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    MARC LAWRENCE – late phones

    3* Notre Dame

    3* Syracuse


    Villanova hasn’t been in Sweet 16 since 2009, despite being either 1 or 2-seed three times since then. Wildcats beat Nebraska by 24 in its only Big 14 game this year- Big East teams are 10-7 this year vs Big 14 teams, 4-4 vs spread when favored. All five starters for Iowa played 32:00 Friday; three played 36+. Villanova had an easy win in first round. Iowa beat Marquette by 28 in its only Big East game- Hawkeyes are still just 2-5 in last seven games. Villanova is 22-3 in its last 25. Since 2003, #2-seeds are 19-26-1 vs spread in second round games.

    Since 1998, 14-seeds are 0-9 vs spread in second round; last win by 14-seed in this round was Chattanooga in ’97. SF Austin didn’t look like a 14-seed Friday- they were +15 (22-7) in turnovers, held West Virginia to 36.1% inside arc while getting to line 39 times themselves. Notre Dame is more of an offensive team; they’re 4-4 in last eight games overall- last year was first Sweet 16 for Irish in 12 years. ND will have crowd edge playing in Brooklyn. Austin is #1 in country, forcing turnovers on 26.1% of possessions- they do it more in halfcourt than by pressing like West Va does.

    Since 2008, Big X teams are 15-17 in this round. VCU hasn’t been in Sweet 16 since making Final Four in ’11; Rams are 1-4 vs top 50 teams this year, losing by 8-6-1-14 points- they force turnovers 21.6% of time, but veteran Oklahoma team likes to run- they went 2-1 vs West Virginia’s pressure defense. Sooners shoot 42.9% on arc (#3)- they’re 2-3 in this round since ’05. Since ’03, #2-seeds are 19-26-1 vs spread in second round games. VCU is #60 experience team; Oklahoma has four kids who started 100+ games together. This figures to be an up-and-down game. Big X teams are 3-2 vs Atlantic 14 teams this season.

    Northern Iowa beat North Carolina in November; Panthers won 13 of last 14 games, after enduring a 5-10 skid that had their season skidding. UNI outscored Texas 25-13 on line Friday, trailed by six in second half- four Panthers played 32:00+. Texas A&M is 9-1 in its last ten games after a 1-5 skid; Aggies had easy win vs Green Bay Friday, playing no one more than 26:00. A&M won nine of its last ten games, with only loss in OT to Kentucky in finals of SEC tourney. SEC teams are 4-0 vs MVC teams this year, winning by 14-3-13-13 points.

    Middle Tennessee raced out to 15-2 lead Friday, led all the way in huge upset as 18-point dog. 15-seeds are 1-6 in second round of NCAAs, 2-4-1 vs spread. Blue Raiders shoot 39.4% on arc, +14 in country- they’re going against zone defense here, can make shots if they don’t turn ball over. Syracuse beat Charlotte by 13 in its only C-USA game; Orange is just 2-5 in its last seven games- they played six guys Friday (7th guy played 9:00 in blowout), so depth is an MTSU edge. ACC teams are 5-0 vs C-USA this year, 2-2-1 against the spread.

    Since 2005, #2 seeds are 11-15-1 vs spread vs 7-seeds this round. Wisconsin won dreadful 47-43, slow, 54-possession game Friday; Badgers are 12-3 in last 15 games- they’re 0-2 vs Big East, losing to Georgetown by 10, Marquette by 2. Xavier won at Michigan by 16 in its only Big 14 game; they won easily Friday, playing 8 kids 10+ minutes in stress-free game. Slowest game Xavier played this year was 62-possession, 10-point win over Cincinnati, big rivalry game in December. Big East teams are 10-7 this year vs Big 14 teams, 4-4 vs spread when favored.

    Maryland is just 4-5 in its last nine games; they damn near blew 18-point lead to South Dakota State Friday. Since 2002, 13-seeds are 4-1 vs spread in this round vs 5-seeds; most of time 13’s won in first round, they’ve played 12-seed this round- overall, 13’s are 6-5 vs spread in this round since ’05. Hawai’i was lucky in that Cal was missing two starters Friday; Rainbows are 11-1 on mainland, with only loss by hoop at Long Beach State. Maryland is 12-1 in its non-conference games. Hawai’i starts three juniors, couple of seniors; they’re #48 in experience, #13 in eFG% defense. .

    St Joe’s scored 78.3 ppg in winning its last four games; their star Bembry played all 40:00 in tough win vs Cincinnati Friday; Ducks had glorified scrimmage vs Holy Cross. Oregon won its last nine games; they’re #3 in blocking shots, don’t defend arc well (#256). St Joe’s is 26-70 (37.1%) on arc in its last four games. Last seven years, #1 seeds are 17-10-1 in second round games. A-14 teams are 2-1 vs Pac-12 this season. Ducks lost in this round last couple years; they were 8-seed in this game LY. #1 seed in West Region is 1-4 vs spread in this round the last five years.


