Sunday - Session 3
March 17, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards has cashed winners in college hoops at a 10-6 clip (62.5%) since Wednesday, guiding pick-pack purchasers to 4.39 units of profit. His guaranteed plays are on a 3-0 run and have cashed at a 45-32 clip (58.4%, +10.99 Units!) since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**UMBC vs. Kansas State**
-- It finally happened. For the first time since the NCAA Tournament expanded the field to 64 teams in 1985, a 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed Friday night in Charlotte, where UMBC outscored top-ranked Virginia 53-33 in the second half en route to a 74-54 win. The Retrievers won handily as 20.5-point underdogs, hooking up money-line backers with an enormous 25/1 payout at William Hill. Jarius Lyles stole the show with 28 points on 9-of-11 field-goal attempts, 3-of-4 from downtown and 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. Joe Sherburne scored 14 points and snagged six rebounds, while Arkel Lamar had 12 points and 10 boards. K.J. Maura contributed 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. He played all 40 minutes, hitting 2-of-3 launches from 3-point land. The Retrievers enjoyed a 31-21 rebounding edge, shot 54.2 percent from the field and made 12-of-24 (50.0%) attempts from long distance.
-- Both of Lyles’ parents both graduated from UVA in 1985. His father, Lester, played football at UVA for four years and played seven seasons in the NFL. Lyles averages team-highs in scoring (20.4 points per game) and steals (2.0 SPG). He was a Top-100 recruit out of DeMatha Catholic High School, winning championships as a freshman and sophomore while playing with current Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo. Lyles signed with Shaka Smart and VCU out of high school but spent only one year with the Rams. After a brief stop at Robert Morris for merely one semester, Lyles settled in and has enjoyed three productive seasons at UMBC. The opportunity to leave before this season was an option. Lyles graduated early and big-name teams like Kansas, Florida and others were interested in bringing Lyles in as a grad transfer. He resisted, though, and in doing so he and his team are forever a part of NCAA Tournament lore.
-- UMBC (25-10 straight up, 4-1 against the spread) is ranked No. 116 in the RPI, going 1-4 versus the Top 100 before defeating UVA. The Retrievers’ win over Vermont to win the America East Tournament was their lone win over an RPI Top-100 opponent. They lost 103-78 at Arizona, 66-45 at Maryland, 71-56 at Vermont and 81-53 vs. Vermont. They also lost by 11 at SMU before the Mustangs’ roster was stung by multiple injuries.
-- Maura (11.3 PPG) averages team-bests in assists (5.2 APG), FG percentage (46.9%) and FT percentage (87.1%). He has drained 42.8 percent of his 3-balls.
-- As of late Saturday afternoon, most books had Kansas State (23-11 SU, 15-16 ATS) installed as a 10-point favorite with a total of 135.5. The Retrievers were +425 on the money line (risk $100 to win $425).
-- Kansas State’s Dean Wade is ‘questionable’ with a foot injury. Wade averages 16.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game. The junior forward has missed back-to-back games since getting injured at the Big 12 Tournament.
-- Bruce Weber’s team is 6-3 both SU and ATS in its past nine games, including wins over Creighton, TCU, Baylor, Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Kansas State advanced to the second round thanks to Friday night’s 69-59 win over Creighton as a two-point underdog. Barry Brown was the catalyst with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Mike McGuirl added 17 points and four boards, as he connected on 3-of-5 launches from 3-point territory.
-- Kansas State hasn’t been favored by a double-digit margin since Dec. 16. The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in five such spots.
-- Brown averages 16.0 PPG and has handed out a team-high 3.4 APG. Xavier Sneed averages 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
-- UMBC is 29th in the nation in 3-point accuracy, splashing the nets at a 39.0 percent clip from deep.
-- The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for UMBC.
-- The ‘under’ is 19-11-1 overall for the Wildcats, who limit foes to 67.6 points per game.
-- TruTV will provide the broadcast at around 7:45 p.m. Eastern.
**Florida State vs. Xavier**
-- As of late Saturday afternoon, most books had Xavier (29-5 SU, 21-12 ATS) listed as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 159. The Seminoles were available on the money line for a +205 return (risk $100 to win $205).
-- Chris Mack’s club is ranked eighth in the nation in scoring (84.8 PPG), 15th in FG percentage (49.3%) and seventh in FT percentage (78.5%).
-- Xavier pushed past Texas Southern 102-83 as a 19-point favorite in Friday’s first-round 1/16 encounter. J.P. Macura buried 5-of-6 treys and 11-of-16 FGAs in a game-high 29-point effort. Macura also had six rebounds and five steals. Trevon Bluiett added 26 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Kerem Kanter finished with 24 points and five boards.
-- Xavier has thrived in single-digit ‘chalk’ roles, posting an 11-4 spread record.
-- Bluiett averages team-highs in scoring (19.6 PPG) and rebounding (5.6 RPG). The senior shooting guard has scored 26 points or more in five of Xavier’s past 10 games, and he dropped 37 on Seton Hall on Valentine’s Day. Bluiett has made 104 triples and shoots at a 41.8 percent clip from downtown and an 85.0 percent rate from the FT line.
-- Since Jan. 13, Xavier has won 14 of its 16 games with the only losses coming at home to Villanova and in overtime vs. Providence in the Big East Tournament semifinals.
-- Macura (12.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG) has 97 assists, 49 steals and 13 blocked shots. The senior guard has hit 47.1 percent of his FGAs, 37.0 percent of his 3-balls and 83.8 percent of his FTs. Kanter averages 10.8 points and 4.5 RPG.
