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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, February 12, 2016 at 4:00 PM

There are two things that have really jumped out at me after watching college basketball through the bulk of the 2015-16 season. First, there’s so much relative parity that we naturally get a lot of very close games. Second, college kids have no idea how to win close games!

Night after night…game after game…you see one-possession games go right down to the final buzzer. Typically, the team that has the ball last MISSES their shot. That either leads to a loss because they were down by 1 or 2 points…or overtime because the game was tied. The occasional buzzer beater victories get shown over and over again because they’re so rare!

Some of this is a natural result of short seasons, limited practice, and the relative inexperience of college kids compared to professionals. There’s only so much preparation you can do for late game conditions. It sure doesn’t help that so many college stars are freshmen who didn’t play many close games in high school.

But, I also blame a lot of this on the coaches. It’s just not that hard to draw up a play that gets a decent look. And, it’s not that hard to emphasize the importance of passing the ball around rather than have one guy dribble the clock down and force up a guarded shot from far away. Everybody still wants to be Kobe Bryant! Better to be the man who took it upon himself to take the shot rather than the “coward” who passed the ball to someone else. That’s the mindset…and it’s wrong.

Let me tell you…the teams who are going to win come tournament time will be those who know how to execute late in close games. This coming postseason is going to be a series of nailbiters played one after the other by relatively even teams on neutral courts. Smart coaching and intelligent execution will be the tie-breaker that launches many teams toward a shot at history. Students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping will be well-served to focus on this very element through the rest of February. If something’s going to be a “tie-breaker” that determines who wins and covers close games priced near pick-em…WINNING MONEY means understanding who’s going to get the best of that tie-breaker.

Luckily, we can take that out of play to a degree here during the regular season. You regular customers know I play a lot of favorites who are positioned to win big blowouts because of advantages in PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS and THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. I talked about my 50-unit winner on Wichita State the other day. We came right back with another 50-unit play on Montana over Southern Utah that cashed in similarly dominating fashion. The best “defense” against sweating poor late game coaching and execution is to take those out of the equation!

Come Dance time, that’s going to be much more difficult. The tournament will largely feature relatively evenly matched teams who aren’t going to run and hide from each other. You need to start preparing now to handicap those games. Pay special attention to any team that FAILS to execute intelligently late in nailbiters…particularly when doing so on their home floor. Those are the teams who are going to lose neutral site games next month. Teams who execute well late in close ROAD games are likely to win the games that matter in the brackets.

This is one of the great things about having so many games on TV on any given Saturday or Sunday. You can hop around to watch the last few minutes of all the close games! Let the blowouts take care of themselves. And, don’t waste 30 minutes (or 10 hours!) sweating your bets. If you made smart bets, business will get taken care of. Focus just as intently now on beating college basketball as you did during college and pro football.

That’s your homework this weekend. Watch the final minutes of close games, and write down what you learn about the positives or negatives of the teams involved. There will be some games where NEITHER team knows what it’s doing! An observant handicapper is a winning handicapper.

Fresh on the heels of those 50-unit winners on Wichita State and Montana, I have some very big plays on tap this weekend. You do-it-yourselfers can supplement your slate with those. KELSO STURGEON’S top basketball selections can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters’ office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.

I’ll see you again Monday for our next class get-together. The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work. It’s Valentine’s Weekend. Make sure your loved ones know how much you love winning money! They’d better get used to that now. Of course, smart bettors know how to share the wealth with those most important to them. Do some of that this weekend too.


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

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