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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 12:00 AM

 

 

THE NCAA TOURNAMENT REPORT –

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE FINAL FOUR AS

WE TRACK THE GAME-BY-GAME BIG DANCE JOURNEY …

PLUS, OUR NIT TITLE GAME PREVIEW

AS LIPSCOMB VS. TEXAS TAKES NYC BY STORM

 

The Final Four’s set – and the power conferences are well-represented once again with Virginia (ACC), Michigan State (Big 10), Texas Tech (Big 12) and Auburn (SEC) the betting favorites listed in exact order here. Heck, that’s par-for-the-course stuff considering that 17 of the last 20 teams that have been part of the Final Four these past five years have hailed from the power conferences.

The $64,000 question this year in a Final Four that doesn’t include Duke , North Carolina, Kentucky, Villanova and Kansas – a quintet of blueblood teams that comprised eight of the last 20 sides in these penultimate games – is what offense can shake loose against a defensive-oriented bunch (save for Auburn, but even the Tigers battened down the hatches when they had to last weekend in the overtime win against Kentucky)?

 

Note here’s the following points-per game offensive stats for this year’s Final Four squads:

TEAM                     PPG                         NATIONAL RANK

Auburn                   80.2                        27th

Michigan State     78.3                        47th

Texas Tech            73.0                        159th

Virginia                  71.3                        215th

 

Imagine that: Teams trying to win national championships that average less than 75 points per game and that shows just how good the defenses are for the Cavaliers and Red Raiders who don’t score a whole lot. Folks, it’s quite possible that the totals prices for Saturday’s two games will drop in the hours leading up to tipoff. Right now, Virginia vs. Auburn has a totals price of 131 points while the nightcap tilt of Texas Tech vs. Michigan State sports a totals price of 132.5 points … that’s low, low, low!

 

Now hear this …

Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers bring you all the Side & Totals winners in the NCAA Tournament’s Final 4 this Saturday plus there’s all the other action with the other College Basketball Tournies (the NIT, CBI and CIT), the NBA and MLB too … get it all right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.

 

NCAA TOURNAMENT POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART

Here’s a look at how the surviving conferences / leagues have fared spreadwise thus far in the NCAA Tournament while heading into the weekend’s Final Four:

 

CONF/LEAGUE                      WON              LOST               TIED                PCT

Big 12                                     8                      4                      0                      .667

Big 10                                     13                   7                      0                      .650

SEC                                          7                      11                   0                      .389

ACC                                         6                      13                   0                      .316

 

FINAL FOUR PATH

Here’s how this year’s Final Four teams have gotten to Minneapolis with a look at their other NCAA Tournament games this year.

Note that as of press time, Auburn is a five-point underdog against Virginia (Saturday, 6:09 p.m. ET) and Texas Tech is a 2.5-point pup against Michigan State (approximately 8:49 p.m. ET):

 

AUBURN (30-9) – War Eagle has “cashed” in its last three in a row in this man’s tourney and is a collective 21-16-1 ATS (against the spread) this season.

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

3-21                        Auburn                   - 6.5                New Mex St.         78-77

3-23                        Auburn                   - 2.5                Kansas                   89-75

3-29                        Auburn                   + 5.5               North Carolina        97-80

3-31                        Auburn                   + 4.5               Kentucky (ot)        77-71

 

VIRGINIA (33-3) – The Cavaliers are a money-making 25-11-0 against the odds this year but fact is UVa is “lucky” to be 2-2 spreadwise in this year’s NCAA tourney.

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

3-22                        Virginia                  - 22.5              Gardner Webb        71-56

3-24                        Virginia                  - 10.5              Oklahoma             63-51

3-28                        Virginia                  - 8.5                Oregon                   53-49

3-30                        Virginia                  - 4.5                Purdue (ot)            80-75

 

TEXAS TECH (30-6) – The Red Raiders have covered seven of their last eight and they’re the only Final Four team that’s a perfect 4-and-oh spreadwise in the tourney.

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

3-22                        Texas Tech            - 13.5              No. Kentucky         72-57

3-24                        Texas Tech            - 4                   Buffalo                   78-58

3-28                        Texas Tech            + 2                   Michigan               63-44

3-30                        Texas Tech            + 5.5               Gonzaga                75-69

 

MICHIGAN STATE (32-6) – Sparty is 27-11 versus the vig overall and this Big 10 team has covered seven of its last nine games.

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

3-21                        Michigan St.          - 17.5              Bradley                  76-65

3-23                        Michigan St.          - 10.5              Minnesota             70-50

3-29                        Michigan St.          - 6                   LSU                         80-63

3-31                        Michigan St.          + 2.5               Duke                       68-67

 

 

NIT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW

Tonight, it’s …

TEXAS (20-16) vs. LIPSCOMB (29-7) – at New York City, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Gotta hand it to the Lipscomb Bisons: They’ve won all four of their NIT games away (road wins at Davidson, UNC-Greensboro and N.C. State and then Tuesday’s semifinal win at Madison Square Garden versus Wichita State) and they scored the game’s final 14 points to put away the Shockers 71-64 as 1-point betting favorites. Guard Garrison Matthews was a smash hit on Broadway with 34 points and no secret here than Texas head coach Shaka Smart will devise a defense or two that’s meant to keep the ball out of Matthews’ hands here.

In fact, if the 1-point favored Longhorns are gonna snag this NIT title, then the best player on the floor better be Kerwin Roach II who scored 22 points off the bench in Tuesday’s wire-to-wire 58-44 win against TCU in that pick ‘em affair.

An X-factor here: Guard Courtney Ramey dished out 8 assists for Texas in the win versus TCU and he must be active on the few occasions when the ‘Horns run the fast break.

Spread Notes – Texas has tacked together back-to-back spread wins after losing five previous ATS verdicts; Lipscomb is 19-15 vig-wise overall and that includes four consecutive covers.

 

 

NOTE: We’ve got NCAA Basketball coverage all this weekend right here at Jim Sez – so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com

 

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