Betting every Sweet 16 Game

Oregon State Beavers vs Loyola-Chicago Ramblers -6.5, 125.5

Oregon State lost to Portland this year.  This was not the Trailblazers, it was the team that went 0-11 in the West Coast Conference.  They now find themselves in the sweet 16 facing off against the Missouri Valley Conference champs, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers.  

The fact that they busted brackets is not the only thing these two teams have in common.  They both play extremely tight defense and move the ball at their own pace, which is slow.  This game has first to 60 wins written all over it.  The Ramblers were able to run whatever they wanted on offense against the Illini, that won’t be the case on Saturday.  The Beavers have imposed their will on everyone since the start of the Pac12 tournament. 

The Beavers can rely on Ethan Thompson to get points and they have a solid point guard that will keep them in the game down the stretch, oh and they are the 2nd  best free throw shooting team left in the tournament (that is huge).  The Rambler’s are better on the offensive end which should get them the win, but the Beavers are too hot, they keep this close. 

Pick: Oregon State +6.5, Under 125.5

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears -6.5, 141

I am not going to pretend that I didn’t pick North Texas to upset Villanova. I thought the loss of Colin Gillispie was going to be a problem against the defense of North Texas, Nova came out like they were playing NBA Jam on fire mode. They have been solid from deep all year, shooting 35%, if they can continue to hit shots they can keep it competitive.  Their offense running through Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is not going to be the problem, their effective field goal percentage against being outside of the top 200 is going to be the black sharpie on their bracket.  

The Baylor Bears showed us the team we all enjoyed before their covid pause.  The three headed monster Jared Butler, Macio Teague and Davion Mitchell will be tough for Villanova to cover.  Also there is this guy that had his coming out party in the round of 32, his name is Mathew Mayer.  Mayer had 17 points against Wisconsin, at 6-9, shooting 45 percent from three, he is showing the world why he is a darkhorse NBA prospect.  Also his hair is awesome. It’s intimidating.

Nova had some nice performances against Winthrop and North Texas, but let’s be real here Winthrop and North Texas were double digit seeds for a reason.  Baylor has too much speed and will pressure the ball and cause turnovers.  With no Gillispie I can’t see Villanova controlling anything in this one. 

Pick: Baylor Bears -6.5

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs. Arkansas Razorbacks -11.5, 159

Cinderella stories are great, but stories have endings.  This ending may come on Saturday but damn it should be pretty entertaining. The Golden Eagles can bring it on the offensive end, they are one of the fastests teams in the country ranking 52 in tempo, they are 12th in 3pt percentage and 80th in offensive efficiency. 

These two teams have met before and they were able to combine for 162 points, that was with a sluggish start from Arkansas.  Both of these teams want to play fast, this one will be uptempo and efficient on the offensive end.  Two NBA prospects in Moses Moody and Max Abmas will match up in a game that will be fun to watch.  This one is going to be closer than most think.  The Razorbacks have gotten off to a few slow starts so far in the tournament, if they do that again against the Golden Eagles they can find it tough to come back due to the firepower they will have against them. 

There will be points.  After the sluggish affair we will see between Loyola and Oregon State. We will need this.

Pick: Over 159, Oral Roberts +11.5

Syracuse Orange vs. Houston Cougars -6, 140

The Houston Cougars slipped by Rutgers while Syracuse did what Syracuse does, win in March.  The Cougars could not have gotten a better matchup, they are the best offensive rebounding team in the country, averaging an offensive rebound 39% of the time.  The zone defense is susceptible to the offensive rebound.  

The Syracuse Orange have gotten hot at the right time.  The coach’s kid, Buddy Boeheim has led the way averaging 26 ppg over the last six games.  He has had help from Illinois transfer Alan Griffin who is averaging 13 ppg and Quincy Guerrier averaging 13.9.

