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Thread: Saturday's NCAAB Trends and Indexes - 4/6

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    Default Saturday's NCAAB Trends and Indexes - 4/6

    Trends and Indexes

    Saturday, April 6

    Good Luck on day # 96 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: Saturday's six-pack

    At M Resort in Las Vegas, you can wager on NFL wins matchups for 2019:

    — 49ers (-$115) —1.5 wins vs Raiders (-$125)

    — Eagles ($115) —0.5 win vs Steelers (-$115)

    — Browns (-$120) -2.5 wins vs Bengals (-$110)

    — Jaguars (even) -1.5 wins vs Buccaneers (+$130)

    — Jets (-$110) -1 win vs Giants (-$120)

    — Cowboys (-$105) -0.5 win vs Texans (-$125)


    **********

    Armadillo: Saturday's List of 13: My favorite non-sports movies……

    These are 13 of my favorite non-sports movies. Make your own list.

    Remember, these are my favorite movies, not the movies that are necessarily the best. Of the 50 movies USA Today listed as the best ever, I’ve seen two of them. Seriously.

    13) Runaway Jury— I’m a big fan of the John Grisham books; this was my favorite of the ones that were turned into movies. Gene Hackman plays a jury consultant whose client is a gun manufacturer; John Cusack is on the jury to manipulate the verdict.

    T12) Moon Over Parador— Richard Dreyfuss is an actor who is hired to stand in for the dictator of a Latin American country who suddenly dies. Jonathan Winters is a weird CIA agent whose wife is Polly Holliday, who played Flo in the old TV series Alice.

    T12) Dave— Made five years after Moon Over Parador, this is basically the same movie, just set in Washington, DC.

    Guy who looks just the President runs a temp service in Washington; when the real president has a stroke while screwing around with his mistress, the guy (Kevin Kline) is hired as the stand-in president. Sigourney Weaver is the First Lady.

    11) The Verdict— Paul Newman is a struggling lawyer who is handed a winning case, which is easier said than done. His friend is played by Jack Warden, one of my all-time favorites.

    10) The Gambler— Remake of a James Caan movie from the mid-70’s. College professor (Mark Wahlberg) seems to have an excellent life, but he has a huge gambling problem which drags him down. John Goodman plays one of the people he owes money to; he is very good in this.

    9) The Bodyguard— Whitney Houston is a famous singer with a contract on her head; Kevin Costner is the ex-Secret Service hired to protect her.

    8) A Few Good Men— The last scene, with Jack Nicholson on the witness stand, is tremendous. Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, JT Walsh as supporting actors is pretty strong.

    7) Leap of Faith— Steve Martin plays a traveling preacher whose bus breaks down, stranding his crew in a drought-stricken Kansas town. Miracles ensue. Liam Neeson, Debra Winger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meat Loaf all have supporting roles.

    6) Molly’s Game— Young woman runs high stakes poker games for celebrities/rich guys, but when members of the Russian mob enter the game, things get complicated. This is a true story, and as we’re learning nowadays, real life is often stranger than fiction.

    5) Lost In Translation— Bill Murray plays a washed-up actor who is in Tokyo getting paid $2M to do a whiskey commercial. He meets Scarlett Johansson in the hotel bar and they become friends.

    4) Begin Again— Down-and-out movie producer stumbles into a Manhattan bar and discovers a young singer who can resurrect his career.

    3) Good Will Hunting— Janitor at MIT can do complicated math problems better than the professors can, but he also has a criminal record, and has to get counseling for that. Robin Williams is great as the counselor.

    2) Last Vegas— Four old friends get together in Las Vegas for the bachelor party of the one bachelor in group (Michael Douglas) who is marrying a woman 40 years younger than him. It is Douglas, Robert Deniro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline.

    1) Rounders— Law student decides he’d rather play high stakes poker. The scenes with Matt Damon and his law professor (Martin Landau) are excellent. Same guys who wrote this write the great Showtime series Billions now.

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    Saturday's Final Four Tips
    Joe Williams

    Final Four - National Semifinal (Minneapolis, MN)

    No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 1 Virginia (CBS, 6:09 PM EST)

    Opening Odds:
    Virginia -5½, 131

    -- Auburn (30-9 SU, 21-16 ATS) has had an NCAA Tournament that won't soon be forgotten by the Tigers faithful. The only low point was the lost of start forward Chuma Okeke, who scored 20 points with 11 rebounds in a double-double against North Carolina before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

    -- That was about the only thing which hasn't gone right for the Tigers and head coach Bruce Pearl, although the first game of the tourney was a bit hairy. The Tigers tried their hardest to give away their opening-round game against New Mexico State, eeking out a 78-77 win over the 12-seed New Mexico State, the only game of the NCAA Tournament which the Tigers failed to cover. After that they throttle blue bloods Kansas and North Carolina before edging SEC rival Kentucky by a 77-71 score in overtime to punc their ticket their their first-ever Final Four.