    Sunday’s Early Tips
    By David Schwab

    South Regional – Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY (CBS, 12:10 p.m. ET)

    No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 2 Villanova

    Opening Odds: Villanova -6 ½, 145 ½

    Betting Matchup

    The Big Ten’s Iowa Hawkeyes advanced to the second round of this season’s NCAA Tournament with a tight 72-70 overtime victory against the Temple Owls. They failed to cover as seven-point favorites and the total went OVER the 139 ½-point line. Iowa is now a costly 1-8 against the spread in its last nine games and this was just its second straight-up win in its last seven contests.

    The Hawkeyes need a last second bucket by 7-foot-1 center Adam Woodbury to get by the Owls in Friday’s opening round game. Senior forward Jarrod Uthoff scored a team-high 23 points in that game, but Iowa was only able to covert on 34.8 percent of its shots from the field and it went 7-for-28 from three-point range. On the year, the Hawkeyes are averaging 78.1 points per game and shooting 44.7 percent from the four.

    Villanova was the toast of the Big East this season with a SU conference record of 16-2 as part of its overall record of 30-5. The Wildcats opened their run at a national title with a routine 86-56 victory against UNC Asheville as heavy 17 ½-point favorites. It was just the third time they covered the spread in their last nine games and the total stayed UNDER the closing 142 ½-point line after going OVER in eight of their previous nine outings.

    Four of Villanova’s five starters reached double-digits in Thursday’s victory led by senior forward Daniel Ochefu’s 17 points. Junior guard Josh Hart ended the game with nine points, but he remains the team’s leading scorer this season with 15.5 PPG. The Wildcats are averaging 77 PPG while hitting 47.1 percent of their shots from the floor. Defensively, they are ranked 20th in the nation in points allowed; giving-up an average of 63.7 points a game.

    Betting Trends

    — The Hawkeyes have failed to cover in four of their last five games against a Big East team and they are a costly 1-6 ATS in their last seven NCCA Tournament games. The total has stayed UNDER in 10 of their last 14 neutral-site games.

    — The Wildcats are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in the NCAA Tournament and they are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win. The total has gone OVER in seven of their last nine games against the Big Ten.

    — These two last met in 2013 with Villanova coming away with an 88-83 overtime victory as a three-point road underdog. The total went OVER the closing 148-point line in that game.

    Championship Odds
    — Villanova 18/1
    — Iowa 80/1

    South Regional Odds
    — Villanova 7/2
    — Iowa 18/1

    West Regional – Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY (CBS, 2:40 p.m. ET)

    No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks vs. No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Opening Odds: Notre Dame -1 ½, 141

    Betting Matchup

    The Lumberjacks were part of a group a bracket busters in this year Big Dance with their stunning 70-56 upset against No. 3 West Virginia as seven-point underdogs. The win extended their SU winning streak to 21 games and they have covered in their last three outings. This was the first time they covered in their last four games as underdogs and the total stayed UNDER the closing 145-point line after going OVER in six of their last seven games with a posted betting line.

    Senior forward Thomas Walkup went off with a game high 33 points to help the Lumberjacks chop down the Mountaineers. He has led the team in scoring all season long with 17.5 PPG and he is hitting an impressive 59.8 percent of his shots from the field. Stephen F. Austin is averaging 80.7 PPG and it is ranked 13th in the nation on defense when it comes to points allowed (63.2).

    The Fighting Irish advanced to the next round on this tournament with Friday’s 70-63 victory against No. 11 Michigan while covering as three-point favorites. They are now 4-1 SU in their last five games, but when it comes to betting on the Irish lately it has been a toss-up with an even 4-4 record ATS in their last eight outings. The total stayed UNDER 143 ½-points in Friday’s win and it has now stayed UNDER in seven of their last nine games.

    The key to getting past the rival Wolverines was the ability to erase a 12-point halftime deficit behind junior forward VJ Beachem’s game-high 18 points. Junior guard Demetrius Jackson has been Notre Dame’s leading scorer this season with 15.4 PPG and he added 11 points and five rebounds to the winning cause. The Irish are averaging 75.7 PPG while shooting 47.4 percent from the field. With the exception of a 47-point meltdown in a lopsided loss to North Carolina in the recent ACC Tournament, Notre Dame has posted an average of 81 points in its last three wins.

    Betting Trends

    — The Lumberjacks are 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games, but they are 1-3 ATS this season in four games as underdogs. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their previous five NCAA Tournament games.

    — The Fighting Irish are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games and they have failed to cover in eight of their last 11 games following an ATS win. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight games played at a neutral site.

