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    College hoops betting breakdown for the major conference tournaments
    By Jason Logan

    College basketball bettors were teased with a slate of mid-major conference tournaments last week, but now we get down to the nitty gritty. The seven major conferences headline the remaining tournaments this week, in what is truly one of the toughest tests for both sportsbooks and bettors.

    With so many games on the go – and quick turnarounds – it’s nearly impossible to keep track of every team in every conference. In order to give you a head start on your handicapping, we highlight the seven major conference tournaments, breaking down the favorites to win and underdogs to look out for this coming week.

    **American Athletic Conference** (March 10-13)

    Temple Owls (20-10, 14-4 in conference)

    Temple has the inside track in the AAC, thanks in large part to SMU’s postseason ban. The Owls aren’t blowing away teams on the scoreboard, playing a controlled pace that averages just 68.5 points per game, which is why Temple is 3-7 Over/Under in its last 10 games including five straight Unders to finish the season.

    Houston Cougars (22-8, 12-6)

    Tough to call the No. 2 seed an underdog but with SMU banned, the Cougars slide into the second spot. But don’t think they don’t deserve it. Houston took a little while to gain traction but has an extremely talented team that won three in a row and six of its last seven to end conference play. The Cougars beat Temple in Philadelphia and lost to the Owls by three at home.

    **Atlantic Coast Conference** (March 8-12)

    North Carolina Tar Heels (25-6, 14-4)

    The Tar Heels (+185 to win) take plenty of momentum into the ACC tournament, going into Durham and stealing a win from rival Duke this past weekend. North Carolina has plenty of options on offense but defensive lulls have burned this team, and defense wins in the college postseason.

    Virginia Tech Hokies (18-13, 10-8)

    The Hokies (+3,300 field) are pegged as the No. 6 seed and get the winner of the Florida State-Boston College game. Surviving that, Virginia Tech meets up with a Miami team it just crushed by 15-points as a 6-point underdog. The Hokies have won five straight and are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 contests.

    **Big East** (March 9-12)

    Villanova Wildcats (27-4, 16-2)

    Villanova is a hefty +111 favorite to win the Big East tournament, but has wobbled a bit down the stretch. While still closing out the regular season campaign on with a 9-1 SU mark in the final 10 games, the Wildcats failed to cover in all but two of their last seven outings. Could those blown covers be a reason to worry Villanova faithful?

    Seton Hall Pirates (22-8, 12-6)

    The Pirates are fueled by star guard Isaiah Whitehead, who averaged almost 27 points over the final four games of the season. Seton Hall went 3-1 SU and ATS in that span, and closed conference play with wins in five of its final six games – including a victory over No. 2 Xavier.

    **Big Ten** (March 9-13)

    Michigan State Spartans (26-5, 13-5)

    The Spartans didn’t win the Big Ten regular season title but did thump Indiana back on Valentine’s Day, which is why we’re giving MSU the edge here. Michigan State flexed its muscles to end the schedule on a six-game winning streak, boasting an average margin of victory of more than 21 points per game, and easily covering in each of those outings. Tom Izzo is a master of getting his team to peak at the right time.

    Purdue Boilermakers (24-7, 12-6)

    The Boilermakers steadied the ship after an up-and-down February, closing Big Ten play with win straight winds. Purdue is shooting 56.3 percent during that three-game run, the highest clip in the country over that span. The Boilermakers have an OT win against Michigan State and stood toe-to-toe with Indiana at Assembly Hall in their most recent loss.

    **Big 12** (March 9-12)

    Kansas Jayhawks (27-4, 15-3)

    The Jayhawks (+130) haven’t lost since Jan. 25 and avenged that loss to Iowa State by beating the Cyclones in the season finale, capping an 11-game win streak to finish the Big 12 calendar. Kansas will enjoy a healthy home-court feel with the conference tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Texas Longhorns (20-11, 11-7)

    The Longhorns are long shots, priced at +1,200 to win the Big 12 tournament, but not too many know how to make a splash in the postseason like Shaka Smart. This time of year is the reason why Texas went and scooped VCU’s famed Cinderella man. The Horns can play with top competition, and won three of their last four games with the lone loss coming to KU.

    **Pac-12** (March 9-12)

    Arizona Wildcats (24-7, 12-6)

    Arizona got the nod from oddsmakers, ahead of regular season champ Oregon (+350). The Wildcats are stacked with top talents, and get the job done on both ends of the floor, but stumbled toward the end of the season, going 2-2 in the final four – and that win over Cal needed some late-game magic.

    Utah Utes (27-7, 13-5)

    The Utes (+360) have won seven in a row heading into the postseason, including a win over Arizona at home. Utah did benefit from a home-friendly finish, playing five of those games at Salt Lake City, but this program is solid on both ends of the floor and took down some big name programs, like Duke, Temple, and San Diego State.

    **SEC** (March 9-13)

    Kentucky Wildcats (23-8, 13-5)
    The Wildcats (Even) finished second in the SEC to Texas A&M (+375) but when it comes to raw talent, UK is tough to match. John Calipari couldn’t care less about the regular season and after two strong wins to close out the campaign, Kentucky looks to be in postseason form. Junior Derek Willis returned from an ankle injury just in time, giving UK some much-needed veteran stability and toughness.

    Vanderbilt Commodores (19-12, 11-7)

    A strong finish to the season has Vanderbilt set as the second overall favorite to win the SEC tournament (+350), riding into the postseason with a 6-2 mark in its final eight games, including a win over Kentucky. The Commodores can knock down the 3-pointer and don’t give up many 3-point looks, which makes them a dangerous team come tourney time.