Their hot shooting has created an illusion that they have a chance to move on to the elite 8.  Their history and their zone gimmick will be exposed by a Houston team that specializes in shooting down opposing shooters.  The Cougars are the best in college basketball against opposing team shooting percentages.  The defense and rebounding that Houston brings to the table is going to overcome an overrated Orange team. 

Pick: Houston Cougars -6

Florida State Seminoles vs Michigan Wolverines -3, 144

The Seminoles and the Wolverines are seem to be the only teams that got the memo of how brackets are supposed to play out.  Both have played to their expectations, Michigan even doing it without their star Isaiah Livers.  The Wolverines will need to slow the pace to and work inside Hunter Dickinson on offense while pressuring the Seminoles ball handlers on defense.  

Florida State has one big weakness, they can be loose with the ball ranking 251st in the nation in turnover percentage.  Michigan’s defense is not one that causes a lot of turnovers, they thrive more on playing man to many and have Dickinson inside to be their to clean up any messes.  

With Isiah Livers I would be all over Michigan covering this spread, without him I can’t see how the Wolverines consistently score against a very good Florida State defensive unit.  The Seminoles have more options on offense and should get this win.  

Pick: Florida State ML, Under 144

Creighton Bluejays vs Gonzaga Bulldogs -13, 158

The Bluejays got a herculaneum effort from their star Marcus Zagarowski in their win over Ohio in the round of 32.  Creighton controlled the game from start to finish, something that they would like to do against the juggernaut Gonzaga Bulldogs.  The problem for Creighton will face is that Gonzaga has the ability to play at any tempo.  They can slow you down by feeding Drew Timme in the post or speed you up by letting Jalen Suggs run the break, and of course there is Cory Kispert to deal with. The Zags are second in the nation in scoring and first in the nation in field goal percentage. 

Creighton has problems with teams that can score in the paint.  Go watch their two losses to Georgetown this season and you can see they have no answer for interior scoring.  Drew Timme is going to force a double team which will leave one of the litany of talented scorers with no coverage for easy buckets.  Creighton will keep in close early, but their defense in the paint and struggles at the free throw line will allow the nation’s only undefeated team to stay that way and cover the number. 

Pick: Gonzaga -13

Oregon Ducks vs USC Trojans -2.5, 139.5

This game seems familiar.  We have seen it play out a few times over the years.  This season they met one time and it was a buttkicking by the USC Trojans 72-58.  The usual suspect was not the lead contributor, Evan Mobley played a subpar game by his standards, scoring just 11 points.  The Trojans were led by guards Tahj Eddy (24pts) and Drew Peterson (15 points, 11 rebounds).  They will need similar contributions in order to take down an Oregon team that flashed some of its potential explosiveness against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round.  

The Ducks have the talent to compete with a skilled USC team that showed some of their dominance in a route of Kansas.  Chris Duarte is a stud that should be on NBA radar as the draft approaches, his shot making ability will have to be on par as USC has a clear advantage in the paint.  The USC defense has to control the pace. Iowa allowed Oregon to move quickly  and not allow the defense to get set.  USC has to control the glass, if they do they control this game.  

Pick: USC -2.5 

UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide – 6, 145.5

If this game was going on two weeks ago the Crimson Tide would be close to a double digit favorite against the Bruins.  The Pac12 convinced bookmakers that they are to be taken seriously with four teams competing in the sweet sixteen.  The Bruins thrive on controlling the pace and making it a grind.  They rarely turn the ball over and have made the most of their offensive possessions in their three games so far in the tournament.  

The Crimson Tide will look to impose their will and highlight their elite athletes. John Petty, Jordan Shackelford, Herb Jones, Javon Quinerly can all take over a game.  Their weapons were on full display in their domination of the Maryland Terrapins.  Bama put up 96 points against a defense that was only giving up 65 points per game.  They don’t just do it on offense, they can disrupt the flow of the game on the defensive end.

