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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Night two of the NIT quarterfinals features tourney top seed SMU trying to continue its reign of revenge, while Florida State tries to keep the ACC relevant in a postseason marred by disappointments. Those home favorites will be taking on California and Louisiana Tech respectively in a pair of games that will both be televised nationally by ESPN.

Win tonight…and you’re off to New York for next week’s Final Four, joining Tuesday Night’s winners in a Big Apple basketball celebration. As we did in yesterday’s NOTEBOOK, we’re going to preview BOTH matchups with computer information gleaned from college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin. We’ll take the games in tipoff order, starting in Tallahassee.

 

Computer Rankings-Game One

Louisiana Tech: #35 in Pomeroy, #33 in Sagarin

Florida State: #38 in Pomeroy, #40 in Sagarin

 

Computer Rankings-Game Two

California: #66 in Pomeroy, #56 in Sagarin

SMU: #29 in Pomeroy, #31 in Sagarin

Looks like Louisiana Tech/Florida State is a computer toss-up. The margin for error is so slight when teams are so close together that they might as well be the same team. Of course, Florida State is playing at home as the top seed in their quarter of the draw. The market is giving them consideration or that. SMU is the top seed for the whole tournament, and enjoys what looks to be a healthy computer edge over the Cal Bears. Handicappers will have to determine if SMU is properly rated, or if Cal may be a bit underrated given the Dance success of Pac 12 cohorts Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford.

 

Offensive and Defensive Rank Game One

Louisiana Tech: #81 on offense, #25 on defense

Florida State: #46 on offense, #57 on defense

 

Offensive and Defensive Rank Game Two

California: #85 on offense, #72 on defense

SMU: #89 on offense, #11 on defense

Pomeroy adjusts points per game statistics for the number of possessions and the strength of schedule. The best defense of the foursome belongs to SMU. Defense is always huge in tournaments! Louisiana Tech is a sleeper defensively though, don’t sleep on them. California has the worst defense of the group. Note that we have fairly disappointing offensive ratings for the group. Most of the offenses you’ll see later this week in the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance are better than 80-ish. SMU has the most disappointing rating of the offenses, which may come back to haunt them at some point in the NIT if not tonight.

 

Pace Rankings

Louisiana Tech #18

Florida State #144

California #170

SMU #173

Louisiana Tech is a run-and-gun circus, which has helped hide the quality of their per-possession defense from the media and oddsmakers. The other teams are lumped fairly close to the national average. FSU is a bit faster than average, which may surprise some of you.

 

Against the Spread

SMU 19-11

Louisiana Tech 17-12

Florida State 18-14

California 13-19-1

Three of the four teams have been money-makers this year. We’ve already talked a few times about what a great story SMU has been under Larry Brown. Winners know how to win! But, can he seal the deal in this tournament? He and SMU will be facing overrated (by market standards) California before running into opposition more likely to derail championship hopes. Again, Louisiana Tech grades out well here. Time will tell if they’re the kind of team that thrives in a mid-major but wilts when stepping up in class.

JIM HURLEY would love to build his clients some more bankroll heading into the Dance. Be sure you check out the very best offerings from the NIT and NBA Wednesday. You can always purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call our handicapping office during normal business hours Wednesday or any time this week at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about Major League Baseball when you call. Baseball provides big daily schedules that allow you to rack up the profit all summer long!

 

Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for the rest of the week:

Thursday: Florida vs. UCLA (best of Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchups)

Friday: Louisville vs. Kentucky (most anticipated of Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchups)

Saturday: Elite Eight Doubleheader (using today’s double-up format)

Sunday: Elite Eight Doubleheader (using today’s double-up format)

 

Keep visiting this website every day for great information. Both the NCAA and NIT will be crowning champions in very short order. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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