One Can Make Strong Case For Pitt To Win NCAA Title
Underdog George Mason Crushes VCU In 71-51 Blowout In Colonial Athletic Association Game Of The Year
50-Unit Midweek College Blow Set To Win Tonight 50-Unit Midweek College Blowout II Cashes Tomorrow
Best Bets Club Goes 2-0 Again With Underdog Winners In Mississippi State's Cover And Ohio's Straight Up Win
One Can Make Strong Case For Pitt To Win NCAA Title And I Am Recommending Futures Bet At 12-1
By Kelso Sturgeon
I waded through 76 pages of data on last night's George Mason at Virginia Commonwealth game before releasing underdog George Mason as my choice in my 50-unit Colonial Athletic Association. It took more than two hours to study all this information to confirm what my personal figures had already revealed-that George Mason would win this game with points to spare.
And, yes, I predicted the Patriots would win straight-up even though this was one of the most important games of the season for VCU-a game it had to win, period, to have any chance to win the CAA regular-season championship and stay alive for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Talent and great coaching wins big basketball games and George Mason was equipped with both.
When it was over, George Mason had won in blowout fashion by 20 points, 71-51, in a game that was never in doubt. Another 50-unit winner and more money in the bank.
It also left me a perfect 3-0 in the colleges and 0-1 in the NBA, getting the cash with two more college underdogs while losing with an NBA 'dog.
Here are the games I released last night, with my prediction and comments outlining the reasons behind using the teams I did. I believe each of the games, including the NBA loser, offers a lesson in handicapping.
I am coming right back tonight with another big-game play, my 50-unit Mid-Week Blowout, and will follow that up with another 50-unit blowout play on Thursday. The college schedule is rich with winners right now and I take them where and when I find them.
All the big games are available on this site and toll free at 1-800-755-2255. All major credit cards accepted.
Equally important to the lessons found in the comments on these games is the fact I want to again note-winning is not an accident. You will see by the comments all the work that went into the analysis of each game.
Personal Best Club
CAA Game of the Year
George Mason (21-5) +1 over VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH (20-7)
Prediction: George Mason by 7-8
Final Score: George Mason 71, VCU 51 (Win)
Comments: This Colonial Athletic Association game brings together two very talented teams that are hoping to win the conference championship and get to the NCAA Tournament. As good as is VCU is and as strong as its home court bias is (11-1 there this season) I have to go with George Mason to get it done. The Patriots come in to this game riding an 11-game winning streak and in those wins have simply destroyed teams, even on the road. In their last three road games they have beaten NC-Wilmington, 82-68, William & Mary, 85-69, and Delaware, 69-49. There is a world of evidence this George Mason team is the best mid-major in the country and may well be better than the GM team that went to the NCAA Final Four in 2006. This is not to suggest beating VCU on the road in Richmond before a sell-out crowd of 7,500 at the Verizon Arena will be easy. First place in the CAA is on the line and everybody will come to play, but the figures say George Mason will be the best team on the floor and just might be a team of destiny.
Best Bets Club
Mississippi State (13-11) +17 ½ over KENTUCKY (17-7)
Prediction: Kentucky by 11-12
Final Score: Kentucky 85, Mississippi State 79 (Win)
Comments: The media keeps parroting the spin from Lexington, that all is well with the Wildcats and there is no reason to be concerned about that 17-7 mark. I'm not buying it. Kentucky is an outstanding but by no means great basketball team and comes into this game having lost three of its last four-with the losses coming on the road at Vanderbilt, 81-77, at Florida, 70-68, and Ole Miss, 71-69. The losses were obviously close and it is no stretch to say the Wildcats could/should have won all of them. But they lost them for one reason: Coach John Calipari has no confidence in his bench, is trying to win with just six players and thus has a very tired team in the last 5-6 minutes of every game, a fact that opens the door to losing. There is little doubt in my mind Kentucky, which is 11-0 at home this season, will beat Mississippi State but the Bulldogs always seem to save their best shot for Kentucky. The teams met twice last season and Kentucky won both of them in overtime. The last six games in this SEC series have been decided by a total of 27 points, an average of 4.5 points. History says it is just too many points to lay, and I won't.
