Friday's Early Action
March 21, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
Sixteen teams have been sent home as the second day of the NCAA Tournament begins on Friday. The first batch of contests to lead off the day involves three teams from the ACC (Duke, N.C. State, and Miami), while the lone game without ACC representation showcases Ole Miss and Wisconsin. We'll start the day in Philadelphia as Duke tries to put behind them a devastating loss in last season's first round.
(2) Duke vs. (15) Albany - 12:15 PM EST - CBS
The Blue Devils are in familiar territory as a heavy favorite in a 2/15 matchup, as Duke was tripped up by Lehigh last March in the opening game of the tournament, 75-70. Duke gets a shot at redemption as 18-point 'chalk' at the Wells Fargo Center, in spite of an early exit from the ACC Tournament after getting shocked by Maryland in the quarterfinals, 83-74 as 10-point favorites.
Albany enters this matchup as the champions of the America East conference at 24-10, while posting a 4-2 ATS record in lined games. The Great Danes won the final two games of their conference tournament in the underdog role over Stony Brook and Vermont, as Albany finished in fifth place inside the America East this season. Albany faced just one team that qualified for the tournament in the regular season, falling at Ohio State in mid-November, 82-60 in a non-lined contest.
This is the 20th time this season that Mike Krzyzewski's club has been listed as a double-digit favorite, posting a 10-9 ATS record in this role. The loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament was the only time the Blue Devils lost straight-up when laying at least 10 points, while Duke owns a 1-4 ATS record in the last five NCAA Tournament games since 2010.
(5) Wisconsin vs. (12) Ole Miss - 12:40 PM EST - truTV
The Rebels were sitting on the NCAA bubble heading into the SEC Tournament, but Ole Miss won three games in three days to receive the automatic bid for winning the conference. Andy Kennedy's club rallied twice against tournament squads by beating Missouri and Florida after trailing at the half, as the task doesn't get easier against Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin.
The Badgers fell short to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament championship as short underdog, 50-43, while limiting their fifth straight opponent to less than 60 points. Wisconsin covered just two of seven games away from Madison in the favorite role this season, including outright losses at Marquette and Iowa. Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers have won 10 of 11 opening round games, while compiling a 6-4-1 ATS record.
Mississippi closed the season with an 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS run, which interestingly included losses to two of the worst teams in the SEC, Mississippi State and South Carolina. The Rebels are 5-2 ATS when receiving points, while losing outright to tourney squads Missouri and Florida during the regular season, but avenged those defeats in the conference tournament. This is unfamiliar territory for Ole Miss, who is playing in the Big Dance for the first time since 2002, falling to UCLA in a pick-em spot, 80-58.
(8) Temple vs. (9) N.C. State - 1:40 PM EST - TBS
The Owls saw their seven-game winning streak go up in smoke in a 79-74 defeat to UMass in the Atlantic-10 Tournament. Temple qualified as an at-large squad at 23-9, as the Owls dropped consecutive games only once this season, while winning five of their last seven contests away from the Liacouras Center. N.C. State began this season as the team to beat in the ACC, but finished tied for fourth place in the conference with Virginia at 11-7, while posting a 24-10 record overall.
The Wolfpack is listed as a 4 ½-point favorite in Dayton, as Mark Gottfried's team won eight of their final 11 contests following a three-game skid in early February. Down the stretch, N.C. State cashed six straight 'unders' prior to a pair of 'overs' in the ACC Tournament against Virginia and Miami. In the last six times as a favorite either on the road or a neutral site, the Wolfpack covered just once, while facing only one tournament team in this situation (Oklahoma State in November).
Temple hasn't been the team to back in March Madness over the years, as the Owls are just 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS since 2008 in the NCAA Tournament. Fran Dunphy's club was tripped up by South Florida last March, 58-44 as 3 ½-point favorites, while exiting the first round in four of the previous five tournaments. The Owls closed the season on a nice 'over' run by hitting in 10 of the final 12 contests, including five straight in the underdog role.
(2) Miami vs. (15) Pacific - 2:10 PM EST - TNT
The Hurricanes were one of the huge stories in college basketball this season by winning both the ACC regular season and tournament titles. UM travels to Austin, Texas looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000, coincidentally the same venue in which the 'Canes were eliminated by Tulsa that season. However, Miami has to get through Big West Tournament champion Pacific to get to the round of 32 on Sunday.
The Tigers finished in second place in the regular season inside the Big West at 13-5, while winning seven consecutive games down the stretch to clinch the automatic berth for the tournament. Pacific put together a 16-13-1 ATS record, including a 5-2-1 ATS record in the final eight contests. The Tigers won just one of three times against teams in the NCAA Tournament, beating St. Mary's prior to losses against Gonzaga and Cal.
Miami turned in one of the best ATS records in the country at 20-9-1 ATS, while going 10-6-1 ATS away from Coral Gables. The Canes' offense ran teams out late in the season by posting 'overs' in six of the last eight contests, as UM put up 81 points against N.C. State and 87 against North Carolina in the final two games of the ACC Tournament. Jim Larranaga's squad cashed in two of four opportunities as a double-digit favorite, but none of those four teams qualified for postseason play.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
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