Posted 03/13/2008 at 12:30 PM
12:25 p.m. Eastern: Georgetown is out to a 23-15 lead over Villanova, which can lock up -- at least in my opinion -- an at-large invite if it can upset Georgetown as a 6 1/2-point underdog. The Wildcats closed around plus 230 (risk $100 to win $230 on the money line).
WARNING to Big East Fans: ESPN's Jay Bilas is in major chafe mode this week!
As the Hoyas and 'Cats (don't you always think of the 1985 title game at Rupp Arena when these two teams tangle? How good was Rollie Massimino's team that night? Harold Jensen was automatic from mid-range, Gary McClain handled the Hoyas' vaunted press with poise and precision. Ed Pinckney played Patrick Ewing head-up all night, and Dwayne McClain and Harold Pressley were incredible) go to the 'under eight' TV timeout, Roy Hibbert just picked up his second foul. Interesting.
12:30ish: Dayton has a slim lead over Xavier (17-15) early and that's an interesting development. The Flyers become a bubble player if they can beat the Muskateers.
Other score updates: FSU out to an eight-point lead over Wake Forest, Michigan out to a double-digit lead over Iowa, and that chafes me because I gave the Wolverines some consideration but inexplicably failed to pull the trigger.
12:35ish: Jonathan Wallace is feeling it for G'twn, which leads by 12 and has sent 'Nova's Scottie Reynolds to the sidelines bleeding and possibly in need of stitches. Quick Alert: I LOVE LSU today. The Bayou Bengals, who are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games, face South Carolina in the SEC lid-lifter at the Georgia Dome at 1:00 Eastern. Go get on it -- now!
Five games in my pick pack if anyone is interested.
Another game I like that's about to tip is UAB as a short 'chalk' (3.5 most spots) vs. Tulsa. Not as much as LSU, but I like the Blazers nonetheless. Robert Vaden will drop 30 on the Golden Hurricane.
12:45ish: I gotta give Leonard Hamilton some credit -- he's got his 'Noles playing pretty good basketball. FSU has a double-digit lead on the Deacs. The ACC telecast just interviewed one of my favorite all-time players EVER -- Tyrone "Mugsy" Bogues. (For Curb Enthusiasm junkies like me: How GREAT was that scene in the bathroom with Mugsy and Larry David?!?!)
That slim lead Dayton had? Forget about it. Xavier now up 33-23 with two minutes and change left until intermission. Dayton closed as a 10-point 'dog at most spots. On that note (of Flyers being a bubble team), here are the teams that need to win the most today:
1-Florida (vs. 'Bama)
2-Dayton (vs. Xavier)
3-Villanova (vs. Georgetown)
4-UAB (vs. Tulsa)
5-Maryland (vs. BC)
6-Miami (vs. N.C. St.)
7-Ole Miss (vs. UGA)
8-Oregon (vs. Washington St.)
9-UNLV (vs. TCU)
10-Houston (vs. UTEP)
Halftime of the noon games: Ok, I have two second-half-wager suggestions for gamblers:
1-Wake Forest: The Deacs trail FSU by five at intermission. They are a pick 'em are -1 at most books, equating to plus 4 or 5 for the game. I say they'll win outright.
2-Villanova: 'Cats trail by 11, looking at about a pick 'em, so a good four to 4.5 points of value from the original line.
Don't throw the ranch on those two, but for those of you that didn't get any action down before the tips, get on 'em. We got day games so let's gamble! Might also give some consideration to the 'Nova-G'twn second-half 'under.' The first-half 'over' cashed easy, as G'twn leads 40-29 (think 1H total was 56-57 range). Looking at a 2H total of 70, which added to 69 gives us a total of 139. I like that 'under' as we get about 15 points of value from original line (closed in the 124.5 range if I'm not mistaken).
My co-hort Chris David is also a fan of this 'Nova-G'twn 'under' that you still have a few minutes to get on.
1:10ish p.m. ET.: Allright, have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Gators tonight? Seriously, they win by double digits, can't believe the number is less than five!
Other storylines for today: Georgia's Dennis Felton might be coaching for his job tonight against Ole Miss, which just beat the Dawgs in Athens by 14 on Sunday. Then again, the decision might already be made. Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks Felton deserves another year, and I agree. I have taken a few shots at Felton because of all the player defections each year. And I do think he should take the blame for that -- he's either being too strict and running too tight a ship, or he's making bad decisions in recruiting. Nevertheless, he inherited a mess after the Harrick/Tony Cole Fiasco. And I know this: The dude can coach. His teams get after it, although they are always inferior personnel-wise (mostly because they are down to 7-8 scholarship players by mid-January every year). Anyway, UGA should give him another year. Regardless, Felton is a class act who will land on his feet.
Back to the games...nice early run by 'Nova to cut the deficit to six as the Hoyas get a TO with 17 and change left. The Hoyas don't want to give 'Nova a pulse like this. Let's see how they respond...
1:20ish: Oh boy, the drama is building at the Garden (now that Boston Garden is long gone). At the 16:12 mark, Roy Hibbert goes to the bench with his fourth foul. Somewhat shaky call, but hey, didn't the Hoyas get a call with .1 seconds left 75 feet from the basket in the last meeting?!?! 'Nova now clearly has the momentum (and the crowd support) and has trimmed the deficit to 40-39 at the 'under 16' TV timeout. I smell a nut-cutter that's gonna go to the wire. And yeah, I'm liking my 'Nova 2H suggestion!