-- FSU (21-11 SU, 16-13 ATS) entered the NCAA Tournament slumping, losing five of its past eight games while posting an abysmal 1-7 ATS record. However, the Seminoles broke out Friday night in a 67-54 win over Missouri as one-point favorites. They led by 22 at intermission, only to see the lead trimmed to six with 9:53 remaining, but the Tigers would get no closer. Mfiondu Kabengele led the way with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocked shots. P.J. Savoy knocked down a trio of 3-balls in a 12-point effort, while Phil Cofer was also in double figures with 11 points, four boards and three assists. Trent Forrest couldn’t buy a bucket, making only 1-of-7 FGAs, but he still found a way to make a positive impact on his team by contributing eight points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and eight assists compared to just one turnover.
-- Terance Mann, who leads FSU in rebounding (5.6 RPG) and FG percentage (55.9%) and averages 12.8 PPG, was limited to only 15 minutes of action due to a groin injury. When he couldn’t practice Saturday, he was downgraded to ‘doubtful’ vs. Xavier.
-- Cofer averages a team-high 13.1 PPG thanks to 39.7 percent shooting from 3-point range. Forrest (7.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG) has come on strong in recent weeks. He has 127 assists, 46 steals and 12 blocked shots. Savoy, a sophomore guard out of Las Vegas High School, is a big-time shooter from long distance. Of his 50 field goals made this year, 42 have been from downtown. Savoy has scored 11 points or more in five of FSU’s past 10 games, which isn’t bad at all for a player who only averages 12:28 of playing time per game.
-- FSU has lost four in a row both SU and ATS in its past four games as an underdog. For the season, the Seminoles are 4-5 ATS with three outright victories in nine games as ‘dogs.
-- The ‘over’ is 17-13 overall for FSU.
-- The ‘over’ is on a 5-2-1 run for the Musketeers to improve to 19-14-1 overall.
-- TNT will provide television coverage at around 8:40 p.m. Eastern.
**Marshall vs. West Virginia**
-- Who even dreamed these bitter in-state rivals would ever play in an NCAA Tournament game? Well, I’m sure many West Virginians have had this matchup in their dreams, but few ever thought it would become a reality. On Sunday in San Diego, however, Marshall and West Virginia will do battle for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
-- As of late Saturday afternoon, most spots had West Virginia (25-10 SU, 16-15 ATS) listed as a 12.5-point favorite with a total of 159.5. Bettors can back the Thundering Herd to win outright for a +600 return (paid $600 on $100 wagers).
-- Marshall (25-10 SU, 21-11 ATS) has been an underdog of 9.5 points or more six times this season, producing a 4-2 spread record with a pair of outright victories.
-- Marshall is led by junior guard Jon Elmore, who had 27 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals in Friday’s 81-75 win over Wichita State as a 13.5-point underdog. He hit a pair of audacious 3-balls that both tied the game in the second half. The first came when he stopped and popped from the timeline. Another was stepback fadeaway trey that was well contests. Elmore played all 40 minutes, making 4-of-8 from downtown and 11-of-15 at the FT line. Ajdin Penava hit 6-of-9 FGAs and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. C.J. Burks added 13 points, while Jannson Williams had 10 points and seven boards.
-- Elmore paces the Thundering Herd in scoring (22.9 PPG) and assists (6.8 APG). He also averages 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Elmore has hit 95 treys, making 35.6 percent of his launches from deep. He’s making FTs at an 82.3 percent clip. Penava (15.5 PPG) averages team-highs in rebounding (8.5 RPG), FG percentage (55.6%) and blocked shots (3.9 BPG). He is the nation’s leading shot blocker. Burks averages 20.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He has buried 36.5 percent of his 3-balls, 47.9 percent of his FGAs and 88.5 percent of his FTs.
-- Marshall played at top-seeded Xavier back in December, easily covering the number as a 19.5-point underdog in an 81-77 loss to the Musketeers.
-- West Virginia advanced to the Round of 32 by beating Murray State 85-68 on Friday as a 10-point ‘chalk.’ Senior guard Jevon Carter led the way with 21 points, six steals, five rebounds and eight assists compared to just two turnovers. Sagaba Konate produced 14 points, seven boards and three blocked shots, while Teddy Allen had 16 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action from off the bench. Esa Ahmad was also in double figures with 12 points and six rebounds.
-- Carter leads WVU in scoring (17.1 PPG), assists (6.7 APG) and steals (2.9 SPG), and he also averages 4.7 RPG. Konate (10.9 PPG) paces the Mountaineers in rebounding (7.6 RPG), FG percentage (51.2%) and blocked shots (3.3 BPG). Daxter Miles Jr. averages 12.9 PPG and has 109 assists and 44 steals.
-- Bob Huggins’s squad has been horrible in double-digit ‘chalk’ roles, limping to a 2-6 spread record with a pair of outright defeats.
-- Since losing three straight games in late January, WVU has posted a 9-4 SU record and an 8-5 ATS mark. The Mountaineers have won six of their past eight games, going 5-3 ATS, with one of the losses coming at Texas in overtime.
-- It will be fascinating to watch Elmore go at Carter, who most consider the nation’s best on-the-ball defender.
-- Totals have been an overall wash (16-16) for the Thundering Herd, though we’ll note back-to-back appearances from the ‘under.’
-- The ‘over’ is on a 6-1 run for WVU to improve to 16-15 overall.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. Eastern on TBS.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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