NBA TOTAL OVER / UNDER PICKS
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Scooter Magruder Additional Shots by: I'm a grown man. Top Plays from Week 2 of College Football! Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. Posted by Jeff at 7: This NCAA Tournament has lacked huge upsets and buzzer beaters, but it has been played at a really high level of basketball.
In general, the sport is just getting better and better each year as the talent pool grows deeper, but the lack of upsets also played a role in keeping the big boys in more games. And in the end, the high quality of basketball has just made this a really entertaining product.
And as we head into the penultimate weekend of the season, it's nothing but high quality of basketball ahead. And hey, who knows, maybe we'll still get a buzzer beater, too. This is a fair line, as most computer ratings have a healthy Oregon as a slight favorite Oregon, of course, is missing Chris Boucher. I don't think the Boucher absence will matter nearly as much as usual against Michigan, however, as the Wolverines are almost exclusively a perimeter shooting team.
Michigan has been playing remarkably well for the past couple of weeks, and maybe they will keep it up and Derrick Walton will continue his Kemba Walker impression, but if they don't then they don't particularly match up well with Oregon's weaknesses, and the Ducks are probably the better team.
Gonzaga -3 over West Virginia: West Virginia is a fantastic team as far as 4 seeds go. That said, Gonzaga is a strong 1 seed, and they have a team that is built to withstand Press Virginia. They have depth, experience, and savvy in a backcourt led by Nigel Williams-Goss, Jordan Mathews, and Josh Perkins, and they have the front court length and talent to protect the defensive glass.
This West Virginia team is more capable of scoring efficiently in the half court than other recent vintages of Press Virginia have been, but still not good enough to win a controlled-style game against a team as good as the Zags.
I chose Purdue outright in my bracket and I'm going to stick with that pick here. Kansas had an incredible game against Michigan State, though the final score was deceptive as to how big the margin was for most of the 40 minutes. As a match-up, Purdue's biggest problem is going to be staying in front of Frank Mason. But Kansas's front court size is a concern as well, against a Purdue front line that had its way with Iowa State. As good as Josh Jackson is, Caleb Swanigan is better.
Arizona is the better team, and Xavier's demolition of Florida State was probably a bit of a fluke, but this is an awfully large Vegas line. Xavier has a ton of length and size, and they will be able to match Arizona body-for-body inside, even if they don't have a big man quite as skilled as Lauri Markkanen. Offensively, Xavier passes the ball really well, and they have been surprisingly efficient offensively since losing point guard Edmond Sumner.
A Xavier win would be an upset, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them play close enough to cover in a defeat. We had all hoped that the chalk-heavy first round meant that we would have some spectacular games in the second round, and we had a taste of that yesterday.
In a lot of ways, however, Saturday was just an appetizer for Sunday. Get ready to make a dent in your couch today. If Michigan shoots the lights out like they did against Oklahoma State, obviously they can win this game, but if the shots aren't falling at above season average rates, they don't match up well against Louisville.
The Cardinals are ferocious defensively in the paint and will make it difficult for Derrick Walton to be as effective as he usually is with the dribble drive.
Louisville should also be able to take advantage of Michigan's small front line on the glass. Meanwhile, Louisville is vulnerable against teams that attack and draw contact Louisville was dead last in the ACC in defensive FTRate , but Michigan is just not that style of team.
This is a potential Revenge Game for 8-seed Kentucky knocking off 1-seed Wichita State three seasons ago, although none of the regulars on Wichita State's roster actually played in that game. As good as Wichita State has been, I'm worried about Kentucky's length here. Both of these teams had uncharacteristically good performances and surprisingly large blowouts in their first round games. This is an awfully big spread, however, against a Michigan State team that has clearly been playing their best basketball of the season over the last month, with a fully healthy and dangerous Miles Bridges, and with the development of a really nice freshman crop.
In addition, Michigan State's strong defensive rebounding is going to put pressure on Kansas to hit outside shots. The Jayhawks certainly can shoot well If we believe this late season Arkansas spurt they've risen from 59th to 38th in the Pomeroy ratings over the last five weeks then this is too large of a spread even for a fully healthy Tar Heels roster. Arkansas doesn't have any match-up advantages, but they're a solid team and I'd be surprised if they get completely trucked.
