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games overall, 4-0 against the spread as an underdog, and 13-3 against the spread following a win. Kentucky is 8-2 against the spread following a cover, 3-11-1 against the spread in their last 15 non-conference games, and 6-2 against the spread in their last eight NCAA Tournament games. Kentucky has covered in six of the last eight meetings of these two.
While both of these teams can score points, both of these teams are defense first as Kentucky is the top rated defense in the nation and Louisville is 12th and it’s no surprise to me to see teams with high defensive ranking in the Final Four. This game goes to the defense as well and despite a rising total the play here is the under.
The Kansas Jayhawks and the North Carolina Tar Heels battle it out on Sunday in St. Louis in an Elite Eight game of the NCAA Tournament with the winner heading to New Orleans for the Final Four. The Jayhawks are -2 point favorites over the Tar Hells with an over/under point total set at 144.
The Kansas Jayhawks haven’t made it look easy this season nor in the NCAA Tournament but Bill Self’s team has made it this far and as long as they are still paying the have a chance to win the Nation Championship. Kansas defeated Detroit by 15 points in the first round and then followed that up with three point wins over Purdue and NC State. Against NC State Thomas Robinson had 18 points and 15 rebounds, Elijah Johnson had 11 points, and Tyshawn Taylor had 10 rebounds and five assists. As a team the Jayhawks shot 37.5 percent from the floor, they were just one of 14 from beyond the three point arc, and they hit 55 percent of their free throws and despite how uninspiring those numbers look on paper they were good enough to get it done. KU is now 6-4 in neutral site games, 5-4 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the 17th ranked schedule overall. Kansas hasn’t faced UNC since 2008 but winning championships is nothing new to the Jayhawks or their fans.
The North Carolina Tar Heels survived a scare in their Sweet 16 match up against Ohio and while it took overtime Roy Williams team advanced. The win over Ohio followed up wins against Vermont and Creighton but Ohio gave them all they could handle as the Bobcats rallied from being down double digits. Against Ohio Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 rebounds, Reggie Bullock had 17 points and 10 rebounds, John Henson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Harrison Barnes had 12 points and seven rebounds. As a team the Tar Heels shot 40 percent from the floor, 31.8 percent from beyond the three point line, and 58.3 percent from the free throw line. UNC is 7-2 in neutral site games, 4-5 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the ninth ranked schedule in the country this year. UNC was without Kendall Marshall in Friday’s win and they will likely be without him again in this game.
Kansas is 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games, 1-4 against the spread following a win, and 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 games against the ACC. North Carolina is 9-4 against the spread in their last 13 games overall, 13-5 against the spread in their last 18 NCAA Tournament games, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games.
The total for this one is set at 144 and I have it coming in a shade under that number so my pick is on the under.
Two division rivals collide tonight as the Milwaukee Bucks host the Indiana Pacers. The Bucks are -3.5 point favorites over the Pacers with an over/under point total set at 201.5.
The Bucks continued their charge towards a playoff berth with another big performance on Friday night after comfortably defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 112-92. Milwaukee bounced back from their 100-91 home loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, a game which snapped their season high six game winning streak, five of which were on the road. A big part of their recent success has to do with their new found offense as the Bucks are averaging a whopping 109 points over their last eight outings.
Indiana had their two game winning streak snapped by the visiting Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Despite holding a seven point half time advantage, the Pacers were outscored 32-18 in the third quarter, which proved too large of margin to get back. Indiana has now lost seven of their past 11 games and currently occupy fifth place in the East.
Head to head, the Pacers are 2-7-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings, while the underdog is 4-0-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the road team is 5-0-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. The Bucks are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games, but just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. The Pacers on the other hand are 8-25 ATS in their last 33 games playing on 0 days rest and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
Funnily enough, this is the first meeting between these two teams this season, so we really don’t have any recent meetings to go off. It has to be said that the Pacers will be playing in their third game in as many nights and considering how much they struggle in the second of back to backs, the Bucks have a big edge here. Given that, and the fact that the Bucks are one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment makes this one pretty easy.
Milwaukee Bucks -3.5 Indiana Pacers
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Syracuse Orange meet on Saturday in Boston in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8 with the winner cutting down the nets and moving on to the Final Four in New Orleans. The Buckeyes are -3 point favorites over the Orange with an over/under point total set at 136.
It has been a journey for Thad Matta and his Ohio State Buckeyes but despite their ups and downs they are just one game away from appearing in the Final Four. Ohio State hasn’t always made it look easy this season or in this tournament but after beating Loyola-Maryland, Gonzaga, and Cincinnati they have done everything that has been asked of them this year. Ohio State went to the half up by 12 against Cincinnati only to find themselves trailing by three later in the game but then the Buckeyes turned it on and I am not sure any team in the country could have stopped them over that stretch. Deshaun Thomas had 26 points and seven rebounds, Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Lenzelle Smith had 15 points, and Aaron Craft had 11 points, five assists, and six steals. As a team Ohio State shot 48.2 percent from the floor, 47.1 percent from beyond the three point arc, and they hit 70.4 percent of their free throws. For the season the Buckeyes are 6-1 in neutral site games and 7-6 against teams ranked in the top 25 while playing the eighth ranked schedule in the nation. Consistency has been an issue for Ohio State and after three strong games do they stay on the roll or do they lay and egg, that is really the big question here.
The Syracuse Orange have been ranked in the top five all season long and despite some off the court troubles Jim Boeheim’s team are alive and well in the NCAA Tournament. After dominating performances against UNC-Ashville and Kansas State Syracuse beat Wisconsin by a point in a game that was as good as any and as well played as any ever. C.J. Fair led the Orange with 15 points and seven rebounds, Scoop Jardina had 14 points, Dion Waiters had 13 points, and Brandon Triche had 11. As a team Syracuse shot 55.1 percent from the floor, 55.6 percent from three point land, and 55.6 percent from the free throw line. Syracuse is 6-1 in neutral site games this year, 6-0 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the 23rd ranked schedule in the nation. This is going to be an outstanding match up but Syracuse’s bench will need to come up big as Ohio State will have advantages where Fab Melo is normally playing.
Ohio State is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games against the Big East, 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games, and 5-2 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Syracuse is 2-7 against the spread following a win, 9-4 against the spread as an underdog of up to 6.5 points, and 1-5 against the spread in their last six neutral site games.
The total is set at 136 and that shouldn’t be an issue for these athletic teams and my pick is on the Over.