Month: February 2016

Picks of the Day: CBB 2/18

Staying away from the first couple days of the NBA coming back from All-Star Break.

8-11 yesterday.

2H plays:

UMass -2.5 W
Auburn-Arkansas U80.5 L
Texas Tech +5 WVT-Miami U75 W
FSU -7 L
Drake +5 W
LSU -4 L
UNC -4.5 L
Zona -4 W
CSU-USU U80.5 W

– Remember that stat about Auburn topping out at 29% in their three games without Canty? They shot 61% from the field and 65% from three ON THE ROAD against Arkansas. Arkansas doesn’t defend the three well, but holy shit.

– I’m quitting you, Bonnies.

I do worry a little bit about the Bonnies having a big game against Dayton on Saturday, but I’m honestly not sure it matters.

Sweet analysis, dipshit.

– Shoulda put more on Illinois St. That game was a rout from the jump. Next Saturday: the Redbirds travel to Wichita. Mark it on your calendars.

– Mentioned it on Twitter, but I like Miami at +5000 to win it all. So far I’ve put a little something on them, Oregon at +8000, and Zona at +3500. You can’t come close to getting that number for the Ducks, but Zona and Miami are still in the area.

– Wooden Award. I’m on board with Buddy at +200, but things are getting a little more interesting here down the stretch. I’m not even sure who even has it listed now, but Denzel Valentine would be a nice hedge if you can get it. He’s on a tear right now and it’s about March/Izzo time so the Spartans are likely to go on a run towards the end of the season. They’ll be favored in their final five games and I think they’re the favorite to win the Big Ten tourney. I gotta say, Grayson Allen is making a push as well.

MARSHALL-Charlotte over 179

It’s an absurdly high total, but both of these teams hit overs on a regular basis. Marshall is fourth in tempo and Charlotte is 75th. Marshall is fifth in scoring and Charlotte is 67th. They’ve both hit triple digits multiple times this year. Charlotte’s done it in their past two games. Both of them also have well below-average defenses. They combined for 198 in their first meeting.

DELAWARE-Charleston under 130

Charleston has hit the over in two games during their 14 CAA games. They haven’t had a total over 130 since Jan. 2. That lines up with the time that they lost Canyon Barry to injury. He was practically their offense. They rank 281st in offensive efficiency and are 340th in tempo. But they’re 16-9 because they have the 14th most efficient defense. They’re a grinding team. Delaware’s a bad team that essentially just mimics the team they’re playing.

IPFW (+4) over South Dakota St. – 3 Units

Both of these teams are tied atop the Summit League standings. IPFW is 17-5 ATS all year. They’ve lost one time at home all year and it was in a let down spot after they got a huge win over North Dakota St. They beat SDSU at home last year by 10 as a 3-point dog. The Mastodons are a big three-point shooting team and they hit a ton of them at home. Of the 11 games they’ve played at home, in nine of them they’ve shot 40% or better from three. Of the six games the Jackrabbits have lost this year, all six of them have been on the road. Five of them were to teams at least 50 spots lower than them on the KenPom rankings. They beat IPFW by 16 at home, but that was the Mastodons first game without Mo Evans, who was giving them 17 ppg.

Western Carolina (+5) over MERCER First Half – 2 Units
Western Carolina (+8) over MERCER Full Game

I’ve been fading Mercer since the death of Jibri Bryan and the suspension of Ringer and Lewis and I’ll continue to do so until they prove otherwise. Western Carolina has won three of four, including a victory over Chattanooga. They were up 8 in the second half at ETSU in their last game before losing the lead late. They beat the Bears at home earlier and Lewis’s 27 points were a big reason Mercer was in it.

GONZAGA (-10) over Pacific First Half – 2 units

Pacific’s played at Gonzaga three times recently and got dumped on each time. I like the Zags at home coming off a loss. They’ve run through a lot of WCC competition this year. I like the first half line because the Zags have let their foot off the gas pedal a couple of times in the second half.

BYU (-12.5) over SAN DIEGO

It’s kind of a weird setup, but these two are playing a little home-and-home series tonight and Saturday, so there’s no look ahead for BYU. The Cougars are still in contention for the league title. SD is 3-11 in the league and their next three games include the two against BYU and one against Gonzaga. Their season is practically over. Their three wins are over the bottom half of the league. The WCC has three good teams – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, and BYU – and the Toreros three games against those other top teams have resulted in losses of 33, 36, and 17 points. BYU has great guard play and the Toreros do not. They don’t defend the three well and that’s a problem against Chase Fischer and Nick Emery.


CBB YTD: 199-190-10 (51.2%)

NBA YTD: 72-59-1 (55.0%)

Total YTD: 271-249-10 (52.1%)

Above .500 days: 28

.500 days: 16

Below .500 days: 18

Big Ten Bracketology Update: Week 8

Once again, I’m abandoning the rankings this week. I’m not sure anyone can confidently rank the top seven teams in the league and have the results support their rankings. Everyone is beating each other.

I was fairly set on Iowa being the number one team. Then, they lose at Indiana, which wasn’t all that surprising, but they followed it up by barely beating Minnesota at home.

