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CBB ♦ ''Sweet 16'' ♦ Friday 3/25/16

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    Opening odds and early betting action on NCAA ‘Sweet 16’ matchups
    By Jason Logan

    After an opening weekend filled with upset stunners and heartbreaking losses, the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 is set. And for such a thrilling four days of “Big Dance” action, the remaining eight matchups are void of a true Cinderella team.

    The biggest seeds left standing face off in a No. 10 versus No. 11 showdown, when the Syracuse Orange take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Midwest Regional semifinals. But while these teams are double-digit draws this year, it’s tough to call two power programs, like Syracuse and Gonzaga, true Cinderellas.

    Oddsmakers opened with the No. 11 Bulldogs as low as 4-point favorites in Chicago Friday, with that number quickly being bet up to -4.5. In Las Vegas, sportsbook operator CG Technology opened the Zags as 5-point chalk.

    According to online book Carbon Gaming, which opened Gonzaga -4.5, they’ve seen early money on the underdog.

    “The Orange are getting 54 percent of the early action,” says Michael Stewart of CarbonGaming. following Syracuse’s dominant 25-point win against Middle Tennessee State.

    Outside of that meeting between double-digit seeds, the tournament has trickled down as many expected – for the most part.

    No. 7 Wisconsin shocked No. 2 Xavier with a last-second shot Sunday, setting up the Badgers with No. 6 Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. Oddsmakers opened this game a pick’em and early money sided with the Fighting Irish, moving this spread to -1.5. Notre Dame avoided an upset of its own with a 76-75 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the Round of 32.

    No. 2 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 3 Miami Hurricanes – Open: +4, Move: +5, +4.5

    The bottom half of the South Regional has the No. 2 Wildcats facing the No. 3 Hurricanes. Oddsmakers opened Villanova as low as -4 and watched action bet the line up as high as -5 before buyback on Miami, trimmed a half a point from that spread.

    “We initially took Nova money from a lot of the public and one player we respect. We moved the spread to +5 but then quickly got action from some smart bettors so we moved back to the opener of -4.5,” John Lester, line manager for Bookmaker. “It will be interesting to see where this goes but there haven’t been a lot of Hurricanes backers in the tournament thus far.”

    Villanova has rolled through its first two tournament opponents, crushing UNC-Asheville and Iowa to advance to the Sweet 16. Miami, on the other hand, was challenged by Buffalo in the opening round but looked sound against Wichita State in the Round of 32.

    No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers – Open: +4.5, Move: +6

    Online books opened North Carolina as low as -4.5 versus Indiana, but according to CG Technology some of their oddsmakers wanted the spread even lower for this East Regional semifinal Friday.

    “Indiana versus UNC is, in my opinion, the most intriguing matchup and it was a tricky one to make a line for,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology. “Our team ranged from 3.5 to 6 and we went with the higher end based on the expectation of a lot of public bets on the Tar Heels coming Saturday.”

    The move to six has been pushed by public money, says Bookmaker. Wiseguys have yet to have an opinion on this name-brand Sweet 16 showdown. North Carolina has been one of the biggest public draws of the NCAA tournament, for games and outright winner futures as well.

    “We’ve booked more action on North Carolina to win it all than any other team. Bettors have also been backing them each round and the Sweet 16 is no different,” says Lester. “We opened Tar Heels -4.5 and have moved to -6 currently. It’s mostly public money at this point but if the sharps get involved on that side, we’ll really need a Hoosiers cover.”

    No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers vs. No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones – Open: +6, Move: +5

    The No. 1 Cavaliers opened as 6-point favorites for their meeting with the No. 4 Cyclones in Chicago Thursday, and according to CG Technology early money is siding with the underdog. Simbal says the second most money wagered for the Sweet 16 is on Iowa State, trimming a half a point from their opener.

    Online books, like Carbon Gaming, are down to Virginia -5 with 60 percent of the early money grabbing the points with the underdog.

    The Cyclones breezed past Iona in the Round of 64 and rolled Arkansas-Little Rock in the Round of 32, scoring a total of 172 points in those contests. Iowa State ranks 14th in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.1 points per game, and now faces a methodical Virginia program that thrives on defense and extending possessions.

    The Cavaliers play the slowest tempo in the country, according to, leaving books to set Thursday’s total at 141 points – the lowest number for an Iowa State game all season. According to Stewart, early total bettors are expecting Virginia to dictate the pace, with 92 percent of the early handle siding with the Under.

