Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 4:00 PM
This past weekend featured several enormous matchups in college basketball. Now that the dust has settled, it seems prudent for students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping to evaluate the biggest winners and losers.
Kentucky: The Wildcats were extremely impressive in routing South Carolina on the road Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks may have been worn down a bit from their war with LSU earlier in the week. But, Kentucky’s been blowing almost everybody out lately…so that may not have been an issue. Clearly, right now, Kentucky has the look of a champion after a slow start. Nobody made a better case this past weekend for winning the NCAA’s than Kentucky. A great result built on a sequence of earlier great results.
Kansas: Heading to Oklahoma and knocking out the revenge-minded Sooners in another hardfought battle spoke very highly of the Jayhawks. This is a team that had issues on the road earlier this season. Yet, they mostly had the better of play through the whole afternoon. Handicappers should always be skeptical about head coach Bill Self in the Dance. For now, Kansas was obviously a big winner on this showcase weekend.
Notre Dame: The Irish executed well late in their big home win over Louisville. This is on the heels of the same kind of finish the prior Saturday vs. North Carolina. Things are definitely looking up for ND. Though, I’ll want to see some consistent road results before jumping on any bandwagons. As was the case with Kentucky, this result built on other good recent results.
Wisconsin: Wow…what a great performance at Maryland! That was supposed to be an impossible place for visitors to win at. Yet, the Badgers took the game by the throat early and basically coasted to an easy win. This team is peaking at the right time for sure. Probably the single biggest surprise in any of the titanic matchups because of margin size. Everyone knew Wisconsin had improved. They weren’t supposed to maul Maryland.
Michigan: Wanted to include the Wolverines because they showed poise in the final minutes of their upset of Purdue. I talked about that this past weekend…scouting “end game” performances for teams who are likely to be playing in the Dance. Michigan is earning its way into the Dance. Notre Dame is earning a better seed with its recent clutch play.
Louisville: Amidst quite a few Saturday disappointments, this had to be the single biggest failure because Louisville is the only major team that won’t have a postseason! All they have to play for is a regular season championship because of self-imposed probation. After losing Monday at Duke, and Saturday at Notre Dame, that’s almost out of reach unless the Cards get some help. Devastating loss, and possibly a trigger for a very soft finish to what’s becoming a lost season.
Texas A&M: Another devastating loss. Texas A&M absolutely had to stop their slump, but instead extended their recent free-fall with a loss at LSU. It wasn’t long ago that the Aggies were in the discussion for a potential #1 or #2 seed in the Big Dance. Now, it’s hard to even imagine them beating a good team in the postseason.
Gonzaga: It’s been a disappointing year for Gonzaga compared to their usual standards. They had a chance to make up for that with a road win at SMU in an intersectional nightcap. Instead, a loss and a non-cover for a visitor that’s not likely to be much of a factor this March.
I suppose I could mention Maryland because they laid such a big egg vs. Wisconsin. But, the Terps are still in great shape in the Big 10 race. Maybe that’s the red flag that signals a poor finish. It’s just not the same as Louisville or Texas A&M because those losses were piling on other disappointments. Purdue’s loss to Michigan came on the heels of a nailbiter with Michigan State. Understandable in that light.
Losing a high profile matchup isn’t the end of the world in this sport. Sometimes it’s what teaches an eventual champion a valuable lesson! The poor grades earned by Louisville, Texas A&M, and Gonzaga don’t qualify for that in my view.
More great games on tap this week and down the stretch of the regular season. I hope you’re now up to speed while you try to swim in the deep end. Football is long gone. Winning in Las Vegas right now means properly understanding and evaluating college basketball (and to a lesser extent, the NBA). If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the board, 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.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance. See you again in a couple of days to talk about “post-All Star Break” handicapping in pro basketball. Then it will likely be back to the colleges over the weekend. Keep those seat belts fastened because this wild Las Vegas sports betting ride won’t be slowing down any time soon!
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