Ohio (12-13) +8 ½ over BUFFALO (14-8)
Prediction: Buffalo by 3-4
Final Score: Ohio 76, Buffalo 69 (Win)
Comments: These teams are dead-even in ability and talent even though Buffalo has the better record. When they met the first time this season-in Athens-Ohio opened up an 18-point halftime lead and ended up losing, 73-68, as Buffalo made 18-of-25 (72.0%) in the second half. Buffalo has lost two of its last three games after winning six in a row and comes into this off a 78-65 loss at Eastern Michigan (7-17) Saturday. Ohio is 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS in its first five MAC road games.
INDIANA PACERS (24-28) +5 ½ over Miami Heat (39-15)
Prediction: Indiana by 3-4
Final Score: Miami Heat 110, Indiana Pacers 103 (Lose)
Comments: No team in the NBA is playing better right now than are the Indiana Pacers who are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 7-1 under new Coach Frank Vogel, who has his team playing an up-tempo game that seems to fit its talent much better than the offense run by former coach Jim O'Brien. The Pacers are averaging 107.6 points under Vogel, compared to 97.8 with the more deliberate offense under O'Brien. It is of note the only loss Indiana has suffered under Vogel was a 117-112 loss at Miami in a game the Pacers blew a 7-point fourth quarter lead. Indiana will bring it tonight and try to prove it is up to beating the best and I do think the red-hot Pacers will do just that.
Pitt Panthers May Be The Best
Pittsburgh (23-2) moved into the second spot behind Kansas (24-2) in my Top 50 college basketball ratings but there are many reasons to conclude the Panthers may be the best team in the country. They did something special this week when they improved their road record to 9-0 with a 71-66 win at West Virginia in a game in which they were a pick'em and then came right back five days later and won at Villanova, 57-54, as a 2 ½-point underdog.
What made those wins so impressive was the fact they did it without their best player, junior guard Ashton Gibbs who is the team's leader, in addition to being its leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game. Winning on the road is one thing; winning in such a tough venue as WVU and then having to play Villanova on its actual home court-the floor on which it practices every day.
Villanova's actual home court, The Pavilion, seats but 6,500, and the Wildcats usually move games of this importance to Wells Fargo Arena, formerly The Spectrum, which seats 20,328.
But the Wildcats wanted the ultimate edge and decided to host Pittsburgh at The Pavilion, where it does have all the edges.
Bet Pitt At 12-1 To Win It All
The case to bet Pittsburgh to win it all is a strong one and I am recommending a futures bet on the Panthers at 12-1. A $10 wager will get you $120, a $100 wager returns $1,200. It is always a bit of a crap-shoot to make a futures bet the risk vs. reward factor is weighted in favor of the bettor at 12-1.
The case for Pittsburgh:
- Any team that can go 9-0 on the road and win in such spots as West Virginia, Villanova, Georgetown and Providence and beat Texas on a neutral floor has to be a good, if not a great, team.
- Every single player on the Pitt roster is a prime-time blue-chip individual and when Gibbs went down with a knee injury sophomore guard Travon Woodall stepped and the team never missed a beat. Woodall is averaging 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
- Pitt is a very experienced team, starting three seniors and two juniors when Gibbs is on the court.
- The Pitt bench is six deep and Coach Jamie Dixon uses 10-11 players in almost every game, meaning the team can stay fresh all the way-something very important in the crush of tournament time.
- The Panthers have shown they can adapt their style of play to anything an opponent does and in most games are playing that opponents game better than it does.
The NCAA's RPI ratings rank Pittsburgh the sixth best team in the country and says it has played the 25th toughest schedule. This is one outstanding talent-laden college team that has basketball smarts about which only
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