    Remaining NCAA Sweet 16 odds:

    No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies vs. No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (-2, 145)

    No. 5 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (-7, 147)

    No. 4 Duke Blue Devils vs. No. 1 Oregon Ducks (-2.5, 156)


    Sweet 16 Primer
    By Brian Edwards

    Six ACC teams and all four No. 1 seeds are still alive in the 2016 NCAA Tournament that saw its field reduced to 16 during Sunday’s thrilling set of games.

    Notre Dame is one of the ACC schools that still has a pulse thanks to a 76-75 win over Stephen F. Austin in a helluva Round of 32 slugfest at Barclays Arena in Brooklyn. The Lumberjacks covered the spread as 1.5-point underdogs, while the 151 combined points zipped ‘over’ the 139.5-point total.

    Rex Pflueger’s amazing tip-in of a Zach Auguste miss with 1.5 seconds remaining lifted the Fighting Irish to a second straight Sweet 16 appearance. The bucket was Pflueger’s only one of the game, an epic affair that never saw more than a seven-point separation that the Fighting Irish enjoyed midway through the second half.

    Demetrius Jackson and Auguste were the catalysts for Mike Brey’s team. Jackson finished with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. He drained 2-of-3 attempts from downtown, including a trey with less than one second remaining in the first half to send the Irish to the locker room with a one-point cushion. Jackson’s 3-ball allowed Notre Dame to either push (-1) or cover (pick ‘em, -120 or -125 price) for its backers on first-half bets.

    Auguste finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, making 8-of-9 shots from the field. V.J. Beachem scored 15 points and seven rebounds.

    Notre Dame, a No. 6 seed, will face seventh-seeded Wisconsin on Friday at 7:25 p.m. Eastern in Philadelphia. One book had the Irish favored by 1.5 points early this morning.

    Stephen F. Austin had won 21 in a row after bouncing third-seeded West Va. from the Tournament as a seven-point underdog Friday night. Senior Thomas Walkup saw his collegiate career end in gut-wrenching fashion, but he went out on his sword. He played terrific in his final game, producing 21 points, five rebounds and five assists without committing a turnover.

    Wisconsin advanced by edging Xavier on Bronson Koenig’s buzzer beater from the corner while fading out of bounds. The Badgers trailed by nine with 6:19 remaining, but a trey by Koenig knotted the score at 63-63 with 11.7 seconds left. After Zak Showalter drew a charge with 4.7 seconds left, UW inbounded to halfcourt before calling its last timeout to set up a play that led to Koenig’s game winner.

    Wisconsin is in the region semifinals for the fifth time in six years. The Badgers are here despite starting the season with a 9-9 record and despite losing legendary head coach Bo Ryan to retirement before Christmas.

    The late game in Philly will pit No. 1 seed North Carolina against fifth-seeded Indiana. The Tar Heels have been installed as six-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 160.

    IU bounced Kentucky from the Tournament on Saturday night in Des Moines. Meanwhile, North Carolina overcame a four-point halftime deficit to pull away and even cover as a double-digit favorite vs. Providence.

    Jay Wright has his Villanova (31-5 SU, 17-17-1 ATS) program back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 after it destroyed Iowa 87-68 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated. The Wildcats easily hooked up their backers as six-point favorites.

    Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono led the way with 16 points and four assists without a turnover. Josh Hart scored a team-high 19 points, while Kris Jenkins finished with 15 points, two steals and six assists without a turnover.

    Villanova will take on Miami on Thursday night in Louisville, Ky. The Westgate opened Villanova as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 142.5 points. The Hurricanes, who beat Wichita St. as two-point underdogs Saturday, are +180 on the money line (risk $100 to win $180).

    The other South Region semifinal matchup features No. 1 seed Kansas against fifth-seeded Maryland. One book had the Jayhawks installed as seven-point favorites early this morning.

    KU took the cash in Saturday’s 73-61 win over UConn as an eight-point favorite. Meanwhile, the Terrapins put away a pesky Hawaii squad with a 14-0 run midway through the second half of a 73-60 win in Spokane, WA. They covered the number as 7.5-point favorites, while the 133 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 144-point tally.

    Melo Trimble paced the winners with 24 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Diamond Stone and Rasheed Sulaimon finished with 14 points apiece.