I had Michigan State right below them. I actually think the Spartans will end up being the better team when it matters most, but they’ve also lost five games in the conference and sometimes wonder if their defense will bite them in March. If I just watched this team having no idea who coached them would I feel the same way? I think we all just assume Tom Izzo will figure it all out and Michigan State will be in the Final Four like they’ve done seven times in his tenure. You’re right, they probably will.

Wisconsin is suddenly Wisconsin again. Remember in mid-December when I declared them dead and even made an Oregon Trail tombstone meme about their run of top-4 finishes being over? Yeah, me neither. Although, they do currently sit in fifth place with road games at Michigan State, Iowa, and Purdue comprising half of their remaining schedule. I’m certainly not betting against them in any game from here on out, though. That program is incredible.

Indiana played three halves pretty well this week. I think any Hoosier fan would’ve signed up for a split this past week and they got it. They still control their own destiny in the Big Ten title race. You don’t get a true champion in this league anymore, but if IU does end up pulling it out, they’ll have earned it.

Maryland probably had the worst week of any of the top teams. They played Bowie State for some reason early in the week and apparently that didn’t properly prepare them to host Wisconsin. They held a 14-7 lead six and a half minutes into the game and watched that turn in to 14-point deficit at the half, which was about all she wrote. Kind of makes me wonder if having that Bowie game made a veteran team lose a little bit of focus when they’d previously been unbeatable at home.

Purdue started off the week with a huge victory over Michigan State at home. The Boilers got up by 18 early in the second half, only to watch that lead completely evaporate and have to shut the Spartans out for the final two minutes of regulation to rally from four points down and force overtime. It wasn’t only big to beat MSU – something they hadn’t done in their seven previous tries – but it would’ve been a devastating loss considering they had blown a similar lead at home to Iowa. What looked to be a monumental victory turned in to a flat-faced loss over the weekend. Purdue had no business losing to Michigan. They led basically the entire way, but never extended leads due to blown lay-ups and careless turnovers and just like that the Wolverines snatched the win down the stretch.

Speaking of those Wolverines, that was a huge win for them in regards to their tournament standing. The work is hardly finished for Michigan, but getting a quality win kept them likely in for the moment. Caris LeVert came back. I’m not sure that’s a positive thing at the moment because he was a defensive liability against Purdue. Obviously, his foot still needs some time and it’s not clear how he’ll handle his return when he stands to make millions of dollars in the draft this June.


Stars of the Past Week:

Vitto Brown, Wisconsin – averaged 19.5 points and 6 rebounds in wins over Maryland and Nebraska

Denzel Valentine, Michigan State – averaged 28.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 11.5 assists, and 2 steals in two games this week

Rapheal Davis and A.J. Hammons, Purdue – seniors combined for 43 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocks in win over Michigan State

Zak Irvin, Michigan  – 22 points and 5 rebounds in win over Purdue

Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa – averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks in two games this week

Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State – averaged a combined 33.5 points and 24 rebounds in wins over Northwestern and Rutgers

Team Basketball, Indiana – wanted to find a spot for a Hoosier on here, but their balance as a team was the star this week. They had six guys score at least 8 points in each game this week.

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Michigan at Ohio State – Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST, ESPN

Nebraska at Indiana – Wednesday, 8:30 pm EST, BTN

Wisconsin at Michigan State – Thursday, 9:00 pm EST, ESPN

Purdue at Indiana – Saturday, 8:30 pm EST, ESPN

Michigan at Maryland – Sunday, 1:00 pm EST, CBS


 

Because I’ve got no formal rankings this week, let’s check in on where each team is settled in the BracketMatrix.com seedings.

Solidly In (if the tournament started today)

Iowa – 2 seed (1.79 average; 92/92 brackets)

The Hawkeyes have been lingering right on the 3-6 part of the seed line for some time now. Right now Bracket Matrix has them in the fifth spot, or the top 2 seed. The Hawkeyes only have two more chances for quality wins at the moment, but Michigan may move into that category and there’s obviously still the conference tournament. It’s important that they don’t stub their toe at Penn State this week if they want to be a top seed.

This week: at Penn State

Maryland – 2 seed (2.48; 92/92)

The Terps somehow moved up a seed line with their only D-1 game of the week being a double-digit loss at home to a team that was previously outside of the RPI top-50, but whatever. Their standing in the RPI moved up as well. I guess it’s likely due to the fact that Wisconsin is now in the top-50 – who Maryland previously beat and is now a quality win – as a result of beating the…Terps. It was like Maryland almost won in the long run by losing a game. Maybe Mark Turgeon is on to something.

Also helping Maryland is the fact that UConn and Princeton have moved in to the top-50. Princeton is in the top-50 despite not beating a team in the top-100, but that’s just RPI math for you. The Terps need both teams to keep winning for seeding purposes.

This week: at Minnesota and home for Michigan

Michigan State – 3 seed (3.00; 92/92)

The Spartans have the most quality wins in the league with six, but that Nebraska loss is still hurting them.

Here’s my prediction: the Spartans win their last five games, finish as a top-4 seed in the conference tourney, win the tourney, ride into Selection Sunday on a nine-game win streak, and get a 1 seed.

Did you know just one of Izzo’s teams have been a 1 seed since 2001 and he’s made four Final Fours in that stretch? The year they were a 1 seed wasn’t a Final Four year. After making it as a 1 seed three straight times from 1999-2001, he’s made it as a 2 seed once, a 5 seed twice, and a 7 seed once.

