Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM
Tuesday's First Four Tips
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The 2019 NCAA Tournament gets started with Tuesday’s First Four doubleheader in Dayton, OH. The winners advance to play again on Thursday, while the losers go home. It’s Tourney Time, folks, and that means there’s no tomorrow. Winners survive and move on, while losers go home in the one-and-done scenario that makes this event one of the best in all of sports.
Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Prairie View A&M
-- As of Monday night, most books had Fairleigh Dickinson (20-13 straight up, 18-13 against the spread) listed as a two-point favorite with a total of 149.5.
-- KenPom.com ranks FDU at No. 208 in the nation and Prairie View A&M is No. 209. The only team in the field ranked worse is North Carolina Central (No. 303).
-- FDU’s best win is a 77-66 victory at Princeton (No. 175 at K-Pom). The Knights lost 90-55 at Rutgers, 69-59 at Providence and 60-54 at South Florida.
-- FDU brings an eight-game winning streak to Dayton. The Knights won the Northeast Tournament by capturing an 85-76 win over St. Francis (PA.) in the finals. They won outright as four-point underdogs thanks to 63.8 percent shooting from the field, 53.8 percent shooting from long distance and 90.0 percent shooting from the free-throw line. Darnell Edge made all seven of his FTAs and scored 21 points. Jahlil Jenkins added 20 points, three assists and a pair of steals, while Kaleb Bishop finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Mike Holloway Jr. contributed 12 points and five assists, making 5-of-7 field-goal attempts.
-- Edge leads the Knights in scoring (16.4 points per game) and free-throw accuracy (88.5%), and he’s also drained 46.9 percent of his 3-pointers. Jenkins (13.5 PPG) averages team-bests in assists (4.6 APG) and steals (1.6 SPG) and has knocked down 87.4 percent of his FTAs. Holloway (12.5 PPG) averages 5.5 RPG and has 33 steals and a team-high 34 blocked shots.
-- FDU is ranked fifth in the nation in 3-point accuracy, splashing the nets from downtown at a 40.3 percent clip. The Knights are 30th in the country in field-goal percentage (47.8%).
-- FDU is looking for its first NCAA Tournament win in program history. The Knights are 0-5 in previous appearances.
-- Prairie View A&M (22-12 SU, 18-14-1 ATS) has won 11 games in a row and hasn’t tasted defeat since Feb. 9. The Panthers are 8-3 ATS during their winning streak and have covered the spread in six straight games. They won the SWAC Tournament with a 92-86 win over Texas Southern as two-point underdogs. Dennis Jones and Gary Blackston led six double-figure scorers with 17 points apiece. Jones had four assists and three steals, while Blackston finished with 17 points, six steals and four rebounds.
-- Like FDU, Prairie View A&M has just one win over a team in the K-Pom Top 200. The Panthers won their opener at Santa Clara (No. 185) by an 81-64 count. Some defeats of note include an 83-67 loss at Murray St., a 65-54 loss at Ga. Tech, a 74-66 loss at UNC Greensboro and a 91-80 loss at Baylor.
-- Blackston leads the Panthers in scoring (15.2 PPG) and rebounding (7.0 RPG). Jones (8.6 PPG) paces Prairie View A&M in assists (4.4 APG) and steals (2.1 SPG), while Devonte Patterson (13.0 PPG) and Gerard Andrus (10.0) are also double-figure scorers.
-- Prairie View A&M is in its second NCAA Tournament and first since 1998. The Panthers commit an average of 21.7 fouls per game, which is the fourth-most in the country. This stat is something for bettors looking at the total should keep in mind.
-- Prairie View A&M is ranked 34th in the nation at defending the 3-point line (31.3%). The Panthers don’t shoot well from long distance, however, making only 31.2 percent of their treys to rank No. 318 in the country.
-- The ‘over’ has hit in four consecutive contests for the Panthers to improve to 20-13 overall.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in four of FDU’s past five games to improve to 17-14 overall.
-- Tip-off on TruTV is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Eastern.
Temple vs. Belmont
-- As of Monday night, most books had Belmont (26-5 straight up, 19-10-1 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite with the total in the 155-156 range. The Owls were +135 on the money line (risk $100 to win $135). For first-half wagers, the Bruins were favored by 1.5 points (with -115 or -120 juice) and the total was 72.5.
-- The Temple-Belmont winner will advance to face the East Region’s No. 6 seed, Maryland, on Thursday at 3:10 p.m. Eastern (or 30 minutes after the conclusion of Yale vs. LSU) in Jacksonville at Veterans Memorial Arena.
-- Belmont is a name hardcore college basketball fans are plenty familiar with, as is its head coach Rick Byrd, who has more than 800 career wins. The other coaches in this Tournament with more than 800 career victories? Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim. This team went through anxiety galore from the time its 14-game winning streak was halted by Murray State at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament finals up until its name popped up on the screen during CBS’s Selection Show late Sunday afternoon.
-- Since 2004, Byrd has taken Belmont to seven NCAA Tournaments, four NIT appearances and one trip to the CIT quarterfinals. This is the Bruins’ eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament on Byrd’s watch and its first at-large berth. They are still seeking their first Tournament victory. This is the 65-year-old Byrd’s 33rd season with the program that was competing at the NAIA level up until 1996. Byrd has led the Bruins to at least 20 wins in nine consecutive seasons.
-- Belmont center Nick Muszynski was listed as ‘questionable’ due to an ankle injury sustained in the OVC Tournament semifinals, but he was upgraded to ‘probable’ Monday night. Muszynski, who was named the OVC Freshman of the Year, has averaged 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.2 blocked shots in 29 games for the Bruins.