    Tips and tactics for betting college basketball’s conference tournaments

    The major NCAAB conference tournaments get underway this week and with so many games on the schedule, it can be a lot for even a seasoned sports bettor. So we’ve enlisted the help of our Experts to give you tips and advice on how to handicap the plethora of college hoops games like a pro.

    Power Sports – “Teams that hold the most value – are often underdogs with nothing to lose. For instance, we’ve already seen an No. 8 seed (Austin Peay) win the OVC. Nobody is giving teams like the Governors a chance and they are the ones who can often provide the most value. Conversely, the chalk that should give you pause are those bubble teams that are perceived as having to win. If those teams were so deserving of favorite status, then they probably wouldn’t be in the position they are in. One specific thing I will look to do is bet Unders late in Conference Tournaments. Teams involved have typically played a number of days in a row and fatigue can be a factor.”

    Steve Merril – “The biggest difference in conference tournament games compared to regular season games is the lack of rest. Most teams must play at least three games in a row (sometime more) in order to win their conference tournament championship. This means teams with deeper benches and more depth often hold a bigger edge than they would in a regular season game, especially when facing an opponent that plays their starters extended minutes with less backup depth.

    “The lines are also much sharper in conference tournaments because oddsmakers have several months of conference-only games which accurately depict the strengths and weaknesses of each team against common opponents. While many lines are sharp for this reason, there is still an opportunity for a smart handicapper to exploit several weak lines. These often occur when a team is overrated or underrated based on the overall conference stats. For example, a team has lost a key player to injury late in the season, or vice-versa when a team has regained a star player that missed several games. Or maybe a young team has gained experience and is playing much better than early in the year. These situations often present excellent value in conference tournaments as the oddsmakers are slow to adjust their overall power ratings for both underrated and overrated teams.”

    Ben Burns – “Be careful with teams who have already secured an automatic bid to the Big Dance. While these teams want to win their conference tournaments, some more than others, they also know they’ve got bigger games to come. Looking ahead is only natural.”

    Marc Lawrence – “One of my favorite edges in conference tourney games is backing winning teams seeking revenge against losing teams. It’s often easy for good teams to play down the the level of opposition in postseason affairs, but given the incentive of embarrassing regular season revenge these quality teams in payback mode tend to use it as added incentive to boost their chances.”

    “Speaking of revenge, look for teams who were knocked out of last year’s conference tourney to play with an added measure of revenge when they hook the same team that sent them packing last year. When properly applied, these two revenge incentives can be money in the bank this time of the season.”

    Teddy Covers – “First, pay attention to depth concerns. A squad with a ten deep rotation has a legitimate edge over a team that goes only seven deep when both schools are playing on the second, third or fourth night in a row. Second, pay attention to statistical anomalies. A team that pulls an upset by shooting 15-22 from three point range will be hard pressed to do it again the next day. Third, beware of false favorites. There are plenty of coaches who care a lot more about next weekend than this weekend. Expending enormous energy to try to win a conference tourney title is not always in their best interests and you’ll see them play like it.”

    AAA Sports – “As primarily a situational handicapper, I usually roll with the punches come tournament time and adjust my styles accordingly. One thing that I do keep track of for the start of the conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament itself is recent form. If a team backs its way into the tournament and squares off against another which is firing on all cylinders, this scenario will often result in us pulling the trigger on the hot side. One other factor in the conference tournaments which we always take into account is how the teams fared in the regular season against each other, revenge is a powerful motivating factor and one which we take very seriously.”

    Will Rogers – “I definitely like to ride the hot teams when it comes to the conference tournaments, paying more attention to the stats over the last five games than the overall numbers. A prime example of this last season would be Notre Dame beating out Duke and North Carolina to win the ACC title. Keep an eye on the Utah Utes out in the Pac-12, they appear to be peaking at the right time, winning seven straight heading into their conference tourney.”

    “Big” Al McCordie – “As a handicapper, I believe it’s important to recognize that the regular season and postseason (in all sports) are two very different animals. The methodologies I use in the regular season don’t necessarily apply to the postseason. The corollary to this is to understand that, just because a team is playing well (or poorly) at the end of its regular season, doesn’t mean its level of play will carry over to the post-season. For example, since 1991, teams on a 5-game (or worse) losing streak to end their regular season have covered 67 percent as a favorite in their initial conference tourney game. Likewise, teams on a five-game (or better) winning streak to end their regular season have covered just 29 percent of the time as an underdog in their initial conference tourney game.”

    “Another thing to bear in mind is that, even though history often repeats itself, sometimes a particular postseason can have its own unique trends. Therefore, it’s important to understand what is going on in the short term, as well as what has occurred in the past. This season, through Sunday, March 6, home teams have been dreadful in the conference tournaments, as they’re 6-21-1 ATS, including 0-10-1 ATS vs. opponents off a loss. And favorites of four or more points are a wallet-busting 23-43-1 ATS thus far, including 16-35-1 ATS versus revenge-minded foes. I try to balance the short term and long-term data to come up with the very best plays.

    SPS Investors – “Teams like Duke, UNC, and Kentucky are all typically heavy wagers for the casual public. Because of this the oddsmakers are able to intentionally inflate spreads, knowing that they will receive public money, no matter the line they release. What this typically does is provide value on the other side. Many teams entering the conference tournaments have also punched their tickets into the Big Dance, which means that win or lose the tournament, they will be continuing on into the postseason. Meanwhile, there are other teams who are considered on the bubble and their entry into the NCAA Tournament is not set in stone. These teams need a strong showing in the conference tournament in order to sway the committee into giving them an invite. These are the teams that often have the most value in these tournaments.”


    NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting March 9 Opening Lines
    by Alan Matthews

    Yes, it’s college basketball’s postseason time, but it’s also firing season around the country. For example, Drexel has dumped Bruiser Flint and Santa Clara has done the same with Kerry Keating. There are a few schools playing their conference tournament openers below who also might be making changes on the bench.

    Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh (-1.5)

    ACC Tournament game at noon ET on ESPN from Washington, D.C. The winner plays regular-season champion North Carolina on Thursday. This is the most “bubbly” game, so to speak, of the day. Ninth-seeded Syracuse (19-12) is listed among ESPN’s “Last Four In,” although I tend to think the Orange will get the benefit of the doubt just because of who they are. Will the committee take into account the team’s struggles when Coach Jim Boeheim was suspended nine games earlier this season? SU isn’t playing very well right now, either, having dropped two straight and four of five. The Orange are led by senior Michael Gbinije, who was named second-team All-ACC and a member of the conference’s All-Defensive Team. He leads the club in scoring (17.6), assists (4.5), steals (2.0), 3-pointers made (2.6) and minutes played (37.8) per game. His 31-game streak of double-digit scoring ranks sixth on Syracuse’s single-season list.

    Pittsburgh (20-10) is the No. 8 seed and listed among the “Last Four Byes” for the Big Dance. The Panthers are also slumping at the wrong time, having lost at unranked Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech to close the regular season. The Panthers are 4-3 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. They have lost eight straight games in the month of March under Coach Jamie Dixon. Pitt has won four straight vs. Syracuse. It won 72-61 at home on Dec. 30 when Boeheim was out. The Panthers closed the game on a 14-2 run. On Feb. 20 at Syracuse, Pitt won 66-52. Jamel Artis had 21 points and 11 rebounds.

    Key trends: The Orange are 2-5 against the spread in their past seven vs. teams with a winning record. Pitt is 10-2 ATS in its past 12 following at ATS loss.

    I’m leaning: Pittsburgh.

    Minnesota vs. Illinois (-7)

    Big Ten Tournament game at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The winner loses to Iowa on Thursday. Maybe there will be no Pitinos in college basketball next season. It’s still not clear if Rick will be back at Louisville, and I don’t see how son Richard keeps his job with No. 13 seed Minnesota (8-22) such a train wreck. The Gophers had the audacity to lose at historically bad Rutgers 75-52 to finish the regular season. That ended Rutgers’ 32-game Big Ten losing streak. The Gophers remain without three suspended players in Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer. They won’t play again this season. Neither will forward Joey King as he recently broke his foot. Against Rutgers, Minnesota had just eight players, including three walk-ons.

    No. 12 Illinois (13-18) I think will definitely make a coaching change after this season. The new athletic director just fired the school’s football coach and replaced him with Lovie Smith, and I’m sure he will do the same here to John Groce. Illinois had five conference wins, and two of those were against Minnesota. It was 76-71 in overtime on Jan. 23 in Minneapolis behind 28 points and 10 rebounds from Malcolm Hill. Illinois also won at home 84-71 on Feb. 28 — the team’s only victory in its final five games. Hill had 22 points with seven rebounds and five assists. Illinois shot 73.9 percent from the field in the second half, using a 29-8 run to open up a big lead.

    Key trends: Minnesota is 1-5 ATS in its past six vs. teams with a losing record. Illinois has covered 12 of its past 16 vs. teams below .500. The favorite is 18-8 ATS in the past 26 meetings.

    I’m leaning: Illini will win by double-digits.

    UCLA vs. USC (-2.5)

    Pac-12 Tournament game at 9 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network from Las Vegas, with the winner facing Utah. Could this be the finale for Steve Alford with the 10th-seeded Bruins (15-16)? My guess is gets one more year with such a prohibitive buyout. It’s impossible this team was 6-12 in the conference with all that talent. UCLA closed on a four-game losing streak. And the Bruins might not have one of their best players here in guard Bryce Alford, Steve’s son. He was hit in the jaw late in UCLA’s home loss to Oregon State on Saturday. He doesn’t have a facial fracture, so that’s good news in terms of him playing. Alford is the Bruins’ second-leading scorer at 16.3 points per game.

    No. 7 USC (20-11) probably has done enough for the Big Dance but is currently listed among the “Last Four Byes.” But the Trojans are not trending the right way as they lost six of their final eight games. Junior guard Julian Jacobs was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team on Monday, the first Trojan first-teamer since current Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic. Jacobs is averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. USC swept UCLA during the regular season. It was 89-75 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 13 and 80-61 at the Galen Center on Feb. 4. Last March, UCLA beat USC 96-70 in a quarterfinal matchup at the Pac-12 Tournament after having won both regular-season meetings against its rival.

    Key trends: UCLA is 0-4 ATS in its past four games. USC is 5-1 ATS in its past six on Wednesday. The favorite is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings.

    I’m leaning: USC.


    Conference Championship Odds

    Odds to win ACC Tournament
    North Carolina 7/4
    Virginia 2/1
    Miami FL 4/1
    Duke 5/1
    Notre Dame 12/1
    Syracuse 25/1
    Field (Any Other Team) 25/1
    Pittsburgh 30/1
    Clemson 50/1
    Virginia Tech 50/1
    Georgia Tech 75/1

    Odds to win Big Ten Tournament
    Michigan State 7/5
    Indiana 3/1
    Iowa 5/1
    Maryland 5/1
    Purdue 6/1
    Wisconsin 10/1
    Michigan 30/1
    Ohio State 50/1
    Northwestern 75/1
    Field (Any Other Team) 75/1
    Penn State 100/1

    Odds to win Pac-12 Tournament
    Arizona 2/1
    Oregon 3/1
    Utah 7/2
    California 4/1
    USC 12/1
    Colorado 20/1
    UCLA 25/1
    Oregon State 30/1
    Washington 30/1
    Stanford 50/1
    Arizona State 75/1
    Washington State 100/1

