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Super Bowl Review and College Hoops Thoughts
by Al McMordie - 02/09/2006
Well it certainly wasnâ€™t one of the best played Super Bowl games of all time. Key penalties, sloppy play and astounding turnovers marred the annual event. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck put up far better numbers (26-of-49 for 273 yards) than counterpart Ben Roethlisberger (9-of-21, 123 yards, no TDs, two INTs), who finally looked like a 23-year old after a brilliant postseason run. But it was Big Benâ€™s team that got the win -- and the money -- in a convincing 21-10 victory.
Look at it this way: The Steelers played about as bad as they could play, with dropped passes, two interceptions from their quarterback, and even lost the turnover battle 2-to-1. Yet, despite all that, they still won the game by double digits. This is a well coached team with a truly superb defense under imaginative coordinator Dick LeBeau. Once they got the lead, their run defense and zone blitzes played havoc with Seattle, just as they had the last three games with the Bengals, Colts and Broncos.
Seattle had close to 400 total yards, but in the end all they could muster was 10 points. Like the Eagles last season, the underdog Seahawks had countless first half opportunities and great field position to put some pressure on the Steelers. They could have been up 10-0 or even 14-0, but failed to capitalize. And in the blink of an eye, it was 7-3 Pittsburgh at the half. You knew the Steelers wouldnâ€™t play that badly in the second half, so Seattle kind of missed their opportunity. From then on they played a desperate game of catch-up, especially after Willie Parkerâ€™s electrifying TD run made it 14-3 Pittsburgh. The Steelers are not a team that you want to play catch up on.
The Pittsburgh coaching staff has pulled out trick plays all during the playoffs, and Antwaan Randle El's 43-yard TD pass to Hines Ward clinched Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory. Congratulations to Bill Cowher, too, one of the best coaches in the NFL for a long time. It was nice to see a guy pay his dues and get a ring. He, and the Steel City, deserve it.
Now that football season is behind us, itâ€™s time to delve deep into both college and pro basketball. Here are some statistical tidbits to chew on in college basketball. Georgetown is 8-1 SU, 5-3 ATS at home as it makes some noise with a dynamite offense. Injury-plagued Cincinnati may have won 11 of its first 14 home games, but they have been money-burners at 3-8 ATS.
Understand that some teams are worth a look at over or under the total for significant reasons. Louisville started 13-3 under the total largely because of injuries and a young offense. However, they just got Taquan Dean back, so perhaps the offense might begin to improve. But coach Rick Pitino has admitted all season that they are very young, which explains why theyâ€™ve been overvalued at 5-13 ATS.
A couple of teams continue to be strong plays under the total because they play a brilliant, choking, slow down defense. Southern Illinois of the Missouri Valley Conference is 15-8 under the total. They had a recent stretch going 12 straight games under the total! This team takes great pride in shutting down opponents, and notice they are 9-1 under the total at home. Northwestern, too, plays a slow down style allowing 59 ppg. The Wildcats are 11-5 under the total.
In addition, as conference play heats up, we are approaching tournament time. Over the next few weeks you will find many teams having bad seasons that just donâ€™t care anymore. Here are some money-burners to chew on that may be packing it in: James Madison is a poor 2-9 SU, 3-7 ATS at home, St. Bonnie is 1-8 SU, 3-9 ATS on the road allowing 80 ppg, Western Michigan is 2-8 SU, 3-7 ATS on the road. And Utah continues to be overvalued based on its long reputation as a great program under Rick Majerus. Rick is long gone and the Utes are a poor 2-7 SU/ATS on the road, though they did cover at home last night for us. Good luck as always...Al McMordie.