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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 3-3 | NCAA BB: 3-2
I had plays on every CollegeInsider Tournament contest and already caught a tough loss you can credit March madness for. The college lock came in and both CIT totals hit, but the NBA guarantee came up short. Here is Monday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):TUESDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Jazz -8
I hope Stan Van Gundy gets a crack at coaching the team he's helped put together when the Pistons shake up their current structure this offseason, but right now, it's unfair to expect much out of his team. Reggie Bullock joins Stanley Johnson in being hampered by back issues, so an already thin wing rotation is hurting. Reggie Jackson is close to returning, but his continued absence means Ish Smith, Jameer Nelson and Dwight Buycks continue in his place. Watching Brandon Jennings go off last night in his NBA return with the Bucks probably didn't sit too well with Detroit fans. Look for the Jazz to roll to a seventh straight win here. They've won the last four by double-digits and will do so again. Ride Utah and lay the points.
MONDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Bucks -7.5
Slowly but surely, Jabari Parker is working the rust off his game and becoming a factor as new head coach Joe Prunty gets to work on experimenting with putting his best lineups out there. The Bucks have been terrible against the spread of late, covering just one of their last eight games in a 2-9 run since Feb. 13, but have won and covered in their last three games as a road favorite and should control a game against a Grizzlies team that is been held 280 or fewer points and their last two contests. Ride Milwaukee.
Result: Milwaukee hooked up the freebie fans with a stress-free 121-103 rout in Memphis. It's on you if there were nervous mements when the Grizzlies closed within six with 6:30 to go, but you shouldn't be so skittish. The Bucks outscored Memphis 24-12 from that point to win 121-103. Brandon Jennings returned to the NBA with 16 points, eight boards and 12 assists in under 24 minutes of action. Anyone offering odds on him getting a second 10-day contract?
The pick: San Diego -9.5
Although USD head coach Lamont Smith resigned due to a sexual assault investigation, he ultimately wasn't charged. It sounds like the school is moving on, but his acquittal should make it easier for players to turn the page and this tournament offers a nice opportunity. The Torerors were fantastic at the Jenny Craig Pavilion this season and get a Hartford squad with limited depth that had to fly cross-country for this CIT opener. If John Carroll or J.R. Lynch get into foul trouble, this will get ugly. Ride San Diego -9.5, guaranteed.
Result: Hartford showed up ready to play, which kept the Toreros sharp early and allowed them to find a rhythm they sustained throughout despite top scorer Isaiah Pineiro landing in foul trouble. Six scored in double-figures as San Diego won 88-72.
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Spurs/Rockets OVER 209.5
The Spurs will be relying on a team-based approach to offense without LaMarcus Aldridge in the mix, so Rudy Gay will likely have to be aggressive and isn't at 100% to trust in that role yet. With Manu Ginobili resting and Kawhi Leonard not debuting until later in the week, the Spurs are extremely vulnerable heading into Houston, where a fan base that hasn't seen its team in a while is set to pack the house for a rivalry game. With James Harden back, the Rockets are going to find easy offense and proved in Dallas that this road trip hasn't done anything to cool off their strokes or tire their legs. The Spurs are going to have to score to hang around, which means they can't slow the game down to have any shot. Ride the over, guaranteed.
Result: I wound up splitting here since the Rockets covered, but the Spurs getting so bogged down early doomed this play. Houston held San Antonio to 67 points through three quarters and 40.7 percent shooting for the evening.
BAD BEAT BULLETIN
The pick: Drake -8.5
Abilene Christian found out that it would make its postseason debut a few days ago since they didn't qualify for even the Southland Tourney. The Wildcats are extremely limited in terms of depth, so they can't afford Jalone Friday or Jaren Lewis landing in foul trouble. Keeping both out against a team that can attack proficiently is unlikely, so expect Reed Timmer to be able to close out a double-digit win down the stretch, keeping Abilene Christian from hanging around. Ride Drake -8.5.
Result: Friday did land in foul trouble and the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half, reaching the 2:00 mark up by 10 after a Nick McGlynn layup. Abilene Christian than forced OT with a 10-0 run highlighted by sloppy Drake turnovers. Drake won in OT, but it finished 80-73.
The pick: Liberty/North Carolina A&T UNDER 141
This is an awfully high total for a Ritchie McKay-coached team, especially given the fact that unlike many MEAC teams, the Aggies don't prefer to run at all costs. They have bigs who can at least make their presence felt down low, so unless we get a bad whistle, I don't see these teams combining to reach this total. Ride the under in this CIT contest.
Result: This wasn't in doubt after the opening tip-off, and at one point, I think the Flames caught fire -- sorry -- and hit seven straight shots. Liberty won 65-52.
The pick: IPFW -5
The Mastodons have a huge edge here, getting to roll out of bed ready to play this morning in their home gym against a team that is going to run with them. On TV, too. Look for a wide open game in this CIT opener, which you can watch on CBS College Sports Network. Ride IPFW and the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: Central Michigan pulled off the first upset of the week, claiming the first postseason tourney game 94-89 in Fort Wayne. The Mastodons had their chances to take control, but missed too many wide open 3-point looks they typically make.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Heat +7
The Heat know they have to push tempo to stay engaged in Portland given how well Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are playing, so look for the faster pace that prevailed against Washington to be in play here, especially with Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade, both ball-stoppers, sidelined here. The Heat should hang around. Take the points with Miami and ride the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: Miami made a late run, but was largely overwhelmed by Portland's Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic in a 115-99 loss. Those two combined for 59 points to lead the Trail Blazers to their league-best 10th consecutive win.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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