    Championship Odds
    — Notre Dame 50/1
    — Stephen F. Austin 100/1

    East Regional Odds
    — Notre Dame 19/2
    — Stephen F. Austin 15/1


    NCAA Tournament Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting March 20 Opening Lines
    by Alan Matthews

    Your bracket may be busted with No. 2 Michigan State’s stunning loss to No. 15 Middle Tennessee on Friday — I had MSU in the Final Four but at least no further — but basically every sportsbook on earth was doing jumping jacks over that upset because MSU took so much action to win the national title. I would argue that’s the biggest upset in tournament history. There were a total of 13 upsets in the first round, matching the record for first-round upsets based on seed since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

    No. 14 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 6 Notre Dame (-2, 140.5)

    East Region game at 2:40 p.m. ET from Brooklyn on CBS. Can’t say I was hugely surprised that Stephen F. Austin (28-5), the only team not to lose a conference game this season, beat No. 3 West Virginia 70-56 on Friday. That it was by 14 points was certainly surprising. Thomas Walkup, the two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year (he looks like a goof/hockey player if you watched that but clearly has game), had 33 points in the win. SFA has the longest winning streak in the country at 21 in a row. The Lumberjacks might have a famous fan in attendance for this one. The school has invited “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to the game because Walkup rather looks like him and that was blowing up the Internet on Friday.

    Notre Dame (22-11) beat No. 11 Michigan, a winner in the First Four, 70-63 on Friday. V.J. Beacham scored 18 points, including the 3-pointer that gave Notre Dame the lead for good. He was 7-for-7 from the field. The Irish were down 12 at halftime. They shot 58 percent from the field, 53 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line. Zak Irvin had a chance to tie it at 66 in the final seconds, but his 3-pointer missed. Bonzie Colson took the rebound and hit two free throws with 11.1 seconds left. Michigan seemed tired. After hitting 51.6 percent of their shots in the first half, the Wolverines shot 28.1 percent in the second half. The ACC was 6-1 in the first round. Pitt was the only loser.

    Key trends: SFA is 4-1 against the spread in its past five neutral-site games. The Irish are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 after an ATS win. The “over/under” has gone under in four of SFA’s past five non-conference games. The under is 7-2 in Notre Dame’s past nine.

    I’m leaning: Notre Dame and under.

    No. 10 VCU vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (-6.5, 147)

    West Region game at 5:15 p.m. ET from Oklahoma City on CBS. VCU (25-10) took out No. 7 Oregon State — the Pac-12 had a dreadful first round — 75-67 on Friday. JeQuan Lewis had 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the victory. Melvin Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 8:27 left to stop a 10-0 Oregon State run and give the Rams a 52-51 lead. They wouldn’t trail again. VCU outrebounded Oregon State 40-28 and outscored the Beavers in the paint 46-37. It had to be sweet for Rams fans to advance and then see Texas, led by former coach Shaka Smart, lose on a half-court buzzer-beater. His replacement, Will Wade, is the youngest coach in the NCAA Tournament at 33.

    VCU had to deal with arguably the Pac-12’s best player in Gary Payton II in Round 1 and now it’s maybe the nation’s best player and Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield on Sunday. Oklahoma (26-7) beat Cal State Bakersfield 82-68 behind 27 points from Hield, 16 of those in the final 13:23. Still, OU didn’t play great. It missed 10 of 25 free throws and was outrebounded by a smaller team. Obviously Oklahoma has a huge advantage here as it will be playing only about 25 miles from campus. The last time Oklahoma was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Blake Griffin and Co. advanced to the Elite Eight in 2009. I think this team will too. OU is 2-2 vs. VCU, with the Rams winning 82-69 in their last matchup in 2009.

    Key trends: VCU is 14-3 ATS in its past 17 NCAA Tournament games. OU is 1-6 ATS in its past seven NCAA Tournament games. The under is 10-1 in Oklahoma’s past 11 games overall.

    I’m leaning: Oklahoma and under.

    No. 15 Middle Tennessee vs. No. 10 Syracuse (-6, 147)

    Midwest Region game at 6:10 p.m. ET from St. Louis on TNT. The big winner of Michigan State’s loss? That would be Midwest top-seeded Virginia, which had lost to Sparty in the past two NCAA Tournaments and would have been at a huge fan disadvantage in the potential Elite Eight matchup in Chicago, a city full of Spartans alums and about a four-hour drive from campus. Middle Tennessee (25-9) wasn’t even the best team in Conference USA but won the tournament title probably only because it avoided regular-season champion UAB, which was upset on the other side of the bracket. But the Blue Raiders 100 percent deserved that win Friday as they never trailed. It was the eighth No. 15 over No. 2 upset in Big Dance history. MT has the nation’s top 3-pointer shooter (by percentage) in Giddy Potts and it hit 57.9 percent from long range (Potts was 3-for-5). You will beat pretty much anyone shooting that well. But it’s also not sustainable.

    Syracuse (20-13) didn’t belong in the NCAA Tournament, but I’m sure Coach Jim Boeheim simply used that as motivation for his players ahead of their 70-51 win over No. 7 Dayton in the first round. Malachi Richardson scored 21 points, and Tyler Roberson added 10 points and 18 rebounds. Richardson is the first Orange freshman to score more than 20 points in a Big Dance game since Carmelo Anthony in the 2003 national title game. Michael Gbinije, the team’s best player, struggled by hitting just 3-for-11 from the field. These quick turnarounds really favor SU with its unique 2-3 zone defense.

    Key trends: MT is 6-0 ATS in its past six nonconference games. SU is 4-1 ATS in its past five games. The under is 5-2 in MT’s past seven. It is 5-1 in SU’s past six NCAA Tournament games.

