Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 2 Open Thread + Picking The Lines

Well, a 2-0 start against the spread... even if I missed NC State beating Xavier outright. Oh well. It feels like every year the worst team in the Field of 68 ends up winning some games. Maybe there's extra motivation?

Don't forget, the VCU team that made the Final Four a few years ago was also the worst team to make the NCAA Tournament that year, before getting insanely ridiculously hot shooting the ball for two weeks.... not sure I see that in NC State's future, though.

I do still think you should take NC State over Saint Louis in your bracket. The Billikens are overrated and fading, and are primed to be picked off by whichever 12 seed they get. Remember that if you haven't filled out your bracket yet, my full Tournament breakdown is here.

We've got one more night of the First Four before the the real NCAA Tournament gets underway. Please join me in the comments below for a discussion or catch me on twitter. Below are my picks against the spread:

2014 Tournament ATS: 2-0-0
2013 Tournament ATS: 36-30-1
2012 Tournament ATS: 30-35-2
2011 Tournament ATS: 40-26-1
2010 Tournament ATS: 35-25-3

Cal Poly (-3.5) over Texas Southern: Cal Poly is obviously the better team here. Even if you'd never heard of these two teams, all you need to know is that Texas Southern is from the SWAC. Also, Texas Southern is a team that relies heavily on foul shooting differentials (they led the SWAC in both offensive and defensive FTRate), which is a skill set that tends to make you better at home and worse away from home (due to the different referee bias). They were only 5-4 on the road in conference play (compared to 7-2 at home) and four of those five road wins came against teams outside the Pomeroy Top 320.

Tennessee (+1.5) over Iowa: I was pretty stunned by this Vegas line. Obviously Iowa is a much better team than their resume (somewhere around the 20-25th best team in the country), but Tennessee is even better, and that's pretty universal across the computer ratings. And Tennessee opened up as a 2 or 2.5 point favorite just about everywhere before the line swung hard in Iowa's favor, for no apparent reason (no injuries or suspensions). I explained in my Midwest region breakdown why even if Tennessee and Iowa are equal on paper, I think Tennessee's personnel match up better.


luciente said...

You know NC State isn't the 'worst' team to participate in the tournament this year. :)

Jeff said...

Haha, that's the old joke, right? "We're at least the second worst team to get an at-large bid", or something like that?

Unknown said...

Jeff, how do you feel about the First Four? On the one hand, I feel that it punishes smaller schools by not giving them a chance against a big school. On the other hand, it gives those smaller school who wouldn't have a chance to win a game to say they won a NCAA tourney game. Personally, I would like to see either the field reduced to 64 or have all 4 games between at-larges.

Unknown said...

Man Reggie miller is awful at commentary

Jeff said...

Yeah, Reggie Miller is basically the TV Teddy of announcing, if you know what I mean.

I've decided I'm kind of okay with the First Four. I'd rather we still have the bracket of 64, but I'm tired of people whining about the four extra games. I watch NIT games, and if CBI and CIT are on I'll watch that also. I enjoy college basketball. I can't see being that upset about more college basketball.

Anonymous said...

This has been quite a game....about all that a 'first four' game could be. Rooting for the Vols but wonder if the start of the game will turn out to be the difference.