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It is here! It’s Thursday! The NCAA tournament is here! We’ve all waited so long for it to return and it’s finally here. Sure, there’s a part of me who wishes this was a typical first Thursday of the tournament because I was watching games when I wrote this newsletter, but if I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s important, everyone Appreciating sports I can get if I can get them.
And tonight we’re getting four NCAA tournament games. You will also get tips for three of these that appear in the newsletter. If you haven’t joined a bracket pool before, I would highly recommend that you do so now. You don’t want to be the only person in the group that everyone else is making fun of for postponing it until the last minute and then forgetting. Once you’ve read this newsletter, join a pool and fill out your bracket. If not, I’ll come to your house. You will hear me knock on your door and then you will open it and see me give you the most disappointed look you have ever seen in your life and you will feel terrible.
Just don’t choose Illinois to win everything because I’m superstitious and way too many people choose Illinois. Also, I chose Illinois in all of my parentheses. So if no one else picks them, my chance of winning the pool increases if the Illinois go all the way, and that would be pretty cute.
UCLA vs Michigan State, 9:57 pm | TV: TBS The Pick: UCLA 2 (-110): I can’t lie to you. There’s a part of me that automatically leans towards the Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament in most matchups because the metrics suggest the Big Ten was the best conference in the country this year. That’s where I started this matchup, but the closer I looked, the more obvious it became to me that the Bruins were the right game.
The Spartans have been a disappointing team all year round, and they were disappointing because they were can’t shoot. Sparty ranks 266th in the nation, 252 out of two, and 254 out of three in eFG%. Now, on a hot night, they can beat anyone, as evidenced by their victories over Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan. But those nights are too rare.
Jonathan Coachman is joined by Mike McClure and Larry Hartstein to hand out the best bets for Thursday and their favorite games for the top four of the NCAA tournament.
UCLA is in a much stronger team on offense, and while I’d give the Spartans the advantage defensively, the advantage isn’t significant enough to make a drastic difference here. Especially when we consider that UCLA has proven to be a better rebounding team. I see value on the Bruins money line when looking for a bigger payout, but I love UCLA and the points here. I also wish there was a way to « bet on UCLA cover unless Joshua Langford gets hot by three » because I see that as the most likely way we will lose that bet.
Main Trend: UCLA is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 as a dog, while MSU is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 as a favorite.
Here’s what SportsLine says about the game: The Advanced Computer Model simulates a storm for the NCAA tournament and has some healthy tendencies to spread and total in this matchup.
Texas Southern v Mount St. Mary’s, 5:10 pm | TV: TruTV The Pick: Under 133 (-110) – Don’t feel bad if you haven’t seen many Texas Southern or Mount St. Mary games this year. You’re not alone. For example, I don’t either! But I’ve been studying the numbers to prepare for tonight, and I can tell you that this is one of the times when you’re likely to hear an announcer say, « Styles make fights. » It’s a classic matchup of an up-tempo team in Texas Southern (41st nationally at adjusted pace) and a slow half-court team at Mount St. Mary’s (356th of 357 teams at adjusted pace).
That information could lead you to believe that the team that sets the pace best will win the game, and that’s probably right, but either way, I’m not worried about how fast the pace is. Because fast or slow, none of these crimes are good.
Texas Southern ranks 236th in offensive efficiency, while Mountaineers rank 287th. While Southern moves fast, it only takes a few threes (only 27.8% of the team’s shots are from three, ranking 336th nationwide), and almost all of them are missing (27.7%, 342nd). Throw it all in a bowl, play in an unknown location and the first game of the NCAA tournament will be sloppy!
Main trend: In the last nine games of Mount St. Mary, the Under are the favorites 7-2 .
Drake vs. Wichita State, 6:27 p.m. | TV: TBSThe Pick: Drake -2 (-110) – Okay, so do you remember earlier when I told you that I was naturally drawn to Big Ten teams but covered? Well, I was pulled in one direction here of course, but I haven’t considered it. Do not worry; I was still doing research so that that choice would not be made in anger, even if I am still mad at the state of Wichita for not playing South Florida and Cincinnati in the AAC tournament.
Now compare a Wichita State team that can’t cover me with a Drake team that has ATS in season 20-6-1. It makes Drake more attractive, doesn’t it? Well it should. The Bulldogs may not have attended the largest conference in the country, but this is one of the most effective crimes in the country. The Shockers have an offense that depends almost entirely on three. That season, 41.4% of Shockers shot attempts came from three, which is a lot, but they’re not particularly good at getting them, hitting only 34.5% (136th national).
Well , Drake has capped his opponents from three this season to 30.8% and ranks 35th in the country. So Drake has the better offense and has done an excellent job defensively taking away what the Wichita State needs. Back the bulldogs.
Main trend: Wichita State has ATS 3-7 in the last 10 games and ATS 0-2 in the two games I bet on last week.
🔒 SportsLine selection of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model gave a game in today’s Drake-Wichita State game an A. I wasn’t the best student, but I know A was the best grade even when trying to convince parents that a C was better.
PG: Trae Young, HawksSG: Donovan Mitchell, JazzSF: LeBron James, LakersPF: Julius Randle, KnicksC: Rudy Gobert, Jazz
PG: Chris Paul, SunsSG: Joe Ingles, JazzSF: RJ Barrett, KnicksPF: Isaiah Roby, ThunderC: Cody Zeller, Hornets
Win NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won nearly $ 2 million in the daily fantasy industry, while Gibbs knocked out the NBA last season, taking around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. Find DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.
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