-- Belmont didn’t have Muszynski in its loss to Murray State by a 77-65 count in the finals of the OVC Tournament. Without Muszynski, the Racers outrebounded the Bruins by a 46-31 margin. Senior forward Dylan Windler had 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in defeat. Kevin McClain finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists without a turnover.
-- Windler averages a double-double (21.4 PPG, 10.7 RPG), makes 54.8 percent of his FGAs, 43.0 percent of his treys, 84.6 percent of his FTAs and averages 1.4 steals per game. The senior forward had 32 points and 21 rebounds in his team’s win over Austin Peay in the OVC Tournament semifinals, becoming just the fifth player in college basketball to produce a 30/20 game this year. Windler ranks 10th in the nation in rebounding, 14th in double-doubles with 17, 17th in 3-point accuracy, 27th in scoring and 49th in FG percentage. As a junior last season, he averages 17.3 points and 9.3 RPG.
-- McClain averages 16.3 PPG and has a 126/69 assist-to-turnover ratio. Grayson Murphy (9.8 PPG) ranks 12th in the country in assists (6.6 APG with a 204/77 assist-to-turnover ratio) and has a team-high 52 steals. He is a liability at the free-throw line, however, making only 57.8 percent of his attempts.
-- Belmont ranks third in the nation in road wins with 12. Only Stony Brook and UC Irvine, who have 13 apiece, have more road victories than the Bruins.
-- Belmont owns a 7-6 spread record in 13 games as a single-digit favorite.
-- During ESPN’s Tournament Challenge Marathon on Monday night, the network’s Jay Bilas said, “Belmont beats Temple. I think Maryland is better than Belmont, but I think Belmont will give them a hard time because they spread you and they have great cutting and they’re a fantastic passing team. Because of Maryland’s youth and their bigs that’ll have to chase, I think Belmont can do it.” Rece Davis added, “I’ve got Belmont going to the Sweet 16.” Seth Greenberg had this to say about Muszynski: “That dude is big, he’s physical and can pass and when he gets it, dudes are cutting like crazy.”
-- Temple (23-9 SU, 15-15 ATS) had won three games in a row until bowing out of the AAC Tournament quarterfinals in an 80-74 loss to Wichita St. as a 1.5-point favorite. The Shockers outscored the Owls 9-2 in the last 1:25. Shizz Alston Jr. scored a team-best 20 points in the losing effort. Quinton Rose added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Ernest Aflakpui finished with 16 points and 19 boards. Nate Pierre-Louis was also in double figures with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists compared to just one turnover.
-- Temple head coach Fran Dunphy is retiring after this 29th season as a head coach in Philadelphia. From 1990-2006, Dunphy led Penn to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and five unbeaten seasons against Ivy League competition. After winning 310 games for the Quakers, Dunphy left for Temple in 2006. He has taken the Owls to eight NCAA Tournaments and two NITs. However, we must note that Dunphy’s NCAA Tournament record is an abysmal 3-15.
-- Temple is 2-5 SU against teams in the NCAA Tournament field. The Owls owns wins over Houston and UCF.
-- Alston leads the Owls in scoring (19.7 PPG), assists (5.0 APG) and free-throw accuracy (90.7%). The senior guard from Philadelphia also has 49 steals. Rose averages 16.5 PPG and has a team-best 68 steals. Pierre-Louis averages 13.3 points and 5.7 RPG.
-- Temple owns a 5-4-1 spread record with four outright victories in 10 games as an underdog.
-- The ‘over’ is 18-14 overall for the Owls after going 6-2 in their past eight outings.
-- The ‘over’ is 16-14 overall for the Bruins, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in three straight contests.
-- This game will tip on TruTV 30 minutes after the conclusion of Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Prairie View A&M.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets
-- With Murray State and Belmont in the field of 68, the OVC has multiple NCAA Tournament teams for the first time since 1987.
-- When I think of a sleeper team, I think of one that’s seeded fifth or worse. On that note, my sleeper for this year is sixth-seeded Iowa State.
-- If Seton Hall advances past Wofford, it will most likely face Kentucky. The Pirates beat the Wildcats on a neutral court back in non-conference play.
-- What double-digit seeds have the best chance of advancing to the Sweet 16? In order, I’d say Oregon, Murray State, Florida, UC Irvine and Northeastern.
-- Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson announced Monday that star sophomore forward Daniel Gafford is turning pro early and will not play in the NIT. Gafford averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 RPG for the Razorbacks, who are 5.5-point underdogs in Tuesday’s NIT opener at Providence. With Anderson’s job security in peril, this sure seems like a lame move. NBADraft.net has Gafford listed as the No. 20 overall pick in its latest mock draft. I remember South Carolina’s Renaldo Balkman dominating the 2006 NIT to go from possibly going undrafted to the No. 20 overall picks in the first round to the New York Knicks. Gafford should be playing and trying to improve his stock.
-- Anderson isn’t the only coach in the NIT who might need a deep run to retain his job. Many think that Alabama’s Avery Johnson could be in trouble for missing the NCAA Tournament for the third time during his four-year tenure. The Crimson Tide lost at the buzzer to Texas A&M, allowed a 21-point halftime lead to get away in a loss to Georgia St. and gave up a healthy second-half lead in a home loss to Auburn. If Johnson’s team avoids those outcomes, possibly just one or two of them, it would be in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, it’s a No. 1 seed in the NIT and hosts Norfolk St. on Wednesday at Coleman Coliseum. The Tide is an 18-point ‘chalk.’ Yes, Johnson has a large buyout but there’s the possibility that his agent is shopping for an NBA gig and he might leave on his own. If Johnson does leave in one way or another, potential Alabama targets could include Thad Matta, Andy Kennedy, Richard Pitino, Steve Prohm and Gregg Marshall.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.