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FINDING GOOD TOURNAMENT POINTSPREAD TEAMS

2008 MARCH MADNESS

With the NCAA Tournament set to kick off on Thursday, let's take a look at some of the most obvious factors you'll want to consider when you handicap the games. Remember, what happened in December, is not as important as what happened the last 2 or 3 weeks. You'll want to take a look at who the hot teams are right now, not just straight up bit against the pointspread as well. Take a look at Georgia for example. A mediocre team all year but they are hot as can be right now after winning the SEC Tournament, sporting a 4-1 record over their last 5 games both straight up and against the pointspread.

You'll also want to consider who is not playing well at the moment. Those teams aren't as easy to come by as most teams are in the dance in the first place because they are either very good, or they got hot at just the right team. But there are a few.

Lastly you'll want to take into consideration how the teams have performed on the road. All of the tournament games are road games. Sure, some teams will be playing close to home, and travel is always a factor, but the home court advantage is such in college hoops because of familiarity with a specific court. Not so much the cheering fans and the travel. None of the teams will have that familiarity so we'll need to look for some good road teams in order to find some potential plays.

Who's hot?

There's the obvious hot teams going in. The National powers. UCLA and North Carolina are both 8-0 over their last 8 games. Both are very good, but both are also generally over priced. They are both just 3-5 against the spread in their last 8 games. Memphis is 7-1 their last 8 but also over priced going 2-6 against the pointspread. Wisconsin couldn't be hotter at 8-0 straight up and 7-1 against the spread going in. Unfortunately for Wisky, they draw a team that is equally as hot in Cal State Fullerton, 7-1 their last 8 and 5-2 against the spread and looking to make a name for themselves by knocking off a big name. Wisky opened up as a 13 point favorite and the money has come in on CS Fullerton as many believe an upset is possible.

Watch out for Temple. They take on Michigan State. The Owls are 7-1 their last 8 and are 6-1 against the spread in that stretch. They are a juicy +7 point underdog in this game. Anytime you have a team that has a good chance to win straight up. and they're getting 6 or 7 points to boot, well, this ain't rocket science folks. That's a good bet!

Who's cold?

How about Kansas State. Just 1-7 against the spread over their last 8 games. Or St Mary's 2-6 against the number. Not many you could classify as cold against the pointspread.

Good records on the road?

Let's start with the best teams on the road over their last 8 road games. All of these teams are 8-0 - Davidson, Cornell, Western Kentucky, Memphis and North Carolina.

The 7-1 teams are - Butler, Boise, Fullerton, Wisconsin, San Diego and UCLA.

Bad Road Teams?

Miami Fla is 2-6 straight up on the road their last 8 games. Michigan State is also 2-6, and again, face a hot Temple team. Villanova also joins the 2-6 club. As does Oregon,  Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Lots to consider when handicapping the tournament. But one thing never changes in the Big Dance year after year. Upsets. One or two Giants always go down in the first and second rounds and more often than not, if you look close enough, you can see it coming. They are usually knocked off by hot teams. So take a close look at any hot teams that aren't top 10 teams and specifically, are underdogs. If they don't pull the upset, there's a damn good chance they'll cover the spread!

Good Luck to everyone in the 2008 NCAA Tournament!

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