What does that have to do with this year? Absolutely nothing. Izzo stats just amaze me.

This week: Wisconsin at home

Purdue – 5 seed (4.79; 92/92)

I guess Purdue was trying to use that Turgeon strategy of allowing Michigan to beat them in order to boost Michigan’s RPI and give the Boilers another quality win (Purdue beat the Wolverines by 17 on Jan. 7). Obviously that’s not the case, but it just might work. The entire top half of the league is hoping Michigan jumps into the top-50.

It may not seem like that much of a difference if Michigan is #51 (where the Wolverines currently are) or #50, but 50 is that magical cut-off point for quality wins. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it, the difference that one spot makes when it comes to the aesthetics of their opponents’ resumes.

Anyway, back to Purdue. They’ve got three chances at quality wins before the postseason. They’ll travel to play IU and host Maryland and Wisconsin. Their matchup with the Hoosiers is the best rivalry in the Midwest when it comes to college basketball and fortunately for Purdue, Indiana really has a tough time guarding the Boilers post players. Unfortunately for them, the game is being played at 8:30 on a Saturday night in Bloomington. My guess: you’ll be able to smell the booze breath coming out of Assembly Hall in Indianapolis and IU rides the raucous atmosphere and some hot shooting to a victory.

This week: home for Northwestern and at Indiana

Indiana – 7 seed (6.79; 92/92)

While the Hoosiers’ strength of schedule is still its weakest area, it’s improved and only getting better. That might not weigh them down as much as it is right now when the brackets come out, but bad losses to Penn State, Wake Forest, and UNLV can’t really be undone.

It’s tough seeing any of those teams busting out of the triple-digit RPI rankings they currently hold. Wake has lost ten straight games and seems to be getting less competitive as the season goes on. It looked like UNLV was about to turn a corner after Dave Rice was fired, but then they lost four of five. They don’t have a lot of opportunities for big wins in a down year for the Mountain West. Penn State is Penn State.

That’s not to say IU can’t move up in the seeding, however. They’ve still got two great opportunities to beat Purdue and Maryland at home and have proven they can beat Iowa, although they’ll have to do it on the road this next time around. It’ll be interesting to see how the committee handles those three bad losses from the Hoosiers, considering two of them happened before Thanksgiving.

This week: home for Nebraska and Purdue

Likely In (if the tournament started today)

Michigan – 9 seed (9.09; 87/92)

Once again, the Purdue victory was a big one. Michigan needs to avoid bad losses right now as much as they need wins, which essentially means they can’t lose to Northwestern at home next week. Winning at Ohio State Tuesday night would keep that “no losses outside of the RPI top-50” stat in tact as well.

This week: at Ohio State and Maryland

Wisconsin – 10 seed (9.62; 76/92)

The Badgers are officially back. That’s seven wins in a row – three of them “quality” – for those of you counting at home. I’m not so sure the work is done yet, though. If they just win the games they’re supposed to they’ll still be 19-12 on the year and 11-7 in the Big Ten. Like Indiana, they can’t erase those bad losses earlier in the year and if Wisconsin wants to leave no doubt of making the field, they could really use a win against Michigan State, Iowa, or Purdue on the road. If not, there’s going to be a lot of stressed out Badger fans walking around Indianapolis on conference tourney weekend.

This week: Michigan State at home and Illinois on the road

Still Lingering

Ohio State

The Buckeyes aren’t really part of the tournament discussion right now, but they’re not entirely absent from it either. They have home games with Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State left. They win two of those and they’ll have a chance to make waves in the Big Ten tourney.

This week: home for Michigan and at Nebraska

Northwestern

The chances here are very, very slim, but Northwestern has always kind of been a thorn in Purdue’s side and they’re playing them Tuesday night. They steal one in Mackey and who knows what can happen?

This week: at Purdue

Nebraska

Around this time two years ago, the Huskers were 80th in the KenPom rankings and had a 12-10 record before winning eight of their last nine. They didn’t even have to win a game in the conference tourney and they still got in the Dance. Well they’ve won two out of three, they’ve got five games left, they’re 90th in KenPom, and they’re 14-12. Kinda similar, no? Right now they’d probably only be favored in two of their remaining games, but all five of them are winnable. I guess once you win at Michigan State, there aren’t many games that aren’t winnable, really.

This week: at Indiana and home for Ohio State

3-9 (It gives me way more joy than it should that I’ve been able to use their matching conference records to name their group the past three weeks.)

Penn State

The Nittany Lions only had one game this past week at Nebraska. They played a good half and then go their doors blown off in the second half. There’s not a lot else to say about this team that I haven’t said already.

This week: home for Iowa and at Rutgers

Illinois

The Illini almost had themselves a nice road win against in-state foe Northwestern, but couldn’t quite finish it off. They won’t win many games that Malcolm Hill has 7 points and 5 turnovers.

This week: Rutgers at home and Wisconsin on the road

0-13, But All Seven Games They’ve Played Against The Top Half Of The League Have Been Single-Digit Losses

Minnesota

True story.

This week: home for Maryland

*Judge Judy Eye Roll GIF*

Rutgers

Corey Sanders is suspended for the next four games, including their first game with Minnesota.