    Odds to win Big 12 Tournament
    Kansas 6/5
    Oklahoma 7/2
    West Virginia 7/2
    Baylor 10/1
    Iowa State 10/1
    Texas 15/1
    Field (Any Other Team) 20/1

    Odds to win Big East Tournament
    Villanova 6/5
    Xavier 5/2
    Butler 8/1
    Seton Hall 8/1
    Creighton 15/1
    Providence 15/1
    Field (Any Other Team) 20/1

    Odds to win SEC Tournament
    Kentucky 7/5
    Texas A&M 5/2
    Vanderbilt 3/1
    South Carolina 8/1
    Florida 12/1
    LSU 15/1
    Georgia 40/1
    Mississippi 40/1
    Alabama 50/1
    Arkansas 50/1
    Field (Any Other Team) 50/1
    Mississippi State 60/1
    Tennessee 60/1

    Odds Subject to Change – Updated 3.8.16


    ACC Conference Tournament 2nd Round Betting Preview

    Florida State hammered a pathetic Boston College squad, 88-66, and NC State squeaked past Wake Forest, 75-72, on Tuesday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The second round gets underway early on Wednesday and the action continues all day long.

    Tournament being played at the Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

    Syracuse Orange vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (-2, 133)

    * Michael Gbinije, a senior who started his career at Duke, is averaging 17.6 points overall and shoots 40.1 percent from 3-point range. Freshman forward Tyler Lydon stepped up in the last four games, averaging 15 points and draining 22-of-39 from the field, while senior guard Trevor Cooney needs to find his shooting touch after going 5-for-30 from 3-point range in the same span.

    * Michael Young leads the team in scoring (16.1), rebounds (7.1) and shoots 54 percent from the field, but will need help if the Panthers are going to make a splash in the postseason. James Robinson runs the show for Pittsburgh, averaging 10.4 points and standing second in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (4.37).

    Betting Stats:

    Syracuse – 19-12 SU, 15-15 ATS, 16-14 O/U
    Pittsburgh – 20-10 SU, 12-15 ATS, 11-16 O/U


    * Orange are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
    * Panthers are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss.
    * Over is 10-1-1 in Orange last 12 neutral site games.
    * Under is 9-0 in Panthers last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.

    N.C. State Wolfpack vs. Duke Blue Devils (OFF)

    * Freshman Maverick Rowan made a career-best six 3-pointers in the first-round victory to score 24 and made at least two from beyond the arc in eight of the last nine games. Anthony Barber made only 7-of-21 from the field Tuesday, but dished out six assists and connected on all six attempts from the free-throw line where he is shooting 86.9 percent.

    * Grayson Allen finished second in the league behind Barber in scoring at 21.5 per game and has averaged 25.2 in the last six contests while shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range overall. Brandon Ingram has been a consistent force as well, posting 16.7 points and 6.8 rebounds, and fellow freshman Luke Kennard scored 20 in Saturday’s loss to North Carolina.

    Betting Stats:

    N.C. State – 16-16 SU, 13-15-1 ATS, 17-12 O/U
    Duke – 22-9 SU, 13-15-2 ATS, 12-18 O/U


    * Wolfpack are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win.
    * Blue Devils are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
    * Under is 13-3 in Blue Devils last 16 vs. Atlantic Coast.
    * Over is 19-7-1 in the last 27 meetings.

    Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Clemson Tigers (-1.5, 134)

    * Senior guard Marcus Georges-Hunt leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 16.6 points, averaging 19.1 in his final eight games but shooting 6-of-24 from the field and 1-of-8 from 3-point range in the final two contests. A rare senior-laden squad, a quintet of Georgia Tech seniors have accounted for 76 percent of the team’s scoring.

    * Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame earned first-team All-ACC honors and was selected the league’s most improved player, ranking third in the conference in scoring at 18.6 points (20.7 points in league play). Center Landry Nnoko led the ACC in blocked shots at 2.4 per contest, ranking 24th nationally.

    Betting Stats:

    Georgia Tech – 18-13 SU, 16-12-1 ATS, 12-17 O/U
    Clemson – 17-13 SU, 15-11 ATS, 11-15 O/U


    * Yellow Jackets are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 Wednesday games.
    * Tigers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
    * Under is 4-1 in Yellow Jackets last 5 games following a ATS win.
    * Over is 4-1 in Tigers last 5 neutral site games.

    Florida St. Seminoles vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (OFF)

    * The Seminoles display the third-best offense in the ACC, averaging 77.9 points per game – their highest total since 1992-93. Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley earned all-conference freshman honors, combining to average 31.3 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Bacon leads the team in scoring at 15.7 points and Beasley ranks second at 15.6.

    * Junior forward Zach LeDay averages team highs in scoring (15.2 points) and rebounds (7.6), scoring 17.6 points per contest the past three days and earning all-conference honorable mention honors. Justin Bibbs shoots 48.7 percent from 3-point range, averaging 12.2 points per game and is five points shy of 1,000 for the season.

    Betting Stats:

    Florida St. – 19-12 SU, 12-14-1 ATS, 15-12 O/U
    Virginia Tech – 18-13 SU, 16-9 ATS, 12-12-1 O/U


    * Seminoles are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
    * Hokies are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
    * Over is 7-0 in Seminoles last 7 games following a straight up win.
    * Under is 6-1 in Hokies last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.


    Pac-12 Conference Tournament 1st Round Betting Preview

    The Pac-12 tournament gets underway Wednesday in Las Vegas, highlighted by a first round matchup not many would have predicted a few weeks ago with UCLA facing off against USC.

