Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 6 Open Thread + Picking The Lines

Thursday was chalk, so naturally Saturday was chalk. Can Sunday live up to Friday? Maybe... maybe not.

One thing I have noticed the past couple of days on twitter is that the general disdain about the reffing has gotten to be a bit much. I, too, was bothered by the seeming one-sided reffing late in the Syracuse/UNC-Asheville game, but the amplification system that is twitter is causing people to overreact to reffing in almost every game.

What's gotten particularly silly is that the hatred of the refs sometimes is continuing even when they get calls right. A perfect example was the lane violation call at the end of the Notre Dame/Xavier game. Surely even if you didn't know that the guy at the top of the arc on a free throw has to stay there until the ball hits the rim, you should have learned the rule at the end of the Syracuse/UNC-Asheville game. But that didn't stop people from blowing up twitter about the horrible reffing "gaffe" that wasn't a gaffe at all. The refs got it right.

Refs are not perfect. There will always be a few errors in any game. But unless it's awfully egregious, and unless you're sure that they actually made an error, let's cool it off. It cheapens the games if everybody acts as if every game was "stolen" by the refs.

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

Saturday ATS: 5-3-0
Total through Friday ATS: 21-21-2
2011 Tournament ATS: 40-26-1
2010 Tournament ATS: 35-25-3

Georgetown (-4.5) over NC State: Georgetown looked awfully good in beating down Belmont. NC State is very reliant on offensive rebounds, and Georgetown led the Big East in defensive rebounding percentage. The Georgetown defense is very good, and their offense won't need to score that much to deliver a win.

St. Louis (+6.5) over Michigan State: I expect this to be a very competitive game. That St. Louis/Memphis game was, as expected, played at a very high level. I expect this to be a low-scoring, physical affair. So while I think Michigan State will win, I'd rather take the points.

Creighton (+8.5) over North Carolina: A big concern for this game is John Henson, and whether he'll return from injury here or not. He'll probably be close to a game-time decision. If he does play then it's possible that North Carolina can dominate Creighton physically and blow this one out. But with the way Creighton can shoot, they're always capable of quick 9-0 spurts to get back into the game. I'll take the points.

Norfolk State (+14.5) over Florida: Sports analysts who think Norfolk State isn't a very mediocre team are just over-reacting to one insane result. This Norfolk State team lost to Illinois State by 32 and Delaware State by 17, and only outscored opponents by 0.08 PPP in MEAC play. But that said, Florida isn't the type of team that I think is likely to blow them out. They went wild against Virginia, but I wouldn't expect them to do that twice in one weekend. This is an awfully large spread to cover.

South Florida (-2.5) over Ohio: I talked here about just how much USF is reminding me of last year's VCU team. I wouldn't exactly pencil them into the Final Four right now, but I'll ride the hot hand. The one stat to keep an eye on is turnovers. USF probably needs to commit 20+ turnovers to lose this game.

Xavier (-3.5) over Lehigh: The media (or at least most of the members of the media) had the 2/15 upsets backwards. It was somewhat surprising that Lehigh won, but not that surprising. They are a strong 15 seed and Duke is a very weak 2 seed. Norfolk State isn't nearly as good of a team as Lehigh. That said, a 3.5 point spread is very small - I wouldn't take the points unless I really thought Lehigh had a good chance of winning, but I don't think they do. This is a reality check game for them, and Xavier is clearly playing pretty good basketball right now.

Kansas (-8) over Purdue: This might be the toughest spread of the day to pick. I think it's very unlikely that Purdue will actually win this game, but it could be very competitive and 8 points is a whole lot to give. I went back and forth on this game a couple of times because the Kansas perimeter defense is mediocre and Purdue has a bunch of good three-point shooters. But that said, how do they match up with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey? I don't see how they can. Missouri is the only team this season that was able to use their guards to send Jeff Withey to the bench and to neutralize the Kansas height, but I don't think Purdue has the explosive scoring guards that Missouri does. I wouldn't bet on this game either way, but if I had to pick one team against the spread, I'd take Kansas.

Florida State (-2.5) over Cincinnati: I still think Cincinnati is overrated. They were a bubble team before their run in the Big East tournament, and they needed an incredibly awful first half shooting performance by Texas to get past the Longhorns. Florida State is a better team - they're a better defense, they have better shooters and they should be the better rebounding team. The point spread isn't large enough for me to sweat the points.


ervinsm said...

