Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Dinero Tracker - March 18
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 3-2 | NCAA BB: 7-5
The guarantees are in a regrettable slump at an inopportune time. Even though the freebie came in, we're looking for a big end to a rough week. Here is Saturday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
SUNDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Marshall +13
The Thundering Herd had to pull off the first NCAA Tourney win in program history in their first trip since 1987 just to get the Mountaineers to play them outside Morgantown. Dan D'Antoni hinted that he wants no part of rekindling a series that's gone dormant the past two seasons if it isn't a home-and-home or back in Charleston, so we'll see what happens in this unique opportunity way out in San Diego. The Mountaineers have dominated in winning nine of 10, including five in a row. They're a heavy favorite here since their defensive pressure should make life tough on a team that runs and guns, but they have been vulnerable against teams that can space you out and shoot it well. Take the points with Marshall.
SATURDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Trail Blazers -8.5
The Trail Blazers look for their 12th consecutive win and should have numerous backcourt advantages over the slumping Pistons, who have basically dropped out of contention for an Eastern Conference playoff spot thanks to this massive slide they've continued on. With Jusuf Nurkic playing well enough that you can count on him to occupy Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin stuck in a rut that has seen him shoot less than 45 percent from the field as he falls in love with the 3-point shot, this won't end well for Detroit. Lay the points and ride Portland.
Result: Portland cruised to a 100-87 win, but nearly fumbled away the cover late when Detroit made one last push to get within 91-84 with 3:51 to go. Fortunately, Al-Farouq Aminu immediately hit a 3-pointer and the Pistons went cold again, failing to score until there were 32.6 seconds left to end a 9-0 Blazers run. Portland won 100-87.
The pick: Tennessee -5
The Ramblers survived Miami but should come up empty against the loaded Volunteers and their ability to create matchup problems through Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield. Loyola isn't used to the elite level of athleticism they'll see here, especially with guys who can shoot it extremely well. Lay the points and ride Tennessee, guaranteed.
Result: Schofield couldn't miss to open the game, but Loyola took control and led for most of the half before its late collapse. There was never a point we were going to cover here unless there was OT, so seeing Sister Jean smile made us feel slightly better despite my dismay when Clayton Custer got that wild bounce to send Loyola-Chicago to the Sweet 16. I give the kid props for admitting he missed that shot and got help since it was pretty clear he did. .
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Hornets -6
Hornets star guard Kemba Walker owned Madison Square Garden in his college days and has had some strong moments there as a pro, so I'd expect the Knicks point guard rotation to have their hands full here. The Hornets have no room for error with the Heat well over .500 in the No. 8 spot, so considering they've dropped six of eight, this is a must-win. Lay the points and ride Charlotte, guaranteed.
Result: Even down 57-50 after allowing 35 second-quarter points to New York, I liked the Hornets chances of rising up and coming through. Second-half bets were quickly put to rest when the Knicks won the third quarter 42-17, closing on a 32-7 run. Walker hit a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter but finished with just 10 points. Complete whiff and no-show. Stick a fork in the Bees.
BAD BEAT BULLETIN
The pick: Seton Hall +5
Center Udonna Azubuike will be back for the Jayhawks, but expecting him to pick up where he left off against Angel Delgado and a physical Seton Hall squad is a tall order. We should see the Pirates pull off the upset outright. Take the 5 points and back Seton Hall.
Result: We came out on the plus side here after it looked like Delgado's monster 20-20 game would go unrewarded without even a cover. Kansas persevered despite an off night from Devonte Graham as Malik Newman shined, but the Pirates remained in position to cover until the final seconds due to a flurry of 3-pointers. Down 7 as the final seconds trickled down, Myles Powell fired up a "meaningless" 3-pointer that fell at the buzzer to make the final score 83-79. Prayers go out to KU bettors and those victimized by 28 points being scored in the final 1:05 to help the over come in miraculously.
The pick: Rockets/Pelicans OVER 226.5
The under has prevailed in five straight Rockets games, as they've held four of their last five opponents to under 100 points, but I think we'll see a brisk pace to this Gulf Coast showcase. The last time they got together produced a 115-113 game in which DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season in a victory. Look for another high-scoring affair and ride the over.
Result: We got the first quarter we wanted with the Rockets taking a 32-29 edge into the second, but the action slowed down significantly from there. Without OT, this never had a shot of coming in. Houston won 107-101.
The pick: Houston +4.5
Coming off a brutal game against Montana, Michigan is counting on a stronger game out of big man Mo Wagner, who was a no-show. Montana didn't punish Michigan for its lack of offense on Friday, but the Cougars are well-equipped to pull off a surprise. Take the points with Houston.
Result: The Cougars still cashed, but there was no elation around these parts after watching Michigan's Jordan Poole drain that game-winning 30-footer at the buzzer. Sure, Houston made its own bed by missing key free throws down the stretch but deserved better given how well it played over the final minutes. Rob Gray had done enough to help his team into the Sweet 16.
The pick: Texas Tech ML -120
This matchup between point guards Keenan Evans and Chris Chiozza is likely to be tightly contested and go down to the wire. It's easier to trust the better shooter and craftier playmaker in Evans, especially with the better defense behind him. Ride Texas Tech on the money line to avoid laying the 1.5 points.
Result: The Gators had multiple chances to break our hearts with a game-tying 3-pointer before the final buzzer but failed to put one in. Oh my! We won a close one. Evans came through in fantastic fashion despite not being at 100 percent.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Notre Dame -5.5, ND/Penn State OVER 140
The Fighting Irish took out Hampton easily and will look to continue playing at seniors bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell each want to extend their careers and make up for their NCAA tournament snub by hanging an NIT championship banner at the Joyce Center. Although Tony Carr was held in check, Penn State was able to survive Temple but will meet its match on the road in South Bend. Ride Notre Dame and the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: The Nittany Lions took control of this game early, an extended 3-point line gave Notre Dame major issues and we were ultimately never in this. Making matters worse, Colson ended his college career on the bench due to injury. It was a bitter St. Patrick's Day for the Fighting Irish, who fell 73-63.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Wizards -4/OVER 208.5
Scott Brooks read his team the riot act after falling behind against Boston the other night and has asked for the intensity level to be ramped up with John Wall's return on the horizon. The Pacers are going to be without Domantas Sabonis and unlikely to have Myles Turner, so defensive liability Al Jefferson will be forced into major minutes. Ride Washington and the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: Indiana never quit on this game, which really helped our cause on the total. Despite never getting closer than seven points, the Pacers worked diligently to trim a 20-point deficit with 6:30 to go down to single-digits. By playing the foul game, we eclipsed the posted total on a pair of Bradley Beal free throws and a Joe Young layup inside the final 30 seconds.
FURTHER PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Duke -9.5
It's difficult to imagine the Rams giving the Blue Devils too difficult a time since they struggle to score effectively and won't be able to keep Marvin Bagley and Co. from controlling the paint. Expect a double-digit win as Coach K eliminates Dan Hurley's Rhody squad. Lay the points and ride Duke.
Result: The Blue Devils cruised in an impressive 87-62 rout that got Saturday's NCAA action off to a strong start.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]