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Thread: Friday's NCAAB Trends and Indexes - 4/5

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    Default Friday's NCAAB Trends and Indexes - 4/5

    Trends and Indexes

    Friday, April 5

    Good Luck on day # 95 of 2019!

    NOTE: As information becomes available, we will attempt to post the trends and indexes as soon as possible.Information is posted from what we believe are reliable sources.Any opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the posting member or BettorsChat.

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    Armadillo: Friday's six-pack

    Some more very early NFL over/under win totals:

    — Houston 8.5, over -$120

    — Indianapolis 9.5, under -$120

    — Jacksonville 8, under -$120

    — Kansas City 10.5, over -$120

    — Chargers 10, under -$115

    — LA Rams 10.5, over -$115


    **********

    Armadillo: Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…..

    13) Interesting article Thursday on bleacherreport.com about Aaron Rodgers and how his relationship with coach Mike McCarthy disintegrated over the years. If you’re a Packer fan, it has to be disturbing. As a football fan, not sure what word I’ll use to describe it.

    “Disappointing” I guess. Rodgers comes off as kind of a creep.

    McCarthy was the 49ers’ OC when San Francisco took QB Alex Smith instead of Rodgers in the ’05 draft. Rodgers never forgave McCarthy for saying that Smith was the better QB. Maybe that chip on his shoulder is what made Rodgers a great player. Will be curious to see how Green Bay does this year with a new coach and an aging QB who doesn’t resent him. Yet.

    12) Think my biggest takeaway from the article is how long this disconnect was allowed to go on. Former Packer players say that the team should’ve won multiple Super Bowls, but that chances were squandered, and there was lot of blame to go around. An interesting read.

    11) Two guys from the AAF have already signed with NFL teams:
    — Keith Reaser, a CB from Orlando, signed with Kansas City
    — Rashad Ross, a WR from Arizona, signed with Carolina.

    10) When an umpire tells a manager “I can do anything I want!!” that doesn’t look good for baseball, but thats what happened in Arlington Wednesday night, with Ron Kulpa tossing Astros’ manager AJ Hinch and also Houston’s hitting coach, in the 2nd inning.

    Houston starts season with a 2-5 road trip; they’ve scored 10 runs in their last six games.

    As for Kulpa, over last seven years, under is 112-73 when he’s been behind the plate, so he is a pitcher’s friend. Last year, he worked only eight games behind the plate.

    9) A’s 7, Red Sox 3— Oakland takes three of four from Boston; Ramon Laureano threw out another baserunner from CF; he threw three guys out in this series, all at 3rd or home.

    8) Blue Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo went 2-5 in four games for the 1993 Montreal Expos, his only playing experience in the major leagues. Hard as hell to make it to the majors, so hats off to him, but Montoyo played in 1,028 minor league games, 534 of them at the AAA level.

    Imagine how frustrating it must’ve been to be that close to the majors, yet only get the call one time? I’m guessing that experience will make him a pretty good big league skipper.

    7) In the last 18 months, Texas A&M has committed $99.3M to its football/basketball coaches when they hired Jimbo Fisher, Buzz Williams away from ACC schools.

    6) Top five cities in country, with regard to adults still living at home with their parents:
    — Riverside, CA 28.1%
    — Miami 27% (26.5% of whom are unemployed)
    — Los Angeles 26.9%
    — New York 24.7%
    — San Antonio 23.2%

    5) Indians 4, Blue Jays 1— Trevor Bauer threw 117 pitches in seven no-hit innings in his second start of the season. Last pitcher to throw 120+ pitches in an April start? Tyson Ross threw 127 in a start last April 30.

    4) From NFL Hall of Famer Gil Brandt:
    “Here’s a prediction: 4 quarterbacks will be drafted in the first 25 picks this year.”

    3) Thursday was Opening Day in the minor leagues; part of being in a fantasy baseball league is checking thru boxscores and gaining knowledge. Not relevant for fantasy owners: Tim Tebow is in AAA for the Mets and went 0-4 with two strikeouts Thursday.

    2) Maybe Lebron James should coach the Lakers next year.

    1) Since 2015, Homer Bailey is 9-27 with a 6.24 ERA; he is making $23M this season.

    Chris Davis is 0 for his last 37 with 21 strikeouts. He makes $23M also.

