Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:55 AM
Long ago I learned the hazards of getting emotionally involved in handicapping any/all sports. It is tough enough to win using actual past-performance data - the biggest single factor in predicting and producing winners - without letting one's opinion become tainted by a little prejudice in favor of or against a particular team.
Time out: I just saw Gonzaga (29-2) has just been voted in both major polls as the number-one ranked basketball team in the country. Who's kidding whom? That is a joke, but we will address that later.
If I gave way to personal likes and dislikes I would for my own reasons bet on Wichita State in every basketball game it played, on Kansas State in every football game it played, and against Kentucky in every basketball game it played and against Texas in every football game it played, and this is just to mention four.
I a native son of Kansas whose life journey has settled me in many homes along the way - in Kentucky, Georgia, back to Kentucky, then to Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, back to Maryland and for the last 17 years in Nevada. Along the way I have made many friends in the sports world and become attached to many different teams - and I would be against every one of them If I thought I could win a bet.
That is the reality of my world, where the score is kept with money and where all decisions are based on the best facts available.
It is against this background, I am going to offer my two cents worth about the coming NCAA Tournament which will be played April 6-8 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. There are literally hundreds of opinions as how the 68 invited teams will be seeded and at least as many on which teams will make it to the Final Four.
All personal opinions and hopes aside, I am going on record as saying the NCAA Final Four will be Duke (25-4), Louisville (24-5), Miami (23-5) and St. Louis (23-5). Which of these teams will win it all? You are on your own there.
At the present time Indiana (25-4) is the 4-1 favorite to win the national championship, followed by Florida (23-5) at 6-1, Michigan (22-6) at 7-1 and Duke and Miami at 8-1. Louisville is listed at 10-1 in the futures betting while Saint Louis checks in at 35-1.
Why These Four Teams
Duke: The Blue Devils arguably became the best basketball team among the 347 NCAA schools when 6-11 senior forward Ryan Kelly returned Saturday from a foot injury that had kept him on the sidelines since January and scored a career high 36 points as the 3rd-ranked Blue Devils defeated 5th-ranked Miami, 79-76. Duke is loaded with blue-chip talent, has been there and done that and is coached by a man who brings his team to every game on the razor's edge.
Louisville: The Cardinals are loaded with blue-chip players from the starters to the last guy on the bench and exhibit a toughness that currently is forcing all opponents to blink first and give it up. Louisville is one of the few teams that this late in the season just gets better with every game, and that tells me the best is yet to come. The Cardinals also have an explosive offense and a lock-down defense and they play each with tremendous intensity and discipline. They too have an outstanding coach who has been there and done that and who also brings them to every game on the razor's edge.
Miami: There is not the slightest doubt in my mind this very talented Miami squad is the best-coached team in the country. Coach Jim Larranaga may well be the best basketball coach in the country. He put George Mason on the NCAA map before taking the Miami job and has continued to prove his genius in molding a combination of flesh-and-blood basketball players into a machine - a very dangerous machine. The Hurricanes came within a hair of beating Duke (see above) in Durham in their last game, are 15-2 in their last 17 games and own signature victories over Duke, 90-63, and North Carolina twice. The job Larranaga does in getting his team ready to exploit the weaknesses of its opponent is second to none - and nobody outcoaches him on the sidelines.
Saint Louis: This addition of the Saint Louis Billikens was always meant to be. The team returned six of its top seven scorers from last season's 26-8 team that went to the NCAA and knocked off Memphis, 61-54, in the first round and then lost to Michigan State, 65-61, in the second round. Saint Louis did not attract a lot of attention earlier in the season, overlooked as it struggled a bit because of the loss and then the death of head coach Rick Majerus. The Billikens have won 11 straight and in that streak have absolutely destroyed most of the teams they have faced, including a 76-52 win over VCU and a 75-58 victory over Butler. This is an outstanding and under-rated basketball team but is now living up to its advanced billing and right now is up to beating any team.
This is just my opinion but it is based on hours of reach and the experience of this season.
In a later column this week, I will address the chances each of the other leading teams has to make it to the Final Four and why I think it is a joke Gonzaga is ranked number one.
Tonight's Betting Menu
50-Unit NBA 2-Team Parlay - Go 3-0 Wednesday
Tonight's NBA schedule is loaded with golden opportunities for bettors to cash multiple tickets and my Chairman's Basketball Investment Club will be going for broke tonight with another of its 50-unit 2-team parlays. There are 14 NBA games on the schedule tonight and teams in two of them grade out with an 85% chance to cover the number---a very high figure for an NBA game. I will be releasing both teams at the 20-unit level and then tie them up in a 10-unit parlay just to put the icing on the cake. Click here to get all the cash tonight for just $35, charged to your major credit card
25-Unit March Madness Platinum Power Play Tops 2-0 Tournament Night
March Madness is underway as the mid-major conferences conduct their post-season tournaments to determine who will represent them in the coming NCAA Tournament and it is providing some of the most competitive play of the season. There are several tournament games tonight and I am releasing two of them to my March Madness clients--one at the 25-unit level, the second at 10 units. You can win both these games for just $25, charged to your major credit card.
Better yet, get on board for my entire big-game packed March Madness Package that includes a 200-unit play this coming Saturday, at least six 100-unit plays, at least four 50-unit games, and best bets games rated from 5 units to 15 units every single day. You can get all this and more for just $249, charged to your major credit card. I have been winning for you all season and I do not intend to slowdown one bit. Click here to get on board and start your March Madness winning today.
3-0 Marquee TV Night
Georgetown (23-4) at Villanova (18-12)
North Carolina (21-8) at Maryland (20-9)
Stanford (17-13) at California (20-9)
My Best Bets Basketball Investment Club keeps winning and rolling up major profits and tonight is going for the money with three marquee TV games in which I have found the edges that should get it done. Here are the games I am releasing and I do expect to win them all. The first game is on ESPN, the next two on ESPN2, and you can win them all for just $20