    I’m leaning: Syracuse (guess I’m in a chalk mood) and under (guess I’m in an under mood too).


    Sunday’s South Region Second Round betting preview

    Two teams in the South Region will look to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 Sunday, including No. 2 Villanova, who hasn’t been past the Tournament’s opening weekend since 2009 and Cinderella Hawaii.

    No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (-6.5, 145.5)

    Game to be played at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

    Villanova passed its first test in the NCAA Tournament, but a tougher challenge awaits Sunday when the second-seeded Wildcats take on seventh-seeded Iowa in South Regional action at Brooklyn, N.Y. In the first round, Villanova topped UNC Asheville by 30 points, while Iowa nipped Temple at the buzzer.

    The Hawkeyes’ victory prevented a Big 5 showdown between the Owls and Wildcats, who are longtime Philadelphia city rivals. Instead, Villanova will take aim at an Iowa squad that has not won consecutive games since early February and overcame poor shooting in Friday’s tournament opener. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have captured 13 of 15 but still need to win another game to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. “Just going forward in this game, we can’t think about the shortcomings in the past years,” Villanova big man Daniel Ochefu said. “We have to focus on the things we can take care of that will help us get this ‘W’ on Sunday.”

    TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, CBS

    LINE HISTORY: No. 2 Villanova opened as 6.5-point favorites and the line has yet to move off that number. The total also hasn’t moved off it’s opening number of 145.5. Check out the complete line history.

    ABOUT IOWA (22-10, 14-15 ATS, 15-14 O/U): The Hawkeyes escaped at the final horn when Adam Woodbury put in Mike Gesell’s airball to clinch Iowa’s third win in the last nine games. The team has not reached the Sweet 16 since 1999 and will need a much better shooting performance from its stars in order to slip past Villanova, which ranks 20th in the nation in points allowed (63.7), entering the weekend. In the first round, Jarrod Uthoff (7-of-21), Gesell (0-of-8), and Peter Jok (5-of-15) all struggled with their shooting, although Iowa committed only three turnovers while forcing a dozen.

    ABOUT VILLANOVA (30-5, 16-17-1 ATS, 17-16-1 O/U): The Wildcats are 0-6 in their last six NCAA Tournament games against teams not ranked 15th or 16th, so this is a critical contest for Wright’s squad if it hopes to silence the doubters. A good sign against UNC Asheville was the play of seniors Ochefu (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Ryan Arcidiacono (14 points, 4-of-6 3-pointers). Five players registered at least 10 points for the Wildcats, although that group did not include their leading scorer on the season, Josh Hart, who contributed nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.


    * Iowa is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games overall.
    * Villanova is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games versus Big Ten opponents.
    * Over is 6-0 in Iowa’s last six games versus Big East opponents.
    * Over is 8-2 in Villanova’s last 10 games overall.

    No. 13 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (-7, 144)

    Game to be played at Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA

    Hawaii continues its extended road trip Sunday as the 13th-seeded Rainbow Warriors take on No. 5 Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region in Spokane, Wash. The Rainbow Warriors, who have been on the mainland since March 1, upset No. 4 California 77-66 in Friday’s first round while Maryland built an 18-point lead over No. 12 South Dakota State before holding on for a 79-74 victory.

    Forward Jake Layman tied a career high with 27 points and guard Melo Trimble added 19 to pace the Terrapins, who were 3-5 in their final eight games before the tournament but can reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003 with a win over the opportunistic Rainbow Warriors. Maryland shot 51.1 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the foul line against the Jackrabbits and will need a repeat performance against Hawaii, which is riding high following its first NCAA Tournament victory in school history. The Rainbow Warriors led the Big West in steals and play the type of tenacious defense that could create trouble for a Maryland team that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in turnover margin at minus-1.7. The game features a pair of top point guards in Trimble and Hawaii’s Roderick Bobbitt, who scored 17 points in the win over Cal.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS

    LINE HISTORY: Maryland opened as 6.5-point favorites and have been bet up a half point to -7. The total opened at 144 and has yet to move off that number. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT HAWAII (28-5, 15-12 ATS, 14-12-1 O/U): Big West player of the year Stefan Jankovic battled foul trouble and was limited to 16 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes against Cal, but the Rainbow Warriors still managed to set a new single-season mark for wins while forcing 16 turnovers. Hawaii, which beat Long Beach State in the Big West tournament title game to clinch its first trip to the Big Dance since 2002, will need a complete game from Jankovic in order to keep the taller Terrapins off the glass. The Rainbow Warriors are a poor shooting team from 3-point range but feature a veteran backcourt in Bobbitt, Quincy Smith and Aaron Valdes, the team’s second-leading rebounder.

    ABOUT MARYLAND (26-8, 15-17-1 ATS, 13-19-1 O/U): Inconsistency remains the biggest issue surrounding the Terrapins, who began the season with a 15-1 mark and boast one of the nation’s most talented and balanced rosters but fell to a fifth seed after losing several close games late in the season. The stellar frontline includes 6-foot-11 freshman Diamond Stone along with Layman, a 6-foot-9 senior who made five 3-pointers and was 7-of-11 shooting against South Dakota State. “The last four weeks he’s gotten a lot more aggressive and he’s just so confident in shooting the basketball,” coach Mark Turgeon told reporters. “He’s playing with poise and great pace.”


