50-Unit Power Play Kicks Off College Tournaments Tuesday Night As March Madness Begins
50-Unit Power Play Kicks Off College Tournaments Tuesday Night As March Madness Begins...12-4 With Last 16 Games Rated 50-To-200 Units
Duke Remains 4-1 Favorite To Win It All Again While Ohio State 9-2, Kansas 5-1 , BYU Biggest Bargain On Board At 40-1
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By Kelso Sturgeon
I am kicking off the college conference tournaments Tuesday night with a 50-unit power play that I am confident will march right to the winner's circle just as did my two big college releases over the weekend-a winning 100-unit play Saturday on Long Beach State (-6) in its 71-53 win over Cal-Santa Barbara and a winning 50-unit bet Sunday on Ohio State (-17 ½) in its 82-61 victory over Indiana.
All the mid-majors begin their post-season tournaments this week with the winner of each getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and a chance to win the national championship. The major conferences follow next week, with the 68 NCAA teams selected Sunday night, March 13.
The NCAA Tournament begins with play-in games on Tuesday, March 15, and at this point defending national champion Duke (26-3) the 4-1 favorite to win it all, followed by Ohio State (26-2) at, Kansas (27-2) at 5-1 and Texas (24-5) at 6-1. The risk vs. reward factor says BYU (27-2) at 40-1 is the best price on the board.
The two college tournaments beginning tonight are the Horizon League and the Big South Conference. Each game is being played on the home court of the school with the best record. Here are the Tuesday night pairings, with records in parenthesis.
Horizon League Openers
Illinois- Chicago (7-23) at Cleveland State (24-7)
Wisconsin-Green Bay (14-17) at Wright State (18-13)
Loyola-Chicago (16-14) at Detroit (16-15)
Youngstown State (9-20) at Valparaiso (21-10)
Big South Conference Openers
Gardner-Webb (11-20) at Coastal Carolina (26-4)
Charleston Southern (16-15) at NC-Asheville (16-13)
Winthrop (13-16) at Virginia Military (17-12)
High Point (11-18) at Liberty (19-12)
The most important element of handicapping the conference tournaments is to determine where the games are being played. As stated earlier, the opening round games listed above are being played on the home court of team with the best record. Now, for the rest of the story.
In the Big South, the semi-final round will be played at Coastal Carolina, with the championship game to be played on the home court of the highest remaining seed. For the record only the top eight teams in the Big South advance to the tournament and Presbyterian is not yet eligible.
In the Horizon, conference co-champions Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Butler do not have to play until the semi-final round. After Tuesday night's games the tournament moves to US Cellular Arena, the home court of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the tournament's top seed. The championship game will be played on the home court of the highest remaining seed.
Basic Elements Of Winning In Post Season
The college post-season may be a little more intense than the regular season, since there is so much on the line and every team has the opportunity to advance to the Big Dance regardless of how it has done during the regular season. Here are several basic elements I consider in handicapping the college tournaments.
- What is the current history of the two rivals? These teams have met at least once-and usually twice-during the regular season. For instance, Coastal Carolina and Gardner Webb have met twice this season and both games were very close. Gardner Webb won 59-57 at Coastal Carolina and the latter won 58-55 at Gardner Webb.
- How was each team playing in the last two-three weeks of the season? It was a given one month ago that either Cleveland State or Valparaiso was going to win the Horizon League title and the former did share it with Milwaukee and Butler. But it is of note Cleveland State went 3-4 straight up (SU) and 1-6 against the spread in its last seven games. Valparaiso was 2-3 in both categories while Milwaukee closed out 9-1 SU and Butler 7-0 SU.
- How has a team played on the road? Every team can play well at home but only the good teams win on the road. The edge always goes to teams with the best road records, because that is a true picture of their ability.
- What about injuries? In post-season games one must make certain he is getting the same team that played during the regular season. For instance, Georgetown has fallen apart without its point guard who is out with an injury. Florida State is on the verge of doing the same.
- Good coaches with a team of experienced players always have a big edge over a team that has neither.
There are many other factors that enter into the post-season handicapping process but these five are certainly a good place to start.
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