Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM
The TV networks seemed to stack the Day One schedule with daytime Cinderella possibilities. They may find out that the most exciting game of the whole card will be in prime time when Mountain West tournament winner (and regular season champ) Nevada tries to upset Big 12 tournament winner Iowa State.
Both teams are obviously in great form. But, Iowa State may be due to let down because winning the Big 12 tournament is so hard! A great run from the Cyclones last weekend included wins over late-charging Oklahoma State, and computer favorite West Virginia. Nevada got to stay in its home state, and wasn’t really threatened by anyone in the otherwise disappointing MWC.
Will this one be a thriller? Could it be an upset? Let’s get to JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how this nightcap in Milwaukee is likely to unfold…
Nevada: #55 at Kenpom, #56 at Sagarin
Iowa State: #17 at Kenpom, #16 at Sagarin
This is a #5 vs. #12 game in the seedings. College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer programmer Jeff Sagarin are pretty much in agreement. You could make a case that Iowa State should be a #4 if you prefer to weight recent form more heavily (which got Duke to a #2 seed!). Nevada’s among the best of the auto-bids, which usually go on the #12 line. Nevada might have been good enough to get an at-large even if they had been upset. They’re glad they didn’t have to sweat that! Clear edge to favored Iowa State. Handicappers and bettors must determine if a letdown factor might be in play.
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Nevada: 114.5 per 100 possessions (#34 in the nation)
Iowa State: 119.6 per 100 possessions (#13 in the nation)
Really good offenses here. You probably already knew that about Iowa State. Nevada has a variety of scoring weapons…and generally dominated the Mountain West by outscoring everyone rather than shutting them down defensively. One reason we picked this one out to preview is its potential for up-and-down-the-court excitement!
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Nevada: 101.2 per 100 possessions (#101 in the nation)
Iowa State: 96.4 per 100 possessions (#43 in the nation)
Iowa State usually takes the worst of it defensively in our big-game previews. And, they will again soon if they advance past this one. But, of these two…the Cyclones have the better defense after Pomeroy adjusts for pace and strength of schedule. We should note though that Iowa State is a poor rebounding team, and Nevada crashes the offensive glass pretty hard. Those rankings might overstate the difference in real terms for this particular matchup.
Iowa State: #170
Should be a lot of fun, because Nevada likes to run and Iowa State doesn’t mind that at all. You have a lot of viewing choices Thursday…and you’ll be pretty darned worn out by the time this one tips! Worth staying up for based on the indicators we’ve been looking at. Solid weaponry at an enjoyable pace.
Against the Spread
Iowa State: 18-12-1
Both teams made money this year…and both made their backers happy last weekend. There’s certainly a chance either could go on a nice cover run in the Midwest region. The winner gets the winner of Purdue/Vermont…which will be a manageable foe. Kansas probably awaits in the Sweet 16…but Iowa State isn’t afraid of them! Louisville and Oregon are on the other side of the Midwest brackets…both of whom have exploitable weaknesses. This might be a real darkhorse game in terms of the whole region.
Who’s going to get the money? That will likely come down to how well Iowa State shoots its three-pointers (always a linchpin element of handicapping the Cyclones) and whether or not Nevada can get a lot of second-chance points off the offensive glass. Focus on those two areas as you handicap the game.
As we go to press, it’s too early to know for sure if Nevada/Iowa State will be part of the final card for JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK. There are 16 first round games between the day and night sessions, plus other basketball to look at on the Thursday ticket. You can be sure you’ll get the BEST BETS ON THE BOARD as determined by our full team of experts. Our scouts and sources…our statheads who crunch every number…our computer programmers who were running algorithms before it was a buzzword, and our friends behind the line in Nevada and offshore who let us know what the smart money is doing, and what the dumb money is doing…they all contribute to the bottom line! And, that means they contribute to YOUR bottom line!
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It’s the most important betting week…of the most important betting month of the entire calendar year. Don’t you dare make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!