    Tournament to be played at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV

    Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington Huskies (-2.5, 150)

    * Senior forward Rosco Allen, an All-Pac-12 First Team selection, averaged 17.9 points over his last seven contests and had a team-high 20 points along with nine rebounds in last month’s loss to the Huskies. Senior point guard Christian Sanders was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules last week and is not expected to play in the Pac-12 tournament.

    * Andrew Andrews scored fewer than 12 points twice this season, and one of the games came against Stanford on Feb. 20 as the league’s leading scorer missed all four field-goal attempts and finished with eight points. The Huskies’ roster is tied for the fifth youngest in Division I and features a promising point guard in Murray, who was named to the second team all-conference squad after averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

    Betting Stats:

    Stanford – 15-15 SU, 11-15-1 ATS, 13-14 O/U
    Washington – 17-13 SU, 16-12 ATS, 18-10 O/U


    * Under is 4-0 in Stanford’s last four neutral site games.
    * Under is 7-0 in Washington’s last seven neutral site games.
    * Washington is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games following an ATS loss.
    * Stanford is 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 games versus a team with a winning SU record.

    Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado Buffaloes (-9.5, 140.5)

    * The Cougars are riding a 16-game losing streak and finished the regular season by allowing Washington star Andrew Andrews to score a career-high 47 points, but they have at least one believer in Arizona coach Sean Miller. “I’m just telling you, Washington State — don’t be surprised if they play really, really well,” Miller told reporters. Washington State’s best chance for an upset rests with 6-foot-10 forward Josh Hawkinson, who averages 15.6 points and a league-high 11 rebounds.

    * The Buffaloes likely need at least one win in Las Vegas to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament after closing the regular season by watching Utah rally from a 14-point second-half deficit to escape with a 57-55 victory. Forward Josh Scott received All-Pac-12 First Team honors for the second straight season after averaging 16.5 points and 8.7 rebounds, and the 6-foot-10 senior has matched up well against Pac-12 big men such as Hawkinson and Utah’s Jakob Poeltl.

    Betting Stats:

    Washington State – 9-21 SU, 12-17 ATS, 13-16 O/U
    Colorado – 21-10 SU, 17-11 ATS, 14-14 O/U


    * Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
    * Under is 10-2 in Washington State’s last 12 overall.
    * Colorado is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
    * Washington State is 0-5 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win.

    UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans (-2.5, 157)

    * The Bruins arrived at the MGM Grand losing their last four games after failing to achieve a winning record throughout conference play. Their best bet to knock off USC might ride on the hands of junior wing Isaac Hamilton, who recorded his career high of 36 points in this arena last season when UCLA routed the Trojans in the quarterfinals of this tournament.

    * The seventh-seeded Trojans were 7-3 on Feb. 4 and tied for second in conference play after beating the Bruins for the second time this season, but an eight-day break seemed to take some steam out of their momentum and they lost the next two games and six of their final eight in conference play. USC doesn’t need to rely on one player as six Trojans average from 10 to 12.9 points and seven have scored at least 19 in a game this season.

    Betting Stats:

    UCLA – 15-16 SU, 11-20 ATS, 18-13 O/U
    USC – 20-11 SU, 17-13-1 ATS, 16-14-1 O/U


    * UCLA is 0-4 ATS in its last four overall.
    * USC is 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall.
    * Over is 5-0-1 in USC’s last six games following an ATS loss.
    * Over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.

    Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Oregon State Beavers (-3, 142)

    * Arizona State blew out the Beavers by 18 points in their only meeting this season, a 86-68 victory in Tempe on Jan. 28, and Obinna Oleka scored 17 points and Gerry Blakes had 16, well above their season averages. Arizona State leading scorer Tra Holder continues to play like he already hit his peak this season, averaging 17.5 points from mid-December to mid-February, but just 8.7 points in the last six games to lower his season mark to 14.3.

    * Oregon State was one of the hottest teams over the second half of Pac-12 play, but the sixth-seeded Beavers could remain shorthanded Wednesday because Oregon State freshman forward Tres Tinkle, the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder, missed the last two games with a right foot injury and his father and head coach Wayne Tinkle didn’t sound optimistic he’d return in time for the Pac-12 tournament opener.

    Betting Stats:

    Arizona State – 15-16 SU, 14-15-1 ATS, 17-12 O/U
    Oregon State – 18-11 SU, 15-13 ATS, 18-10 O/U


    * Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
    * Oregon State is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games following an ATS win.
    * Over is 5-0 in Oregon State’s last five neutral site games.
    * Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.


    Big Ten Conference Tournament 1st Round Betting Preview

    The Big Ten Tournament begins Wednesday, as a quartette of struggling teams try to continue their seasons. Minnesota takes on Illinois and Rutgers does battle with Nebraska.

    Tournament to be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (-8, 136.5)

    * The Golden Gophers are no stranger to adversity and are down to eight players after losing Joey King to a broken foot, dismissing senior guard Carlos Morris and suspending three others in recent weeks. Minnesota dropped both meetings with Illinois this season and was embarrassed its last time out, falling 75-52 at Rutgers on Saturday to end the Scarlet Knights’ 32-game losing streak in Big Ten action.

    * Illinois has been without three projected starters for the bulk of the season due to injury or suspension and seven different players have combined to miss nearly 100 games so far this year, contributing to the Illini’s 5-6 record in contests decided by five points or fewer. Hill has been a bright spot, however, and is one of only three Division I players to lead his team in scoring (18.6), rebounding (6.6), assists (3.3), steals (1.1) and blocks (0.5), and is coming off a career-high 39-point, 13-board masterpiece in Sunday’s 86-79 double-overtime loss at Penn State.