    What a country.

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    NCAAB
    Long Sheet

    Friday, April 5


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    S FLORIDA (22 - 14) at DEPAUL (19 - 16) - 4/5/2019, 7:00 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    S FLORIDA is 22-13 ATS (+7.7 Units) in all games this season.
    S FLORIDA is 22-13 ATS (+7.7 Units) in all lined games this season.
    S FLORIDA is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) in road games this season.
    S FLORIDA is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) in road lined games this season.
    S FLORIDA is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) after a non-conference game this season.
    S FLORIDA is 12-5 ATS (+6.5 Units) in non-conference games this season.
    S FLORIDA is 14-6 ATS (+7.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    S FLORIDA is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 77+ points/game this season.
    DEPAUL is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in a home game where the total is 145 to 149.5 over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    S FLORIDA is 2-0 against the spread versus DEPAUL over the last 3 seasons
    DEPAUL is 1-1 straight up against S FLORIDA over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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    727S Florida -728 Depaul
    S FLORIDA is 7-0 ATS (7 Units) in road games after successfully covering the spread in 2 or more consecutive games in the current season.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 10:58 AM.

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    NCAAB
    Dunkel

    Friday, April 5



    South Florida @ DePaul

    Game 735-736
    April 5, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    South Florida
    57.563
    DePaul
    64.970
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    DePaul
    by 7 1/2
    140
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    DePaul
    by 1
    145 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    DePaul
    (-1); Under
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 10:59 AM.

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    NCAAB
    Dunkel

    Saturday, April 6



    Auburn @ Virginia

    Game 803-804
    April 6, 2019 @ 6:09 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Auburn
    79.723
    Virginia
    78.204
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Auburn
    by 1 1/2
    138
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Virginia
    by 5 1/2
    130 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Auburn
    (+1 1/2); Over


    Texas Tech @ Michigan State

    Game 801-802
    April 6, 2019 @ 8:49 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Texas Tech
    79.887
    Michigan State
    77.985
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Texas Tech
    by 2
    124
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Michigan State
    by 3
    133
    Dunkel Pick:
    Texas Tech
    (+3); Under





    NCAAB
    Long Sheet

    Saturday, April 6


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    TEXAS TECH (30 - 6) vs. MICHIGAN ST (32 - 6) - 4/6/2019, 8:49 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    TEXAS TECH is 140-185 ATS (-63.5 Units) as an underdog since 1997.
    MICHIGAN ST is 27-11 ATS (+14.9 Units) in all games this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 27-11 ATS (+14.9 Units) in all lined games this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 24-9 ATS (+14.1 Units) as a favorite this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 21-8 ATS (+12.2 Units) after a non-conference game over the last 2 seasons.
    MICHIGAN ST is 23-7 ATS (+15.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 14-4 ATS (+9.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) versus good defensive teams - allowing <=64 points/game after 15+ games this season.
    MICHIGAN ST is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) versus good defensive teams - allowing <=64 points/game this season.
    TEXAS TECH is 12-5 ATS (+6.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games this season.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

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    AUBURN (30 - 9) vs. VIRGINIA (33 - 3) - 4/6/2019, 6:09 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    VIRGINIA is 25-11 ATS (+12.9 Units) in all games this season.
    VIRGINIA is 25-11 ATS (+12.9 Units) in all lined games this season.
    VIRGINIA is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) when the total is 130 to 139.5 this season.
    VIRGINIA is 23-11 ATS (+10.9 Units) as a favorite this season.
    VIRGINIA is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) in road games on Saturday games over the last 2 seasons.
    VIRGINIA is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) after a non-conference game this season.
    VIRGINIA is 18-8 ATS (+9.2 Units) in non-conference games over the last 2 seasons.
    VIRGINIA is 17-9 ATS (+7.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    VIRGINIA is 16-7 ATS (+8.3 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games over the last 2 seasons.
    VIRGINIA is 19-9 ATS (+9.1 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 77+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
    AUBURN is 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) in all tournament games this season.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    NCAAB
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Friday, April 5


    Last six years, favorites are 7-5 vs spread in national semis; last outright upset in Final 4 game was 2015, with two #1-seeds playing.