Defensively, Rhode Island matches up well with Oregon. If Oregon is not scoring particularly efficiently, and with a defense that has obviously taken a significant hit without Chris Boucher, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Rhode Island wins this game outright.
USC has oddly been getting a lot of hype the last couple of days. I think it's because so many people really didn't see them play this season, being buried late at night and on the Pac Network. Baylor's defense, and their length in particular, are a further difficulty level from either Providence or SMU. Baylor's elite rebounding they led the Big 12 in both offensive and defensive rebounding efficiency will challenge a USC team that was 10th in the Pac in defensive rebounding rate.
I'm trying my best not to overreact to that tremendous South Carolina second half against Marquette, where they simply looked better than they've looked all season long. But my real match-up concern here is Duke's ability to handle South Carolina's pressure defense, which led the SEC in both steal and turnover rates. Duke, as talented as they are on offense, does not have a real point guard, and they will potentially struggle with turnovers.
If the Blue Devils get hot behind the arc, however, I'm skeptical that South Carolina's offense will be able to repeat anything like the 1. I picked Cincinnati to win this game outright, and so I'm going to stick with my pick here.
There are three reasons for that. First of all, UCLA is overrated, as Pomeroy has this game basically a toss-up though Sagarin has the spread closer to 4. Second, UCLA's dependence on outside shooting makes me nervous, particularly against a defense as long and athletic as Cincinnati. Third, Cincinnati is an elite offensive rebounding team 20th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage , which could pose problems for a UCLA front line that is tall but not particularly physical.
The counter-argument, of course, is that UCLA has the ability to put up points in bunches in a way that Cincinnati does not. If the Bruins get hot behind the arc, they can obviously defeat anybody. But despite that, we have had some really good basketball games, and the lack of upsets sets us up for some absolutely fantastic second round match-ups.
First round upsets are all fun and games until you end up spending your Saturday or Sunday watching a 12 and 13 seed playing each other. This weekend will, instead, be packed with great match-ups. There are no bad teams left. Every team tipping off today has a legitimate argument that they deserve to be here, and should expect to be competitive. Let's get to the match-ups: Notre Dame's depth and front court size are going to be tested by Press Virginia.
Matt Farrell has been perhaps the most improved player in the nation this season, and his ability to take care of the ball against relentless pressure will be key to the Irish potentially winning this game. One other advantage that Notre Dame has is their But aside from their match-up advantages, West Virginia has simply been the better team this season. Villanova -6 over Wisconsin: This game is an interesting contrast in styles. On one hand, Villanova is going to struggle to defend both Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes in the post, as they just don't have much big man depth after Darryl Reynolds.
On the other hand, Villanova's wings are so explosive and athletic that I'm not sure how Wisconsin can defend all of them either. Villanova is also a team that is awfully efficient offensively, while Wisconsin is a team that can get into a rut when their outside shots aren't falling they were falling, of course, in that Virginia Tech game. In the end, it's a tough call on this spread.
I'm going with Villanova because they hit Gonzaga over Northwestern: This is a big spread, but it's a fair spread. The difference in this game, more than anything, is Gonzaga's ridiculous size and height.
In the first round, Dererk Pardon was able to defend 7-footer Luke Kornet by using his physicality and shoving the skinny Kornet out of the way, but that isn't going to fly against the monstrous Przemek Karnowski.
Without much in the way out of outside shooting Northwestern was 13th in the Big Ten with Florida State is the better team, but not by much, and this game could easily go down to the final possession.
Florida State is a massive team, but they're vulnerable to teams that are aggressive in the paint. That said, if there's a quick whistle for both teams, Florida State has significantly more depth. Middle Tennessee was a one point favorite against Minnesota, so it wasn't even an "upset" when they crushed Minnesota that final score was deceptively close, to be honest.
But Butler is not short-handed Minnesota, and their ability to pass the ball and executive on offense will challenge a Middle Tennessee defense that is not particularly strong inside.
With a spread this small I'd only take Middle Tennessee if you really think they're going to win, and I expect Butler to pull this one out. I chose Saint Mary's to win this game outright in my bracket. Defensively, they have enough size to hang with Arizona. Jock Landale vs Lauri Markkanen will be a hell of a match-up. Despite the Vegas line, most computer ratings have this game significantly closer - basically a toss-up. I'll take the points. This is an Elite 8 game in the 2nd round.
