NCAA Tournament notes

Cats try to continue dog run in Round of 16

 

Show of hands now for everyone who had Western Kentucky, Villanova and Davidson advancing to the Round of 16. Scanning the room and seeing none, we’ll move on.

 

The hex on No. 5 seeds came back after a one-year absence, as red-hot Clemson was cooled off by Villanova, and the Hilltoppers toppled Sweet Sixteen candidate Drake on Friday.

 

And the Davidson Wildcats, led by Stephen Curry who scored 55 points in the second halves of two upset wins over Gonzaga and Georgetown, joined the ‘Nova Wildcats in playing a second weekend.

 

Suffice to say, there will be no perfect brackets in 2008.

 

But there are perfect money-making opportunities for college basketball bettors and a perfect way to handicap the games – by using what we learned in the last four days.

 

Wisconsin means business

 

The Badgers covered both games last week and are now on a 9-1 ATS run, according to the handicapping database at BetJamaica.com. They also proved they can isolate and defeat a stud player in handling Michael Beasley of Kansas State.

 

That bodes pretty well for their match with aforementioned Davidson, which relies heavily on the son of former NBAer Dell Curry. If Wisconsin can forge a game plan that beats the nation’s top player, a brawny 6-foot-11 stud, they can surely come up with something to combat a scrawny 6-foot-3 shooting guard.

 

They opened as 4.5-point favorites at BetJamaica.com and we predict that might move higher before Thursday.

 

Memphis is an upset candidate

 

If nothing else, they proved again that they can’t shoot free throws, which is an invitation to a backdoor cover by some overmatched team. Worse yet for Tiger backers, it’s an invitation to losing outright when they can’t close out close games from the charity stripe.

 

Memphis failed to cover both games last week and have now covered just five times in 17 games. And they face talented but erratic Michigan State, a troublemaker of a team that is laying only five points in opening odds.

 

Can the Spartans pull off the upset here? They sure can. Will the Tigers get some snarl back to scare off the underdog barking? They sure could.

 

Louisville is Final Four-bound

 

Rick Pitino’s boys absolutely destroyed a decent Oklahoma team Sunday and are riding an 11-2 ATS run of their own. Expect them to open as small favorites against Tennessee, who escaped the second round with an OT win over Butler (and were lucky to cover the 4.5-point spread).

 

The Volunteers were hardly impressive in beating American and have lost four straight to the Cardinals. We would be surprised to see Tennessee win this game.

 

Round 1-2 Recap

 

Saturday was a tough day for busted brackets and eating chalk. The underdogs were 9-6 ATS, including six SU wins as a pair of No. 13s, a pair of No. 12s and a No. 10 all won outright as underdogs.

 

Sunday normalized a bit for the favorites, but mainly because two No. 12s (Western Kentucky and Villanova) both covered against the spread. Sunday also saw three outright wins by the dogs that sent Sweet Sixteen locks Georgetown, Duke and Pittsburgh home early.

 

Not surprisingly, the two No. 12 seeds were made the biggest underdogs for Round of 16 games (Western Kentucky +13.5 vs. UCLA and Villanova +11.5 vs. Kansas). Get all the latest odds, along with full March Madness matchup reports, sortable handicapping stats and the latest betting trends at BetJamaica.com.

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