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College Hoops Tourney Notes

   by Al McMordie - 03/07/2005

If you're a fan of college basketball and still don't feel quite satiated, you are about to get a fulfillment for the ages, much like a sweet tooth being presented with a gigantic wedding cake. A plethora of colllege hoops games will fill the airwaves over the next few weeks. The big story over the weekend was that No. 1 Illinois finally lost a game, Sunday at Ohio State. I had my 5* College Basketball Game of the Month on the Buckeyes, so I was happy to see Thad Matta's men win outright. Still, Illinois -- and its main rival for the Big 10 Title -- Michigan State -- are playing very good basketball. This is an exciting time of the sports calendar for sports bettors and handicappers -- rich with angles, matchups and trends, all of which need to be examined carefully to extract winners against the number. With that in mind, here are some ATS tidbits to sweeten your pallet and activate your college basketball handicapping insight this week.

Duke: The Blue Devils like to run at opponents with their unique mixture of skill and depth. Note that Duke is 6-4 SU and 6-3 ATS on the road this season. They are also 3-0 ATS as an underdog. On the other hand, they're 1-2 SU as a dog, which included Sunday's tough loss at North Carolina.

Michigan State: The Spartans are playing well at the right time, carrying an 8-1 SU/ATS run into the tourney.

Southern Illinois: Don't overlook smaller schools, as there can be all kinds of hidden gems when it comes to the Vegas line. The Salukis play terrific defense and are 22-8 'under' the total this season!

Boston College: The Eagles are an impressive 8-2 SU, 7-1 ATS on the road.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets look to get back to the championship game, one they lost to UConn a year ago. This group has been very suspect on the road, however, at 4-6 SU/ATS away from home. Teams serious enough to make a run for the title need to be healthy, get hot at the right time AND need to play as tough on the road as they do at home. Teams that wilt on the road are vulnerable in March.

UConn: And speaking of the defending champs, the Huskies are 3-1 SU/ATS as an underdog, and 14-7 'over' the total with a strong offense. This young team is also on a roll, carrying a 10-0 SU, 9-1 ATS run into the Big East tournament.

Louisville: Rick Pitino's boys are 2-0 SU/ATS as a dog.

Washington: The Huskies have a run-and-gun reputation, and notice they are 7-4 'over' the total on the road. However, they also allow 81 ppg on the road where they're a poor 4-7 ATS.

Nevada: The team that upset Kansas last season is back with a very tall and talented frontcourt. Nevada is 4-2 SU/ATS as a dog and 11-2 SU, 9-3 ATS on the road!

Wisconsin: The Badgers have the reputation as a slow down, defensive team, and they're 7-4 'under' the total away from home.

Pitt: Speaking of reputations, the Panthers also have one as a tough, defensive team. However, Ben Howland is no longer the coach and perhaps the oddsmakers are still stuck in the past, as Pitt is 14-8 'over' the total and Jamie Dixon's men carry an 8-4 'over' run into the Big East tourney. Pitt is also 3-1 SU/ATS as a dog, but 6-12 ATS as a favorite!

Oklahoma State: Another team with an offensive, high-energy reputation, but the Cowboys are 7-4 'under' the total on the road. Is their total over-inflated on the road? Oklahoma State is also 16-4 SU as a favorite, 0-2 as a dog.

Kansas: The Jayhawks carry a 2-4 SU/0-6 ATS run into the Big 12 tournament.

Another thing to keep in mind is that teams in some tournaments get to play at home, while other tournaments schedule all games on a neutral court. Santa Clara, for example, hosted the West Coast Conference tourney over the weekend, and that helped with a win and cover on Saturday (but not against #2 seed St. Mary's). This week's Big East tourney will take place in Madison Square Garden, while the Atlantic 10 tournanment takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio. Make sure you keep tabs on neutral sites and if some teams are lucky enough to get a "home" game while hosting a tourney. As we all know, home games in college basketball can carry an extra edge for the host team. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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