    Auburn won its last 12 games; their last setback was Feb 23. Tigers lost Okeke in Sweet 16 game, a big loss; they played two subs 30:00+ in their OT win over Kentucky in Elite 8. Tigers are 1-2 vs ACC teams, beating UNC by 17, losing by 6 to Duke, by 7 at NC State. Auburn forces turnovers 24.9% of time (#1); Virginia turns ball over 14.7% of time (#12) while playing slowest tempo in nation. Guy made 5-12 on arc last game, ending a 5-31 skid; Cavaliers are 16-0 outside ACC this year. Last seven #1 seeds to play non-#1-seed in this round went 2-5 vs spread. A #1-seed has played in national title game 10 of the last 12 years.

    This is first time a #2-seed plays a #3-seed in national semis since 2004; Georgia Tech upset Oklahoma State that day. Michigan State is 14-1 since a 3-game losing skid around Super Bowl time; Spartans are 2-0 vs SEC teams this year, beating Florida/LSU. MSU is experience team #138; their defensive eFG% is #4 in country. Izzo is only coach in Final Four who has been here before; he is 2-5 in national semi-final games, with last win in 2009. Texas Tech won 13 of its last 14 games, is 16-1 outside Big X, but vs NC schedule #307; Red Raiders are experience team #102 whose defensive eFG% is #2 in country.




    801Texas Tech -802 Michigan St
    MICHIGAN ST is 12-0 ATS (12 Units) vs. excellent teams (Win Pct: 80%+) in the current season.

    803Auburn -804 Virginia
    VIRGINIA is 8-0 ATS (8 Units) in road games after a game where they made 78% of their free throws or better in the current season.




    NCAAB

    Saturday, April 6


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Auburn Tigers
    Auburn is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    Auburn is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Auburn's last 5 games
    Virginia Cavaliers
    Virginia is 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games
    Virginia is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Virginia's last 6 games


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 11:00 AM.

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    Today's biggest bets and line moves: Public likes Auburn odds vs. Virginia
    Patrick Everson

    Auburn has been thumbs-up lately, as Bruce Pearl's squad is on a 12-0 tear (8-4 ATS) entering a Final Four clash with Virginia. The Tigers opened +5.5, went to +5 on public play but are now back at +5.5.

    With the NCAA Tournament down to the Final Four, March Madness wagering hit a bit of a lull this week. But there’s been enough money to move the needle slightly, and much more is expected as the weekend rolls around. Covers checks in on the action and odds movement for both of Saturday’s semifinals, with insights from Derek Wilkinson, manager of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.

    No. 5 Auburn Tigers vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers – Open: -5.5: Move: -5; Move: -5.5

    Virginia claimed the South Region and in fact is the only No. 1 seed remaining in the Big Dance. In Saturday’s regional final against No. 3 seed Purdue, the Cavaliers (33-3 SU, 25-11 ATS) needed a stunning buzzer-beater to reach overtime, then went on to an 80-75 win and cover as 4-point favorites.

    Auburn is the lowest seed left and brings a 12-game winning streak (8-4 ATS) into this 6:09 p.m. ET tipoff. The Tigers (30-9 SU, 21-16-1 ATS) went off as 4.5-point underdogs to No. 2 seed Kentucky and won the Midwest Region final 77-71 Sunday.

    “We need Virginia. A lot of people are betting Auburn, and I think that’s mostly public money,” Wilkinson said of wagering that’s created modest liability on the Tigers. “We dropped to 5 for a day, now we’re back at 5.5. The public likes the Tigers because they’re a hot team right now. But we think Virginia is gonna show up for this one.”


    No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. No. 2 Michigan State Spartans – Open: -2.5; Move: -3; Move: -2.5

    Michigan State is on a nine-game run (7-2 ATS) and sports the No. 2 spread-covering mark in the nation, at 27-11 ATS. The Spartans (32-6 SU) squeezed out a 68-67 victory over No. 1 seed Duke as 2.5-point underdogs in Sunday’s East Region final.

    Texas Tech has won and cashed in all four of its NCAA Tourney tilts, part of a 13-1 SU and 12-2 ATS spree. In Saturday’s West Region final, the Red Raiders (30-6 SU, 19-16-1 ATS) bounced No. 1 seed Gonzaga 75-69 as 5-point pups.

