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Sports Betting Notebook : 3/29/2011
JIM HURLEY'S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK
THE FINAL FOUR GOES TONIGHT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
The NCAA Tournament is off until Saturday, but we have a FINAL FOUR TONIGHT in the NIT!
Today we'll present expanded stat previews for the semifinals matching Wichita State/Washington State and Alabama/Colorado. We'll pick up the NIT again on Thursday for the championship game...updating our indicator stats and running the boxscore data from tonight's games. Wednesday we'll take a quick detour for Major League Baseball since the season starts on Thursday. The NBA will be back on our regular radar once March Madness is in the books.
So much to talk about! And there's a lot of great basketball going all week long,including the NBA. You can click here for a week of bankroll building and then the NCAA Final Four Saturday plus next Monday's championship game.
Tonight it's all about the NIT. Let's get to our expanded previews. As always, much of the data you're about to read comes from Ken Pomeroy's great college basketball site (kenpom.com).
WICHITA STATE vs. WASHINGTON STATE
Wichita St.: +10.9 margin average, 44% two-point defense
Wichita State has the slightly better two-point defense before you factor in strength of schedule. Once you do, it's either a wash, or Washington State pulls slightly ahead.
The average is about 66 in college basketball. So, we have a fast underdog facing a favorite that prefers the halfcourt game. Clearly whoever imposes their style on proceedings will have an edge. Faster teams sometimes have an easier time of it in showcase games because there's so much energy in the arena. And, in this case, the teams have been off since last Wednesday. Can Wichita State stay in control with fresh legs with a New York buzz in the air?
Only a fractional difference here. And, we are seeing a lot of trey-heavy teams keep winning this season. Butler and VCU were both over 30% for the season over in the NCAA's. That's usually a cut-off for NOT making it. The NIT has followed the more classic style this year, while the Big Dance has had some extreme three-point differentials both in style and in subsequent performance.
Let's see what happened the last time these teams were on the floor...
WICHITA STATE 82, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 75
WASHINGTON STATE 69, NORTHWESTERN 66 (in overtime)
Our New York sources helped us out in Newark over the weekend (and with the Knicks on several recent occasions). Tonight they'll be all over these semifinal matchups. Has the line moved too much from pick-em to Wichita State by 3? Will Washington State have had time to get over its leg lag on the long West to East trip? If there's a big edge here, YOU'LL GET IT!
ALABAMA vs. COLORADO
Alabama: +5.4 margin average, 41% two-point defense
You know we're big fans of two-point defense. Alabama already has a monster edge in that category! If the SEC is better than realized, the Tide will really dominate inside.
Same story here as in the first game. Colorado will want to push tempo (which gives them a big edge at home at altitude but not so much at sea level). Alabama prefers a halfcourt game because it helps them make the most of that strong internal defense.
Wow...two teams who hate the three-pointer! Colorado pushes tempo to get fast breaks (similar in style to North Carolina for example, rather than the New York Knicks or Phoenix). Alabama is an extreme team in terms of working the ball inside to get as close as possible.
We have to say that's a tough matchup for Colorado. They rely heavily on deuces...and they're facing a 41% two-point defense. Colorado is awful at two-point defense, and is facing the most extreme two-point offense in the postseason. Colorado MUST create easy baskets off tempo to have a chance.
From last week's quarterfinals...
ALABAMA 79, MIAMI OF FLORIDA 64
This is another game that's already seen line movement off the opener. In both matchups, we'll have to make a determination about whether the line has moved enough, or two much. Our full TEAM HANDICAPPING approach has been studying these matchups since they were determined last Wednesday Night (which is plenty of time to find a BIG JUICY WINNER!). We WILL have a MAJOR RELEASE available for you online Tuesday afternoon.
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