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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM

With the Final Four upon us, it’s time to go over my Advanced College of Sports Betting Keys for championship caliber basketball. You’re attacking the last three college basketball games of the season. You want to cash those tickets!

You should know all four of these teams very well by now. Even if you didn’t pay much attention to Wichita State during the season, you likely watched them knock off Gonzaga and Ohio State in the tourney. The most serious of you should have watched the Shockers’ wins over Pittsburgh and LaSalle as well.

The other teams? You’ve been watching them all season. Louisville, Syracuse, and Michigan have been on TV as much as anybody.


Your job right now:

*Count up the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on each team so that you have a complete sense of weaponry as you try to determine how many points each team is going to score. I’ve talked about this enough already this year. You’d better know the key players by now! Be sure you’re factoring in DEFENSIVE playmakers with this particular set of teams.

*Evaluate the HEAD COACHES in terms of their ability to win big games. Sure, all four coaches just won four games to get here. Three have very long track records in this event that have shown both their strengths and their weaknesses. Who can play well from behind? Who can project a lead? Who can make adjustments on the fly? Who will earn respect from the referees in the last five minutes of a close game? I alerted you before the tourney began that coaching was going to be huge. I think you’ve seen that round by round. It says a lot about the weakness of certain big name coaches that ONLY ONE OF THE TOP 12 SEEDS has survived to the last weekend.

*Consider final week nuances of THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. Obviously every team in the final four should be motivated. But, are there any teams who are satisfied with just “reaching” the Final Four, and are about to step back in awe? Is Louisville playing so well now that they’re in danger of taking their opponents too lightly? Could Michigan be flat after playing their best game in weeks against Florida? I can tell you now that TV announcers will be saying “This isn’t the same team we saw last weekend” about at least one of the squads…maybe two or three.

*Find each team’s WEAKNESS by looking at boxscores of recent games they lost…and determine of their next opponent can exploit that weakness. Why was Michigan so unimpressive in the last few weeks of the regular season. Same question for Syracuse (neither of those teams were even top four seeds in their own conference tournaments). Why did Wichita State lose to Creighton in the Missouri Valley finals before suddenly being capable of taking out Gonzaga and Ohio State? What derailed Louisville during their short midseason swoon? None of these teams is invincible.

*Remember to look at OVER/UNDERS instead of just focusing on team sides. Sometimes the strongest play of Final Four Weekend as a total that greatly overestimates or underestimates scoring potential. Review the elements I’ve already discussed with an eye on whether offenses or defenses will rule the day, and what kind of tempo the coaches are going to want to play.

I have some very strong opinions about Saturday’s semifinals. And, I can already tell you that I’ll have a major release in Monday’s championship because I’ve analyzed the four possible matchups top-to-bottom, and oddsmakers have already telegraphed how they’ll mis-line the final game. If you’re having trouble coming to a final decision Saturday or Monday, you can always purchase my releases here at the website with your major credit card.

This will be my last college basketball report of the season. There’s nothing to add Monday that I haven’t already discussed at length with you in recent weeks here in the coursework. We’ll be focused on early season baseball and the NBA playoffs through the Spring. Then, we’ll pick up again with football when Preseason NFL returns in August.

I hope you’ve been printing out every report to build a virtual textbook that you can refer to year round. The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates the loyal readership and hard work put forth by students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting. Enjoy the Final Four!

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