March Madness Bracket

March Madness Bracket


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Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. EDT

Line: Georgetown -3, Total: 130

No. 14 Georgetown looks to add to Connecticut’s misery as it tries to hand the Huskies a fourth straight loss (SU and ATS) on Wednesday night.

Both schools have been terrible bets lately, as Connecticut is 2-7-1 ATS in its past 10 games while the Hoyas are 1-7 ATS in their past eight contests. But UConn has dominated this series, going 10-4 (SU and ATS) against Georgetown since 2000. Half of the Hoyas Big East wins have been by three points or less, and they don't score enough points (64.0 PPG in past eight games) to make this a blowout. They are also 8-20 ATS (29%) in Big East play over the past two seasons. The Huskies lost their past three games by a combined eight points and are now at full strength with talented guard Ryan Boatright back on the court after NCAA eligibility issues. The pick here is underdog CONNECTICUT to escape with the win.

Connecticut’s 2-5 SU mark in its past seven games has mostly to do with an inefficient offense that has failed to reach 70 points in any of these contests. In the past two games, UConn has scored a mere 52.5 PPG on 38% FG. The biggest cause for the offensive woes lies with starting point guard Shabazz Napier, who has shot a woeful 32% FG with 22 turnovers during these seven games. He was 0-for-7 against Notre Dame on Sunday, taking two ill-advised three-point attempts in the final minute of that 50-48 defeat. Jeremy Lamb leads the team with 17.9 PPG, but only took nine shots in the loss to the Irish. Some of that was due to Notre Dame milking the shot clock on offense, but Lamb did have a few good looks that he passed up. Freshman center Andre Drummond (10.0 PPG, 7.8 APG) is also key to this team, as he has scored 15.3 PPG with 11.7 RPG in his team’s past three victories, but only 7.8 PPG and 8.6 RPG in its past five defeats.

Like UConn, Georgetown has also been ice-cold in the past two games, shooting 36.7% from the floor. After tallying 31 points (11-of-14 FG) three games ago, leading scorer Jason Clark (15.6 PPG) has attempted just 13 shots in these past two games. This will need to change on Wednesday, especially considering Clark averaged 18.0 PPG on 59% FG against UConn last year. The team’s No. 2 scorer, Hollis Thompson, has not been aggressive enough in taking the ball to the basket. After attempting 10 free throws against West Virginia, Thompson has earned a total of eight free-throw attempts in his past five games combined. To combat Drummond in the paint, Georgetown will look to leading rebounder, freshman Otto Porter (6.9 RPG). Porter has 8.8 RPG in his past four games.

CBB: Final Four Betting Outlook

The last time this many low seeds made it to the Final Four was 2000, when Michigan State (1 seed) was paired with Florida (5), Wisconsin (8) and North Carolina (8). For students of the game, it was obvious there were no great teams this season. Many of the higher seeds had flaws and most were exposed by opponents who brought a little something extra on the day these teams fell. While people talk about parity, a more concise assessment about the 2009-10 campaign was competitive balance, meaning on any given day, any team could beat another in a one game setting. It sets up what most believe is a wide-open mini tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend. Let's take a look at each teams championship odds according to, and their chances of cutting the nets down on Monday night.  

Butler (+350 to win national championship at

Butler (32-4, 16-20 ATS) advances to their first ever Final Four and as luck would have it, they don’t even have to travel to a far away destination. The Bulldogs have the highest winning percentage among the four teams at 88.8 percent, thanks to reeling off 24 (13-11 ATS) straight wins. This season the prize for doing so is playing in downtown Indianapolis, less than eight miles away from the Butler campus. The Bulldogs will be the first team to play in home city since UCLA in Los Angeles in 1971.

In the beginning of the season, Butler was top 10 material, but losses to Minnesota, Clemson, Georgetown and UAB (the first three in NCAA tournament) had people saying they weren’t quick or strong enough to compete at the higher levels. Looking at the for -Opponents average adjusted defensive efficiency- finds the Bulldogs have been in the Top 10 most of 2010 and explains why they have allowed more than 60 points once in last 12 games.

Butler has a star in Gordon Hayward and very good collegiate players like Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack along with Horizon League co-defensive player of the year Ronald Nored. The Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in last 10 NCAA tourney tilts.

Bulter can win the title at “home” if they continue to play the “Butler” way, which is hard-nosed defense, intelligent on offense and strict use of fundamentals which makes up for athletic shortcomings. Though not a good spread team, they are 11-4 ATS the last 15 times they’ve scored 70 or more points.

Michigan State (+450)

In the words of CBS announcer Verne Lundquist, “Well how do you do?” Michigan State (28-8, 15-20 ATS) keeps being counted out and for the sixth time since 1999 and in back to back years, the Spartans will their way to the Final Four. Tom Izzo’s squad will welcome the week off before playing on Saturday, as their road to Indianapolis has been the most nerve-wracking, winning four games by a total of 13 points, including the “blowout” of Northern Iowa by seven.