    The SEC still has life – somehow. Northern Iowa blew a 12-point lead with 35 seconds remaining in a collapse of unfathomable proportions. Texas A&M took advantage and won a 92-88 decision in double overtime.

    Forty-eight hours after beating Texas on a buzzer beater off the glass from halfcourt by senior Paul Jesperson, the Panthers committed four turnovers in 33 seconds and allowed the Aggies to make six straight shots to end regulation. Nevertheless, NIU still took the money as a seven-point underdog.

    Alex Caruso led the winners with 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Danuel House finished with 22 points and eight boards. NIU’s Jeremy Morgan was sensational in heartbreaking defeat, producing 36 points, 12 boards, three steals, two assists and a pair of blocked shots.

    Billy Kennedy’s squad will take on Oklahoma in Anaheim on Thursday night in the West Region semifinals. One betting shop had the Sooners favored by two early this morning.

    OU slipped past VCU by an 85-81 count in what equated to a home game on Oklahoma City. The Rams trailed by 13 at halftime, but they stormed back and into the lead with 9:55 remaining thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Michael Gilmore.

    Buddy Hield’s 3-ball with 6:37 left gave the Sooners the lead back for good, though. The senior All-American erupted for 29 of his game-high 36 points in the second half. VCU’s Melvin Johnson and JeQuan Lewis scored 23 and 22 points, respectively.

    Form held in the West Region, leaving us with a semifinal showdown between No. 1 seed Oregon and fourth-seeded Duke. The Blue Devils nearly blew a 27-point second-half lead Saturday against Yale. The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to three, but Duke pulled away in the final minute for a 71-64 triumph as a six-point favorite.

    Oregon beat St. Joseph’s 69-64 thanks to an 11-4 run in the final two minutes, but the Hawks covered the spread as seven-point underdogs. Dillon Brooks led the way with a game-high 25 points.

    In the Midwest Region, a double-digit seed with play in the Elite Eight at United Center in Chicago this weekend. That’s because No. 10 seed Syracuse and No. 11 seed Gonzaga will collide in one semifinal matchup.

    Both schools were on the bubble two weeks ago. Jim Boeheim’s team advanced by smashing Middle Tennessee 75-50 Sunday as a six-point ‘chalk.’ Gonzaga drilled third-seeded Utah 82-59 on Saturday night, two days after dropping Seton Hall by a 68-52 score.

    As of early this morning, most books had Gonzaga favored by 4.5 points with a total of 135.

    Virginia and Iowa State will face each other in Friday’s early game from the Windy City. The Cavaliers are favored by 5.5 with a total of 141 points.

    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

    — Bettors backing Northern Iowa on the money line for a +250 return obviously sustained all-timer of a bad beat. However, those on the Panthers plus seven might’ve taken the worst beat (EVER!) if not for inept free-throw shooting from Texas A&M in the second extra session.

    — St. Joseph’s finished its season with an incredible 10-1-1 spread record in 12 games as an underdog. The Hawks won nine of those games outright, but they were unable to do so against the Ducks.

    — Texas A&M is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007.

    — Florida advanced to the NIT quarterfinals by winning 74-66 at Ohio St. as a 1.5-point favorite Sunday afternoon in Columbus. The Gators will play on the road Wednesday against the winner of Monday’s winner of George Washington at Monmouth. Dorian Finney-Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds against the Buckeyes. Kasey Hill had 15 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals.

    — The collegiate careers of Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines came to an end Sunday night in Georgia’s 77-65 loss at Saint Mary’s as a seven-point underdog. UGA did cover second half bets (pick ‘em) after trailing by 13 at intermission. Yante Maten made 14-of-17 field goals in the Bulldogs’ opening-round home win over Belmont. But against the Gaels, he couldn’t throw it in the ocean, missing 16 of his 22 shots from the field. Mann and Gaines finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively. I offer both a hat tip to excellent careers in which they helped me to many winners along with J.J. Frazier, who is a junior and will return for Mark Fox’s program next season. Frazier had 13 points, seven assists and five boards against the Gaels, but he was only 5-of-15 from the field.


