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: Stanford Cardinal vs California Golden Bears

The Pac 12 tournament gets started tomorrow in Las Vegas and the first matchup that intrigued me is the same one that we enjoyed on Super Bowl Sunday.  That game saw the Cardinal fall apart down the stretch winning the game but blowing the 10 points spread in the final three minutes.  The Cardinal are losers of four straight, mainly due to their star center Oscar de Silva.  The Cardinal leading scorer should be active for this game and he has been dominant in their first two meetings with the Golden Bears scoring 23 and 24 in those two victories. The Cardinal will also have star freshman Ziaire Williams who missed both games against California this year. Williams will bring more trouble for a California defense that gives up a lot of easy buckets in the paint. 

The California Bears lean on their outside shooting, Matt Bradley and Grant Antevich both shoot over 35% from deep, while Andre Kelly anchors the middle.  The California offense will have their hands full against Stanford who ranks 31st in th antion in defensive efficiency.  The addition of the length that Zaire Williams brings should make it a miserable night for the Golden Bears.  Stanford should be fully healthy for the first time in a while and their depth and defensive efficiency will be way too much for California.  The opening line of – 6 for Stanford seems like it is biased on the recent losses for Stanford rather than the complete talent mismatch.  

Play of the day: Stanford Cardinal – 6

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: Detroit Titans at Northern Kentucky Norse

The Horizon League tournament is continuing Tuesday night with a matchup of one of my favorite teams the Detroit Titans versus the Northern Kentucky Norse.  

Detroit is on a 11-2 run over their last 13 games after a dreadful start to the season.  The offense has been the story for the Titans, they are averaging 76 ppg on the season. They have put up at least 80 points in 6 of their last 7 games.  They are led by arguably the best guard in the Horizon League in Antoine Davis.  Davis put on a show inthe first round of the Horizon tournament scoring 46 points against Robert Morris.  He leads an offensive that has an effective field goal percentage of 54.7% and as a team they are one of the top free throw shooting teams in college basketball shooting an astounding 80% from the line.  

Northern Kentucky has an efficient offense of their own, ranking 139th in the nation in offensive efficiency.  The Norse are strong on the inside averaging 54% from inside the arc and average a 34% offensive rebound rate.  Their advantage on the inside will allow them to score against a mediocre Detroit defense.  The Norse feature guards Trevon Faulkner and and Marquiss Walker, both have the ability to penetrate the defense and get easy buckets. 

This game features two teams that are efficient on the offensive end while lacking the ability to get consistent stops on defense. The Detroit offense will set the tone behind Antoine Davis and try and get this game to a more uptempo pace. This being a conference tournament game means we will likely see a lot of fouling at the end which plays in perfectly for the over.  Detroits ability to his outside shots and put away teams on the free throw line should lead to a victory and a higher scoring matchup. I am leaning towards Detroit at -1.5 but my favorite play is the over.

Play of the day: Over 146 (Like Detroit -1.5)

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: Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State Wildcats

The Sooners are 8-2 ATS in their last ten games, including victories over Alabama, Texas, Kansas and West Virginia.  With a litany of big victories under their belt they came out flat in their last matchup against Iowa State, sneaking by the Cyclones by only ten points and failing to cover the spread.  I expect Lon Kruger’s bunch will come out to set the tone early on the road against the cellar dweller Kansas State.  They will look to make quick work of a team that historically they have not had a lot of success against.  

Oklahoma is not an offensive juggernaut, when they do score, they do it efficiently, ranking 31st in offensive efficiency.  Austin Reaves, De’Vion Harmon and Brady Manek all average double figures and should be able to have their way with a less than stellar Kansas State defense that gives up 72 ppg and 46% shooting.  In their first matchup of the year Oklahoma handled Kansas State winning 76-50 on January 19th.  They were able to cover the spread while only shooting 11/21 from the free throw line.  It was their top 20 ranked defense that shined forcing 23 Wildcat turnovers.