    -- Jared Harper picked up the slack with Okeke on the shelf, scoring 26 points with five assists and four rebounds to go along with two blocked shots across 39 minutes, and he is averaging 17.5 points per game (PPG) with 6.5 rebounds per game (RPG) through four NCAA Tournament games. Bryce Brown stepped up in a big way against Kentucky, hitting 8-for-12 from the field with four triples, giving him 24 points. He is averaging 18.3 PPG with 3.0 RPG in this tournament.

    -- Auburn has done well on offense in the tournament, and that's not a surprise since they averaged 80.2 PPG to rank 28th nationally. They also dropped in 3-pointers at a 37.9-percent clip, ranking 31st in the country in that department. The Tigers jack up a lot of shots, though, and were just 134th in the nation with a 45.1 field-goal percentage. They're not a great free-throw shooting club, either, ranking 166th at 70.9 percent, so that will be interesting to watch in the final minutes as the intensity gets ratcheted up to a level they've never seen in program history.

    -- Defensively, Auburn is just so-so. In the tournament they've allowed at least 71 points in each of their four outings, good for an average of 75.8 PPG. That's slightly more than their 68.9 PPG average allowed, which was good for just 107th in the country.

    -- Auburn enters this one having covered eight of their past 10 games overall, and they're 4-1 ATS in the past five against teams with a winning record. They're also 4-1 ATS in the past five neutral-site affairs.

    -- The 'over' has cashed in five in a row for Pearl's squad, while going 7-0 in their past seven against teams with a winning percentage over .600. The over is also 5-0 in their past five neutral-site affairs, and 4-1 in the past five non-conference tilts, although the under has actually hit in five of their past six matchups against ACC foes.

    -- These teams used to meet semi-frequently, with the underdog cashing in four in a row. The last meeting was Dec. 7, 2009, though, with the Tigers coming away with a 68-67 win.

    -- Virginia (33-3 SU, 25-11 ATS) can finally stop answering questions about their historically bad loss to No. 16 seed UMBC last season, and talk about the good times instead. It's their first trip to the Final Four under the leadership of Tony Bennett, following in the footsteps of his dad, Dick, who took the Wisconsin Badgers to the Final Four back in 2000.

    -- It looked like lightning was going to strike the Hoos twice, as 16-seed Gardner-Webb opened up a double-digit lead on the No. 1 seed in the first round before the Cavaliers pulled away in the second half for a 71-56 victory. After that scare from the Bulldogs, and the confidence from winning that one game, UVA hasn't looked back.

    -- In the second round the Cavs steamed past Oklahoma by a 63-51 score, and then they edged Oregon in a defensive dogfight in the Sweet Sixteen, outlasting the Ducks 53-49 in a game with a score resembling the days before the 3-point line and the shot clock. Last, but certainly not least, they persevered against Purdue in what might have been the best game of this season's NCAA Tournament to date, winning 80-75 in overtime.

    -- In that game against the Boilermakers, UVA was up against it in the final seconds, down two. However, Mamadi Diakite had the put-back after a missed free throw, tipping it in after the rebound to force overtime. Diakite saved the season, ending up with 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots across his 42 minutes. Kyle Guy finally had a decent game after scuffling in the first three tournament battles, going for 25 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and five 3-pointers. Ty Jerome also contributed 24 points with seven assists and five boards while turning it over just once, and he dumped in four triples.

    -- UVA was able to overcome 14 3-pointers from the Boilers, and a good reason they were so successful was their ability to get to the free-throw line, and efficiency once they were there. The Hoos ended the night 17-for-20 (85.0 percent) at the charity stripe, a good reason why they're here, although the final miss is also a big reason they're here, too.

    -- Virginia is the last remaining No. 1 seed in this season's Field of 68 still alive.

    -- The Cavaliers are just 2-6 ATS in the past eight NCAA Tournament games, and only a bad beat in the final moments of their overtime win against the Boilermakers prevented that from being 1-7. They're 8-3 ATS in the past 11 games outside of the conference, and 40-19-1 ATS in the past 60 following a straight-up win.

    -- The over in their OT win against Purdue was a rarity, as the under is 7-2 in their past nine non-conference games, and 5-2 in the past seven neutral-site contests. The under is also 6-1 in their past seven vs. SEC opponents.


    Final Four - National Semifinal (Minneapolis, MN)

    No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan State (CBS, 8:49 PM EST)

    Opening Odds:
    Michigan State -2½, 132½

    -- Texas Tech (30-6 SU, 19-16 ATS) is easily the best defensive team remaining out of the four teams still alive for the national title, and we'll find out if defense wins championships on the hardwood. They ranked third in the country, allowing just 59.0 PPG this season, and they were second in defensive field-goal percentage at 36.9 percent. They also yielded just 29.3 percent of their 3-pointers against, checking in 10th in the nation.