    College Basketball Betting Trends – Fri – Mar, 25

    Indiana at North Carolina, 9:55 ET
    Indiana: 6-0 ATS after 2 straight games with 9 or less offensive rebounds
    N Carolina: 2-9 ATS after 2 straight wins by 10 points or more

    Wisconsin at Notre Dame, 7:25 ET
    Wisconsin: 20-9 ATS in road games after having won 5 or 6 of their last 7
    Notre Dame: 0-6 ATS in road games after 2 or more consecutive wins

    Iowa State at Virginia, 7:10 ET
    Iowa St: 6-17 ATS on road after covering the spread in 4 or + consecutive games
    Virginia: 8-2 ATS after 3 straight games forcing opp to commit 14 or less turnovers

    Gonzaga at Syracuse, 9:40 ET
    Gonzaga: 2-11 ATS in road games after 2 straight wins by 15 points or more
    Syracuse: 8-1 ATS after allowing 55 points or less 2 straight games


    Essential betting stats and trends for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8
    By Marc Lawrence

    If you are a player, a coach, or a fan, there is nothing sweeter this time of the year than being alive in the NCAA Tournament. For those teams that survived the opening two rounds of the “Big Dance,” it’s on to the Sweet 16 and hopefully, the Elite 8 this weekend.

    So before placing your wagers for the next two rounds, Expert Marc Lawrence digs up all the essential betting notes and trends of the teams that have arrived.

    All stats are ATS (Against The Spread) unless noted otherwise.

    NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Round notes

    • No. 1 Seeds coming off back-to-back SU/ATS wins are 19-8 ATS. Kansas fits the bill this year.

    • No. 2 Seed favorites of 4-points or greater, are 2-6-1 ATS. So be cautious Villanova backers.

    • No. 3 Seed dogs of 4-points or greater, are 6-1 ATS. That is the situation for Miami.

    • No. 4 Seed dogs of 6-points or less, are 6-1 ATS. Both Duke and Iowa State are in that spot.

    • No. 5 Seeds off a double-digit SU win, are 0-4 ATS. Maryland hopes to break that trend.

    • No. 6 Seeds off a SU win as favorites, are 5-0 ATS. Notre Dame hopes that holds true.

    • No. 7 Seed dogs of 3-pts or less, are 1-3 ATS. Wisconsin is in that spot this year.

    • No. 10 or worse seed dogs of 4-points or greater, are 6-1 ATS. Syracuse is looking at that situation.

    • Favorites off a SU win of 20 or more points are 0-4 ATS. Gonzaga is coming off a 23-point win over Utah.

    Best Team ATS records in the Sweet 16:

    Wisconsin 3-0, Oregon, Virginia 2-0, Oklahoma 4-1, Duke 3-1.

    Worst Team ATS records in the Sweet 16:

    Miami-Fl 0-2, Syracuse 1-6, Gonzaga and Indiana 1-3, Kansas 4-10.

    Best Conference ATS records in the Sweet 16:

    SEC: 7-1-1, Big East: 5-1 as dogs

    Worst Conference ATS records in this round:

    Big 12: 0-6
    MVC: 0-4
    West Coast: 1-3
    Pac-12: 2-6

    NCAA Tournament ‘ELITE 8’ Round notes

    • No. 1 Seed favorites of greater than 7-points are 1-9 ATS.

    • No. 2 Seeds are 3-10-1 ATS coming off a double-digit ATS win.

    • No. 3 Seeds are 2-9 ATS.

    • No. 4 Seeds are 11-3 ATS.

    • No. 5 Seeds are 7-0 ATS.

    • No. 6 Seeds are 2-5 ATS.

    • No. 7 Seeds are 3-1-1 ATS.

    • No. 8 Seeds are 5-1 ATS.

    • Teams that score 67 points or less:
    17-49 SU and 17-46-3 ATS.

    • Teams that score 85 points or more:
    29-7 SU and 26-8-2 ATS.

    • Teams coming off three or more ATS wins are 7-1-1 ATS.

    • Teams in Revenge spots are 16-6-1 ATS.

    • Dogs coming off three straight double-digit wins are 2-7-1 ATS.

    Best Conference ATS records in this round:

    Big East: 6-1 as dogs of 4-points or less, Big 10: 5-1 as dogs, SEC: 5-1 as favorites of 7 or more points, Pac 12: 4-1 as dogs.

    Worst Conference ATS records in this round:

    Big 12:
    0-11, ACC: 0-4 as favorites of greater than 7-points,

    Pac 12:
    1-5 as favorites of greater than 2-points

    Big East:
    1-4 as favorites of less than 4-points

    2-5 as favs less than 7-points.