    Betting Stats:

    Minnesota – 8-22 SU, 10-18 ATS, 16-12 O/U
    Illinois – 13-18 SU, 12-14-3 ATS, 14-14-1 O/U


    * Minnesota is 0-5 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
    * Illinois is 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine neutral site games.
    * Over is 5-1 in Minnesota’s last six neutral site games.
    * Over is 8-2 in Illinois’ last 10 games following an ATS loss.

    Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-14.5, 139.5)

    * The Scarlet Knights’ misery in Big Ten play continued for nearly another month after their second defeat of the season to Nebraska before they ended a 17-game losing streak and 32-game conference skid in Saturday’s 75-52 home romp of Minnesota. Sophomore guard Mike Williams (12.2 points) sparked the Scarlet Knights off the bench with career highs of six 3-pointers and 29 points Saturday, ending a four-game stretch in which he shot 3-of-13 beyond the arc and failed to reach double figures.

    * Nebraska encountered two three-game losing streaks early in conference play, and both times, Rutgers provided a soft landing. The high point of the Cornhuskers’ up-and-down regular season was a four-game winning streak that began on Jan. 9 with a 90-56 rout at Rutgers, which gave Nebraska its largest margin of victory in a road game since 1920. The Cornhuskers enjoyed a similar result in the rematch on Feb. 6, cruising to an 87-63 victory in a contest in which second-team all-conference selection Shavon Shields suffered a concussion that cost him the next four games and contributed to the their season-ending slide.

    Betting Stats:

    Rutgers – 7-24 SU, 10-16 ATS, 17-9 O/U
    Nebraska – 14-17 SU, 14-12 ATS, 15-10-1 O/U


    * Rutgers is 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall.
    * Nebraska is 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall.
    * Over is 20-5-1 in Rutgers’ last 26 versus Big Ten opponents.
    * Under is 6-1 in Nebraska’s last seven games overall.


    Big East Conference Tournament 1st Round Betting Preview

    The Big East Conference Tournament tips off Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, with DePaul taking on Georgetown and St. John’s squaring off against Marquette.

    Tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    DePaul Blue Demons vs. Georgetown Hoyas (-8.5, 143)

    * DePaul has lost at least 19 games for the ninth straight season and enters Wednesday’s matchup with a 1-7 record in its last eight games. Myke Henry’s scoring decreased down the stretch, but he closed the regular season with back-to-back solid games in which he averaged 14 points, right below his season average (13.9). Billy Garrett Jr. chips in 12.9 points and scored a team-high 18 in a loss to Seton Hall last weekend.

    * Georgetown closed the regular season by losing six straight games and nine of its final 10. The Hoyas have given up at least 70 points in every game during their current skid and are posted their worst regular-season conference record since 2008-09. The teams met on Georgetown’s home court back in early January, when the Hoyas made 11 3-pointers in a 74-63 triumph.

    Betting Stats:

    DePaul – 9-21 SU, 10-18-1 ATS, 16-13 O/U
    Georgetown – 14-17 SU, 15-14 ATS, 17-12 O/U


    * DePaul is 2-6 ATS in its last eight overall.
    * Georgetown is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games versus a team with a winning percent below .400.
    * Over is 4-0 in DePaul’s last four games overall.
    * Over is 4-0 in Georgetowns last four games overall.

    St. John’s Red Storm vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (-6.5, 144)

    * The Red Storm endured a nightmare regular season that featured eight total wins and only one in league play – against the league’s second-worst team, DePaul, back on Feb. 17. St. John’s suffered some respectable losses last month, but they closed February with a 41-point spanking at Creighton followed by a 27-point home loss to Providence last weekend in a game where they allowed 49 first-half points and never seriously competed.

    * Marquette lost two of its final three to end the regular season with the lone victory being a one-point squeaker against Georgetown. Freshman big man Henry Ellenson is the clear centerpiece for the Golden Eagles, who essentially have twin towers with the 6-10 Ellenson and 6-11 Luke Fischer. Ellenson (16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks) is an inside-outside threat, although his 3-point percentage dipped to 27.6 precent after going 5-of-23 in his final seven games.

    Betting Stats:

    St. John’s – 8-23 SU, 11-19 ATS, 16-14 O/U
    Marquette – 19-12 SU, 12-18 ATS, 18-12 O/U


    * St. John’s is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
    * Over is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings.
    * Underdogs is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
    * Over is 5-1 ATS in St. John’s last six neutral site games.


    SEC Conference Tournament 1st Round Betting Preview

    The SEC Conference Tournament tips off Wednesday night with their version of the “play-in game” between Tennessee and Auburn.

    Tournament being played at the Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee.

    Auburn Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers (-3.5, 147)

    * The Tigers are a dangerous opponent if only because they can shoot it from the outside, leading the SEC with 8.9 made 3-pointers per game, and have a pair of capable frontcourt players. Kareem Canty (18.3 points, 5.3 assists) and Bryce Brown (10.2 points) lead the charge on the perimeter, and Tyler Harris (13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds) and Cinmeon Bowers (10.7 points, 9.8 rebounds) can cause problems in the paint. The Tigers also have been more competitive when T.J. Dunans (11.2 points) is on the court – going 7-6 with him in the starting lineup – but he missed both regular-season meetings with the Vols.

    * The Volunteers have lost four straight and six of their last seven and are without leading scorer Kevin Punter Jr. (22.2 points) due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Robert Hubbs III (10.4 points) also has been hampered by a knee injury and his status for Wednesday is up in the air, putting a heavy burden on swingman Armani Moore (12 points, 7.9 rebounds), who managed only three points in two meetings against Auburn this season.