Pick: Alabama -6, Under 145.5

NCAAB Play of the day: Northern Kentucky Norse vs Oakland Grizzlies

The Northern Kentucky Norse are on a nice little run.  Winners of 9 of their last 11, the Norse are coming off of an awesome comeback against another hot team in the Detroit Titans. The Norse are not a great defensive team, ranking 212th overall.  But they bring a serious offense attack led by guards Trevon Faulkner and Marquis Warrick.  The freshman Warrick was the catalyst in their victory of Detroit, scoring 20 points in their 1-point victory. Northern Kentucky has too many guys that can penetrate the paint and handle the inside. They are a matchup problem for their non-defensive minded foes. 

Oakland has a surprisingly high scoring offense, averaging 75 ppg (82nd in the nation).  They score a lot due to their pace, they rank 87th in the nation in pace, the second highest in the Horizon League.  The Grizzlies have Jalen Moore who averages 18 ppg on the season.  They are going to try and push the pace to make up for their lack of defensive identity.  Oakland has been horrible controlling the glass and defending opposing shooters, giving up an effective field goal shooting percentage of 56.1%.  

Offensivly these two teams can match each other but the big difference between the two is on the defensive end where the Norse will have the advantage.  The advantage will also be huge for Northern Kentucky, they are 22nd in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.  Oakland will have such a disadvantage on the boards it will be tough for them to quicken the pace in order to play the way they want to.  If the Norse control the pace they should be able to score at will against a Grizzlies team that gives up one of the highest true shooting percentages in the nation.  Northern Kentucky has too many advantages to lean any other way.  They should be able to control this game and win easily.  

Play of the day: Northern Kentucky Norse -1.5

NCAAB Play of the day: Oklahoma State Cowboys at Baylor Bears

The Baylor Bears got back on track this week covering the spread in OT versus West Virginia on Monday night. Baylor was able to lock up the Big 12 title and do it in a tough situation after a loss and of course a long covid pause to the season.  The Bears are the third most efficient offensive team in college basketball.  They are led by Jerad Butler, Macio Teague and Davion Mitchell, all average double digits, led by Butler’s 16.9 ppg.  Baylor has multiple scorers and thrives from deep.  They have been tested twice this week and will be tested again in this matchup.

The Ok State Cowboys are as hot as any time in the country.  Sweeping a series with their rivals the Oklahoma Sooners.  They are 4-0 ATS in their last four games and are in a prime spot to make a statement leading into the BIG12 tournament.  Everyone knows about Cade Cunningham but it is the rest of the young roster that has been stepping up for Ok State.  Avery Anderson has put up 16, 15 and 11 over their last three upset victories over Oklahoma (2) and Texas Tech.  His ability to penetrate the defense has been a nightmare for opposing defenses that are forced to leave him one on one with the threat of Cade Cunningham looming.  The outside shooting of Bryce Williams has also opened up the interior for the OK State slashers like Kalib Boone.  The Cowboys consistently attack the interior averaging offensive rebounds at a 31% clip.  They are relentless and it usually leads to free throws or tip ins.  The Baylor Bears don’t have a lot of weaknesses but they can be exposed on the defensive glass. In their last two games the Bear were outrebounded by 20 versus Kansas and by 5 versus West Virginia.  

The first matchup between these two teams saw Baylor was able to pull out the victory over Ok State without Cade Cunningham 81-66.  Baylor was leading by just 4 at half before pulling away in the second half.  The second half is where you saw how badly the Cowboys were missing Cade Cunningham who thrives downt he stretch of games.  The Cowboys with Cunningham are facing a Baylor team that has had two hard fought matchups with Kansas and West Virginia and is in for another one Thursday night.  This line seems like it is leaning more on the first matchup rather than the talent on the court.  The Cowboys have been great on the road this year going 6-3-1 ATS, they can match the Bears.

