1st Round NCAA Tournament Picks: March 17th 2011
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Pick: Old Dominion -2
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Round 1 tournament action for the 2011 March Madness Tourney. If Old Dominion isn’t a covering machine I don’t know what is. (7 of their last 9? WOW) They get the 2010 runners-up on Thursday in the Butler Bulldogs. The Horizon Conference was not much to speak about this year in my opinion so I believe the Monarchs are more battle tested, throw in the fact that Coach Blaine Taylor runs an aggressive zone defense that has held opponents to 65.8 points per game and I will gladly give the 2 points in this one. The winner likely will get top-seed Pittsburgh in Saturday’s 2nd round. Trends I like for this one include, Monarchs are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall, and are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite. Butler is 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game, and are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
Pick: Cincinnatii -1
I don’t like the way Mizzou has looked down the stretch, going 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS. The Bearcats have performed much better late in the season, going 6-2 SU and ATS in their last 8 with wins over tournament teams Louisville, Georgetown and Marquette. Defense wins games more often than not this time of year and Cincy has the superior “D”. The Bearcats rank 9th in the nation in scoring defense with just 59.2 points allowed per game. The Tigers, meanwhile, rank 271st with 71.4 points per game allowed. Teams have consistently had success against Mizzou’s full-court pressure late in the season, and I expect Cincy to execute against it as well. After all, it has seen a better press from the Louisville Cardinals. The Tigers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 versus the Big East. The Bearcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite. Bet the Bearcats.
Pick: UCLA +2
At 9:20 pm, our complimentary selection is on the UCLA Bruins + the points over Michigan State. Ben Howland’s men finished second in the Pac-10 regular season, but were bounced out of the tournament last Thursday by seventh-seeded Oregon, 76-59. Still, UCLA comes into this game with a 22-10 record, yet finds itself installed as a 2-point underdog vs. a lower-seeded Michigan St club which is 19-14 on the year. Certainly, MSU’s reputation as a successful team in “March Madness” under coach Tom Izzo is at the root of this inefficiency in the market, as I would not have set the pointspread there. But I’m also not going to complain, as the oddsmakers’ error is our opportunity. Indeed, since 1993, consider that teams seeded #4 or worse, with a win percentage of .667 or better, are 40-14 ATS in the Tourney’s opening round, if they lost by 15+ points to close out their regular season. And, if they are matched up against a foe which has a win percentage less than .640, then our 40-14 stat zooms to 11-1 ATS (92%). Take UCLA. Good luck, as always…Al McMordie. And don’t miss any of my 10 Winners on this Thursday, including an Elite Info play out of a 27-2 ATS System, as well as our Top Play in the Opening Round (We’re 4-0 the past 4 Years on our Opening Round Top Plays). Or, better yet, join for a week or a month, and get all of our sharp information. -Big Al McMordie