    Betting Stats:

    Auburn – 11-19 SU, 12-17 ATS, 11-17-1 O/U
    Tennessee – 13-18 SU, 14-15-1 ATS, 11-16-3 O/U


    * Tigers are 2-8 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
    * Volunteers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home.
    * Under is 11-3-1 in Tigers last 15 games following a straight up loss.
    * Under is 7-1-1 in Volunteers last 9 vs. Southeastern.


    Big 12 Tournament 1st Round Betting Preview

    The Big 12 tournament tips off Wednesday evening with Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State (winner gets #1 Kansas in the second round) and Texas Christian vs. Texas Tech (winner gets West Virginia).

    Tournament to be played at Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

    Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas State Wildcats (-5, 127)

    * The Cowboys got some much-needed help in their regular-season finale as guards Leyton Hammonds (dislocated finger) and Jeffrey Carroll (illness) returned to action, and Hammonds wound up pacing the team with 20 points and six rebounds off the bench. Hammonds is averaging 10.6 points and a team-most five rebounds per contest while guard Jeff Newberry (11.0 points) stands as Oklahoma State’s leading active scorer with Forte (13.3) and Evans (12.9) out.

    * The Wildcats’ youth has been a bad match with one of the nation’s most demanding schedules as all but two of the team’s 15 losses have come against top-25-ranked teams. Guard Justin Edwards is pacing the squad in scoring (12.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.7) and is joined in double figures by forward Wesley Iwundu (11.9 points), a third-team All-Big 12 selection.

    Betting Stats:

    Oklahoma St. – 12-19 SU, 14-14-1 ATS, 11-18 O/U

    Kansas St. – 16-15 SU, 15-12-1 ATS, 14-14 O/U


    * Cowboys are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a double-digit loss at home.
    * Favorite is 14-3 ATS in the last 17 meetings.
    * Under is 11-1 in Cowboys last 12 games following a ATS loss.
    * Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.

    Texas Christian Horned Frogs vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (-8.5, 136)

    * Aside from a year ago, the Horned Frogs have finished at the bottom of the Big 12 standings in their other three seasons in the conference. Guards Chauncey Collins (11.8 points) and Malique Trent (11.5) pace the team in scoring while forward Karviar Shepherd is the top rebounder at 5.4 per game.

    * The Red Raiders’ nine Big 12 victories are their most since the 2006-07 season, which also is the last time the program hit 20 or more wins and played in the NCAA Tournament. It’s been a balanced scoring attack with four players – guards Toddrick Gotcher (11.2 points per game) and Devaugntah Williams (10.8) and forwards Aaron Ross (10.5) and Zach Smith (10.0) – averaging double figures but none being named to the All-Big 12 first-through-third teams.

    Betting Stats:

    Texas Christian – 11-20 SU, 11-14 ATS, 8-17 O/U

    Texas Tech – 19-11 SU, 15-12 ATS, 15-12 O/U


    * Horned Frogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
    * Red Raiders are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
    * Over is 4-1 in Horned Frogs last 5 games following a ATS win.
    * Over is 4-1 in Red Raiders last 5 vs. Big 12.


    ACC tournament (Washington DC)
    Syracuse lost four of last five games; Joe Lunardi thinks they’re done if they lose here. Pitt swept Orangemen this year, 72-61 at home, 66-52 on road (SU 12-41 on arc in two games) Panthers won Big East tourney in ’08- they’re 3-7 in conference tourneys since then (79-47 during regular season), 3-6 in last nine games overall- they are a bubble team with loss here. Syracuse is 7-3 in its first tourney game the last eleven years.

    Duke is 11-7 in ACC, its worst mark since 8-8 in ’07- they lost in first round in OT to NC State that year. Duke is 7-1 in first tourney games since then. Wolfpack got waxed twice by Duke this year, 88-80 on road, 88-78 at home- Blue Devils were 24-53 on arc in those games. NC State is 0-7 in game after its last seven wins, with five losses by 10+- they are 8-4 in ACC tourney last 4+ years; Pack used three kids 34+ minutes in win over Wake Tuesday.

    Clemson/Georgia Tech split pair of games this year, Tigers won 66-52 at home Feb 13, lost 75-73 on road 10 days later (blew 13-point lead in last 16:09). Tech won five of last six games after 3-9 start in ACC; they are 1-5 in ACC tourney last five years. Clemson is 2-7 in this event the last seven years- their last 10 losses in ACC tournament were all by 5 points or less. Tigers are 5-7 in last 12 games, after an encouraging 12-6 start.

    Virginia Tech is 10-8 in ACC after going 12-58 the previous four years. Florida State lost 83-73 in Blacksburg Feb 20 after leading 45-37 at the half; Hokies made 11-19 on arc, scored 1.24 ppp. Seminoles won three games in row after a 5-game skid in late February; since ’03, they’re 2-6 in their second game of ACC tourneys. Tech has broken thru in second year with Buzz Williams as coach; they’re 6-3 in their first ACC tourney game. Hokies won last five games, beating Pitt/Miami in last two.

    SEC tournament (Nashville)
    Bruce Pearl’s Auburn team was decimated by injuries/suspensions; they split with Tennessee (Pearl’s old team), winning 83-77 at home, making 12-26 on arc, losing 71-45 in Knoxville, scoring 0.67 ppp. Vols are 7-1 in first tourney game last eight years; Barnes was 5-7 in Big X tourneys his last seven years at Texas. Auburn won three games to get to semis LY; they had been 1-9 in SEC tourney before Pearl got there, but Auburn is 2-11 in its last 13 games overall. .