My favorite storyline of the Scarlet Knights season is Eddie Jordan’s unexplainable defiance. He was upset with a reporter who questioned his team’s defense after they gave up 107 points to Purdue at home and recently said that he didn’t care what any Rutgers supporters thought. Hey Eddie, your team’s performance has been incredibly embarrassing, you have nothing to show for your stint as head coach there, and now your best player – a freshman point guard – has to be disciplined. Somehow you made a bad program worse. I think the fan base might have some reason to be displeased with your leadership, or lack thereof.

This week: at Illinois and home for Penn State

Picks of the Day: CBB 2/16

2-3 yesterday. New Mexico State really got their dicks kicked in. Lehigh was about to sneak in the back door and within like 20 seconds, they were about to blow the game. Not much fan support for a team that’s one game out of lead in the Patriot League.

TEXAS (ML -135) over West Virginia – 3 units

Lost too many games on small spreads recently by a point or half point, so I’m just taking the money line. Anyway, Texas won at West Virginia a month ago. Pretty easy game to analyze too. Texas only had 8 turnovers and only 3 of those were steals for West Virginia. Steals and forced turnovers are the gas that makes this Mountaineer team go and without them, they score 49 points at home. It wasn’t some mistake either. Texas leads the league in offensive turnover percentage and offensive steal percentage. Taylor and Felix are the main ball handlers for the Longhorns and they both are well below the national average for turnover percentage. Also, in that game WV went 8-23 from the free throw line. While that’s especially bad, they’re 298th in the country in free throw percentage. Last year, Texas won this game by 27 at home and last year’s Longhorn team gave up the ball all the time. Texas has covered six of the last seven and won five of those games.

ILLINOIS (-15) over Rutgers
ILLINOIS-Rutgers under 142

Corey Sanders is suspended for the Scarlet Knights. In case you were wondering if Rutgers could somehow be worse this year, we’re about to find out because that kid is the Rutgers offense. He was averaging over 18 PPG and close to 5 APG in his 36 MPG. He had the highest usage rate of anyone in the conference. When they played Illinois in a triple overtime loss at home he had 39 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals. If they score more than 60 points, I’ll be surprised. They haven’t reached 60 in the five games Sanders scored in single digits. I don’t see them doing it without him on the floor entirely.


CBB YTD: 187-177-9 (51.4%)

NBA YTD: 72-59-1 (55.0%)

Total YTD: 259-236-10 (52.3%)

Above .500 days: 27

.500 days: 16

Below .500 days: 17

Picks of the Day: CBB 2/15

After going 2-11 on Wednesday (Bonnies), followed it up with 11-7 on Thursday, 2-1 on Friday, 14-16 on Saturday, and 8-3 yesterday.

Ultimately ended up being a losing week at 42-48. One Marcus Posley (83.5 FT%) made free throw from a winning week, but that’s the way shit goes.

As for Saturday, I was absolutely ecstatic with a 14-16 record. Wasn’t even mad about two half point losses. I just expect to lose my ass every Saturday and nearly going .500 is cause for celebration. Not gonna lie, I started drinking around 3 p.m. after a 2-9 start.

LEHIGH (-12) over Holy Cross

Lehigh is playing their best basketball of the season right now. I’d worry about them coming off a big win over Bucknell on the road and playing another big one on Wednesday, but this is a veteran group that was in a similar situation last week. They were on the road against a bad Lafayette team two days before that matchup with the Bison and took care of business. In the first matchup between these two, Lehigh won by 21 on the back of 56% shooting. That’s a replicable formula for the Mountain Hawks. They can stroke it from outside and Holy Cross is one of the worst team’s in the country defending the three. They’re not much better defending the interior. Lehigh’s D has been one of the best in Patriot League play. They’re susceptible on the perimeter with their zone defense, but Holy Cross is knocking down just 29% of their threes in league play.

Manhattan (+14) over MONMOUTH – 2 Units

For whatever reason, the Jaspers are a thorn in the side of the Hawks. Manhattan has won all five of the recent meetings between the two teams. Steve Masiello may not actually have a college degree, but that dude can coach. If you look at his five years as a head coach, his teams always get better as the season goes on. The Jaspers have gotten their last two wins over Monmouth as underdogs. I’m not calling an outright win here, but I think it’ll be a close game. They’ve consistently shot the ball well against the Hawks and have limited their turnovers, even though they’re a high volume turnover program. Monmouth is coming off that dramatic road win at Rider on Friday night. It wouldn’t be their first letdown game of the year.

New Mexico State (+15.5) over WICHITA STATE – 2 Units

As someone who’s lost four bets on Wichita recently, let me tell you how much their offense has been struggling lately. It’s been dog shit. They haven’t even been turning the ball over. They just don’t have much of an interior presence. They settle for too many jump shots, especially off the dribble. Baker and Van Vleet have been brutal in their last two losses, going a combined 6-29 from deep. That’s bad news with a NMSU team that can really guard. The Aggies are likely to win the WAC, which isn’t what it used to be, but they’re a young team that’s built up a lot of confidence in conference play. Pascal Siakam is up there with Egidijus Mockevicius and Jameel Warney in the rankings of guys most college basketball fans have no idea about, but put up 20-10s on a regular basis.


