Saturday, March 28, 2009

So good, then so bad

I was perfect on Thursday, hitting all the games and then turning around and missing all on Friday. That sucks. UNC, Louisville, Villanova and Uconn look like they are heading to the final four, but we still have to see how this plays out.

Picks for today (not doing tomorrow yet)

MISSOURI +5.5 vs. Uconn
I think this game will be won by the team who controls the tempo of the game. Mizzou will want to run and Uconn will want to slow it down and play a half court game. I think Missouri's style will win out, effectively eliminating Uconn's strength; their frontcourt. I do think Uconn will win, but this will be a battle that will be really close. This a game that Uconn really misses Dyson. They don't have enough guards to run away with this.

VILLANOVA +2 vs. Pitt
I hate to do this, but this is the right call. I love Fields and this Pitt team but they are not playing a full 40 minutes, which Nova is and what is absolutely necessary to win this game. If Pitt plays poorly in the first half and is down, like their previous three games, they will lose this game. However, if they come out strong and play the way they did 4 weeks ago, they win. Pitt is the better team, but there is no reason to believe that they can just turn it on now. Nova wins.

Good luck!


Thursday, March 26, 2009


We have games again today, finally. I am very impressed with the lineup over the next couple of days and am looking forward to seeing who ends up in Detroit for the Final Four.
Quick thoughts on my all Big East final four vs. what I think now after 32 games.

Originally, I picked Pitt over Louisville in the finals with UConn and Syracuse joining them in the final four. I did not go with UNC because I did not think Lawson would be effective. He is hurt, but he will be effective and in my eyes, they are the team to beat. With that said, they have the toughest 2, 3, 4 teams to get through. Uconn has been playing great, but at some point all of these off the court distractions catch up with them. Louisville is one bad shooting night from getting eliminated. You could say that about any team, but I feel it is more relevant because Louisville is not a great shooting team to begin with. You could say Pitt has struggled because they have had a tough time in their first two games. However, they won and OSU was a good team. I agree with B. Anthony on this and that they do enough to win and keep advancing.

I hope my final four is correct, but my gut says UNC over Uconn with Pitt and Kansas joining them in Detroit.


UCONN -6.5 vs. Purdue
I really like this game. Purdue has no size and will get killed inside. Hummel will absolutely disappear in this game.

VILLANOVA +2.5 vs. Duke
Both teams are playing well right now, specifically Duke with the insertion of Williams into the starting lineup and moving Scheyer to the point. I feel these teams are very similar; not a lot of size and a lot of guards that can hit the shots. I believe Villanova has better guards/shooters and the better inside post player in Dante Cunningham.

XAVIER +7 vs. Pitt
I think Pitt will put together a solid all around game and make a championship run, but it won’t happen here (next game vs. Nova). Xavier is very similar to Pitt, but Pitt does everything better. This game will be close, but Pitt wins. Fields is the difference in this game.

MIZZOU +4.5 vs. Memphis
This is tough game to handicap. I could see a Memphis win and cover, more likely than I can see a Missouri victory. But, I look at three things that point me to Mizzou.
1) Tyreke Evans. He is a freshman. Is he Derek Rose and somebody who can lead your team to the Finals? I don’t believe so. He is talented, but not lottery pick talented. He needs to be flawless in this game and I don’t think he will.
2) Memphis has struggled to score. They got a huge game from Sallie off the bench in their first game. He went for 35 and his average is 7. Without that, they were dead. The next game, Mack was hitting the three. Missouri plays good defense and Memphis will struggle to score.
3) Mike Anderson (coach of Missouri) is very familiar with Memphis from his days at UAB where he competed against them well.


SYRACUSE +1 vs. Oklahoma
The orange win this game. The zone and their size down low will give Griffin trouble. Syracuse is on a roll now and will upset the best player in basketball.

GONZAGA +8.5 vs. Unc
Gonzaga has the players to run with Unc and will likely try. If they make their shots, they can win this game. Regardless of the outcome, I believe the game will be close.

KANSAS +1.5 vs. Michigan State
MSU beat up the Jayhawks earlier this season by guarding Collins and Cole and making the rest of their team beat them, which they could not. MSU has size and depth down low to challenge KU. However, Bill Self has shown tremendous resiliency against teams that previously beat him in the past. He won’t let Izzo get the best of him this time.

ARIZONA +9 vs. Louisville
Arizona has no depth and needs a near perfect game and 22+ points each from the big three to beat Louisville. They have little room for error. But as gamblers, we are not asking them to win, just cover. Arizona has shown that their offense is not the issue. They will be able to keep the game under double digits.

Good luck!

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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday plays

Here is a quick rundown on the plays for today;

I am selling the Pac 10 now.

CLEVELAND STATE +2.5 vs. Arizona
CSU wins outright. Rookie coach for UofA going against a tough defensive minded team that can match athletes of the Wildcats.

MIZZOU -3.5 vs. Marquette
Dominic James is back. Nice to hear, but he won't help.

LOUISVILLE -11.5 vs. Siena
I would love to pick Siena, but their run will end today.

The trojans have been playing great and over their heads. MSU is better defensively and has more depth, which will be a big factor today when Taj gets in foul trouble.

WISCONSIN +4 vs. Xavier
Ugly and slow, which is the way Wisconsin likes it. Wisconsin wins.

KANSAS -7.5 vs. Dayton
Not totally confident on this one, but I think the better team here (Kansas) puts a full game together and wins by double digits.

PITT -8 vs. Oklahoma state
I expect a Memphis type game today, where Pitt will play like a number one team and roll over OSU.

Good luck!