Play of the day: Oklahoma StateCowboys +12

NCAAB play of the day: St. Joe’s Hawks vs Richmond Spiders

The Hawks stunk to start the season.  They began 2021 going 1-14 with their one win coming in a non-cover against Albany.  Their horrid start was primarily without their star Ryan Daly.  Daly has returned to the lineup and so has the offense.  With two straight A-10 victories over Dayton and LaSalle scoring over 90 points in both contests the Hawks have seemed to find their groove.  St. Joe’s record is terrible but they have been an overly competitive team during most of the season.  They have had four games go to overtime and lost six games by single digits.  

The Richmond Spiders started the season completely different from the Hawks.  The Spiders started the season 7-1 with a marquee victory over college basketball blue blood Kentucky.  The Spiders looked like a potential mid-major sleeper team.  Richmond came back down to earth with losses to Hofstra and LaSalle, they now find themselves on the outside of the bubble.   Richmond is an efficient offense, ranking 21st in the nation.  They have an offense that can compete with anyone but they have a problem on the defensive end.  The Spiders give up an effective field goal percentage of 52%. That will be a problem against the fast paced Hawks that will be looking to move up and down the court. 

The Hawk’s record is bad, but they are solid against the spread at 7-10 and are playing a lot better with Daly back in the lineup.  Along with Daly, St. Joe’s has Taylor Funk coming off a 36 point game against Dayton.  The combination of Daly and Funk will be able to put up points against a subpar Richmond defense.  The pace will be quickened and the Spiders will have problems pulling away.  The Hawks played their last game against Richmond without Daly and that led to a 23 point loss.  With Daly in the lineup and a lot of momentum going into this matchup, St. Joe’s should be able to give the Spiders a game.  This spread is too high for a conference matchup with a fully healthy Hawks team.  

Play of the day: St. Joe’s Hawks +14.5

NCAAB Play of the day: Duquesne Dukes at La Salle Explorers

The Duquesne Dukes are just 7-7 on the season but they have been red hot ATS, covering 6 straight games.   They build their brand on the defensive end ranking 65th in defensive efficiency, they give up just 65 ppg.   The Dukes had a three game win streak ended by Richmond this weekend, but they gave the Spiders all they could handle.  The Duke’s are led by a trio of seniors Marcus Weathers (14.9 ppg), Michael Hughes (11 ppg & 8 rpg), and Tavion Dunn-Martin (10.8 ppg).

La Salle has been on a horrible run, losing four straight games including a recent loss to St. Joe’s and a loss to Fordham.  The Explorers are just 160th in adjusted offensive efficiency and even worse on the defensive end ranking 250th in adjusted defensive efficiency.  La Salle will not be able to get anything going on offense.  The Dukes can slow down the pace and dominate the exterior and interior of the defensive end.  La Salle’s defense has been a problem all season and will continue on Wednesday night. 

This game features two teams going in opposite directions.  The Duke’s have been playing at a high level while the Explorers have had trouble even competing in games. Duquesne is led by seniors while La Salle is led by underclassmen.  This is going to be a low scoring affair that fits right into the mold of the game plan for Duquesne.  This game should be set more around a 6 point spread which means there will be value on the Duke’s

Play of the day: Duquesne Dukes -4 

NCAAB play of the day: Sam Houston State Bearkats at Lamar Cardinals

Sam Houston State is red hot winning 13 of their last 14 games.  They are an offensive juggernaut in the Southland conference, averaging 81 ppg in 2021.  They are one of the faster teams in college basketball, ranking 64th in pace.  They are a stellar unit from behind the arc shooting 36% as a team from three.  Their offense is led by Zack Nutall, averaging 19 ppg.  Nutall was dominant in their first game of the season, scoring 28 points.  

The Lamar Cardinal’s offense has been less than stellar this season.  They are averaging just 64 ppg this season.  They are putrid from deep, shooting just 28% from three on the season, they do not have the firepower to stick with the Sam Houston State offense.  Lamar can’t guard the three at all, giving up 39% shooting from deep.  They are going to get picked apart by the Bearkats offense that thrives from deep.  

