Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 1 Open Thread + Picking The Lines

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.


Jeff said...

Under way!

Anonymous said...

I know this is unrelated to the game, but if i pick belmont to beat Georgetown ( i get an extra 5 points) do you think they're likely to beat NC State as well?

Jeff said...

I'd be concerned about Belmont's lack of size and defensive rebounding, but if they really crank up the tempo then it won't matter. I think you can feel fine picking any of the four teams in that pod to the Sweet 16. If you like Belmont then run with it, particularly if you get bonus points for seed.

Anonymous said...

any thoughts on wisconsin vs syracuse now that fab melo is ineligible? you feel like the zone will be less effective and give wisconsin a better chance to win?

Jeff said...

I definitely think it's close to a 50/50 game. My concern is that Wisconsin does tend to struggle against zones with long, athletic players on the perimeter. Wisconsin would still have to shoot threes well to win. And, of course, Wisconsin will have a tougher path to that Sweet 16 game than Syracuse will.

Jeff said...

So somehow in all that chaos I didn't cover the spread? Oh well.

Jeff said...

Well, it's a good thing I didn't bet any actual money on these two games. I would have pulled my hair out.

Anonymous said...

0 for 2. Nice start.

Jeff said...

Yup. That stuff tends to even out in the long run, though.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I'm thinking k-state has a very real chance to take down Syracuse now that fab is ineligible...your thoughts on that idea?

Jeff said...

They definitely have a real chance. I'm always wary of picking Kansas State to go far in the Tournament, though, because they're sloppy with the ball, don't rebound well on defense and don't hit free throws. Those are the three key things you want to look for in a team that is steady enough to win multiple consecutive games in a Tournament setting.

Anonymous said...

So even without fab, are you still feeling cuse to the e8 to fall victim to OSU? Thanks Jeff!

Jeff said...

That is still my pick. But I definitely feel less strong about it. Feel free taking Wisconsin, Vanderbilt or Kansas State there.

None of us are ever going to get all 67 games right, so all we can do is play the odds.

John said...

Enjoyed the blog with all the matchup/computer ranking analysis.

However, using that method to pick, you can expect a lot of chalk which you have.

I imagine you watch a ton of college b-ball. So based on your personal opinion (throwing aside all KenPom and Sagarin, etc):

a) What 2 seed is likely to fall before the Sweet 16 (it's been happening frequently lately)

b) What 3 double digit seeds have a realistic chance of the Sweet 16?

P.S: Temple is going to the Sweet 16 this year!!!!!


Jeff said...

The most likely 2 seed to go down before the Sweet 16? I think it has to be Duke. They're by far the weakest of the 2 seeds.

The most likely double-digit seeds to make the Sweet 16? There are about half a dozen that I think have a decent chance, honestly. Obviously Belmont has a wonderful chance, as does NC State. California, Texas and Xavier are three others with a good chance.

Temple is a very good team. I picked them as the A-10 champ all season long and was surprised when they got upset early in the A-10 tournament. If they get California, though, that'll be a very, very tough game for them. If you're a Temple fan, I'd root very hard for USF tonight. USF is not good, and I'd expect Temple to dispatch them rather easily.