Tuesday's Play-In Action
March 19, 2013
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The North Carolina Aggies and Liberty Flames will play for the opportunity to face the Louisville Cardinals in the Midwest Region on Thursday. Likewise, the little know Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders will challenge the St. Mary’s Gaels for a shot at the 11th seed in the Midwest Region, which will lead to a matchup against the intimidating Memphis Tigers.
North Carolina Aggies -2.0 over Liberty Flames (3/19 @ 6:40pm EST)
Though neither team faces betting lines that often, the Liberty Flames went 4-0 SU and ATS to win the Big South Championship. This is mostly notable because they were underdogs in all four of those matchups. Something should be said for a team that ends the season well, and these boys have been playing past their potential for quite some time.
They’ve been at rest for over a week which might have cooled off their momentum slightly, but the Flames toppling the Aggies in another upset here isn’t so far fetched.
It’s going to be hard to convince those backing the North Carolina A&T Aggies about that. With a perfect 7-0 ATS record this season, the Aggies far exceeded expectations this season by barely surviving Morgan State in the MEAC Tournament finals.
The main idea is that while Liberty has shown flashes of being much better than we had expected, the Aggies have simply played against a higher caliber of competition throughout the year. They come from a conference that is slightly tougher and that will help give them the edge in this play-in matchup.
Middle Tennessee State +3.0 over St. Mary’s Gaels (3/19 @ 9:10pm EST)
After tripping up against Florida International in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament, the Blue Raiders will have another chance at punching their ticket to the big dance as they face off with the St. Mary’s Gaels on Tuesday. The Raiders are not an exceptional betting team for the simple reason that they were heads and shoulders above everyone else in their league during the regular season. The fact remains that this team should be a better matchup for St. Mary’s than the public is anticipating.
The Gaels are a familiar name which is why most of the action is going to lean towards them in this one. But they are not a known commodity, which is important to understand. Just because a school has a big name, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to win out all the time (read: Kentucky). St. Mary’s is a great program and they certainly have a lot of talent, but their defense is seriously lacking and Middle Tennessee can run the score on you in a very big hurry.
Very few people know about the inside-outside combination of Shawn Jones and Marcos Knight who have steadied the Blue Raiders all season with solid production. They have to atone for their mistakes during championship week, and they certainly have the talent to do so. What better way to make up for a mistake than by playing in to the 64-team bracket?
Take Middle Tennessee on the number. The stretch in the moneyline isn’t worth robbing yourself of a generous three-point cushion.
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