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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM

A week ago at this time I went over the winners and losers from the first big Saturday of college basketball after the Super Bowl. Since the major conferences are really loading those Saturday schedules now that football has ended, I’ve decided to do the same for today’s coursework. It’s so important to really stay on top of developments involving the teams you’ll be handicapping down the stretch run and through the postseason. Let’s quickly review a few highlights and lowlights from the blockbuster matchups of Saturday February 20.

 

WINNERS

There were a few statement victories, so it’s hard to pick out who the “biggest” winner was. I was very impressed that NORTH CAROLINA bounced back so strong after its loss to Duke. The Tar Heels really crushed Miami Saturday afternoon. As vulnerable as the Heels are in terms of running the table, they’re likely to embarrass somebody in the postseason when everything is clicking.

Also, XAVIER’S big win at Georgetown helped answer some questions about how tournament ready that team is. I still think the polls are overstating their case a bit. I think of this as a Sweet 16 team as best, even though the pollsters have them in the top eight. If they keep playing like they did at Georgetown, maybe this team really can go very deep.

Over in the Big 12, OKLAHOMA settled its ship with its road win at West Virginia. Very important for the Sooners to establish they can play well away from home. That loss at Texas Tech will be forgotten if they keep playing like this. That Big 12 tournament is really going to be something, with so little separating the top six teams. I should probably mention BAYLOR too, though they did blow about half of a HUGE second-half lead in Austin against Texas. That was still a statement result.

 

LOSERS

The biggest loser to me was MIAMI, as they couldn’t even manage to be competitive in Chapel Hill when first place in the ACC was on the line! How can you bet a team like that in March? That program (and a few others from the ACC) has turned mortal once they’re in the Dance. Best hope now is to play spoiler. Even if they bounce back and beat Virginia at home Monday night…it may not mean much because you don’t get to play at home in the postseason.

I also want to put KENTUCKY down here, even though it’s not really a disaster to lose an overtime game on the road when the Vegas spread was a bucket. What was important here to me was that Kentucky fell flat vs. a slumping opponent while playing in a Thursday-Saturday rotation. The Wildcats couldn’t cover vs. Tennessee Thursday, then couldn’t cover here just two days later. In the Dance, you play on Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Sunday rotations. Remember this next month. Kentucky could be ripe for an upset in the Round of 32, or could be outclassed in the Elite 8 if they get that far. You have to have enough legs to get you through two tough games in three days in the Dance. Kentucky had been playing very well lately. Their lackluster performance Saturday casts some doubt about how meaningful that hot run truly was.

And, even though it didn’t come in a battle of ranked teams, the abysmal performance by GONZAGA has to be mentioned. I expected this team to come out breathing fire in a home revenge spot. That’s particularly true after they didn’t play well the prior Saturday down at SMU. Instead, they looked AWFUL, tossing up three-pointers in panic mode from the get-go. It’s an enormous strike against this group of players that they couldn’t play well with everything going for them, against what should have been an outmanned opponent. I’m going to be mad about this one for awhile.

Serious students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping need to follow a three-pronged approach with their current college analysis:

*Intelligently outline expectations in each game within your area of interest

*Watch or record all of those games that are televised

*Do a post-mortem of every game with boxscore and game summary analysis

If you only have time to follow a conference or two…do this in those conferences. If you’re a full-time bettor who covers the board…try to do this for as much of the board as possible (granting that you’re not going to get TV coverage for many of the lesser conferences). Luckily, the busy daily schedules force some discipline on you. Get up…do your work…try to pick winners…go collect…rinse, wash, and repeat.

If that sounds like too much work for you, KELSO STURGEON’S top 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.

Back with you in a couple of days to talk more basketball. This is a great time to be a college hoops fan because we have entertaining teams and important storylines across the map. Something important is happening soon in YOUR favorite conference, wherever that is. If you focus on the TV leagues…man, that’s just nonstop action right now.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and had work. See you again next time.

 

Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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