    Coach me if you can

    • Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is 20-5 SU from the Elite 8 Round out since 1991, including 15-2 ATS when not favored by 7 or more points.



    4% UVA-5


    Sweet 16 Stats & Angles
    By ASA

    No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 1 Virginia (CBS, 7:10 p.m. ET)

    — Iowa State is the top team remaining in offensive efficiency ranking 2nd nationally

    — Iowa State is DEAD LAST (351st) in the country at getting to the stripe with only 13.8% of their points coming from the FT line

    — However, the Cyclones are 2nd nationally on the flip side of that as only 14% of their opponents points come from the FT line

    — Iowa State is the worst offensive rebounding team remaining – 269th nationally. The rebound just 26% of their own misses

    — Virginia is top team remaining in defensive efficiency ranking 4th nationally

    — Virginia scores only 25% of their points from beyond the arc which is the lowest percentage remaining

    No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Notre Dame (TBS, 7:37 p.m. ET)

    — Notre Dame & Wisconsin are two of the worst teams nationally at defending the 3 ranking 302nd and 313th respectively

    — The Badgers have won 11 of their last 13 NCAA tournament games

    — The Irish were 7-7 this season vs teams that made the NCAA tournament – that includes their 2-0 mark so far

    — Wisconsin was 11-6 this season vs teams that made the Big Dance – that also includes their 2-0 mark thus far

    — These two teams play among the slowest tempos in college hoops – Notre Dame’s adjusted tempo is 321st and Wisconsin’s is 345th

    No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 1 North Carolina (TBS, 9:57 p.m. ET)

    — Indiana uses their bench more than any other team remaining – 51st nationally in bench minutes

    — Indiana turns the ball over more than any team remaining at nearly 20% – 273rd nationally

    — UNC is the top offensive rebounding team left in the tourney – 4th nationally. The Heels rebound 40% of their own misses

    — The Hoosiers are the best shooting team in the nation with an eFG% of 59% – they are in the top 5 nationally in both 3 point FG% and 2 point FG%

    — UNC coach Roy Williams has an NCAA tourney record of 67-23 (74%) which ranks him 4th all time (winning % wise)

    No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Syracuse (CBS, 9:40 p.m. ET)

    — Syracuse uses their bench less than any other team remaining – 350th nationally in bench minutes

    — Gonzaga comes into the Sweet 16 as the lowest remaining seed (11 seed). Since 1979, just three 11 seeds
    have gone onto make the Final 4

    — The Zags are 8th nationally at defending the 3 allowing just 30% from beyond the arc

    — Syracuse is the first 10 seed to reach the Sweet 16 since Steph Curry’s Davidson team back in 2008. Since expanding to 64 teams in 1985, no 10 seed has ever made the Final 4

    — The Orange are the only team remaining that plays almost exclusively zone defense


    NEWSLETTER College Basketball Prediction From Jason Sharpe

    Take ‘Under’ 142 Iowa State vs. Virginia (7 p.m., Friday, March 25)
    No team in CBB knows how to create a slow tempo type game better than Virginia. They come in the slowest-paced team in all of CBB, ranking 351st overall out of 351 teams. The Cavaliers haven’t played a single 70+ possession game this entire season, and you’d have to go all the way back to 2012 for the last time that Virginia did so during regulation time. They took a very fast-paced Hampton team and made them play their fewest-possession game of their season in the tourney opener. This is a well-coached team that knows it can’t get into a track meet with Iowa State if they want to win this. Look for this game to be played in the mid 130s here. Play the under.


    NEWSLETTER College Basketball Prediction From Doc’s Sports

    Take #874 Virginia (-5) over Iowa State (7 p.m., Friday, March 25)
    The Cyclones had a lackluster year and advanced to the Sweet 16 by virtue of good fortune of not having to play Purdue in the Round of 32. I am not a believer in this team at all and expect the Cavilers to suffocate them for 40 minutes. Virginia got the gift of a lifetime with Middle Tennessee knocking off Michigan State, their nemesis the last two years. It is now or never for Virginia to make the Final Four and validate Tony Bennett as a big-time coach. I expect them to take care of business and win this game comfortably. Iowa State is just not as good as they have been in the past couple of years, and that will become evident on Friday night.



    Tourney ‘GOY’
    Virginia -5



    5* Notre Dame -1

    3* virginia – OVER 142.5

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