Friday, March 19, 2010

Picking The Lines: Day 3

The early lines are out for Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament, so despite a not-so-wonderful Day 1, I'll keep fighting along to see how I do for all 63 games:

Day 1 performance: 8-7-1

Saint Mary's (+5) over Villanova: It's hard to bet on Villanova after how bad they've looked the past few weeks. That game against Robert Morris wasn't that big of a fluke when you consider Villanova's recent performances. And not on did Saint Mary's look excellent against Richmond, but their best player (Omar Samhan) was a beast inside. And if there's one thing Villanova can't deal with, it's a big man who can score in the post and who can protect the rim on defense. This is basically a toss-up game, in my opinion, so I'll take the points.

Tennessee (-8) over Ohio: Ohio had what might have been the greatest performance in school history against Georgetown. They're a good team, but they'll never shoot like that again. And Tennessee survived a very tough San Diego State team. This game could end up being something of a romp.

Old Dominion (+5) over Baylor: If this were a pick'em I'd take Baylor, but I'm a little nervous about how Baylor played against Sam Houston State. And one thing to consider is that Baylor is a pretty poor rebounding team, and we all know how Old Dominion can get after the offensive boards. I'd probably lay off this bet altogether, but both Sagarin and Pomeroy think this line is a little bit too high, and I agree.

Wake Forest (+9) over Kentucky: I fully expect Kentucky to win this game, but I could see Wake Forest giving Kentucky a lot of trouble. They're athletic enough to hang with Kentucky, and they've got some big bodies who could knock DeMarcus Cousins out of the game with foul trouble. And you have to wonder how Kentucky will choose to handle Ishmael Smith, who absolutely torched Texas. You have to think that maye Kentucky will try to keep John Wall away from him to keep him rested for the offensive end? Considering how close everything went on Day 1, I'm going to take a point spread this high unless I think there's just a huge gap in talent.

BYU (+4.5) over Kansas State: I have to keep riding BYU now.

Kansas (-11.5) over Northern Iowa: It's a big line, and Northern Iowa is a good team, but you have to figure that Kansas got a wake-up call against Lehigh. I expect them to come out much stronger in their next game. And Northern Iowa can't score points in bunches - they're a defensive team that likes to grind games out. If they fall behind by a lot early then it could get ugly.

Butler (-4.5) over Murray State: Murray State is a program that for the last 20 years has always played teams close in the NCAA Tournament, but has rarely ever won. They got a great buzzer-beater over Vanderbilt, but I can't see them doing that twice in a row. And Butler is a team that will hit its free throws down the stretch, so even a very close game will likely end up a 5-7 point win just on the free throws.

Washington (Pk) over New Mexico: I know that I picked New Mexico to win this game in my bracket, but I actually think Washington just looked better than New Mexico did. They have great guard play, but they can also create offense in the paint (which was the reason I originally picked them over Marquette, a team that basically cannot miss a shot from behind the arc, but also basically cannot score from inside the arc). Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate Washington as the better team. The reason I didn't pick this result in my bracket was because Washington had constantly gotten my hopes up all season and had disappointed, and I didn't want to rest my Sweet 16 hopes on a team that could flame out in a 20 point loss in the first round. But they really showed up against Marquette, after looking great in the Pac-10 tournament and even down the stretch in the Pac-10 regular season, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

1 comment:

JonL. said...

Good stuff. I went 13-3 yesterday, best I've ever done so Im happy. 2 buzzer beater shots and im 15-1.

Having to go out of town to take some youth boys camping tonight. So I wont get to join in the chatter today until late Sat. night, but I can keep up with scores via my Droid(hopefully).

GL everyone and GT!