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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Your first-round answer key

    RICHMOND +9 over Wisconsin
    Friday, 7:20 p.m., EST, East Rutherford Regional

    My research tells me to fuggedabout Wisconsin.

    First, there should be no crying about the Badgers' seed. They are basically playing at home, for crying out loud! That's a fair tradeoff for a #6.

    Now, let's face facts -- they aren't that good. The Big 10 was down this year. Wisky played only two teams during nonconference play that made the NCAA Tournament, Maryland & Alabama. Neither of those teams was all that great, but Wisky lost both and neither was all that close. Maryland won by 6, 'Bama by 15.

    In conference, Wisky swept crummy Michigan State (three games) and Illinois (two games). They made their mark by beating solid mid-majors -- Penn (17-10), Detroit (19-11), Wisconsin-Green Bay (16-11), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (18-10), College of Charleston (19-9), Marquette (16-11). They did play only two losing teams out of conference (Eastern Illinois + Ohio U), but they didn't exactly play the NBA Western Conference before the Big 10.

    Richmond might not be a superstar team, but its a better team than anyone on Wisky's nonconference slate. Wisky favored by 9 is a worse decision than green-lighting Star Trek V. The Spiders won't lose by nine, and they might just pull out the victory.


    UTEP (+6) over Maryland
    Thursday, 12:40 p.m. EST, Phoenix Regional

    Maryland wouldn't have even sniffed the tournament if not for its ACC Tourney run. Now everyone's riding the high from that, which overvalues the Terps. Take out that run & Maryland was only 4-9 SU vs. teams that made the NCAA Tourney (instead of 7-9). Plus, in the ACC Tourney, the Terps beat Wake by 1, NC State by 3 and Duke in OT. Just think how five points have changed everyone's perception of Maryland.

    That's not to say UTEP is great. But the Miners do have a Sagarin of just 4.68 points worse than the Terps. So the line's a bit high. Plus UTEP's got the coolest uniforms in the tournament. Check 'em out. And you know how your girlfriend picks games based on uniforms? Now it's your turn. UTEP outright!


    NEVADA (+2) over Michigan State
    Thursday, 7:35 p.m. EST, Phoenix Regional

    It's back-to-back in the WAC! Michigan State is another "name" team that's living off its resume. MSU went 1-8 SU against teams that made the tourney. The Spartans lost by 7 @ Kansas -- Nevada beat Kansas! Six of Nevada's eight losses were to teams with 18-plus wins. And Nevada's Sagarin and RPI ratings are higher than MSU's.

    The state of Nevada built its name on gambling. Now you can do the same by picking the Wolf Pack to take a bite out of the high-profile Spartans. Nevada will win straight up!


    ILLINOIS-CHICAGO (+8) over Kansas
    Friday, 9:55 p.m. EST, St. Louis Regional

    The same people that think Kansas can win a few games in the tournament also believe Friends is still good. The rest of us realize how uncool and unhip these Kansas & Friends lovers are and take pity on them.

    But not before we take their money. The Jayhawks went 2-6 against teams that made the NCAA Tournament and were just 9-13 as favorites. One of those oh-so-impressive two victories over tourney teams came against Michigan State, the ER of college basketball teams.

    Those stats now face a team that has won 12 straight games. The Flames went 2-1 against tournament teams. And they come out of the overlooked Horizon League, whose members perform well in the NCAA's year after year. See Butler (Sweet 16) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (one-point loss to Notre Dame) in 2003, UIC in 2002 (eight-point first-round loss to Oklahoma), Butler in 2001 (first-round win over Wake Forest), Butler in 2000 (first-round OT loss to eventurl runner-up Florida), Detroit in 1999 (first-round win over UCLA) and 1998 (first-round win over St. John's), and so on.

    In fact, only one Horizon League team has lost a first-round NCAA Tournament game by more than eight points dating back five years and seven tries.

    As the Human Torch would say, "Flame on!" Kansas season is about to go up in, errrrrrrr, flames.


    PROVIDENCE (-7) over Pacific
    Friday, 7:25 p.m. EST, St. Louis Regional

    Pacific, Atlantic, who can tell the difference? Whichever Monopoly space shows up will be bought and sold by the Providence Friars. Providence has gone 7-4 SU against teams that made the tournament and probably would have earned higher than a fifth seed had it not lost its final three games. But before the late swoon (before which the Friars were 7-2 against tourney teams), Providence beat Boston College, Syracuse, UConn, Seton Hall, Alabama, Illinois, and Richmond. They also lost to Texas by just a deuce.

    Just as you shouldn't get caught up in what-have-you-done-for-me-lately thoughts about Maryland, you shouldn't with Providence. Pacific's a nice story, but they haven't matched up when they've stepped up. They beat Nevada at home but lost to both Duke and St. Joe's handily. When Pacific lost, you knew it -- five of its seven losses were by double digits. Here comes No. 6.


