Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Dinero Tracker - Mar. 19
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 2-2 | NCAA BB: 7-9
There's a reasonably good chance someone in single-digits in age is leading your bracket pool, which doesn't make me feel any better. Xavier going down in flames was a perfect way to end the college basketball weekend. My guarantees continue in a regrettable slump at an inopportune time. My life currently feels like the gif with that yellow dog staring ahead blankly with his coffee cup in front of him while engulfed in flames. This is fine. Move it along. Press on. Push forward. Here is Sunday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
MONDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Kings/Pistons UNDER 205.5
The Kings have shown some backbone over the past few games, beating the Warriors and then going into Salt Lake City and giving them an absolute battle. With Blake Griffin coming back through town and Willy Cauley-Stein in despite a finger injury, we're likely to get a game where both teams are giving their all on defense. Ride the under.
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.
Result: The Mountaineers put an end to the madness by throttling the Thundering Herd in a game that wasn't close enough to even get us a shot at a backdoor cover. Jevon Carter helped shut down Jon Elmore at the point of attack, limiting the elite shooter to 3-for-9 from 3-point range and eight turnovers. C.J. Burks shot 3-for-15 in West Virginia's 94-71 win.
The pick: Xavier -5.5
The Seminoles put together an impressive performance in the NCAA's first round, overcoming an early defecit to drop Missouri. The Tigers ran out of gas, but a better-conditioned Muskies squad should fare much better here. FSU will likely be without Terance Mann due to a groin strain, weakening its chances of scoring an upset. Ride Xavier -5.5, guaranteed.
Result: Mann unexpectedly played, contributing as FSU shockingly closed on a 31-14 run, scoring the final seven points to pull off a remarkable upset. A Chris Mack-coached team blew a lead against Leonard Hamilton's squad, not the other way around. Call an uber for this NCAA Tournament already.
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Rockets/Timberwolves UNDER 222
The Timberwolves were trounced in San Antonio last night, giving up 117 points, so Tom Thibodeau wants to see better attention to detail on defense and isn't likely to run as much against a Rockets squad they've lost to three times already just over a quarter of the way into 2018. Houston has toned down its pace and has seen games that have wound up on the low side on six straight occasions. With a large number to work with, we're riding the under as Sunday's guaranteed NBA winner.
Result: Houston came out and dropped a 77-point first half against the Timberwolves, so we had no shot here early. Minnesota showed off a pulse in the second half in a 129-120 loss that featured a skirmish and eclipsed the posted total with 4:21 remaining.
The pick: Trail Blazers/Clippers OVER 219.5
The Trail Blazers are on the road for the second night of a back-to-back as they look to win a 13th consecutive contest. L.A has averaged 119 points over its last five home games and will be playing at Staples for the first time in over a week before hitting the road again for four more challenging away games in a six-day span. The Clippers are very likely to extend this game and will run to see how much the Blazers have in the tank for a third game in four nights. Count on a fast pace and ride the over.
Result: The Blazers put their unexpected depth on display in scoring 98 points over the final three quarters against a Clips squad incapable of getting stops despite the presence of DeAndre Jordan because they don't have anyone to throw off rhythm at the point of attack until Avery Bradley returns. That's likely going to cost them a shot at the playoffs despite Lou Williams' continued brilliance off the bench. Portland rolled 122-109.
The pick: Texas A&M +8, A&M/UNC OVER 151.5
We’ll see here whether playing four games in as many days in the ACC Tournament last weekend affects Roy Williams’ team since there isn’t a ton of depth available and they’ll be up against a team that will create issues in the paint both ends thanks to power forward Robert Williams and center Tyler Davis, each of whom average over nine boards per game and will challenge UNC’s supremacy on the boards. The duo outrebounded Providence by themselves, 29-26. Williams called rebounding the most critical factor in his team’s game, which makes this a test for them to prove exactly how good they are at it and put it on display once again. A&M can pull off an upset if its superior size wins out, which will require staying out of foul trouble.
The under has prevailed in five of the last six games involving North Carolina this month as it has ramped up its defense in tournaments. The over has hit in eight of the last 11 A&M games, though only one of their games have gotten into the 150s, where this one started at. That contest, an 81-80 win at Auburn on Feb. 7, surpassed the posted total (153.5). We're taking the points with Texas A&M and riding the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: The Aggies came through in an 86-65 rout where they took full advantage of their edge in size and athleticism. We missed out on nailing the in-game parlay by a half-point.
The pick: Northern Colorado -7, Drake/UNC OVER 153.5
Drake survived Abilene Christian at home in a Monday early start at home, but faces a tough test here against a Bears squad that can really score and will have altitude working in their favor. Ride Northern Colorado and back the over for the in-game parlay in this CollegeInsider Tournament clash.
Result: As we came down the stretch in this one, a clear picture emerged that this line was right on the money. We'd have to get lucky to hit both but only an unfortunate break would lead to 0-for-2. The Bears did a great job at the free-throw line to maintain the cushion, keeping it from getting too tight. Drake came down on the game's final possession and missed a 3-pointer and a putback, unable to dent an 81-72 score that got us the cover but left us a half-point short on the over.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Michigan State -9.5
This is it for Syracuse in this NCAA Tournament. After edging Arizona State down the stretch on Wednesday and sneaking past TCU, the Orange face their first elite competition in these NCAAs, doing so in their third game in five days. This won't end well. Ride Michigan State and lay the points in what is likely to wind up a double-digit win.
Result: See how I share? Open book, even though the Spartans made me look ridiculous due to an inability to hit an outside shot. They never got the zone loosened up because they never got done laying bricks. Matt McQuaid, who is on the floor as a zone buster, shot 1-for-7. That's what Joshua Langford shot too. Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston finished a combined 6-for-23. If those guys each hit just one more shot from beyond the arc on a day where Michigan State shot 21 percent, it wins by 10.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Nevada +9, OVER 139.5
The Bearcats need to play their best game to keep this one from becoming interesting. Nevada must find a way to generate easy baskets and hit a good share of their 3-pointers to overcome the favored Bearcats but seem to have a puncher’s chance if Martin’s foot holds up. Cincinnati has stifled foes on the 3-point line. The Wolf Pack have thrived there. That battle of will decides whether there’s a chance of an upset. Ride Nevada plus the points and back the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: We couldn't have been happier for head coach Eric Musselman and his Wolf Pack. That man has put in the blood, sweat and tears and has proven naysayers who say working with so many transfers doesn't yield results dead wrong.
FURTHER PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Kansas State/UMBC UNDER 136.5
The Wildcats will again be without Dean Wade, the power forward who was their most important player throughout the season. Makol Mawien has stepped up in his absence as a force inside in his absence, so his emergence will keep K-State's identity intact. Ride the under in what should be a low-possession game.
Result: This one came easy in a week where almost nothing came without some conflict. K-State closed Cinderella's chapter 50-43 in a game that could've gone multiple overtimes and not reached this total.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]