    “It’s fairly even, but there’s a little more money on Michigan State,” Wilkinson said. “We don’t have a big decision on it yet, similar to the other game. We need Texas Tech, and it’s a high-four-figure decision right now.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 11:01 AM.

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    AUBURN TIGERS VS VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (+5.5, 131)

    THREE REASONS WHY VIRGINIA COVERS

    NO. 1 DEFENSE WINS


    Defense wins championships: It's an old cliche/mantra but it has more than a kernel of truth. Of the last 11 national champions, none have been ranked lower than 18th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com, while four have been ranked in the Top 5 in that category. Virginia is ranked fifth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, while Auburn is just 38th.

    Virginia allows an NCAA-low 55.4 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting, while Auburn gives up 69.3 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting.

    But it's not just about defense with championship-caliber teams. Nine of the previous 11 NCAA champions were ranked among the Top 10 teams in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, and seven of them were in the Top 3. As good as Auburn's offense is, it's ranked outside the Top 3. However, Virginia is at No. 2.

    With a significantly better defense, and a more efficient offense as well, UVA should be able to cover the 5.5 points.

    NO. 2 THE FRONTCOURT EDGE

    Both of these teams largely play small ball, with guard-heavy lineups. Auburn is led by Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, while Virginia has the three-headed monster of Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and De'Andre Hunter. But this is still basketball and size matters. Auburn has a true center in Austin Wiley, but he averages just 13.1 minutes per game. Virginia counters with a pair of big men in Jack Salt and Jay Huff, who log a combined 26.5 mpg.

    The real advantage though is at forward where Auburn will miss Chuma Okeke. Okeke was Auburn's leading rebounder and affected the game in so many ways on both ends of the court. He was arguably Auburn's best player against North Carolina before tearing his ACL.

    Virginia has a long, active forward of its own in Mamadi Diakite. Diakite has really stepped up recently, averaging 13 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game during the tournament. With Okeke out, Auburn will have no answer for Diakite.

    Factor in the fact that Virginia is 14th in the country in rebounding rate, while Auburn is 243rd, and UVA should be able to dominate the boards and in the paint.

    NO. 3 TENACIOUS D FROM DEEP

    Auburn loves to shoot threes, we all know this. But Honey Badger don't care. And by Honey Badger, I mean this Virginia defense which generally shuts down 3-point shooting teams.

    Now, I know you're going to say two words in response to that: Carsen Edwards. Yes, Edwards did go off against Virginia, connecting on 11 of 19 attempts from deep. But he was just unstoppable all tournament and kept taking and making insane shots that the vast majority of players aren't going to. A matter of fact, the rest of the Purdue lineup went just 4 for 13 from long range.

    On the season, UVA allows only 6.3 3-pointers per game and holds opponents to just 28.7 perecent shooting from beyond the arc - the third-lowest figure in the country.

    Keep in mind that this is the same Auburn squad that went 5 for 20 from 3-point range against Mississippi, 8 for 27 against Kentucky and 7 for 25 against Alabama, all within the last two months. You live by the three, you die by the three. Auburn will die by the three Saturday.


    THREE REASONS WHY AUBURN COVERS

    NO. 1 THE ULTIMATE WEAPON


    I’m just going to say it. The Auburn Tigers are the best 3-point shooting team in the country. Argument over. Don’t @ me. No team shoots as many threes as the Tigers do, while hitting them at the rate they do. They rank fifth in the country in 3-point attempts per game (30.0), third in made threes per game (11.5), while hitting 38.3 percent of their attempts, good for 15th best. During their 12-game winning streak (also the best in the country) they are hitting nearly 40 percent of their 3-point attempts.

    The Tigers are led by standout and experienced guard play (another big tournament plus). Senior Bryce Brown and junior Jared Harper led the Tigers with 16.0 and 15.4 points per game respectively, while hitting a combined 39.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

    And don’t give me this, “Well, Virginia’s defense is going to lock them down,” crap. Auburn has played plenty of great defensive teams during this run. Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas all rank in the Top 17 of the KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency metric. The Tigers can spread the floor like not many others in the county. They’ll get their shots, even against Virginia. And they’ll make a bunch of ‘em.

