Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:21 PM
There is no place to run, no place to hide come NCAA Tournament time. When a team takes the floor in the Big Dance the truth will be told over a two-hour period of time. Media "experts" will be exposed for their lack of insight and for what they don't know. National polls that rank teams will be shown to be worthless publicity gimmicks. The truth is found only on the playing floor.
Yes, there will be the occasional unexpected upset, but teams will let their actual play speak for them. The NCAA Tournament is the ultimate reality check for teams and their coaches.
After just two days of play, the truth is in full bloom.
We know for certain Harvard coach Tommy Amaker can coach-a truth driven home by designing a game plan that permitted his team to upset the best team New Mexico has put on the floor in years. The 68-62 win by the 14th-seeded Crimson over the 3rd-seated Lobos was a thing of beauty, a coaching clinic-and this is an admission by a handicapper who released New Mexico as a 50-unit play.
We know for certain Wichita State's Gregg Marshall coach-a truth driven home when his 9th-seeded Shockers dismantled 8th-seeded Pittsburgh, 73-55, making the Panthers and their blue-chip talent look almost clownish in the process.
There is no question Southern University's second-year head coach Roman Banks is the real deal. He has taken one of the worst basketball programs in the country and in just two seasons made the NCAA Tournament. He had his 16th-seeded team half-ready Thursday and it pushed top-seeded Gonzaga to its limit before losing, 64-58.
Kudos also to California coach Mike Montgomery and his ability to analyze and opponent and come up with a game plan that destroys it. Montgomery did just that when his 12th-seeded Golden Bears took 5th-seeded UNLV by the throat from the get-go and knocked off a far more talented Rebels team, 64-61.
There were several coaches revealed at the other end of the spectrum, but none more so than UNLV coach Dave Rice who this season did less with more than any coach in the country. He began the season with enough talent to make it to the Final Four and ended it with enough talent to make the Final Four. But the truth spoke to his inability to prepare his team for games, big or insignificant, and his complete ineptness to make adjustments once a game begins.
NCAA Tournament Observations
The current system that guarantees the winner of each of 31 conference tournaments, plus the regular season Ivy League champion, an automatic bid to the NCAA has my full support-few questions asked, despite some obvious and predictable results.
For instance, I released 4th-seeded Syracuse (-13) as a 10-unit play over 13th-seeded Montana and won by 47 points as the Orange cruised home, 81-34. Here is what I wrote in my analysis of this game.
"Comments: With all due respect to Montana, the Grizzlies are out of their element today, taking a dramatic step up in class and also are a candidate to get blown out. Montana has played two legitimate teams this season---BYU and Colorado State-and has lost to both of them. The Grizzlies must now face a talented Syracuse team that snapped out of its slump in the Big East Tournament and is now back at the top of it game. Syracuse is simply too quick and too athletic for Montana which opened last season's NCAA Tournament in a similar situation and lost to Washington, 74-49. Just call this one, same song, second verse." (Underlining added)
When it was over, it was a replay of last year's Montana loss. Syracuse opened up a 38-15 half-time lead and for the game, Montana hit 20.4% from the floor and 12.9% form 3-point range. It will be the same story next year.
Virginia Commonwealth also continued its trend of never losing a first round game under coach Shaka Smart when it crushed a good Akron team 88-42. Smart is now 21-5 in post-season games.
Make a note: Since 1997, number-one seeds are 35-3 straight up against eight and nine seeds from power conferences.
The betting angles of NCAA basketball says that any team that had to play its guts out to win its first game will be vulnerable in the round of 32-and that especially goes for underdogs who were all-out to win.
Wichita State and 8th-seeded Colorado State (an 84-72 winner over 9th-seeded Missouri as a 3-point underdog) are the two most under-rated teams in the tournament.
Sixth-seeded Memphis, which slipped by 11th-seeded Saint Mary's by two points, 54-52, is the most over-rated team in the tournament.
The Friday Betting Menu
50-Unit NBA Blowout Crushes Number Friday Night
There are 11 games on the NBA schedule and in one of those games is a team that is ready to play one of its best games of the season and absolutely blow out its opponent. Much of my success in handicapping the NBA rests of detailed charts and graphs on each of the 32 teams because they reveal when a team is at the very top of its form cycle and thus ready to crush the number. Tonight's release is right there, ready to get it done, and I am sending this team out as a 50-unit play. Win this NBA blowout for just $50, charged to your major credit card.
The Saturday Betting Menu
100-Unit NCAA Triple Power Play Tops 3-0 Saturday
The heat is on in the NCAA Tournament in every one of the eight third round games being played today and that means all 16 teams will be digging deep to come up with that little extra it takes to get the win and advance to the Sweet Sixteen round of play. This situation creates several different handicapping scenarios and the challenges that go with them-but it also means the opportunity to make a major score. There is one game on today's schedule were one team qualifies as a Triple Power Play, primarily because of its experience and bench depth, and I am so confident I will win this game I am releasing it as a 100-unit Triple Power Play. You can win this one, plus two other unit-rated NCAA winners, for just $50.
Nationally Televised NIT Game…Stanford at Alabama Gets It Done On 2-0 Saturday
Play in the NIT and the College Insider Tournament continues today with seven games-including the attractive nationally televised (ESPN) NIT game that finds Stanford at Alabama. I am using two of these games and the top lay of the day will be a 15-unit move on Stanford-Alabama and an additional 10-unit bet on one of the six College Insider games. Get all the money with these two standout plays for just $20.
25-Unit NBA Parlay Gets It Done Saturday Night
I have had outstanding success with my NBA parlays this season and intend to cash a ticket on another one tonight, releasing two teams as 10-unit plays and then tying them up in a 5-unit parlay at odds of 13-5. Go 3-0 in the NBA tonight and get all the money for just $25, charged to your major credit card.