Clearly there are going to be some great matchups in the NCAA Tournament on Friday (how could there not be?), but we’d like to zero in on a couple that may contain a few twists for BetAnySports customers to think about in their handicapping. Some of the games may sound like easy pickings, but you’ve got to consider a lot of different factors in your handicapping. Let’s take a look:
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Friday, March 22
West Regional – Kansas City
BetAnySports NCAA Tournament Betting Odds: Wisconsin -6 (Total 127.5)
Wisconsin is one of those teams where you can just see their numbers and determine how well-drilled they are. The Badgers are not the type to give much away; they commit less than ten turnovers a game (ranking fourth nationally) and only three teams committed fewer fouls per game. What they also do with much proficiency is defend the arc; opponents shot just 29% against them from three-point range.
Wisconsin can be excused if it wasn’t able to capture the Big Ten conference tournament; after all, it’s tough to follow things up when you have beaten Michigan and Indiana on back-to-back days, and they went flat against Ohio State, shooting just 38%. Ole Miss is a team that was legitimately on the bubble going into the SEC tournament, and the Rebels, who had embarrassed themselves on March 2 with a loss to seriously under-manned Mississippi State, came on with five straight wins, including upsets in the conference tourney against Missouri and Florida. They’ve now covered four straight, and only one foe in the last nine has even reached 44% shooting against them. If this, team, which opened the season 17-2, is indeed coming together, this one becomes a real contest.
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Friday, March 22
West Regional – Dayton
BetAnySports NCAA Tournament Betting Odds: Notre Dame -1 (Total 141)
What makes this games particularly intriguing, aside from the fact that it is a near pick’em, is the fact that it provides for a great contrast in styles. Iowa State is a team that hardly looks to grind its opponents into submission with muscle; rather, the Cyclones, coached by former NBA player Fred Hoiberg, look to get it up and down the court in a hurry and shoot the long ball, just like Hoiberg did when he was once leading the NBA in three-point percentage. ISU makes just under ten treys per game, leading the country in that category, and that is obviously a major reason why they are fourth nationally in scoring. The Cyclones present balance, with five players who average at least one three-pointer per game, and also six players who score between 9.3 and 15 ppg.
Notre Dame does not have an outstanding recent history in the NCAA’s, dropping eight of its last ten decisions to the number. But one thing you have to say about Mike Bray is that he is a great improviser, and he can come with ways of “junking up” another team’s offense. The Fighting Irish do a decent enough job defending the perimeter, allowing just 32% shooting from beyond the arc. But what is really dangerous for Iowa State is that they have the ability to bring things to a crawl, thus frustrating other teams. In the process of doing this, Notre Dame has held Kentucky to 50 points, Pitt to 43, Cincinnati to 41, and St. John’s to 40. None of them intended to play that slow. And they don’t beat themselves either; Notre Dame’s assist-turnover ratio is second best in the country. Let’s see which coach is able to out-maneuver the other.
CHARLES JAY, a contributor to BangTheBook.com, is one of the most experienced sports betting writers in America, as he has written more than 10,000 pieces specifically for the industry over the last seven years. At one time employed as an editorial consultant with USA Network, he is also a former syndicated radio talk show host (American Radio Networks) and has also done color commentary on boxing events in the past for Prime Network (now known as Fox SportsNet). He is a veteran of more than a decade and a half working within the professional sports industry, and has been handicapping sporting events for over 25 years. In addition to this, he has compiled specialty odds for a number of online sportsbook operations and media outlets.