    NO. 2 HUSTLE AND FLOW

    A quick look at the Tigers’ adjusted defensive efficiency and you’ll see that they aren’t on the same level as Virginia, Michigan State or Texas Tech. But they get the job done on the defensive end in other ways. And first and foremost, that's with hustle and effort.

    That translates to steals and blocks. And a lot of them. The Tigers rank fifth in the country with 9.4 steals per game and 21st in blocks per game at 4.8. In the tournament alone, the Tigers have forced 59 turnovers, recorded 18 blocks and are a plus-24 in the turnover margin.

    Virginia doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, but it hasn't faced a team that gets its hands in the passing lanes like Auburn can. These plays result in a lot of breakout transition plays for the Tigers and that could be the key in breaking down the Cavaliers’ vaunted defense. The more fast-break opportunities Auburn can get, the fewer chances Virginia will have to get set in its half-court defense.

    Virginia loves to slow teams down and make them play at its pace, but Auburn won’t let them in this one.

    NO. 3 PEARL JAM

    Auburn coach Bruce Pearl gets made fun of for his antics on the sideline. And yes, his yelling and motioning may be a little over the top, but it distracts viewers from what he's actually doing: coaching. Pearl never takes a play off. He's coaching his team each and every second of the game. It may mean going through a shirt or two during a game, but it’s worth it.

    Pearl has come in and built a real basketball culture and at Auburn and you could really feel it after the loss Chuma Okeke in its upset defeat of North Carolina. The team was devastated for their brother and it would be totally understandable if they got to the regional final against Kentucky and it was just too much for them to overcome. Okeke was their third-leading scorer, shooting the lights out from deep and was their best defender. But the Tigers didn’t fold. Pearl kept his team in the right frame of mind and they were able to overcome that adversity, not only showing the mental toughness to take out a strong Kentucky team, but to do it in overtime.

    Does Virginia have that sort of mental toughness? I’m not sure (*cough* UMBC *cough*).

    Reason No. 2 and No. 3 are related. No matter the score Pearl has his guys set up properly and they in turn are diving on the court for every lose ball. That preparedness and effort will not only be the difference in the Tigers covering the 5.5-points they’re getting but advancing to the National Championship.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 11:02 AM.

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    TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS VS MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (-2.5, 132.5)

    THREE REASONS WHY MICHIGAN STATE COVERS

    NO. 1: OWN THE BOARDS


    Michigan State is one of the better rebounding teams in college basketball – ranked fifth in total rebounds per game - and has been especially strong on the glass during the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans were able to keep bigger opponents like LSU and Minnesota off the boards and held their own against a very active Duke team and Zion Williamson, totaling 11 offensive rebounds which added up to extra scoring chances in that Elite Eight win.

    The Red Raiders are 224th in total rebounds per game and allow foes to find offensive boards 8.4 times an outing. Texas Tech has been outworked on the glass in all but one of its tournament games (Buffalo) and doesn’t pose much of a threat for put-back buckets, sitting 236th in offensive rebounding.

    While TTU is the defensive monster in this matchup, MSU should not be dismissed on that end of the floor. The Spartans are eighth in defensive efficiency and will get stops against Texas Tech, collecting those misses on defense as well as scoring second-chance points on the offensive glass.

    NO. 2: TAKING CARE OF TURNOVERS

    Outside of a brain fart versus Minnesota in the Round of 32, in which Michigan State coughed the ball up 20 times, the Spartans are very careful when it comes to turnovers. They had just six against one of the best ball-hawking defenses in Duke, recorded only six in the win over LSU, and tightened up in the second half versus Bradley with nine turnovers in that NCAA opener.

    Texas Tech thrives on those mistakes, ranked 15th in creating chaos with 15.7 forced turnovers per outing. The Red Raiders made Gonzaga’s surehanded backcourt cough it up 15 times in the Elite Eight and squeezed 14 turnovers out of Michigan, which averaged only nine per game on the season. Cassius Winston is a rock in the backcourt for Tom Izzo, and had only one turnover against a very aggressive Duke defense.

    Texas Tech isn’t going to generate those extra possessions or score on easy transition buckets, forcing their inconsistent offense to play a halfcourt set. Between their scoring lulls and MSU’s tough defense, the Red Raiders will struggle to scrounge up points.