Interesting that you think Cincy, a team ranked 122nd in luck, is overrated (by who idk, bc not many people think they are good), but Fla St, a team ranked 65th in luck isnt overrated?

Neither team is really all that good, but only 5 spots (21 and 26) separates them in kpom, and Fla State has been significantly luckier than UC this year. Just doesnt really add up to me.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought on that Murray State game yesterday. I think what was lost in that game and never talked about was the excellent coaching by Buzz Williams. Murray State went on a mini run and Buzz immediately called timeout to slow the momentum down. Following the timeout Marquette went on their own run and basically sealed the game from their. I give a lot of credit to Buzz for Marquette winning that game.

Jeff said...

ervinsm, the only difference between Cincinnati and a 12 seed is that run in the Big East tournament. Their big win came over a Syracuse team that clearly couldn't have cared less about that game. I just don't think that Cincinnati is suddenly a Top 25 team because of a couple of games.

Ervinsm said...

it just seems awful convenient to dismiss the cuse win as "not caring" in a conf tourn but duke and unc did care, especially with no henson or kelly playing in the acc tourn.

They also beat marq, gt, ville in their last 13 are now 10-3. exact same as fsu in last 13.

Again, even if we agree that UC isnt a "6 seed" wouldn't it make sense to think FSU is way overseeded as well. Theyve been one of the luckiest teams all year, had a big run in conf tourneys that "no one cares about" and those wins were vs shorthanded duke and shorthanded unc?

Jeff said...

Jim Boeheim has been particularly clear over the years about how he doesn't care about the conference tournament.

Florida State has played to their competition all season, so they have a bunch of bad results against bad teams that have sunk their computer rating.

ervinsm said...

Isnt more likely boeheim 'not caring about it' is post hoc rationalizing coach speak bc his teams lost?

also playing up and down to competition that sounds really similar to a cincy team that has bad early season losses weighing down their computer ratings.

losses vs presb, st j, @rut but wins over marq, vill, "@"cuse, neut Gt,@Gt would be the def of up and down to comp.

I get that Fsu is better, but there isnt this massive gap of value that it sounds like ur saying is there. When vegas and kpom both say the same thing its hard to think otherwise.

Jeff said...

It's not just this year. Boeheim has had a speech with the media almost every season about how he hates conference tournaments and thinks they're not worth worrying about unless you're on the bubble.

I'm not saying Cincinnati can't win - they can. I just think that FSU's results against bad teams have artificially depressed their computer ratings, and I think Cincy's ratings have climbed a bit too much because of that win over Syracuse and that incredible ice-cold shooting stretch that Texas had for almost a half.

ervinsm said...

I think ur not following me on boeheim. I know its not just this year hes talked about it. Its also not just this year theyve underachieved in them. Im saying isnt it more likely he started to say that a long time ago bc his teams lost in them and hes just sticking with it.

Also, if he or his teams didnt care, wouldnt vegas know this and not a make a team the pre conf tourn favorite that doesnt care? Its not like cuse didnt try hard, or they sat guys to rest, or gameprepped any differently.

Jeff said...

Vegas doesn't put as much thought into the lines as they act like they do. Every game line is within 1-2 points of Sagarin/Pomeroy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Boeheim care so little about the Big East tourney he went six overtimes deep to beat Uconn a few years ago. That's coach-speak to keep his team focused for the NCAA tourney after they lose in the Big East tourney.

Also, Roy Williams has said he doesn't care about conference tourney's either so I guess we can throw that FSU win over them out the window too.

Anonymous said...

Great to see Cincinnati display how clutch they are by hitting some high pressure free throws. Very very impressive.

Still think Cincinnati is overrated? Well, you can think (wrongly) anything you like, and they'll be dancing on to the Sweet Sixteen baby!!!!!!!!

Jeff said...

Cincinnati had just one of those days. They're the worst free throw shooting team in the Big East (and one of the worst in the nation), but hit over 80%, including their final 9. Florida State melted down late, including missing their final four three-pointers.

Play a best-of-7 series and I don't see any way Cincinnati gets by Florida State, but that's what happens in a one-and-done situation. Sometimes it's just your day.

Anonymous said...

Glad I didn't bet on your advice.

Jeff said...

It's been a rough year against the spread - brutal luck in close games. I'm picking the winners of games, at least. If you filled out your bracket with my advice you're in very good shape.