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Conference Tournament Handicapping

With Connecticut going down on Thursday, I thought it appropriate to take the time to examine what happened why it happened in order to help sports bettors understand a key aspect to winning during Conference Tournament time. Coming in to this game, Syracuse had their tournament lives at stake. If they were to have lost this game they are back home sitting on a bubble that is getting ready to pop at any moment. A win, on the other hand against Connecticut, the number one team in the country, probably solidifies their chances of going to the Big Dance.

Connecticut, on the other hand is in a completely different boat. They are in the tournament, no doubt about it, and will end up with no lower then a #2 seed, which still probably won’t happen. We have seen all year that Connecticut has problems when they do not have a reason to be up for a game and today that theory came full circle as they lost to a team that they are much, much better than.

What I am trying to get it at is the importance of motivation in these Conference Tournaments, while emphasizing how significant a factor motivation is in any game regardless. Today you saw the best team in the country lay down on their backs simply because they did not have a whole lot of reason to be on their A game. This is something you have got to spot in teams like Connecticut. If you recognize a team who has struggled throughout the year in games that lack importance, you better watch out for an upset come Conference Tournament time if they are locked in to the NCAA Tournament.

You saw it happen today with George Washington. They came out today as if they were going up against a 7th grade team from Rochester. The point is, they didn’t have much to play for, just like UConn and just like St. Joseph’s two years ago when they got waxed in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. You don’t want to go too far and only use motivation as the handicapping factor but as long as the line is fair, bet teams that need to win games in these tournaments in order to extend their season. They will fight and fight to the very end because they don’t want to go home and those are the type of teams I want my money on this time of year.

A few games to look at that fit this situation on Friday are Miami Florida against Duke, Texas Tech versus Texas, and South Carolina versus Tennessee. If the line is fair plays on all 3 of these inferior teams are solid long term propositions.

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