Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Yes, it was an exciting but grueling weekend of basketball. Huge Dance schedules Thursday and Friday. Then, the powers-that-be have run the Saturday and Sunday schedules deep into the night in a way that exhausts avid sports bettors who want some quiet handicapping time. When are winners supposed to sleep?!
Well, those of you thinking that Monday was a day to take off are mistaken. Sure, the Big Dance is quiet until Thursday. But, the other tournaments, particularly the NIT, are back in action to give handicappers and sharp bettors some interesting targets to fire at.
There’s a tripleheader of NIT action tonight that will be televised within the ESPN family of networks. Let’s take a quick look at JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats in all three matchups.
Louisiana Tech at Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET on ESPN)
La. Tech: 109 on offense, 68 on defense, 32 in pace
Texas A&M: 81 on offense, 39 on defense, 206 in pace
We’re going to see a lot of ugly offenses on the card tonight. You saw a lot of teams eliminated in the “Round of 64” in the Dance because they couldn’t shoot. Think about all the teams who weren’t good enough to get into the Dance! That’s what handicappers are dealing with this week…trying to find teams who can score enough to win and advance.
Very interesting pace dynamic here. Louisiana Tech wants to run-and-gun. Texas A&M is slightly slower than average nationally…but may slow themselves down further to take the visitor out of their comfort zone.
ATS Records: Louisiana Tech 12-17, Texas A&M 18-12
Some potential here for Aggie consideration. They were underrated all year by the markets…while Louisiana Tech was overrated. That plus home court plus the better defense plus the likelihood of a slow “playoff style” pace does play into their hands.
Illinois State at Old Dominion (8 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
Illinois State: 83 on offense, 50 on defense, 152 in pace
Old Dominion: 117 on offense, 43 on defense, 338 in pace
Some similarities here to the first game in that both teams are better on defense than on offense…and we have a big differential in pace. But, in this case, it’s a super-slow team in Old Dominion at home against a mid-pace visitor.
One notable factor though, Illinois State was playing very much like a Dance caliber team in the Missouri Valley tournament. You’ll recall that they beat highly regarded (and #7 seed) Wichita State in the semifinals…before jumping out to a big lead until they ran out of gas against eventual #5 seed Northern Illinois. This isn’t a third game in three days scenario for the Redbirds…who were probably about a #9 to #10 Dance seed in terms of performance level in that last weekend. Worth keeping mind as you make a final choice here.
ATS Records: Illinois State 16-17, Old Dominion 16-13
Old Dominion has home court, the better per-possession defense, and was slightly underrated by the markets this season. Tough handicapping challenge!
Murray State at Tulsa (9 p.m. on ESPN)
Murray State: 18 on offense, 189 on defense, 79 in pace
Tulsa: 212 on offense, 16 on defense, 218 in pace
Many in the media thought Murray State got hosed in the Dance selection process. This will be the Racers’ chance to make a case on the road against Tulsa. Though, frankly, winning at Tulsa doesn’t necessarily mean you’re Dance caliber! Note that SMU was the champ of Tulsa’s conference, and only played a few good minutes in a loss to UCLA. Connecticut was from that conference and lost at home in the NIT to Arizona State.
Hey, look…somebody who can shoot! Murray State is the only team playing Monday with a decent offense, though their ranking would surely be worse in a better conference. They’re the only team who’s playing better on offense than on defense. We do have a big difference in pace here, making it three straight showing that dynamic.
ATS Records: Murray State 14-14-1, Tulsa 14-15-1
The markets were pretty much in synch with those teams this season, and may be again Tuesday night. Handicappers will have to determine which extremes will rule the day…and if Murray State has a chip on its shoulder big enough to earn a road win on what they hope is a journey to the Big Apple.
(Note, those last two games are in the same quarter of the NIT bracket. The winner of Illinois State/Old Dominion will take on the winner of Murray State/Tulsa…meaning we’ll have at least one mid-Major in New York next week.)
JIM HURLEY won’t be taking tonight off. He knows the lines will be soft because oddsmakers are tired…and sharps are too! You can purchase Monday Night’s college tournament action and NBA power plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.
More college coverage tomorrow…and then we’ll jump back on the Dance floor with this schedule:
Wednesday: Sneak Peak at an early Thursday Sweet 16 matchup
Thursday: Best of the late Sweet 16 matchups
Friday: Best of the late Sweet 16 matchups
Saturday: Best Elite Eight matchup
Sunday: Best Elite Eight matchup
It’s a great time to be a basketball lover and a Las Vegas sports bettor. Be sure you keep MAKING THE MOST OF MARCH MADNESS with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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