Lamar has already been owned by Sam Houston State losing by 25 points earlier this season. The Cardinals have not been able to get anything going this season and have little to play for, Sam Houston State has the chance to still win the Southland Conference and are looking for a shot to make the NCAA tournament.  The Bearkats will be too much to handle for Lamar, this is a double digit victory.  

 Play of the day: Sam Houston State Bearkats -9.5

NCAAB Play of the day: Robert Morris Colonials at Detroit Titans

The Robert Morris Colonials head to the Detroit Titans Friday night in a Horizon League matchup featuring two of the weakest defenses in all of college basketball.  Detroit and Robert Morris both rank worse than 280th in defensive efficiency in the nation.  Robert Morris in particular has given up at least 79 points in seven of their last eight games.  The Titans have scored over 80 points in three of their last four.

Robert Morris can’t guard the perimeter, they give up threes at 38% per game on the season.  The Titans are a great outside shooting team, as a team they shoot 38% from deep.  Detroit guard Antoine Davis leads the offensive attack, averaging 22 ppg, he has scored 23 points in five straight games..  Along with Davis Detroit features guards Noah Waterman and Bul Kuol, both are double digit scorers. Detroit doesn’t move quickly but they are all about efficiency on the offensive end.  

The Colonials give up 77 ppg on the season. Their offense has begun to catch up with their defense scoring 81 and 88 in their last two games. Guard AJ Bramah leads the offensive attack averaging 21 ppg and 10 rpg, they only feature one other double digit scorer but the offensive works well around Bramah and their recent offensive output makes them a real problem for the Titans defense.  

The Colonials and the Titans are both terrible on the defensive end.  They both can shoot the ball well from deep and it should be an easy flow for both offenses.  Detroit is a 9.5 point favorite that should be able to cover the spread, their offense should be able to get to 80 and Robert Morris is red hot on the offensive end.  This number is too low for how bad these defenses are. 

 Play of the day: Over 143.5

NCAAB Play of the day: BYU Cougars at Pacific Tigers

The West Coast Conference is on full display Thursday night.  The matchup between the BYU Cougars and the Pacific Tigers will be the undercard for the Gonzaga/St. Mary’s matchup.  The undercard always has great value and I think this game is a perfect example of it.  The Cougars are 15-5 overall on the season with losses to Gonzaga (2), USC, Boise State and Pepperdine.  All but Pepperdine are likely NCAA tournament teams and all losses have something in common, the opposing team’s prolific athletic talent took away the strengths of the Cougars.  That will not be the case in this matchup. 

Pacific plays at one of the slower paces in the nation ranking 288th overall.  Their pace has hidden a lot of their flaws on the defensive end.  They are efficient according to the analytics ranking 98th overall in defensive efficiency but they still give up 71 ppg. They really have trouble defending beyond the arc giving up 35% shooting.  While this BYU team is the shot-chucking team of the last few seasons they still can hit the three when given the chance making 35% of them on the season.  Pacific relies on leading scorers Daniss Jenkins and Jeremiah Bailey, both average 12 ppg, other than that they don’t have any consistency on the offensive end.  The Tigers got huge performances from their bench in the first matchup from Jabril Price-Noel and Justin Moore, who gave them 34 points in a OT loss.  They can’t assume that they will get that kind of production again.  

BYU guards the interior very well only allowing 44% shooting from inside the three point line this season.  The Tigers are a horrible outside shooting team, they have to force turnovers and drive to get baskets and an offense reliant on that will have problems with the length BYU brings to the table.  The Cougars have a group of offensive threats most notably guard Alex Barcullo who averages 15 ppg.  They have two post threats that are ferocious on the glass in Caleb Lohner and Purdue transfer Matt Harms,.  The interior will be completely controlled by BYU, they average 78 ppg and should have no problem scoring in this matchup.  