CBB YTD: 185-174-9 (51.5%)

NBA YTD: 72-59-1 (55.0%)

Total YTD: 257-233-10 (52.4%)

Above .500 days: 27

.500 days: 16

Below .500 days: 16

Picks of the Day: CBB 2/13

WEST VIRGINIA-TCU over 141 – 2 Units

Kentucky (-1) over SOUTH CAROLINA 1st Half

WICHITA ST. (-8) over Northern Iowa 1st Half
WICHITA ST. (-14) over Northern Iowa Full Game

MOREHEAD ST. (-1.5) over Belmont

Kansas St. (+1) over OKLAHOMA ST.

LSU (-1) over Texas A&M

Purdue (-1.5) over MICHIGAN

BUTLER-Xavier over 151

UNC WILMINGTON (-6.5) over James Madison – 2 Units

NOTRE DAME (-1) over Louisville

RUTGERS (+12) over Ohio State

CHARLOTTE (-11.5) over North Texas

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (-12.5) over Drake

FURMAN (-2.5) over Mercer – 2 Units

DUKE (-1.5) over Virginia

LOUISIANA-MONROE (-5.5) over Arkansas St. 1st Half
LOUISIANA-MONROE (-10) over Arkansas St. Full Game

Wisconsin (+5) over MARYLAND 1st Half

IPFW (-7.5) over Denver

SAN DIEGO ST.-Air Force over 119

Gonzaga (+6) over SMU

SAINT MARY’S (-18) over Loyola Marymount

 

 

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA 2/11

Not even gonna get into what happened last night. Giving the picks today. Based on the way this week is going, the other side is probably the right play.

CBB

SYRACUSE (-3) over Florida State

FIU (-4) over UTEP

WILLIAM & MARY (-3.5) over Hofstra

ETSU (-7.5) over Samford

WOFFORD (-2) over Mercer – 3 Units

SIENA (-7) over Canisius

TOWSON (-3) over Northeastern

WESTERN CAROLINA (+9) over Chattanooga

LOUISIANA-MONROE (+3) over Arkansas Little Rock

VALPO (-11.5) over Northern Kentucky 1st Half
VALPO (-19.5) over Northern Kentucky

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO (+12.5) over Wright State

EVANSVILLE (-9) over Illinois State

NBA

Pelicans (+11.5) over THUNDER

BUCKS (Pick) over Wizards


CBB YTD: 151-148-9 (50.5%)

NBA YTD: 71-58-1 (55.0%)

Total YTD: 222-206-10 (51.9%)

Above .500 days: 25

.500 days: 14

Below .500 days: 16

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Picks

I’m writing this after a disastrous night in basketball for the second time in three days, so the enthusiasm I was anticipating writing this with I assume will be completely absent. Maybe I should just bet on golf from now on.

Last week’s picks:

Bubba Watson +110/+900

Hideki Matsuyama +225/+2000

J.B. Holmes +260/+2200

Webb Simpson +400/+5000

Si Woo Kim +600/+8000

Martin Laird +600/+5000

Graham DeLaet +600/+7500

Scott Piercy +700/+7500

William McGirt +1000/+15000

Bryce Molder +2500/+30000

We cashed out in four spots last week, to end up +3385 and +6.77 units for myself. Matsuyama’s late comeback and playoff win was obviously huge, but the biggest winner was actually Molder finishing in the top-10. A lot of those guys were in the mix on the weekend.

Did you know this guy was good at golf? If you don’t know, that’s the only country rap artist to ever exist – Colt Ford – and he’s a 2 handicap.

This week is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which makes things different than most weeks. There’s the element of celebrities playing with some of the pros, but more relevant to gambling is the fact that they play three different courses – Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula. There’s a 54-hole cut.

With that, it’s tougher to rely on players’ previous history on one course. Those who make the cut will only play Pebble Beach twice. There’s some big names playing this week – Spieth, Day, Snedeker, Johnson, Mickelson, Watson – so it’s pretty top heavy as far as gambling odds goes. Let’s get to it.

PICKS:

Dustin Johnson -115/+900

Brandt Snedeker +115/+1200

Phil Mickelson +150/+1800

J.B. Holmes +220/+2200

Kevin Na +300/+3500

Shane Lowry +350/+4500

Bryce Molder +750/+9000

William McGirt +800/+12500

Aaron Baddeley +1200/+15000

Greg Owen +1700/+22500

Alex Prugh +2300/+30000

Last week I played three lineups in Draft Kings and two of them paid out and one was six points from the money, so I thought I’d throw in a couple of the other guys I’m plugging into those lineups this week that aren’t the higher priced names.

Danny Lee $8,400

Jason Bohn $7,700

Daniel Summerhays $7,500

Andrew Loupe $7,400

Si Woo Kim $7,400

Jon Curran $7,300

Colt Knost $7,300

Kevin Streelman $7,300

Pat Perez $7,000

Ryan Ruffels $6,500

Alex Cejka $6,500

Jim Herman $6,400

DA Points $6,100

 

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA 2/10

4-3 yesterday. 5-10 on the week.

I thought it was gonna be a great day. It started off well. Tennessee was cruising, UCF was only down 1 at half, Wichita first half hit by a mile, the Mavs were winning the whole game.