    BOSTON COLLEGE (-1) over Utah
    Friday, 12:30 p.m. EST, St. Louis Regional

    Little-known-fact: Jesuit colleges are well-represented in basketball tournaments this year. St. Joseph's earned a No. 1 seed, Gonzaga a No. 2, Xavier earned its way in by beating St. Joseph and here's Boston College. Even St. Louis made the NIT. And check out Division III where my alma mater, John Carroll University, is playing in the Final Four! Obviously, God is on THEIR side, not the Mormons.

    Besides, Utah went just 2-5 SU against teams that made the tournament (both wins against BYU). The Utes were also crushed by 32 by UConn a neutral court while BC lost to the Huskies by just five at home.

    Interesting note: the teams have nearly identical Sagarin ratings, with BC ahead by a hundredth of a point. But the Eagles built their rating against the 44th-ranked schedule in the country while Utah played the 84th best. That's Southern Miss, San Diego, and Boise St. territory! Not Big East territory. Boston College to roll.


    WAKE FOREST (-12) over Virginia Commonwealth
    Thursday, 2:50 p.m. EST, East Rutherford Regional

    I still remember one of my friends, a novice to college basketball betting, looking at the selection board in a certain ... gambling emporium ... and asking, "What is VA-Comm?"

    You know, good question. VA-Comm might be the next big wireless phone company. Or maybe an Internet provider. It sounds like one of those technology companies that buys naming rights to a stadium before going bankrupt in four years.

    But here's your answer, old chum. VA-Comm is the team that Wake Forest is going to crush in the NCAA Tournament. It is the team that went 0-3 against other teams that made the tourney, losing by 18 to Richmond, 10 to UAB, and 21 to Georgia Tech. They are the team that went 0-3 ATS as an underdog of three or more points.

    Meanwhile, Wake Forest is the team that BEAT both Richmond and Georgia Tech, won eight games against tourney teams and went 5-4 ATS when favored by double digits -- with all but one of the wins by at least 12 points. The Demon Decons crumbled a bit at the end of the season with three straight losses, but were a 20-win team save for a one-point loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament. They are also the team that put up the 11th-best Sagarin in the nation while playing the fourth-best schedule. And VA-Comm is the team that finished 79th in the Sagarin while playing the 198th-best schedule.

    So to those of you who think VA-Comm will beat Wake Forest -- or even come close -- I say, "Comm on!"


    SETON HALL (+2) over Arizona
    Thursday, 9:40 p.m. EST, Phoenix Regional

    Arizona, along with Michigan State and Kansas, completes the triumvirate of teams whose performance this season does not match their reputations. And the Wildcats will complete the threesome of losing in the first round, causing pundits around the world to say, "How could that happen?"

    Here's how it can happen -- by Arizona going 2-6 SU against tournament teams this season and posting a 3-8 ATS mark when favored by less than 10. That ATS mark means when the Wildcats went up against decent teams, they didn't beat up on them like they did in the past.

    Seton Hall didn't do anything special this year, but its Sagarin is just .04 less than 'Zona, and its 13 spots better in RPI. Quite simply, these are no worse than equal teams, so take the points. Plus, it's fun to say, "What? The Hall!"


    ILLINOIS (-7) over Murray State
    Friday, 12:25 p.m. EST, Atlanta Regional

    Thanks to the fine men in blue in Murray, KY, this game is off the board. When they responded to a call in an apartment building, police found Kelvin Brown, Murray State's second-leading scorer, hiding in point guard Adam Chiles' closet -- apparently with a bunch of marijuana.

    Isn't that how it works? The point guard makes the pass. Chiles wasn't suspended, Brown was, and the game is off the board.

    Illinois was going to crush the Racers in the first place -- now they Fightin' Illini will REALLY crush them. In fact, if I was able to pick this game, I was going to make a great writeup where I called Illinois the e-Racers.

    So I guess it's a good thing the police found that guy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Thumbs up

    Great thoughts man...its people like you that make this forum fun.......keep doin your thing and hopefully winning man......GREAT job on the write-up....i will take your post into consideration when wagering!........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Thursday recap:

    UTEP (+6) over Maryland -- WINNER, 83-86
    NEVADA (+2) over Michigan St. -- WINNER, 72-66
    WAKE FOREST (-12) over VCU -- LOSER, 79-78
    SETON HALL (+2) over Arizona -- WINNER, 80-76

    Don't forget these results come Friday!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Friday afternoon recap:

    UTEP (+6) over Maryland -- WINNER, 83-86
    NEVADA (+2) over Michigan St. -- WINNER, 72-66
    WAKE FOREST (-12) over VCU -- LOSER, 79-78
    SETON HALL (+2) over Arizona -- WINNER, 80-76
    BOSTON COLLEGE (-1) over Utah -- WINNER, 58-51
    ILLINOIS (-7/-9) over Murray State -- WINNER, 72-63

    5-1 and counting, don't forget the evening games!


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