During the NCAA Tournament I'll plan on having an open thread each day. Chat with me in the comments. Certainly feel free to talk with me on twitter as well.
And yes, today is the first day of the NCAA Tournament. So I'll pick the lines and we can talk about the games. I'm guessing that most of you don't bet on or have brackets that include these games, so feel to direct the conversation to the games starting Thursday.
In the meanwhile, here are my picks for today:
2011 Tournament ATS: 40-26-1
2010 Tournament ATS: 35-25-3
Western Kentucky (-3.5) over Mississippi Valley State: As I said in my preview of this game, you just never want to bet on the SWAC. Over the past ten years, the SWAC has been something like 3-980 against other Division I teams (that might be an exaggeration, but only slightly). This year, Mississippi Valley State went 20-1 against SWAC opponents, and 1-11 against everybody else, with the one win coming in double overtime against Tennessee State. Mississippi Valley State needs an obvious match-up advantage for me to pick them, and I don't see one. And with a spread as small as 3.5 points, just pick the team you think is going to win straight up.
Iona (+2) over BYU: Again, with a spread this small, pick the team you think is going to win. I picked Iona to win. This is going to be a wild, high-scoring game. It could easily end up 90-88, particularly since the teams have had less than 48 hours to scout each other. The key match-up with be Michael Glover against Brandon Davies, but I think Iona's perimeter players are more explosive and able to go on quick spurts with their press. Also, I think Iona has the psychological edge, coming from a smaller conference and being treated like the red headed step child of this Tournament. As a rule of thumb, it's always a good idea to bet on the team that is the media consensus "shouldn't be there" at-large team.