But then UCF got blown out in the second half. The Mavs took the lead two minutes into the game and held it for 40 straight minutes. They were up 15 at one point. But then it turned into a back and forth game and they held a three-point lead until Rodney Hood hit a three with a second left and the Mavs lost in overtime. Second straight night that’s happened. Three games that could’ve gone either way and they all bounced the other. That’s the difference between a winning two days and being 5-10. Enough to break a man.

CBB

SETON HALL (-2) over Butler
SETON HALL-Butler under 145.5

The Pirates have been locked in lately, winning four straight and covering seven straight. Their defense has been great on the winning streak, giving up no more than 65 points in a game and no more than 0.96 points per possession. They’re 9-3 ATS at home. The Bulldogs are just 2-5 ATS (3-4 SU) on the road and their best win on the road in conference is DePaul.

Seton Hall has also hit four straight unders and have hit the under in eight of ten when they’re a home favorite. Butler has gone under in eight of their last nine. They haven’t scored above 68 in any of their road losses.

St. Bonaventure (-4.5) over FORDHAM – 5 Units

Neither defense is very good here, but the Bonnies have been better than the Rams in conference and Fordham’s offense can’t hold the Bonnies’ jock strap. The only thing Fordham’s D is good at is forcing turnovers, but the Bonnies don’t give it away often. Fordham will send the Bonnies to the line often and it’s gonna go poorly for them because they’re the third-best free throw shooting team in the country. The Rams will get some points at the other end inside, but they jack too many threes for a team that’s shooting 29% in conference. Their three wins in the A-10 this year are against the bottom three teams in the league. Their leading scorer and the conference leader in steals, Mandell Thomas, isn’t likely to play.

The Bonnies are 7-3 ATS in conference and 6-3-1 ATS as a favorite all year. Meanwhile, Fordham is 3-7 ATS in conference and 2-7 ATS as an underdog all year. The Bonnies have won eight of the last nine in this series and covered six of the last seven.

LSU (+4.5) over SOUTH CAROLINA

I’m not going to get too deep in the numbers, because I laid out my thoughts on South Carolina being overrated this past weekend. Yes, I lost the Texas A&M play, but SC hitting 12-21 threes ain’t happening again. Even with that number, they’re still only shooting 31% from deep. LSU’s a better team long-term. Since they got healthy and started SEC play, they’ve gone up 42 spots in KenPom’s rankings. SC’s gone down 34 since their first SEC game until that bullshit A&M game, who’s actually overrated as well.

NBA

CELTICS-Clippers under 210.5

These are two top-10 teams in offensive efficiency, but they’re also both in the top-10 defensively. The Clippers are playing particularly well on defense lately. They’ve only given up triple digits once in their past nine games. 15 of their 23 games against the Eastern Conference have gone under. The Celtics are nearly .500 in the totals department, but on back-to-backs they’ve hit the under on 9 of their first 12 this year. 17 of the last 25 in this matchup have gone under.

Hawks (-4) over BULLS

The Hawks are the better team even if Jimmy Butler wasn’t out. They did just lose back-to-back games to the Magic, but they got abused inside by Vucevic without Splitter in the lineup. Chicago doesn’t have that same type of player to take advantage of that weakness right now for Atlanta. I’m just gonna continue to fade the Bulls.

Raptors (-6) over TIMBERWOLVES

Toronto rather quietly is rated out as the fifth best team in the league. They’ve also won 14 of their last 15 games and covered 10 of those in the process. The Wolves are young and talented, but they’re still not a good team and they’ve played really poorly against top-five teams in the league. The Raptors have been good all year on the road (16-10 ATS), even as a favorite (8-6 ATS), and have been steady after a win (20-14 ATS). The opposite has been true for Minnesota. They’re just 13-22 ATS coming off a loss and 8-18-1 ATS at home, including 5-9-1 ATS as an underdog at home.

Warriors (-10) over SUNS 1st Half
Warriors (-16) over SUNS Full Game

Everything points in the Warriors favor to win this game. Everything.


CBB YTD: 151-140-9 (51.9%)

NBA YTD: 69-55-1 (55.6%)

Total YTD: 220-195-10 (53.0%)

Above .500 days: 25

.500 days: 14

Below .500 days: 15

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 7


Stars of the Past Week:

Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon, Maryland – combined for 40 points and 17 rebounds in win over Purdue

Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin – 21 points and 7 rebounds in win over Ohio State

Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, Iowa – combined for 41 points and 17 rebounds in win over Illinois

Brandon Taylor, Penn State – 24 points and 6 rebounds in win over Indiana

Denzel Valentine, Michigan State – 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in win over Michigan

Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern – combined for 43 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals in win over Minnesota

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Michigan State at Purdue – Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST, ESPN

Iowa at Indiana – Thursday, 9:00 pm EST, ESPN

Purdue at Michigan – Saturday, 2:00 pm EST, ESPN2

Wisconsin at Maryland – Saturday, 6:30 pm EST, ESPN

Indiana at Michigan State – Sunday, 1:00 pm EST, CBS


Tier 1: Tourney Locks (if Selection Sunday was today)

1. Iowa (Previous: 1; BracketMatrix: 1 seed; RPI: 8; KenPom: 2; Sagarin: 3)

An uneventful week for the Hawkeyes with their only games being a blowout over Penn State and a rather easy road win over Illinois. They did a nice job slowing down the two-headed monster of Hill and Nunn, only giving them 20 points on 22 shots.