    * Hawaii is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
    * Maryland is 0-4 ATS in its last four NCAA Tournament games.
    * Over is 7-3 in Hawaii’s last 10 non-conference games.
    * Over is 5-1-1 in Maryland’s last seven neutral site games.


    Sunday’s East Region Second Round betting preview

    Sunday is full of double-digit seeds trying to play the role of Cinderella and in the East Region that is the No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.

    No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks vs. No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-1.5, 140.5)

    Game to be played at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

    Notre Dame spent a good part of the season taking care of the basketball than any other team in the country but have struggled lately while no other program did a better job of taking it away than Stephen F. Austin. The sixth-seeded Fighting Irish will attempt to curb their recent careless ways Sunday when they meet the 14th-seeded Lumberjacks in the NCAA Tournament second round of the East Region in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Tied for ninth in the country in fewest turnovers per game entering second-round play Saturday, Notre Dame overcame 16 turnovers and a 12-point halftime deficit in Friday’s first-round 70-63 victory over Michigan. ”This is (three) out of three games where we’ve had (16, 17, 18) turnovers,” Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey told reporters. ”I asked them: ‘Can we shave it down to maybe 10 on Sunday and not throw it all over the place?”’ Stephen F. Austin, which leads the nation with 18.7 forced turnovers, extended the longest winning streak in Division I to 21 games Friday, generating 29 points off 22 turnovers en route to a 70-56 victory over West Virginia. “This is probably the most talented team I’ve ever played on. We have tremendous abilities and are very explosive at times. And on the other side of the ball, we sit down and guard the heck out of people,” Lumberjacks forward Thomas Walkup said after his sixth 30-point game of the season.

    TV: 2:40 p.m. ET, CBS

    LINE HISTORY: Despite being the East’s 14-seed Stephen F. Austin opened as just 2-point pups and bettors have liked them enough to move the number to +1, but it has settled back at +1.5. The total has yet to move off the opening number of 140.5. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT NOTRE DAME (22-11, 15-15-1 ATS, 15-16 O/U): The Lumberjacks played most of Friday’s win with no player taller than 6-5 forward Clide Geffrard, Jr., which could open the door for Notre Dame 6-10 center Zach Auguste (14.2 points, 10.8 rebounds) to have a huge game after posting his ninth double-double in 13 outings with 10 points and 12 boards versus Michigan. V.J. Beachem (11.5 points) went 7-for-7 from the field – including four 3-pointers – in Friday’s comeback victory and is 18-for-26 from the floor (11-of-17 beyond the arc) during Notre Dame’s three-game postseason run. Demetrius Jackson (team-high 15.4 points) has failed to meet his scoring average in eight straight contests, shooting 40 percent or below in six of those outings.

    ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (28-5, 3-2 ATS, 3-2 O/U): The 6-4 Walkup, who leads the Lumberjacks in scoring (18 points), rebounds (6.9), assists (4.5) and steals (2.2), went 19-of-20 from the foul line Friday and nearly increased all of his averages with 33 points, nine boards, four assists and four steals against the Mountaineers. The two-time Southland Player of the Year outscored the West Virginia starters (28) by himself and moved within 12 points of breaking Josh Alexander’s school record of 1,734 career points. Geffrard (13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals) has stepped up his play during the Lumberjacks’ three-game postseason run, averaging 15.7 points, 8.3 boards and three steals per game.


    * Stephen F. Austin is 4-1 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
    * Notre Dame is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 NCAA Tournament games.
    * Under is 4-1 in Stephen F. Austin’s last five non-conference games.
    * Under is 13-2-1 in Notre Dame’s last 16 NCAA Tournament games.
    No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 2 Xavier Musketeers (-4.5, 136)

    Game to be played at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

    It will be a contrast of styles and pace when second-seeded Xavier meets seventh-seeded Wisconsin on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s East Region in St. Louis. The Musketeers average 81 points and 72.6 possessions per contest – tops among the remaining tournament teams – while the Badgers are scoring 68.2 points in 63.9 possessions, which ranks ahead of only Northern Iowa (63) and Virginia (61.2) among the field.

    In gearing up for Wisconsin’s deliberate style of play, Xavier coach Chris Mack said his team’s 71-53 first-round win over Weber State on Friday provided some good prep work. “I thought tonight Weber State gave us a feel for that,” Mack said in his postgame news conference. “The only time they really ran were on our turnovers or long rebounds. Just the mere fact we played a team similar in terms of style in round one hopefully helps us for the next game.” The Badgers, meanwhile, simply are trying to maintain the pace under first-year coach Greg Gard that led them to the Final Four in each of the last two seasons, and the first step was a less-than-picturesque but nevertheless effective 47-43 first-round victory over Pittsburgh on Friday. “It was an ugly performance, but to pull that out says a lot about us,” Wisconsin guard Zak Showalter told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s the kind of team we want to be. We might not look the best, but we find a way to get it done.”

    TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, TNT

    LINE HISTORY: Xavier opened as 4.5-point favorites, where briefly bet down to -4 and then back up to the opening number. The total has not moved off the opening number of 136. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT WISCONSIN (21-12, 17-16 ATS, 14-19 O/U): The Badgers easily finished with the lowest-prevailing point total (47) among the 32 first-round winners and shot only 32.1 percent from the field, including 4-of-19 from 3-point range. Ethan Happ accounted for nearly one-third (15) of Wisconsin’s points in the contest on 6-of-8 shooting and averages 12.2 points per game, but the team’s other two double-digit scorers – Nigel Hayes (16.2) and Bronson Koenig (13.1) – combined for only 14 points on 4-of-25 shooting. The Badgers’ opponents are averaging only 63.9 points, with Pittsburgh’s 43 marking the fewest allowed by the team this season.

    ABOUT XAVIER (28-5, 20-13 ATS, 21-12 O/U): The Musketeers are aiming for their second straight Sweet 16 appearance and sixth in nine years with the highest NCAA tournament seed in team history. It was a promising start Friday as Xavier shot 48.4 percent and enjoyed a 43-27 rebound advantage behind senior James Farr’s sixth double-double (18 points, game-high 15 rebounds) of the season. Trevon Bluiett is averaging a team-high 15.3 points and is joined in double digits by Farr (11), Edmond Sumner (11) and Myles Davis (10.9), while Farr (eight) and Jalen Reynolds (6.4) are the squad’s leading rebounders.


    * Wisconsin is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games versus a team with a winning SU record.
    * Xavier is 8-1 ATS in its last nine neutral site games.
    * Under is 9-1 in Wisconsin’s last 10 games overall.
    * Over is 7-1 in Xavier’s last eight games overall.


    Sunday’s West Region Second Round betting preview

    The top three seeds in the West Region will all try to stamp their tickets to the Sweet 16 Sunday, but can a team like Northern Iowa keep its Cinderella run going after its incredible buzzer beater in the First Round?

    No. 10 VCU Rams vs. No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (-6.5, 147.5)

    Game to be played at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    Buddy Hield will try to lead Oklahoma back to the Sweet Sixteen and show he’s the best player in the nation still in the tournament when the second-seeded Sooners meet No. 10 VCU in a West Region game Sunday in Oklahoma City. Hield, who came into the tournament second in the nation in scoring at 25 points a game, scored 27 in an 82-68 victory Friday against Cal State Bakersfield, including 16 in the second half to keep the Sooners from joining Michigan State as the second No. 2 seed to lose Friday.

    The Rams posted a nice win against No. 7-seed Oregon State in Friday’s first round, getting 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds from JeQuan Lewis and 20 points and eight rebounds from Mo Alie-Cox in the 75-67 victory. An extra day of rest should be beneficial for VCU leading scorer Melvin Johnson (17.4), who tweaked his ankle on March 11 and was held to single digits in back-to-back games before scoring 12 against Oregon State on 5-for-15 from the field. VCU started four guards against the Beavers, so it should be interesting how long Oklahoma goes with 6-9 starting forward Khadeem Lattin. Look for 6-7 freshman Dante Buford to make an early substitution if Lattin can’t keep up with VCU’s small lineup.

    TV: 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS

    LINE HISTORY: The second-seeded Sooners opened as 6.5-point favorites over the Rams and the line has yet to move off that number. The total meanwhile, has been bet up a point and a half from 146 to 147.5. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT VCU (25-10, 21-9 ATS, 15-15 O/U): Korey Billbury is another Ram who’s better than what he showed against Oregon State, when he was held to six points in 30 minutes while shooting 2-for-6 from the floor. Billbury, a 6-4 senior guard who came into the tournament second on the team in scoring (11.4), produced his season high of 22 points against then-No. 22 Cincinnati on Dec. 19 and put up 19 in the Atlantic-10 Tournament title game last week against St. Joseph’s. Billbury could inherit the task of guarding Hield, however, and that could take some of the punch out of his offensive game.

    ABOUT OKLAHOMA (26-7, 12-19 ATS, 14-17 O/U): This matchup could quickly evolve into a long-range shooting contest and the Sooners should be well prepared for that scenario, as Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard are each shooting over 42 percent from 3-point distance this season. Cousins and Woodard are both 6-for-8 from long distance over the last two games, good to know if VCU forces Hield to give up the ball to his backcourt mates like West Virginia did in its Big 12 Tournament semifinal win against the Sooners last week. Ryan Spangler is the other Oklahoma player averaging double figures in scoring (10.8), but it’s a big drop off from there.


    * VCU is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 NCAA Tournament games.
    * Oklahoma is 0-4 ATS in its last four neutral site games.
    * Over is 8-3 in VCU’s last 11 neutral site games.
    * Under is 10-1 Oklahoma’s last 11 games overall.