    -- The Red Raiders have rolled up an impressive resume getting to Minneapolis, so don't discount them even though they're slight underdogs. They racked up a 72-57 win over Northern Kentucky of the Horizon League in the opener, covering a 13-point number, and they throttled Buffalo by 20 points in a game against a team which spent a majority of the season in The Associated Press Top 25. Perhaps their most impressive win was in the Sweet Sixteen, as they dismantled Michigan by a 63-44 score, showing off an unbelievable defensive effort.

    -- The most points they allowed in the NCAA Tournament came against No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Elite Eight, but they still held the nation's top scoring offense to 69 points, well below their average.

    -- Texas Tech is methodical on offense, posting just 73.0 PPG to rank 158th in the nation. The shots they took take go in, however, as they were a very efficient 47.1 percent from the field to rank 46th, and a respectable 69th in 3-pointer shooting at 36.5 percent.

    -- Texas Tech is an impressive 13-3 ATS in their past 16 games overall, including 4-0 ATS in the NCAA Tournament, adthey're 11-1 ATS in the past 12 games against teams with an overall winning record.

    -- The over against Gonzaga was the first in five NCAA Tournament games for the Red Raiders. The under is 19-8 in their past 27 neutral-site battles, and 46-22-1 in the past 69 non-conference tilts.

    -- This is Texas Tech's first appearance in the Final Four.

    -- Michigan State (32-6 SU, 27-11 ATS) started out rather sluggishly in their first NCAA Tournament game against Bradley from the Missouri Valley Conference, winning 76-65 as 17 1/2-point favorites. That seems to be the theme for each of the Final Four participants, who went a combined 1-3 ATS in the first round.

    -- Michigan State hammered Big Ten foe Minnesota by a 70-50 count in Round 2 to get their sea legs, and they roughed up a good LSU side in the Sweet Sixteen by an 80-63 count. The most impressive game was their win over Duke, 68-67, as they punched their ticket to Minneapolis.

    -- Duke had been winning those close games in the end, but Michigan State was able to make sure they weren't the latest victim of the Blue Devils at the buzzer. They beat a team with a handful of players expected to be NBA lottery picks next season, led by Cassius Winston. He poured in 20 points with 10 assists and four steals while hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Xavier Tillman was also rock-solid, going for 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, while adding nine boards, three steals andtwo blocked shots. Kenny Goins added 10 points, nine boards and two steals with a pair of triples, as the Spartans were very balanced in the win for Tom Izzo's group.

    -- A lot has been mentioned about Texas Tech's defense, but Michigan State knows a little something about defense, too. The allowed just 65.1 PPG to rank 34th in the country, and they had the third-best defensive field-goal percentage allowed at 37.9 percent. This game could be quite the slugfest in Minneapolis.

    -- The difference in this one might be rebounding, as Michigan State used their size to rank ninth in the nation with 40.6 boards per game, while yielding just 28.3 RPG to check in 24th in the country defensively.

    -- The Spartans won't be fazed by Texas Tech and their defense. They're been there and done that against rival Michigan, who plays a similar style. Sparty is 21-5 ATS in the past 26 games against teams with winning overall records, too, while going 26-9 ATS in their past 35 games overall. Michigan State is also 5-1 ATS in the past six on a neutral floor.

    -- The under is 5-1 in the past six games overall, and 4-1 in the past five in the NCAA Tournament. The under is also 19-7-1 in the past 27 against teams with a winning percentage over .600, and 5-2 in Michigan State's past seven against the Big 12.

    -- These teams have never met on the hardwood.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-06-2019 at 12:07 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.

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

    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; 04-06-2019 at 12:08 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; 04-06-2019 at 12:09 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; 04-06-2019 at 12:09 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Auburn's top two players, Jared Harper and Bryce Brown, each battling illness

    Auburn's top two players, Jared Harper and Bryce Brown, each battling illness

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Auburn's top two scorers on the season, guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, are battling illness on Friday just a day before the start of the 2019 Final Four. A third player, backup point guard J'Von McCormick, is also battling a bug.

    Harper's voice was noticeably hoarse as he answered questions in the breakout session with media on Friday morning, where he divulged that he has a cold. Harper, according to coach Bruce Pearl, is "under the weather." He got a shot to deal with the symptoms on Friday. Brown got a shot on Thursday to deal with his own illness.

    "We've got a couple of guys that are sniffling and hacking and coughing, but we don't play today," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "Jared would be less than 100 percent if we had to play today. If we played yesterday, Bryce would have been less than 100 percent. He'll be fine tomorrow."

    Auburn perhaps benefitted from a bug in the Sweet 16 when North Carolina forward Nassir Little came down with flu-like symptoms before tip. The Tigers pounced on the Tar Heels in turn, taking them down 97-80 in a dominant win. It would be a cruel twist of irony if in the biggest game of the season the bug impacted them in a major way.

    Harper and Brown average a combined 31.4 points and 7.7 assists per game this season. Auburn enters its first Final Four in school history already short-handed after big man Chuma Okeke went down with a season-ending knee-injury in the Tigers' victory vs. North Carolina.

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-ba...tling-illness/
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 04-06-2019 at 11:46 AM.
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