The two teams are 8th and 9th in the Pomeroy ratings at the moment, and both are among the best defensive teams in the nation.
Considering that Florida will likely not be getting as many baskets as they usually get off of turnovers, this game will likely come down to whether or not Florida hits their outside shots at a high rate. This is definitely a game to enjoy, but it's not really one where anybody can have a strong opinion on who should be favored.
Personally, I just think Virginia is a slightly better team than an Egbunu-less Florida. Purdue PK over Iowa State: I took Purdue in my bracket simply because I think they're a really tough match-up for Iowa State. And defensively, I'm not sure that I buy that Iowa State will have big mismatches with Burton against defenders like Haas - if it is Burton and not Monte Morris who is Iowa State's primary playmaker then that is a huge problem for the Cyclones. Purdue's three-point defense is very strong as well.
There were no significant upsets, no buzzer beaters, and really just a handful of tough finishes against the spread. But don't get down, because we have a second day coming up, and we all know that we never have a super crazy day both days of the Round of On any given day, any team can beat any other team, and one result simply does not a sensible narrative make.
When a 15 seed defeats a 2 seed, nobody says that this proves that the 15 seed should have been seeded higher or that the RPI sucks for having the 2 seed so high, so if Wichita State or Oklahoma State loses today it says literally nothing about how accurate the computer ratings are.
I picked Oklahoma State to win this game outright. Oklahoma State has just been playing so well over the last month and has a point guard in Jawun Evans who can take over. Also, Oklahoma State's aggressive crashing of the glass will pose problems for a Michigan team that, despite a lot of height, doesn't really have a lot of "size" and can be out-muscled in the paint. Also, as a general rule of thumb, I like betting against teams that just pulled off miraculous conference tournament runs, as a form of statistical regression.
Statistically, Baylor is a hard team to figure out. New Mexico State relies heavily on second-chance points to score, and Baylor was just st in the nation in defensive rebounding rate, yet Baylor also led the Big 12 in defensive rebounding rate in conference play. Baylor has historically struggled at defensive rebounding under Scott Drew, but having watched them plenty this year I believe in the in-conference stats.
The fact is that Baylor has played an inordinately large number of elite offensive rebounding teams. As good as New Mexico State's rebounding stats are, they've been inflated by playing in such a weak conference. For Arkansas to win this game, they need a huge performance from Moses Kingsley. Angel Delgado is a monster for Seton Hall, and if Kingsley gets in foul trouble then the Arkansas front line drops off in quality and size very quickly.
Seton Hall's front line is very athletic and aggressive, and I don't know if Arkansas will be able to handle that. The Razorbacks were just 13th in the SEC in defensive rebounding rate. Flying across the country to play Oregon doesn't sound like fun, but at the same time it's hard to justify a 15 point spread.
Sagarin has the spread at 16, but Pomeroy only has it at 13, and Chris Boucher is a massive loss. If Oregon covers, it'll likely be because Jordan Bell annihilated Iona on the glass. The Gaels had a miserable defensive rebounding performance in the MAAC title game, and so they'll need to clean that up. It's hard to totally justify a Jacksonville State is a feisty team that both can get hot from outside and has a 7-footer who is a significant defensive presence.
I wouldn't be completely shocked if Jacksonville State keeps this game competitive. This is a big spread, but if you believe the advanced metrics on SMU then the Mustangs are a good value here. In addition, SMU was 8th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, and are going against a USC team that was 10th in the Pac in defensive rebounding percentage, despite a relatively tall front line. Jordan McLaughlin will be a match-up problem, but I'm skeptical that he's good enough to overcome SMU's overall talent advantage.
Texas Southern is literally the shortest team in the nation just one of their top six minute earners is over 6'4" , which might be a problem against a North Carolina team that has wings who are 6'8", and which led the ACC in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.
Obviously the backdoor cover is always an option in a game like this, but I'd be stunned if this isn't a rout. Minnesota and Detroit begin their division series on Monday night at Comerica Park. The Twins had a rough showing in Written by Adam Rauzino Sep Louis Cardinals in the series opener Monday The Rays continue to keep Written by Chris Altruda Sep Framber Valdez looks to get back on track and help the Houston Astros take another step closer to the AL West title as Written by Nick Raffoul Sep The San Francisco Giants will hope to finish off the regular season strong as they head on the road to Petco Park for a