Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Open Thread + Picking The Lines

It was nice to finally have a day where my projections against the spread worked out. Better late than never, I suppose.

I honestly don't think there's a whole lot to say about Saturday's games. Florida was who we thought they were - they live and die by the three. In the first half against Louisville they were 8-for-11 behind the arc and looking good. In the second half? 0-for-9 behind the arc.

It's always humorous to me how the media over-analyzes basketball games. Florida's performance comes down to hot three-point shooting in one half and cold three-point shooting in the other. That's it.

Anyway, let's get to Sunday's games:

Saturday ATS: 2-0-0
Total through Friday ATS: 28-32-2
2011 Tournament ATS: 40-26-1
2010 Tournament ATS: 35-25-3

Baylor (+8) over Kentucky: There's no question that the Kentucky offense was awfully impressive against Iowa State and Indiana, but I do think that a bit of it was a statistical fluke. The 35-for-37 free throw shooting against Indiana in particular was a bit ridiculous. If Kentucky had shot their season average (72.9%) they might have lost the game. What I like about Baylor here is that they have the length and athleticism to hang with Kentucky. Baylor's biggest flaw during the course of the season was defensive rebounding, but they've actually done a really nice job on the defensive glass the past four games. Defensive rebounding is all about focus and effort, and the Tournament appears to be bringing that out of them. And on the offensive glass, they're as good as ever. It's driven a 1.14 PPP scoring average so far in their three NCAA Tournament games. I'm not saying that Baylor is going to win this game. I still think Kentucky is the better team and is going to win, but I'll take the 8 points.

Kansas (-2) over North Carolina: It's worth noting that the Kendall Marshall injury again isn't really taken into account in the Vegas line. Sagarin has the game as a toss-up and Pomeroy has Kansas as the slight 1-point favorite. And neither of those includes the fact that that this is a quasi-home game for Kansas in St. Louis. The report is that Kendall Marshall is going to try to warm up and play, and I do think he'll give it a shot, but at best he's going to be a shell of himself. He hasn't practice properly, and he's going to have some kind of a cast on his wrist. And Marshall's absence was painfully apparent in that Ohio game. They committed a season-high 24 turnovers, and finished with only 0.92 PPP against an Ohio defense that is decent... but not Kansas. North Carolina, particularly with a hobbled Kendall Marshall, depends on scoring in the paint. Even with a healthy Marshall, they scored 62% of their points in ACC play on two-point baskets, which led the conference. Kansas leads the nation in 2P% defense, and Jeff Withey leads the nation in block percentage (he personally has blocked 15.4% of opponents' two-point attempts while on the floor this season). I just think that unless Kendall Marshall miraculously plays the full game at close to 100%, Kansas is the clear favorite to win.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on nailing the Final Four Jeff. Been reading your site for a couple years now and I'm always impressed by your thorough analysis. Keep up the good work.

Jeff said...

Thanks. Hope your bracket is going well, too!

John said...

Rock Chalk! KU is going to win it all!

They match up GREAT with OSU, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Pitino take out UK. Regardless, upperclassmen thrive this time of year and KU's rotation of 7 consists of all juniors and seniors

+Points on the final 4 = 2-0

Anonymous said...

Got the Louisville pick because of you, thanks, your site continues to impress me each year--- easily the best one on the web for March Madness.

Jeff said...