    No. 11 Northern Iowa Panthers vs. No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies (-6.5, 127)

    Game to be played at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    Northern Iowa has already provided a stunning moment for the ages in the NCAA Tournament, but it can take its run to a new level with a victory Sunday against No. 3 seed Texas A&M in the second round of the West Region at Oklahoma City. Paul Jesperson’s buzzer-beating heave from beyond half court banked in to lift the No. 11 seed Panthers to a remarkable 75-72 victory over Texas in the first round.

    It marked the third straight tournament appearance in which Northern Iowa won a game and puts the program a victory away from its second Sweet 16 berth. “This is what it’s all about,” Jesperson told reporters. “When you start the season, this is what your end goal should be. … I’m glad the shot went in. I’m glad we live to see another day.” The Aggies present a more formidable obstacle and rolled to their first tournament win in six years with a 92-65 rout of Green Bay on Friday. Danuel House scored 20 points and Texas A&M shot 56.1 percent to win for the ninth time in 10 games, moving a step closer to its first Sweet 16 since 2007.

    TV: 7:40 p.m. ET, truTV

    LINE HISTORY: Texas A&M opened as 6.5-point faves, but bettors are believing Northern Iowa has a bit more magic in them moving the line to Aggies -6. The total has stood pat at its opening number of 127. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT NORTHERN IOWA (23-12, 20-13-1 ATS, 14-20 O/U): Jesperson’s 14 points made him one of five Panthers in double figures Friday, a group led by Wes Washpun (17 points), and one of the top foul-shooting teams in the country went 25-of-32 from the line. To keep pace with the Aggies, Northern Iowa will hope for more from second-leading scorer Matt Bohannon, who is averaging seven points on 25.7 percent shooting over his last five contests. Sophomore forward Klint Carlson is trending in the other direction with an average of 11 points – nearly four above his season mark – with a 58.3 percent mark from the floor in the same span.

    ABOUT TEXAS A&M (26-8, 16-12-2 ATS, 13-17 O/U): The senior-laden Aggies played with a chip on their shoulders after feeling slighted by Kentucky coach John Calipari’s comments that his team deserved to be the higher-seeded of the SEC squads. “There is still more respect to be earned,” House told the media. “People were really upset about (Calipari’s comments), and it really bothered us.” Center Tonny Trocha-Morelos seemed motivated with a career high-tying 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 21 minutes, while freshman Tyler Davis chipped in 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.


    * Northern Iowa is 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 games overall.
    * Texas A&M is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games overall.
    * Under is 5-1 in Norther Iowa’s last six games overall.
    * Over is 4-1 in Texas A&M’s last five games overall.

    No. 8 St. Joseph’s Hawks vs. No. 1 Oregon Ducks (-6.5, 157)

    Game to be played at Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA

    Oregon and Saint Joseph’s achieved the same goal by reaching the Round of 32 following first-round wins, but the paths each school took to get there on Friday couldn’t have been any more different. The top-seeded Ducks eye a 10th straight victory and a berth into the Sweet 16 on Sunday when they face the eighth-seeded Hawks in a second-round contest of the West Region in Spokane, Wash.

    Coming off its highly impressive showing in its 88-57 rout of Utah last weekend in the Pac-12 tournament championship game, Oregon crushed Holy Cross 91-52 in the first round Friday, registering its largest margin of victory this season for the second straight game. “We handled our business like we were supposed to; that’s what we were supposed to do. We set the tone … and never gave them confidence,” freshman guard Tyler Dorsey told The Oregonian. Later that same night, Saint Joseph’s got a go-ahead 3-pointer from Isaiah Miles with eight seconds remaining and held on for a 78-76 victory over Cincinnati when it was ruled that the ball was still on the fingertips of the Bearcats’ Octavius Ellis on a potential game-tying dunk as time expired. “In a small way, I wish it hadn’t ended like that. I wish it would have ended with Isaiah making the 3 and us getting a stop. From what I could see it was the right call,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli told reporters.

    TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, TBS

    LINE HISTORY: The No. 1 seed Ducks opened as 6-point favorites and have been bet up to -6.5 after their impressive opening round victory. The total hasn’t moved from its opening number of 157. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT OREGON (29-6, 23-10-1 ATS, 20-13-1 O/U): Eight players scored at least seven points versus the Crusaders even though no Duck played more than 26 minutes, including Chris Boucher (12.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, three blocks), who finished with 20 points and five boards in only 17 minutes. First-team All-Pac-12 selection Elgin Cook (14.4 points, 5.2 rebounds), who became the first player in school history to appear in three NCAA Tournaments during his career Friday, also had a field day in 26 minutes, tallying 11 points and a career-high 13 boards. The Ducks have been a model of efficiency in their two most recent blowout victories, committing only seven turnovers in each game while shooting a combined 53.6 percent from the field.