1:40ish: Hoyas on a run to take a nine-point lead. Villanova's trainer needs to get it together as Reynolds' cut has opened again and he's missing precious minutes right now as they try to stop the bleeding (again) and get 'em patched up.
Quick Thought: Didn't mean to leave Ohio St. off that top 10 teams needing a win tonight. The Bucks play Michigan St. as 5 1/2-point 'dogs tonight.
Not a good start for my LSU play, as South Carolina is out to a 35-31 lead late in the first half. As for FSU-Wake, the 'Noles are up 10 with eight minutes left. Ouch! Xavier leads Dayton 58-50 at the 'under' 8 TV timeout.
'Nova was down 51-50 when Reynolds went out bleeding again. He's STILL not back in as 'Nova now trails 62-55.
Want to invite all of you to tune in for the Power Hours tonight on VI Radio from 6:00-8:00 Eastern. I've got two guests lined up -- Marc Lawrence at 6:30 and James Manos at 7:00. Lawrence is absolutely on fire in college hoops, posting a 20-4 record in his last 24 selections. As for Manos, he's been No. 1 on VI all year with more than 39 units of profit for the season.
With 5:09 left, Hibbert just fouled out with zero points and four rebounds. Get the cream cheese out for Roy. I can't BELIEVE Scottie Reynolds is not back in the game yet. I know he's a bad cut over his eye, but get that stitched up and get your ass on the court. I'm not necessarily calling him out -- I think it's on the training staff. Hoyas lead by nine...
Jessie Sapp just drained a three that's the likely dagger for Jay Wright's team. Hoyas up by 15 with 3:34 left. And yeah, I'm not so much liking my 'Nova 2H suggestion now.
However, LSU now down just three at intermission and UAB has a six-point lead at the break.
3:40ish: Allright, I'm back, albeit a little bruised a tad bloody from a HORRIBLE start to the day. Fortunately, we've got games galore and a comeback is in store. Let's update the early bloodbath for yours truly.
UAB loses outright to Tulsa. Couple that bad loss with the failure to close Memphis when the Blazers hosted the Tigers in B-ham, in addition to that pimpslap UAB took at Memphis last week, and you have a bubble busted. In my opinion, two teams are goners from the bubble conversation the last 24 hours -- UAB and Syracuse. We can probably throw Dayton out as well, but let's give credit to the Flyers for hooking up their backers as 10-point 'dogs in a nine-point loss to Xavier.
LSU goes down to South Carolina by a 77-73 count, so the career of Dave Odom continues for another day. The Gamecocks will take on Tennessee tomorrow in the SEC lid-lifter at 1:00. As for Butch Pierre, who did a solid job on an interim basis (especially for our purposes), any improbable chance of him securing the LSU gig full time is out the window. I think VCU's Anthony Grant can have the LSU or South Carolina jobs if he wants, unless Tim Floyd is tempted to leave Tinseltown and return to his roots in the Bayou.
Michigan held off Iowa at the Big Ten Tourney in Indy, while Oklahoma St. pushed past Texas Tech 76-72 as a four-point 'chalk.'
To the games in process...West Virginia has a 46-38 advantage over UConn early in the second half. Down the street at the Georgia Dome, Vandy has a 28-22 lead over Auburn at the 'under 8' TV timeout.
We have an extremely interesting development at the Big 12 Tournament. Colorado has a shocking 13-point lead over Baylor at intermission. Baylor is a team that I have "in," but a bad loss to the Buffs, especially if it is of the double-digit variety, could change things.
THURSDAY UPDATE: The rest of the day was a bloodbath for both myself and my alma mater. Gators go down to 'Bama. Felton maybe saves his job with OT win over Ole Miss. Pitt (moderately surprises) Louisville. I dodge an 0-for-Thursday thanks to an 'over' winner with Marquette-Notre Dame.
Randon Thoughts to wrap:
1-WVU's Joe Alexander playing better than any player in the nation right now, including UNC's Psycho T and K-State's Beasley.
2-I want Florida and Syracuse to meet in first round of NIT in a rematch of a classic Sweet 16 game in the 1987 Tournament at the Meadowlands. With the Gators leading by five with just over four minutes left, the game turned on an unreal play. Andrew Moten, a product of Quincy Shanks High School, shook Sherman Douglas with a sick cross-over dribble and appeared to be on his way to an easy lay-up and seven-point lead for UF. However, a lanky (I swear he was in '87) freshman power forward named Derrick Coleman came out of nowhere and rejected Moten's attempt (almost goaltending, but it wasn't). Douglas grabbed the ball and threw a length-of-the-floor chest pass that hit Howard Triche in stride. Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell tried to block the shot from behind, but Triche got the bucket (and one) for a crucial five-point swing. The 'Cuse went on to win and kept winning (beating a UNC team led by J.R. Reid) until Keith Smart's baseline jumper in the title game in N'awlins gave Indiana the national title.
3-GREAT Big East doubleheader Friday night!