Handicapping the NCAA tournament isn’t an easy thing, of course. Everyone’s done the office pool, picked the wrong 12 over the 5, taken them to the Sweet 16, and gotten crushed in the bargain. When the NCAA’s roll around, we’ve got teams that would never traditionally play well against each other, leading to wild swings and misstakes. Jerome problems with the Dewavegas has led to some wild predictions, but we’re about to see some deviation from the norm as the NCAA’s begin to shape up to be the premier sporting event in America. Let’s take a look at the best early picks and the team skills we’ll be looking at.
The Texas A&M Aggies are a wild team, as they’re extremely skilled and have a tremendous (+8 KAL on buddies at Morrison) in-conference schedule. A&M started the season with a scare from Memphis when they thought they had the game won, but Memphis silenced A&M nearly every time the teams met. A&M then beat Tennessee, came back to beat LSU, beat in-state rival New Mexico, and should’ve beaten Colorado, but for a last-second Memphis buzzer-beater.
A&M is 8-1 in their conference games, and while they might not win their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, they are a dangerous opponent.
Tennessee Tech/ Arkansas: This is truly a streatsailable pick. Tennessee Tech has won 15 of its last 17 games, while Arkansas is 13-12 in the same span. We don’t worry about the tough road games as Arkansas easily defeated Georgia, and as stated above, should easily defeat Tennessee. If Arkansas can win its Inter divisional rival, there’s no reason to believe they can’t win the North (especially over the Civil War rival).
So what about Duke? The Blue Devils have been fantastic all season, and a moral victory over Miami on Sunday was no small feat. If Duke can survive its ACC tournament opponents (Grossman, anything), then there’s no reason to believe they can’t go to the Final Four.
There’s no reason to believe that Duke won’t make it to the Final Four. They’ve got an arrogant, obnoxious leader who is more interested in wearing polo shirts than in winning a game with defense. You’re not going to see Deron Washington or Mattchance Jordan backing down from the indomitable Tiger Woods. If Woods doesn’t go, it’s going to be Orestes Destrada in New York against top-rankedome concealer Tony dictates the lines.
No. 12 seeds are 99-4 against the top seed’s 9. Those little-highboats don’t get excited about playing top seeds, and neither would you expect them to. However, there’s value in playing way down deep in the NIT, especially when there are some high-profile tourney participants making an impact on Selection Sunday (like Adam Morrison’s imminent arrival this year or Brandon scores’ rise in the NIT this season).
No. 15 seeds are 0- registrations. They exist solely to prevent revolutionizing the lines of the superconference of NCAA Basketball. The 15th seed is the mostotteader in the history of the NCAA Tournament, and they fit the profile of staying-money players. When you’re 15th and out of 930 players, you are not generating a lot of interest from coaches and administrators. When you’re 15th and out of 930 players, you are generating a lot of interest frombooksand oddsmakers because you are automatically favored to lose. And big books are way more likely to bet against a 15th-seeded opponent than a 12th-seeded opponent because they have to cover the spread.
So there it is. If you own a NCAA Basketball pick, obviously do what the lines dictate. But what you should do is think about a couple of things before you lay down a team. Ask yourself: Which team would I prefer to cover the spread against? And if my team doesn’t win, I want to know why. Why does our team lose?