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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 7:00 PM

There’s a lot of buzz about the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four that will be played this weekend in Indianapolis. Three of the four #1 seeds are there…and “outsider” Michigan State is far from a pretender given the program’s history and Sparty’s form over the past few weeks.

The NIT? Well, it’s also a Final Four. That’s about it! There are no real marquee teams in the brackets this year. And, anyone who felt snubbed about being on the wrong side of the Dance bubble didn’t have much of a leg to stand on. That being said…the four teams who are left are still playing their hearts out…and could put on quite a show in Tuesday’s semifinals and Thursday’s championship.

Tonight’s opener, Miami vs. Temple, looks to be the best entertaining value. You have the ACC taking on the AAC. You have the team most likely to bring a crowd presence (Temple isn’t too far away with its Philadelphia base). And, you have a market price suggesting a high scoring coin flip. If you’re going to watch one NIT game this year…THIS is the one to watch!

Let’s see how both teams made it to Madison Square Garden. Then, we’ll run JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats…

 

MIAMI’S ROAD TO NEW YORK

Miami (-8) beat North Carolina Central 75-71

Miami (-4.5) beat Alabama 73-66

Miami (+2.5) won at Richmond 63-61

That third game on the list…the victory at Richmond was the ONLY road game played by ANY team that survived to the Final Four. Everyone else enjoyed nothing but home cooking. Miami sure didn’t impress in the opener. But, they did commit to this even in Round Two…and then scored a hardfought road victory in the quarterfinals.

 

TEMPLE’S ROAD TO NEW YORK

Temple (-12) beat Bucknell 73-67

Temple (-4) beat George Washington 90-77

Temple (-4) beat Louisiana Tech 77-59

Similar situation here in that Temple wasn’t particularly fired up for their opener. Bucknell was one of the worst teams in the NIT, as Temple was a #1 seed. But, two blowouts after that…with high energy scoring totals for the Owls. Both teams care…and Temple’s been more impressive since both stumbled out of the gate.

 

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Miami: 110.3 per 100 possessions (#39 in the nation)

Temple: 104.1 per 100 possessions (#125 in the nation)

Big edge here for Miami. How did Temple score so many points on the way to New York? Clearly playing at a fast pace helps the Owls. They’ll need easy buckets because it looks like the halfcourt game is death to Temple, but invigorating for Miami. Big edge in per-possession offense to Miami. And, if Ken Pomeroy’s methodology errs when making strength of schedule determinations…that probably helps Miami given how well the ACC has performed in the Dance.

 

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Miami: 98.8 per 100 possessions (#96 in the nation)

Temple: 93.8 per 100 possessions (#21 in the nation)

We flip-flop here…with Miami’s defense being much worse than is realized once you adjust for pace factor. Temple moves up to Dance caliber when you do so…top 25 in the nation. If you’re the type that believes “defense wins championships,” then Temple is the team you’ll be looking at Tuesday night.

 

Pace Ranking

Miami: #267

Temple: #125

Big differences here. Miami will try to slow things down to keep the game within reach. Temple will try to push so they get open looks and can push their slower opponent out of its comfort zone. Generally speaking…slow is better in playoff style basketball. But, it IS possible for faster teams to force their preferred pace on proceedings. This tug-of-war will likely determine the winner.

 

Against the Spread

Miami: 16-17-1

Temple: 18-15

Temple was slightly underrated this season, showing a slight profit for backers after you adjust for the 10% vigorish. Miami couldn’t live up to the hype it received after upsetting Duke in Durham. Occasional excellence. But not consistency.

 

Las Vegas Line: Temple by 1.5, total of 141

Nice to see a total in the 140’s. Duke/Gonzaga had a high total, but was played in a cavern with a tricky backdrop…turning that game into a yawner. MSG is well suited for entertaining basketball, setting up some great possibilities here. Note that the line has moved from Miami -1 on the opener all the way to Temple being the small favorite.

JIM HURLEY and his full team of experts want to keep the profits piling up as we wait for the Big Dance to resume. They’ll come up with the best side and total options Tuesday Night in the NIT…and bonus NBA will likely be in play as well. You can always purchase daily BEST BETS 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.

Busy week of basketball coming up…as we work through two tournament championships before FIRST PITCH in Major League baseball. Here’s what’s on tap here in the NOTEBOOK…

Wednesday: NBA Report Card heading into April

Thursday: NIT Championship Preview

Friday: NCAA Final Four Early Look…Kentucky vs. Wisconsin

Saturday: NCAA Final Four Preview…Duke vs. Michigan State

Sunday: NBA Preview…Golden State vs. San Antonio (potential playoff preview!)

Monday: NCAA Championship Preview

Tuesday: MLB Preview…Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners

It’s a dream week in the world of sports…as One Shining Moment turns into Field of Dreams! Make YOUR dreams come true with the best sports investment program in the industry…courtesy of JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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