2012 NCAA Tournament National Semifinals
#2 Ohio St Buckeyes vs #2 Kansas Jayhawks
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Saturday, March 31, 2012, 8:49 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Ohio St -2 1/2
Current Line: Ohio St -2 1/2
Opening Total: 136 1/2
Current Total: 136 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ohio St -145 / Kansas +125
Current Money Line: Ohio St -150 / Kansas +130

Continue reading “Final Four Betting Picks: Ohio St Buckeyes vs Kansas Jayhawks”

2012 NCAA Tournament National Semifinals
#4 Louisville Cardinals vs #1 Kentucky Wildcats
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana

Saturday, March 31, 2012, 6:09 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Kentucky -8
Current Line: Kentucky -8 1/2
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 136 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kentucky -500 / Louisville +400
Current Money Line: Kentucky -500 / Louisville +400

Continue reading “Bluegrass Battle at the Final Four: Louisville Cardinals vs Kentucky Wildcats”

2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
#3 Connecticut Huskies vs. #8 Butler Bulldogs, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Monday, April 4, 2011, 9:23 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: UConn -4
Current Line: UConn -3
Opening Total: 129.5
Current Total: 128.5
Money Line: UConn -170 / Butler +150
Learn how to read the odds here.

Continue reading “2011 National Championship Picks: UConn Huskies vs. Butler Bulldogs”

2011 NCAA Tournament Final Four
#8 Butler Bulldogs vs. #11 VCU Rams, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 6:09 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Butler -2.5
Current Line: Butler -2.5
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 134
Money Line: Butler -145 / VCU +125

Continue reading “2011 Final Four Betting: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs”

2011 NCAA Tournament Final Four
#3 Connecticut Huskies vs. #4 Kentucky Wildcats, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 8:49 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Kentucky -2
Current Line: Kentucky -2.5
Opening Total: 142
Current Total: 140
Money Line: Kentucky -145 / UConn +125

Continue reading “2011 Final Four Picks: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Connecticut Huskies”

As I talked about after the game on Saturday I just don’t like Duke. They are justified favorites tonight, and the price isn’t unfair, but I just can’t stand the thought of backing them. I’ll be cheering (hard) for Butler, and over the last couple of days I have come up with five reasons to justify that, and to justify a bet against the evil empire.

1. Streak
– This is a team that has won 25 games in a row. That’s really something – regardless of who they play. They haven’t done that with overwhelming athleticism or depth, but by attention to fundamentals, consistent effort, and excellent coaching. They are a very tough team to prepare for, and a tough team to exploit. It might be hard to see how they are going to win this one, or even keep it close enough to cover, but the same could be said before this, and they find a way.

2. Home court
– The impact of the home court is going to be far more significant than it was last time. A lot of the fans who were around for the two eliminated teams will have sold their tickets to the finals, and Indy residents, and therefore Butler fans, are the most likely purchasers. Those who aren’t attached to one of these teams will be far more inclined to be cheering for lovable Butler than the devils from Duke. They handled the pressure of the situation well last game, and this time around it should be a boost – one worth a point or two¬† in the outcome of the game.

3. Precedence
– This is the 58th time since 1997 that Butler has been an underdog in a non-conference game. They have covered 41 of those games – 72 percent. Nothing wrong with that.

4. Rebounding
– Duke is the better rebounding team by far. They are also very good at turning those rebounds into second chance points. Against Michigan State, though, the Bulldogs did a very good job of asserting themselves on defensive rebounds, and of limiting the second chance attempts the Spartans got. If they can do that again then they’ll be able to challenge Duke and keep it close.

5. Back to earth
– Duke beat up on West Virginia because the Mountaineers did nothing well. Most glaring, though, was a total lack of three point defense – Duke shot 52 percent from beyond the arc. Butler just isn’t going to let them do that, and that will have an impact on everything else the Blue Devils will want to do.

Continue reading “Five Reasons I Like Butler”

Both of those basketball games were very interesting today, but in different ways – and only one was watchable.

First, the Butler game. I have a serious man-crush on Gordon Hayward. He had 19 points and nine boards, and was absolutely everywhere throughout that game. From start to finish he did everything for his team and is by far the biggest reason why this remarkable run continues. Most impressively, though, Hayward was able to play stifling, relentless defense all game while only drawing two fouls. I was convinced he was the best future pro heading into this Final Four. Now I am certain of it. As good as he was, though, what I’ll remember most about this game was the glaring absence of Kalin Lucas. Without their floor general Michigan State regularly looked confused and disorganized when they were moving the ball down the court, and they just weren’t effective enough when they needed to be. They did a good job of controlling the Bulldogs in the second half, but without Lucas they were unable to capitalize on it and grab the win that was there for the taking. This is a game that will haunt Izzo, Lucas, and everyone else for a long time.

Continue reading “Assessing Saturday”

1. Somebody out there loves Duke. It’s certainly not me – I hate them. They have probably the easiest path to the Final Four. Their number two, Villanova, forgot how to win down the stretch and is probably seeded too high. Baylor is fun to watch, but probably in over their head as a three seed. I love Purdue, but without Robbie Hummel they are one player away from being a matchup challenge. Their biggest road bump potentially comes in the second round if Louisville gets past Cal in round one. There isn’t a team in the bracket that can keep up with Duke in their current form if the Blue Devils play their game.

Continue reading “The Bracket – First Thoughts”

Yesterday’s Final Four games started out very interesting, and then ended with a dull thud. Here’s a collection of thoughts:

1. I know that Bill Self won coach of the year, and I can’t really begrudge that, but Tom Izzo is unquestionably the coach of the tournament. Twice in a row his team has had to play heavily favored Big East behemoths, and twice he has masterfully dissected them. In neither case was it just a question of coming out a head in a close one, either. The Spartans have dictated the style of play, effectively shut down the key players, and looked totally in command for the second half. Michigan State has the fewest potential pros of the Final Four teams, but Izzo has been more than able to overcome that. Incredibly impressive.

Continue reading “The Second Last Tournament Article”

1. Watching Purdue lose today was pretty decisive. I saw them play several times this year, and this game was pretty indicative of their season – they can be very good, but they can’t sustain it. Robbie Hummel’s night is a microcosm of their issues – Hummel had 15 points in the first seven minutes or so, and would up with 17 on the night in 35 minutes of action. That’s not to take anything away from UConn , mind you. They have all sorts of distractions and excuses to put in a less-than-perfect effort, yet they played pretty fine today. I still don’t think they have what it takes to win it all, but they looked nothing but business like and impressive tonight.

Continue reading “Four Games, Four Thoughts”

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