The Cougars are not scared of playing on the road.  They are 4-1 ATS on the road this season and they are in need of a win.  While there are no stats that back up the desperation for a win, I like to go with teams on the bubble playing teams with little to play for.  Pacific is a tough team led by a former NBA player and will keep this close in the first half, ultimately the better offense will pull away. 
Play of the day: BYU Cougars -5.5

NCAAB Play of the day: Kent State Golden Flashes at Western Michigan Broncos

The MAC doesn’t get the credit it deserves for being one of the most entertaining conferences in college basketball.  There are a lot of high paced teams that can be very unpredictable.  The Kent State Golden Flashes are one of those teams that are a lot of fun to watch.  They are also a very profitable team going 10-5-1 ATS this season.  

The Golden Flashes are led by forward Danny Pippen, averaging 20 ppg along with 9 rpg, both leading the team.  Pippen leads an offense that is extremely efficient, they are a top 80 team in offensive efficiency .  They also have an effective shooting percentage of 52.2%. The Golden Flashes crush teams on the inside controlling the boards ranking 15th in the nation in rebound per game.  They are a dominant force on the interior and should control that aspect in their matchup with the Broncos 

The Western Michigan Broncos had their two game win streak ended by Buffalo this weekend, getting smashed by the Bulls 86-54.  The Broncos have not been able to handle the elite of the MAC conference.  Buffalo, Akron, Ohio and Kent State have made easy work of the Broncos in every matchup.  Their previous matchup with Kent State ended in a 26-point thrashing at the hands of the Golden Flashes. Kent State guard Mike Nuga led the way in their last matchup scoring 26 points.  Nuga has been out with an injury but while he has been out Pippen has stepped up to the plate.  

Kent State is 4-0 ATS in their last four road games.  They should continue that dominance on Tuesday night against a Western Michigan team that will have no answer to Danny Pippen.  Kent State has a massive advantage in every category. Even if Mike Nuga misses this game the Golden Flashes are in a different class then the Broncos.  Take Kent State by double digits.  

Play of the day: Kent State Golden Flashes  -9.5 

NCAAB Play of the day: Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

The Eastern Kentucky Colonels started the OVC season on a tear.  They started 7-0 in conference feasting on the lower tier of the conference.  Their run included a 10-point victory over their opponent on Monday night the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.

Eastern Kentucky has been fast all season.  They rank in the top ten in tempo, they force teams to move at their pace which causes havoc for opposing offenses.  The Colonels force turnovers 24% of opposing offensive possessions. The ballhawking defense of Eastern Kentucky will be a huge problem for Tennesee Tech who turns the ball over at a 22.9% rate. Eastern Kentucky has multiple options to score with eight different players that average over seven points per game.  Their leading scorer is Tre King, averaging 15.7 ppg, as a team they are averaging 82.7 ppg on the season.  They are a high level offensive team that has a goal to dictate the pace of the game.  Versus the lower level teams in their conference their has been no answer for the fast paced action.  

Tennessee Tech was able to cover the 10.5-point spread in their first matchup of the season mainly due to their ability to hit the three.  The Golden Eagles were 15/31 from behind the arc, shocking numbers from a team that only shoots 30% from deep during the season.  The Golden Eagles snapped a six game losing streak in the OVC with a victory over Eastern Illinois but they are up against a much tougher offensive team on Monday night.  They will need a similar effort from deep to compete with the high paced Colonels offensive attack.

Eastern Kentucky has fallen off a cliff since their hot start to the season but they are still a much better offensive team then Tennessee Tech.  The Colonels are solid on the road with a 7-3 record ATS, they are facing a team that has given up an effective field goal percentage over 50% on the season. Having confidence in the Colonels is tough but they are a much better team, I actually took this game at -9, you can now get it at -7.5 and I would jump on that line.

Play of the day: Eastern Kentucky Colonels -7.5