Kansas State has no offensive identity, because they don’t score.  They average just 61 ppg with an effective field goal percentage of 47.6 on the season ranking them near the bottom. They don’t shoot three well (29%) and they can’t make anything from the free throw line (65%), their leading scorer is Nijuel Pack who averages 12 per game, he didn’t play in their first matchup with the Sooners but he will have a tough task of going against Reaves and Harmon, they will lock him down and stop any kind of K-State offensive push.  The Wildcats don’t have any kind of home court advantage either, they are 3-12 ATS at Bramlage Coliseum.

Oklahoma is better in every facet of the game and will show it on Tuesday night. 10.5 points on the road is a lot but the Sooners have a defense that will hold K-State under 60 and Lon Kruger will take advantage of multiple mis-matches.  

 Play of the day: Oklahoma Sooners -10.5

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: 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: Lipscomb Bison at Jacksonville Dolphins

The Jacksonville Dolphins are losers of 7 straight games.  They have lost the last five games by an average of 13.4 ppg.  Jacksonville is a dumpster fire on offense, averaging just 66 ppg and average a turnover in 20% of their offensive possessions.  The Dolphins offense doesn’t get much from deep, shooting just 31% from three.  Jacksonville’s only offense comes from forward Dontarius James averaging 17 ppg.  Even with the offense of James the Jacksonville Dolphin are ranked 337th in the nation in offensive efficiency.  

The Lipscomb Bison looked like they were turning things around in early January getting two straight victories over Bellarmine. They followed that up with a 4-3 record, sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Sun Conference.  The Bison have a dynamic backcourt tandom in KJ Johnson and leading scorer Romeao Ferguson.  Ferguson and Johnson both shoot over 44% from three, as a team the Bison shoot 37% from behind the arc.  They are archored in the middle by Ahsan Asadullah, averagin 13 ppg, 7 rpg and a team leading 3 apg.  

Lipscomb’s defense is not stellar, but it doesn’t take a great defensive unit to keep Jacksonville in check.  The Dolphins don’t do anything well.  They don’t shoot well from three  and are one of the worst teams in the nation at the free throw line.  Lipscomb’s offense isn’t elite other than their long range shooting but they do rank 105th in effective field goal shooting which is enough to put pressure on a Dolphins team that is unable to put the ball in the basket.  The Bison are the better team and all tehy have to do is stop Dontarius James to be successful. Easy cover for Lipscomb. 

Play of the day: Lipscomb Bison -5 

NCAAB Play of the day: Colorado Buffaloes at Stanford Cardinal

Colorado has the leadership of one of the best guards in the country McKinley Wright.  Wright has been amazing this season averagin 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.  He has a great backcourt mate in D’Shawn Schwartz who is shooting 40% from three on the season.  As a team Colorado is shooting 38% on the season which is tied for the best mark in the Pac12. The Buffaloes have a solid interior presence with Evan Battey, who had a stellar performance against Stanford in their first meeting scoring 13 points and adding 12 boards.  Colorado’s defense has had its issues defending the three, luckily for them they are facing the worst three point shooting team in the Pac12.

Since the loss of Daejon Davis the Stanford Cardinal have had an issue turning the ball over.  They are the worst in the Pac12 giving the ball away nearly 20% of the time.  Freshman Zaire Williams has come back to the team in a limited role as he recovers from an injury. The young forward  was great against Colorado in their first game, putting up 17 points in 33 minutes.  Without him the Stanford offense has struggled, losing 5 points per 100 possessions with him out.  Oscar Da Silva and Jaden Delaire have both stepped up in the absence of Williams, to find the offense they will have to lean on their frontcourt and play the slow game.  

Colorado is an efficient offense with a point guard advantage.  The Cardinal without Daejon Davis have not been the same offense.  They don’t have the guards to handle the pressure of an elite level defense.  Bryce Wills return will help the offense avoid the turnover bug, but they still have a lot of issues if he can’t play a full allotment of minutes.  The Buffaloes will take care of business on defense and their offense is efficient enough to put up points.  

Play of the day: Colorado Buffaloes Pick