    Big 12 tournament (Kansas City)
    ESPN has Texas Tech a 7-seed after going 9-9 in Big X, but win here will let them sleep well rest of week. Raiders swept TCU this year, 76-69 on road, 83-79 at home, scoring 1.17/1.30 ppp vs Frogs. Tech is just 1-4 in Big X tourney last four years; TCU is 2-8 in last eight. Raiders are 6-2 in last eight games- they’re 9-0 vs teams ranked outside top 100. Frogs lost last seven games, with four losses by 14+- their last win away from its home court was Dec 23 against a terrible Bradley team. .

    Mountain West tournament (Las Vegas)
    Wyoming won Mountain West tourney LY after going 11-7 in regular season; they were 2-7 in this event seven years before that. Cowboys hit 20-38 on arc (1.40 ppp) in 84-65 win over Utah State, only meeting in series this year. Wyoming is 2-4 since beating USU- they’re 4-2 against Aggies in MW games. Utah State is 1-4 in last four conference tourneys; they’re 4-3 in last seven games overall, after starting out 3-8 in MW.

    UNLV’s roster has been decimated by injury/suspensions; they lost by 5 at Air Force after crushing Flyboys 100-64 in first meeting, when they were at full strength. Air Force is 3-13 in MW tourney since ’03- they upset New Mexico in first round LY. UNLV last won this event in ’08; they’re 7-7 since, winning its first tourney game last six years, with four games by 12+ points. Air Force lost last three games, by 1-13-14 points.

    Colorado State swept San Jose State this year, 85-84 in OT on road Jan 9, then 74-66 at home 18 days later, despite Spartans shooting 56%+ on 2-pointers in both games. Rams won first MW tourney game in three of last four years; they lost five of last seven games overall. San Jose upset Boise State last game, ending 6-game skid; they’re 0-3 in tourneys in last four years- they didn’t play LY. Rams had 29 offensive rebounds in two games vs San Jose this year, despite shooting 50%+ inside arc.

    Pac-12 tournament (MGM, Las Vegas)
    Washington beat Stanford 64-53 in only meeting this year, shooting 63% inside arc in game that was tied at half. Huskies lost six of their last eight games after starting 7-3 in Pac-12; they’re 1-4 in Pac-12 tourney last four years, with all five games decided by 6 or less points. Stanford lost six of last seven road games, getting swept in Arizona LW; Cardinal is 6-2 in its first Pac-12 tourney game the last eight years, with losses by total of three points. .

    Colorado swept Washington State this year, 75-70 on road, 88-81 in two OTs at home (outscored WSU 31-11 on line); Coogs shot 55%+ inside arc in both games. Buffaloes are 10-4 in conference tourneys the last five years, 5-0 in its first tourney game. Coogs are 0-6 in this event the last six years, losing by 11-25 points last two years; Wazzu lost 16 games in row overall, since upsetting UCLA at home Jan 3. ESPN has Colorado as a 9-seed in NCAAs; this is a must-win for them.

    USC swept UCLA this year. 89-75 in Westwood, 80-61 at home; they led games by 18-11 points at halftime, but Trojans lost six of last eight games overall, haven’t won outside of LA since Jan 1 at Wazzu. UCLA lost four in row, 9 of last 12 games; they’re 6-2 in first round of Pac-12 tourney last eight years, 6-2 overall in tourney last three years. Trojans are 1-4 in this event last four years, with three of last four tourney tilts decided by three points. .

    Arizona State went 5-13 in Hurley’s first season in Pac-12, losing five of last six games; ASU whacked Oregon State 86-68 in only meeting- they made 11-24 on arc, 70% inside arc, scored 1.21 ppp. Oregon State is 6-3 in last nine games, is bubble team, needs this game; they’re 0-3 in Pac-12 tourney last three years, losing by 6-14-7 points. Frosh F Tinkle was on crutches in LA last week, status is ?? Sun Devils are 1-6 in tourney last six years, with only win by point in OT.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Against – Home underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points (ST JOHNS) revenging 2 straight losses where opp scored 75 or more points, off a home loss against a conference rival
    29-8 over the last 5 seasons. ( 78.4% | 20.2 units )

    Play On – Any team (OREGON ST) revenging a loss where opponent scored 85 or more points against opponent off a home cover where the team lost straight up as an underdog
    50-15 since 1997. ( 76.9% | 33.6 units )

    Play Under – Neutral court teams where the first half total is 65.5 to 70.5 in a game involving two average defensive teams (67-74 PPG) after 15+ games, after scoring 85 points or more
    67-31 since 1997. ( 68.4% | 32.9 units )
    1-0 this year. ( 100.0% | 1.0 units )


    Ken Thomson | CBB ML – Wednesday, Mar 9 2016 9:30PM

    ML 534 UTEP (-125) vs 533 Fla. Int’l
    ‘triple-dime bet’

    Analysis: Tim Floyd’s team has played much better in the second half of Conference play winning ( 7 of 9 ) including their first road win of the season ay Florida International. UTEP was picked to come 4th in C-USA this season but got off to a rocky start. The Miners boast double digit scorers in Lee Moore
    ( 15 ppg ), Earvin Morris Jr. and Omega Harris both at ( 13 ppg ). The other two key cogs to this Miner Machine are former Oregon Duck, Dominic Artis ( 12 ppg / 5 apg ) & Terry Winn ( 10 ppg / 5 RB ). For Florida International things have been trending in the other direction. The Panthers have dropped nine of their last eleven contests.

    I expect UTEP to take care of business by outscoring FIU both inside a nd out. The Miners are a dark horse to win the Conference USA Tourney. Daviyon Draper, Donte McGill & Adrian Diaz combine for 47 points per contest combined. UTEP averages 6 more ppg with similar styles. That’s what I like Texas El Paso minus 125 on the money line.

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