    NO. 3: CAN’T BULLY THE BULLY

    Texas Tech is a physical force on the hardwood, using its size and speed to plug up gaps and beat opponents to the spot with intuitive help defense. And when shots do go up, the Red Raiders are fantastic at forcing bad ones and turning away their fare share, averaging five blocks per game.

    They’ve been able to physically dominate and wear down their opponents and made Gonzaga’s top-ranked offense look like an ordinary team from the WCC. The Red Raiders are extremely active and hustle for every possession they can get, but run into a MSU program with that same fire.

    The Spartans are tough, which is nothing new for a crew from East Lansing. Michigan State has battled bigger bodies in Minnesota and Louisiana State and stood toe-to-toe with the freakish strength of Zion. They won’t get rattled when TTU starts throwing its weight around – in fact, MSU will welcome it.

    Turning to the battle of brains – not brawn – Izzo will have the insight and experience edge over Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard, having a week to prepare for this defense and prep his men for what should be a war Saturday night in Minneapolis.


    THREE REASONS WHY TEXAS TECH COVERS

    NO. 1: DEFENSE!


    This one is easy because defense wins championships, right? And Texas Tech has an elite defense that ranks first in the NCAA in defensive efficiency (85.1 percent), first in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency metric (84), and third in points against per game (59).

    The Red Raiders have been in shutdown mode in the tournament, allowing 57, 58, 44, and 69 points so far. What’s even more impressive is that two of these games came against two of the top-ranked offenses in the country in Buffalo and Gonzaga. Texas Tech held the Bulls 26 points below their season average and the Bulldogs 19 points below their season average.

    Texas Tech is also one of the best teams in the nation at limiting team assists, allowing just 9.8 per game, the fifth-fewest in the nation. That just happens to be a strength of the Spartans as they have totaled 40 assists over the last two games and are third in the nation in averaging 18.7 per game. The Red Raiders are going to frustrate the Spartans by not allowing them to move the ball like they are used to and that’s going to be one of the biggest edges they have in this one. Michigan State’s defense is good but Texas Tech’s defense is better and it’s one of the reasons why the Red Raiders will be playing on Monday.

    NO. 2: OFFENSIVE EDGE

    Texas Tech has the best offensive player in this game and that is a huge advantage in a game with a total set in the low 130s. Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver is a legitimate NBA lottery prospect who is playing incredible basketball at the right time of year, averaging 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in four NCAA Tournament games. The Big 12 Player of the Year takes 32.3 percent of Texas Tech’s shots while he’s on the court and will need a big game to get his squad through to the Final Four.

    But Culver isn’t alone at the offensive end of the court. The Red Raiders feature a couple of sharp-shooting guards who can light it up from long range in Davide Moretti (46.3 percent from three) and Matt Mooney (38.1 percent from three). If these two get hot from downtown, the Red Raiders should find themselves playing for the national championship.

    Some might argue that Texas Tech’s offense ranks the lowest of any team left in the tournament according to KenPom’s Offensive Efficiency Ranking, and that is true as the Red Raiders rank 29th. But their offense is much improved over the past two months and they actually rank No. 8 in the nation since Feb. 2. Texas Tech managed to score against Michigan’s second-ranked scoring defense (58.3 points against) and should also find a way to score against the Spartans defense that allows 65.1 points per game.

    NO. 3: TAKING CARE OF THE BALL

    The public narrative all week has been that Michigan State beat Duke. And of course Duke was the No. 1 overall seed and it has Zion Williamson, so the Spartans must be the real deal, right? But let’s be realistic. The Blue Devils were not playing their best basketball in the tournament and would have — and should have — lost to both UCF and Virginia Tech had it not been for some very fortunate events and bad calls late in the games that went their way.

    Duke was sloppy with the ball in the Elite Eight, turning it over 17 times, and that is biggest factor that led to its loss. Texas Tech is not going to give the ball away 17 times. The Red Raiders turn the ball over 12.3 times per game on the season and have given it away just 11.5 times per game so far in the tournament. That includes giving it away just eight times when they played Michigan in the Sweet 16 and that is important as the pace of this game should be similar to the Red Raiders-Wolverines matchup last weekend.

    Texas Tech is going to take care of the ball in a game that doesn’t have many possessions and that’s going to help push the Red Raiders into the National Championship game.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-05-2019 at 11:03 AM.

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