Iowa has to travel to Indiana this week, but I wouldn’t expect them to be challenged all that much until they play the Hoosiers again at home at the end of the month.

This week: at Indiana and home for Minnesota

2. Michigan State (Previous: 3; BracketMatrix: 3 seed; RPI: 16; KenPom: 4; Sagarin: 2)

The Spartans went into their in-state rival’s building and hit 14 three-pointers en route to a 16-point win. And it wasn’t even that close. MSU was up 30 with three minutes to go before Michigan put lipstick on the proverbial pig.

Tom Izzo’s club has been impressive in four straight games. It seems as though Izzo has cut his rotation quite a bit. Only seven Spartans played double digit minutes. Compare that to earlier in the year when Izzo was playing nine, ten, or even a high number of eleven in their first match-up this year.

I wrote about the guard rotation a few weeks ago and it’s still a question moving forward given the uncertainty of exactly when Tum Tum Nairn will be returning. Izzo said on Monday that he wasn’t sure if Nairn would even be back in the next month. Even then, Nairn is only likely to play 8-10 minutes a game and won’t be able to practice.

At the moment, it appears Alvin Ellis and Javon Bess were the “victims” of the rotation cut, although Bess is probably closer to a 4 than a 2 given his skill set. Matt McQuaid keeps getting better, making 8 of his 13 three-point shots during the win streak.

If Nairn is unable to come back – even if he does, he won’t be his usual self – the Spartans have at least shown they can be a good team without him. He doesn’t do much in the way of scoring, but he is their second best passer and really gave them a different element with his ability to penetrate on offense, push the ball in transition, and was one of their better on-ball defenders. It’s not a crippling loss, but we’ll see how the Spartan D holds up against a point guard like Yogi Ferrell without Nairn.

This week: at Purdue and home for Indiana

3. Maryland (Previous: 2; BracketMatrix: 3 seed; RPI: 5; KenPom: 9; Sagarin: 10)

Terps have certainly proved their ability to close out close games, especially at home. I thought Robert Carter was the difference in the Purdue game. Sulaimon and Trimble were able to break the Boiler defense down at times with their dribble penetration and Carter was the beneficiary, knocking down four three-pointers on six attempts. His teammates combined to go 0-12 from distance. Free throws were also a huge factor. Maryland went 24-27 while Purdue only attempted five total.

Earlier in the week, the Terps earned a hard fought victory on the road over Nebraska.

This week: Bowie State (what?) and Wisconsin at home

4. Purdue (Previous: 4; BracketMatrix: 4 seed; RPI: 23; KenPom: 15; Sagarin: 11)

Purdue nearly pulled off the road win over Maryland, but their poor shooting was a killer, going 3-25 from outside. Maryland wasn’t much better (4-18), but the Terps got to the line a lot more. It’s not uncommon for the home team to have some calls go their way in Big Ten play (i.e., Indiana at Wisconsin recently). That was really the only noticeable difference statistically in the game. The two teams basically shot the same percentage, had an equal number of rebounds, and were within one in turnovers. It kind of allowed both teams to walk away feeling good about themselves.

But if Purdue is going to do anything in March, one thing is clear: their shooters have to be effective. They don’t have to carry the offense, but they have to be more of a factor than they were on Saturday. Purdue’s not alone in shooting poorly from outside against Maryland, but their poor shooting allowed the Terps to really give backside help on Purdue’s post players and it was difficult for them to get the ball inside down the stretch.

When Hammons, Swanigan, and Haas did get the ball in the paint they were 18-29 from the field, but the water got shut off late in the game because Turgeon and company didn’t feel threatened at all by Purdue’s perimeter shooting. That’s been a recipe for disaster for the Boilers all year.

This week: Michigan State at home and Michigan on the road

5. Indiana (Previous: 6; BracketMatrix: 7 seed; RPI: 56; KenPom: 24; Sagarin: 17)

The Hoosiers rode a 25-0 run into halftime to cruise on the road over Michigan. It was probably IU’s most impressive win given the quality of opponent, venue, and the style of which they carried out the victory. A team that’s so reliant on three-point shooting didn’t even shoot that well and still crushed a quality opponent on the road.

Then they lost to Penn State. WOOF. Michigan dropped out of the RPI top 50 on the same day that the Hoosiers lost to the Nittany Lions and just like that IU lost a quality win and gained a bad loss.

IU went back to their old ways in the PSU loss, shooting seven more threes than twos. It was Yogi Ferrell’s worst Big Ten game, going 3-12 from the field and giving away five turnovers. The Hoosiers ignored their freshman big man, Thomas Bryant, for a majority of the game. He was in foul trouble and only played 24 minutes, but he only attempted four shots. Like always, Bryant was efficient with his touches, scoring 10 points. That’s life as a post man in this offense. He has the highest field goal percentage from two-point range in the conference by a 10% margin and has gotten double digit attempts a whopping three times all year. Give him the ball.

