Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

The tournament has been devoid of major upsets and the difference between dogs and favorites covering, has been minimal. The first round saw a 17-14-1 advantage to the dogs, and the second round was 11-5 in favorite of the chalk. So 25-22 is the slim margin that the favorites hold. I think they will keep this advantage through the round of 16 here on Thursday and Friday, but the dogs will inch closer covering 5 of the 8 games.


Thursday's plays, listed in order of value.

UConn -6.5 (on my line) vs Purdue has gone down to a point where this is the best play on the board. Huskies are playing like they did mid-season when they dominated everyone. Adrien is hitting from the free throw line, and Thabeet really doesn't need to score very much with Price and Robinson knocking down perimeter shots. Kemba Walker's speed and scoring off the bench make this a double digit victory.

Villanova +2 vs Duke. Do you remember when Duke lost to Uconn in the finals with Khalid El Amin and Richard Hamilton? I do. The offense for Uconn was "spread em and drive em." Duke continued to pressure everywhere and provide no help-side defense. It was lay-up city for the Huskies. Villanova will have the same advantage. Duke is just so thick headed they won't change what they do. They are Duke, you know.

Xavier +7 vs Pitt. I like the balance of Xavier and think that Pitt is simply playing good enough to only win, and not cover. They could lose this game is they sleep walk again.

Memphis -4.5 vs Missouri. This has all the makings of an up and down, but sloppy basketball game. There will likely be more blocked shots, and steals than there will be made 3 pointers. However, if anyone is going to run away and hide it is Memphis. They do have the offensive firepower to score 8-10 straight and just pull away from Missouri. As Missouri gambles to get back in Memphis should be able to throw over the press with Evans and dunk on the other end.

Friday's Plays.

Syracuse +1 vs Oklahoma. Johnny Flynn will be the best player on the court, despite some monster dunks by Blake Griffin. The ability to knock down the 3 will prove the difference as Oklahoma will clank away and Devendorf and others will combine to make about 9 3's for the Orange. I don't like the Orange, and I hate Devendorf, but they win outright, and maybe even going away.

Gonzaga +8.5 vs UNC. UNC is just not the same without Lawson at full speed. He will very likely have a gritty effort to pull it out. But the combination of Pargo's size and strength and the quickness of Demetri Goodsen on the ball will wear him out enough to limit his 3 point shooting. This will be a high scoring game, and at times it may look like UNC wins big, but Gonzaga will make this game close and it won't be decided until the final 90 seconds.

Michigan St -1.5 vs Kansas. The Spartans are finally playing up to potential, and just in time. They will use their strength and depth to wear down the young Chickenhawks as Collins will do all he can to single-handedly win the game. Aldrich will not have enough muscle to win the boards battle and the Spartans win by 5.

Arizona +9 vs Louisville. This is a bit of wishful thinking on B. Anthony's part. I happen to have only one bracket left with a chance to win, but need Louisville to sputter in order to have it happen. The Cardinals are the best team physically left in the tournament. However, this Arizona team, who I despise by the way, is playing great ball. Dunlap is the coach of this team and he does own 2 NCAA division II crowns. They will junk up the defense and confuse Louisville. Pitino may have to change his White Suit again at half time. He will rant and rave and the Cardinals will win, but not by double digits. Like Pitt, they have not shown the ability to play 40 minutes. Realistically, they only need to play 30 to cover this game. But my guess is that they have at least two 7 minute lapses. 25 minutes of good ball is enough to beat Arizona, but not going away!

Good Luck

B. Anthony

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear B Anthony,
I like all your picks except Gonzaga.
Who do you like in the Wowmen's bracket this weekend? I'm going to need some action late Saturday and Sunday. As one of your readers once commented, rags to riches is where the real value is.

10:17 AM  
Blogger B. Anthony said...

i am on UCONN women to roll out the rags vs Cal. thanks for your loyal readership!

11:19 AM  

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