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Sports Betting Notebook : 3/23/2011
JIM HURLEY'S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK
FINAL THREE MSG SPOTS UP FOR GRABS TONIGHT IN THE NIT
We continue our coverage of the NIT with stat previews for tonight's tripleheader that will determine the last three teams to reach the Final Four set for Madison Square Garden next Tuesday and Thursday.
As promised, we'll also run the boxscore numbers from Monday's three games that helped set up this evening's matchups. Thursday and Friday, we're back to the NCAA Tournament for extended previews of the Sweet 16. We'll do the same thing Saturday and Sunday for the Elite 8. These tournaments always move so quickly once they get started!
Here are tonight's NIT matchups, with regional seedings in parenthesis. Note that the superior seed is playing at HOME tonight. There aren't any neutral site games in the NIT until the Final Four. The majority of indicator stats came from Ken Pomeroy's great college basketball site (kenpom.com). The predicted scores at that site may still trail the market and top handicappers. But, the encyclopedia of information is a godsend to analysts who love the game.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (6) AT WICHITA STATE (4)
Charleston: +9.9 margin average, 47% two-point defense
As noted yesterday, Charleston was helped quite a bit by Cleveland State going 1 of 25 on three-point shots. That's probably not going to happen again, which means they'll need to play at a peak level to pull off their third straight road upset. Wichita State may be a team on a mission after getting snubbed by the NCAA tournament. But, the Missouri Valley has been a disappointment in tester games in the postseason. Missouri State lost and failed to cover at Miami the other night. Indiana State couldn't cover against the Syracuse team that subsequently lost to 11th seeded Marquette.
We'll be working very closely with our sources to determine whether the math is right and this line is too low...or whether the math has overrated the Missouri Valley and the dog is the play.
This averages out to an average pace. Maybe with so much on the line it will slow down some. That plays right into Wichita State's comfort zone.
Normally a mark near 33% would be a red flag vote against a road underdog. Since Charleston has just won outright twice as road underdogs, we won't use it in that way tonight. We don't think Wichita State will go 1 of 25! We'll say that much.
At least one small market team will make the trip to New York. Major conferences will send the remaining two entries...
MIAMI-FLORIDA (2) AT ALABAMA (1)
Miami: -1.8 margin average, 44% two-point defense
Both teams are below average pace-wise (which is around 66), so this is an additional factor suggesting a low scoring grinder type game. Vegas has anticipate that to a degree with a low total. Have they adjusted enough? Both teams are comfortable in grinder games, so neither will be taken out of their comfort zone.
Huge differences in style here. Alabama is extremely likely to own the inside game. You'll see in a moment they used earned a lot of extra free throws Monday Night but didn't cash them in vs. New Mexico. Miami absolutely MUST hit treys to cover or pull the upset. That's arguably the whole game right there. If Miami shoots over Alabama's great inside defense, the game will be there for the taking in the final moments. If not, Alabama is very likely to jetting to New York next week as the deep South's representative.
Northwestern: -5.9 margin average, 53% two-point defense
The defensive differences are enormous. Northwestern hasn't been punished yet for its poor inside defense by either Wisconsin-Milwaukee or surprisingly dormant Boston College. Now they move from one coast to the other to try and outplay a superior defense. At this point in the handicapping process, it's hard to make much of a case for Northwestern. That being said, the Big Ten has enjoyed some good success in the postseason thus far. Ohio State and Wisconsin are still playing in the Dance. Michigan almost upset Duke after annihilating Tennessee. Penn State almost upset the Temple team that should have taken out second seed San Diego State. Hey, we can't forget Illinois dominating UNLV either. Only Purdue laid an egg.
Big differences in style here, as a fast team is at home against a slow team. Home teams often impose their pace on a game, which means Northwestern could be in real trouble. Northwestern will have to work very hard at forcing a playoff style pace in this game, particularly given potential jet lag issues. Truly a game of extremes.
Speaking of extremes, Northwestern is as trey-happy as it gets in college basketball. They're entire offense revolves around hoping treys go in...or hoping that offensive rebounds lead to easy buckets. They won that way at Boston College. Tough to string together tournament victories that way, particularly when playing in hostile territory. Washington State likes the trey themselves, but looks positively post-happy in comparison.
We expect a one-sided result here one way or the other. If Northwestern makes it treys, or forces a slow tempo on the game...they can definitely pull the upset and give some Chicago flavor to a New York tournament. If not, they'll lose by 15-20.
We can't get too specific here in the NOTEBOOK. Be aware that there IS a MAJOR RELEASE tonight in the NIT coming from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK. You can purchase it (and the whole Wednesday slate) a few hours before tipoff here at the website with your credit card.
Monday's NIT boxscores...
MIAMI-FLORIDA 81, MISSOURI STATE 72
ALABAMA 74, WASHINGTON STATE 67
WASHINGTON STATE 74, OKLAHOMA STATE 64
Not only is it a busy night in the NIT, it's also a busy night in the NBA! ESPN has a great doubleheader with Orlando-New York and San Antonio-Denver. Other big games include Memphis-Boston, Atlanta-Philadelphia, Indiana-Charlotte, and Utah-Oklahoma City. JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK will help you build your bankroll for the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 with a WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY! Purchase plays online, or call the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back tomorrow with expanded stat previews of Thursday's Sweet 16 action. When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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