Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA 3/7

6-1 yesterday. Finished 56-47-1 for the week. Pretty small slate today, but today begins the greatest two week stretch of the basketball season and the only two weeks of the year I consistently express child-like excitement. It’s a great slate of CBB games tonight if you’re not a blue blood whore.

CBB

Hartford (+11.5) over STONY BROOK – First Half – 2 Units
Hartford (+18.5) over STONY BROOK

If you look at power ratings (I use KenPom and TeamRankings), Hartford has actually ranked 55 spots higher than Stony over each of their last five games. Stony lost two of their last three to close out the regular season. They have the benefit of playing the America East tournament at home, but they were also pretty unimpressive beating UMBC in their opening game last week, who went 3-13 in league play. It was an even game most of the way until the Seawolves pulled it out late.

Hartford’s a better first half team than they are second and they’ve got to be feeling good after beating Albany on the road in round one four days after they had lost at Albany by 16. They’ve had a couple recent injuries to guys who played big minutes that actually appear to have helped them out. It’s not all that surprising given how inefficient those two guys were offensively. Stony beat them twice soundly earlier this year, but as I mentioned, these are two different teams right now.

North Dakota State (+2.5) over IPFW

The public is heavy on the Mastodons, but IPFW is one of those teams that shoots a ton of threes that you’re better off fading when it comes to single-elimination tournaments. They make a high percentage (40.8), but I think NDSU is the team to knock them off because of how well they defend the perimeter. They led the league in defending the three and are 39th in the country. It’s a neutral site game, but it’s up in South Dakota, which is obviously closer for Bison fans and they’ve got pretty good fan support. They’ve also won the Summit tournament the past two seasons. They had a disappointing regular season, but none of the top seeds want to play this team. They split the series with IPFW this year, cruising at home and taking them down to the wire in Fort Wayne.

Pepperdine (+4) over Saint Mary’s – First Half

Saint Mary’s is a young team that has a ton of pressure on them right now to play well. They’ve had a great season, but they’re not locked in to the tournament. I think that showed up in their last regular season against Grand Canyon at home and on Saturday against LMU. Now they have to play a Pepperdine team that’s beat them twice this year. I’m seeing another slow start for the Gaels tonight.

East Tennessee State (+5) over Chattanooga – 3 Units

I’ll miss the Southern Conference. It’s been a real moneymaker down the stretch between riding Western Carolina and ETSU and fading Mercer. Tonight’s the last opportunity and I like the Bucs here. I’m tempted to take the money line at +190. The Mocs just feel like a team that was expected to run the league this year, but are trying to hold on for dear life down the stretch. ETSU had a disappointing year last year, hired Steve Forbes (who was on Bruce Pearl’s staff at Tennessee and Gregg Marshall’s the past couple years at Wichita State) and have gotten progressively better all year. They’ve won 10 of their last 11. Of course that loss was to Chattanooga. But I think they’ve just been a much better team than the Mocs lately and don’t see much reason for them to be a five-point dog on a neutral court.

NBA

HORNETS (-5) over Timberwolves – First Half

Guess who has the highest power rating in the NBA over their last ten games. Warriors? Spurs? Thunder? Cavs? Raptors? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. It’s the Charlotte Hornets. They also have the third largest home advantage. They’re also a good first half team and Minnesota is not. The Wolves started off the year by covering a bunch of games on the road, but that’s dwindled lately.

Bucks (+7) over BULLS

I don’t care who it is, the Bulls should not be giving seven to anybody right now. Sure, they just beat Houston by 8, but the Rockets are a top-five team in total dysfunction. They’re also 10-20 ATS after a win. They’re 9-15 ATS as a home favorite. And they’re 13-24 ATS against the East. The Bucks are on a back-to-back, but they’re actually 10-5 ATS this year on the second game. And they’re 21-14-1 ATS after all losses this season.


CBB YTD: 282-255-15 (52.5%)

NBA YTD: 93-81-1 (53.4%)

Total YTD: 375-336-16 (52.7%)

Above .500 days: 33

.500 days: 20

Below .500 days: 23

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