    ABOUT SAINT JOSEPH’S (28-7, 20-12 ATS, 15-17 O/U): Atlantic-10 Player of the Year DeAndre Bembry (17.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists) has almost singled-handedly carried the Hawks in the last two games, averaging 26.5 points, 5.5 boards, 4.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while playing 79 of a possible 80 minutes. Miles (team-high marks of 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, who was named the A-10’s Most Improved Player, has been nearly as impressive over the same span, averaging 22.5 points and 9.5 boards while shooting 62.9 percent from the field. Fellow senior Aaron Brown (10.4 points) has failed to reach double figures only once in his last 11 outings and is averaging 16.5 points over his last six contests.


    * St. Joe’s is 6-0 ATS in its last six neutral site games.
    * Oregon is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games overall.
    * Over is 12-2 in St. Joe’s last 14 games overall.
    * Over is 4-0 in Oregon’s last four non-conference games.


    Sunday’s Midwest Reigon Second Round betting preview

    Sunday’s lone Midwest Region Second Round game features the team that pulled off the most shocking upset of the tournament so far, when Middle Tennessee State, who took out Michigan State, faces Syracuse.

    No. 15 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. No. 10 Syracuse Orange (-6, 130.5)

    Game to be played Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

    Middle Tennessee shocked the NCAA Tournament field with its first-round victory and Sunday the Blue Raiders will try to become second No. 15 seed to ever advance to the Sweet Sixteen when they meet No. 10 Syracuse in the Midwest Region in St. Louis. Middle Tennessee knocked off second-seeded Michigan State on Friday in what some are calling the biggest upset in tournament history, just hours after the Orange posted their own mild upset against No. 7 Dayton.

    Middle Tennessee faced a noticeable size disadvantage against Michigan State, but never trailed in the 90-81 victory after surging to a 15-2 lead against a team that many believed was deserving of a No. 1 seed. The challenge against Syracuse will be penetrating its complicated zone defense, which held Dayton to a season-low 51 points in its 19-point first-round victory. Reggie Upshaw and Perrin Buford are undersized but versatile big men for the Blue Raiders and they could make things more difficult for the Orange’s containment plans. Syracuse will look for another big game from 6-foot-6 guard Malachi Richardson, who scored 21 points in the first-round win against Dayton, the first Syracuse freshman to score at least 20 in an NCAA Tournament game since Carmelo Anthony in 2003.

    TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, TNT

    LINE HISTORY: Syracuse opened as 6-point favorites over upset-minded Middle Tennessee State and have been bet up to -6.5. The total opened at 131 and has been bet down a half point to 130.5. Check out the complete line history here.

    ABOUT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (25-9, 18-15 ATS, 15-17-1 O/U): The straw that stirs the drink for the Blue Raiders is 6-2, 220-pound guard Giddy Potts, who seems to be fully recovered from a late-season concussion and demonstrated his health by scoring 19 points against Michigan State. Potts came into the game shooting 50.3 percent from the 3-point line and made 3-of-5 against the Spartans, the type of marksmanship that will come in handy against the zone. Potts also showed his calm nerves down the stretch by making all four of his free throw attempts in the final 18 seconds to help preserve the win against Michigan State.

    ABOUT SYRACUSE (20-13, 17-15 ATS, 17-15 O/U): Tyler Roberson had 10 points and 18 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, against a Dayton squad that came into the tournament sporting some of the best defensive rebounding stats in the country. The 6-8 forward earned his seventh double-double of the season and the Orange have won all seven of those games, so when he’s extra active down low they’re a much better team. Roberson may get drawn away from the basket because Upshaw and Buford shoot the 3-pointer well, so that might force the Syracuse guards to get more involved on the glass.


    * Middle Tennessee State is 6-0 ATS in its last six non-conference games.
    * Syracuse is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
    * Under is 5-2 in Middle Tennessee State’s last seven games overall.
    * Over is 7-1 Syracuse’s last eight neutral site games.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Under – All teams where the total is between 140 and 149.5 points hot team – having won 15 or more of their last 20 games, in a NCAA tournament game
    59-26 over the last 5 seasons. ( 69.4% | 30.4 units )
    10-10 this year. ( 50.0% | -1.0 units )

    Play On – A home team vs. the money line (ST MARYS-CA) after a combined score of 115 points or less against opponent after a combined score of 165 points or more 2 straight games
    69-33 since 1997. ( 67.6% | 30.3 units )

    Play Under – All teams where the first half total is 65.5 to 70.5 in a game involving two good free throw shooting teams (69-73%), after a game where a team made 50% of their 3 point shots or better
    243-149 since 1997. ( 62.0% | 79.1 units )
    25-22 this year. ( 53.2% | 0.8 units )


    Basketball Crusher

    Hawaii +7 over Maryland
    (System Record: 65-3, lost last game)
    Overall Record: 65-74-3

    Stephen F. Austin +1.5 over Notre Dame

    Middle Tennessee State +6.5 over Syracuse

    Virginia Commonwealth +7 over Oklahoma



    5* Moneyline Parlay
    Villanova / Oklahoma / Texas A&M

    (Risk $500 to win $658.25)



    300♦ OVER – syracuse / middle tennessee state


    Brandon Lang

    50 Dime Hawaii over Maryland.
    The current line on this game is +7 in Vegas and offshore. Be sure to shop around for the best line available.

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