This week: Iowa at home and Michigan State on the road

Tier 2: Bubble Teams

6. Wisconsin (Previous: 7; BracketMatrix: First 4 Out; RPI: 59; KenPom: 51; Sagarin: 46)

The Badgers pushed their four-game winning streak to five. It was a balanced scoring effort from Wisconsin, with four guys in double figures.

If the Badgers are now knocking on the door of the tournament, but if they’re going to beat that door down they’re going to have to pick up some quality wins down the stretch. The losses at home to Western Illinois in the first game of the year and Milwaukee a month later are killing their resume right now. In order to negate those wins in the committee’s eyes, they need as many top-50 wins as they can get. They have three at the moment, with the IU win possibly being a fourth, depending on how they finish. The good thing for Wisconsin is they’ll have plenty of opportunities and if they keep playing the way they have been, they’ll win a couple of them.

This week: Nebraska at home and Maryland on the road

7. Michigan (Previous: 5; BracketMatrix: 9 seed; RPI: 55; KenPom: 47; Sagarin: 35)

Oof. That’s the only word I can use to describe Michigan’s week. Not only did they lose at home twice this week, but they weren’t competitive in either of them. I think it’s safe to say now that this is a team that definitely needs its star player back.

Good news: Caris LeVert has been cleared to play. It’s not exactly clear when he’ll enter a game, but it’s positive news that he’s at least allowed to at this point. What state he’s in as a player is unclear still, however. Lower leg injuries are always a tricky thing for players and sometimes it takes a long time to get truly healthy.

The Wolverines are now dangerously flirting with being on the bubble. They really need to beat Purdue at home.

This week: at Minnesota and home for Purdue

Tier 3: Deep Bubble

8. Ohio State (Previous: 8; BracketMatrix: 1 Vote (10 seed); RPI: 85; KenPom: 79; Sagarin: 73)

The Buckeyes lost their only game of the week at Wisconsin. The biggest story of the game – at least from an OSU perspective – was JaQuan Lyle’s 27-point effort. He’s seemed to be in and out of Thad Matta’s dog house recently, but there’s no denying the freshman is a highly talented player.

It was another missed opportunity for a team that has struggled to find quality wins all year. They’re 1-7 against teams in the RPI top-100. That’s the biggest reason the Buckeyes are staring the NIT right in the face, which would mark only the second time in Matta’s tenure at OSU that his team missed the NCAA tournament when eligible. They’ve still got a few opportunities, but time is running out.

This week: Northwestern at home and Rutgers on the road

Tier 4: NIT/CBI Teams

9. Nebraska (Previous: 9; BracketMatrix: –; RPI: 163; KenPom: 93; Sagarin: 78)

The Huskers were nearly able to pull off their second big upset of the season over Maryland, but couldn’t quite close. It was kind of amazing they were even in the game when they shot 31% from the field. Shavon Shields had a forgettable night going 4-17 from the floor.

Nebraska finished the week by burying Rutgers at home.

This week: Wisconsin on the road and Penn State at home

10. Northwestern (Previous: 10; BracketMatrix: 😦; RPI: 104; KenPom: 87; Sagarin: 74)

Demps and McIntosh carried the Wildcats in their second blowout win over Minnesota this year. They did a nice job on the Gophers perimeter players at the other end, as well.

I’ve made mention before that I hope a guy like Malcolm Hill for Illinois doesn’t get left out of end-of-season awards due to his teams not winning many games. Same goes for McIntosh. He’s led Northwestern in points and assists, which is a category he also leads the conference in. McIntosh deserves some consideration at the end of the year.

This week: at Ohio State and home for Illinois

Tier 5: 3-8

11. Penn State (Previous: 12; BracketMatrix: –; RPI: 108; KenPom: 136; Sagarin: 115)

The Nittany Lions were the ones in the bottom of the conference to wreak havoc this week, upsetting Indiana at home. Not surprisingly, it was on the back of senior leader Brandon Taylor. Fellow senior Devin Foster chipped in with 13 (5-6 FG) of his own, a career high for him.

This week: Nebraska on the road

12. Illinois (Previous: 11; BracketMatrix: –; RPI: 119; KenPom: 132; Sagarin: 112)

The Illini had to utilize three overtimes to outlast Rutgers this week and then dropped one at home to the Hawkeyes.

For a team that doesn’t have any postseason aspirations, the most important thing for them is that their young players continue to get better.Jalen Coleman-Lands has been inconsistent shooting the ball this year, but he had a great week averaging 21.5 points in the two games, making 11 of 25 threes in the process. In addition, he leads the Big Ten in turnover rate in conference play. He’s committed two turnovers in the last ten games, which is a really impressive stat for a freshman guard in this league.

This week: Northwestern on the road

Tier 6: Winless, But Still Not The Worst Ever

13. Minnesota (Previous: 13; BracketMatrix: –; RPI: 228; KenPom: 198; Sagarin: 172)

After an encouraging week last week, the Gophers got blown out by Northwestern for the second time this year in their only game.

This week: Michigan at home, Iowa on the road

Tier 7: ALMOST WON A GAME THIS WEEK

14. Rutgers (Previous: 14; BracketMatrix: LOL; RPI: 248; KenPom: 283; Sagarin: 271)

Lost in three overtimes, though. Lost the next game by 24 points to Nebraska.

This week: Ohio State at home