Many times we hear about coaches winning games in March and now April in college basketball, however a coach has never made or missed a shot from the sidelines. What makes Tom Izzo so special this time of year is attention to detail. He prepares his players to succeed all the time. A striking contrast between Michigan State and Kentucky in their Elite Eight games was the Spartans were more thoughtful and executed their passes better than the Wildcats, who were too casual. Izzo’s teams are 22-9 ATS as a neutral court underdog or pick.

Michigan State is 19-8 ATS in all neutral court games over the last three seasons and its players have taken it upon themselves to make-up for the loss of top scorer Kalin Lucas. Looking at tape of the determination level of Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan is striking from a month ago; were it was not unusual for them to disappear on the floor for periods of time; no more for these Spartans in their hunt for a second straight championship game appearance.

The Spartans finish the job they started last season, by out-executing opponents and making shots.

West Virginia (+225)

It’s been 51 years since West Virginia (31-6, 17-19 ATS) has been to a Final Four, led by Jerry West, who would become NBA Hall of Famer and have his likeness be part of NBA logo. The Mountaineers were a team many believed capable of playing in Indianapolis in early April, way back in November.

This is a team that just keeps on working, being average in shooting at 43.1 percent, tenacious on the offensive glass and literally finding ways to win. This tournament more than in the past several years, shows the ability to win four games to reach this juncture is razor thin. A missed shot and a made basket at the other end within 10-20 seconds has ended up the difference or critical point for all these winners.

West Virginia is very much like their coach Bob Huggins, scrappy, tenacious and unrelenting. The Mountaineers look to impose their will on you with smothering defense, getting in your face with switching man-to-man. Huggins also has shown his flexibility in using 1-3-1 zone, something the older players were used to when John Beilein was still in Morgantown. Because of the height and wingspan of many of Huggins’ players, this zone has shutdown opposing teams, nearly every time is use. WVU is 16-2 ATS in a NCAA tournament games since 1997.

Da'Sean Butler is the go to guy on offense and Devin Ebanks has learned his role on this club as the season wore on, being more effective offensively as well as defensively. Kevin Jones and Wellington Smith are excellent role players, each with job to do and Joe Mazzulla has stepped up game having to fill in for Darryl "Truck" Bryant.

The ‘Teers have won 10 in a row (7-3 ATS) and keep finding ways to win, which might be enough to be champs of college basketball if they can shorten scoring droughts.

Duke (+120)

On Selection Sunday, a few wondered if Duke (33-5, 22-14-1 ATS) would be a No. 1 seed, as it turns out the selection committee was accurate in their assessment of the Blue Devils. This is as different a team as coach Mike Krzyzewski has taken to what will be his 11th Final Four. Most of the Durham teams of the past were loaded with high school All-Americans, many with pro potential. This team is more like a team of one of his former players and now assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski, just with more overall ability. “Wojo” was a tough-minded player who made the most of his talent and never quit. This Duke squad is much the same way, in attack mode continually.

This Blue Devils team can still fill the basket from all areas of the offensive zone, but now has the height with Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas and the Plumlee brothers, to aggressively rebound at both ends of the floor. The Dukies are 20-8 ATS after two straight games with 15 or more offensive rebounds. Duke also plays very good positional defense, holding teams to 40.2 percent shooting and now the guards and wing players can funnel opposing teams towards the lane where tall timber awaits.

Duke wins it all if they continue to play great defense, especially on the perimeter, rebound and have at least two of their three outside shooters, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler or Nolan Smith hitting at normal or above figures from the outside. A rested Duke squad is a very good squad this season at 17-1 and 11-5-1 ATS with three or more days off.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

This will be the most exciting game on Friday, GUARNTEED.  We like to call it Friday Madness!

The tenth seed Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will be meeting seventh seed Oklahoma State Cowboys  at Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI 7:15pm eastern time.

Will President Obama’s pick of the Yellow Jackets help them? We’ll see, but the Cowboys are the slight favorite at -1.5 points (, so pretty much this game will be a tossup. And that’s why 7 - 10 games are the toughest to handicap.

The Jackets will face a team very different than themselves in their NCAA opener, which is the way of most 7 versus 10 games in the tournament. Neither side enters off a dominating season, but each does something well enough to make it very dangerous. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pound the ball inside. The Oklahoma State Cowboys rain threes from everywhere; they’ve taken 205 more three-pointers than has Georgia Tech.

Oklahoma State's James Anderson and Obi Muonelo are one of the best guard combos in the country, guys who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. Georgia Tech counters inside with freshman rising stars Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, bruisers who can outmuscle anyone who gets in their way.

Only one of Oklahoma State Cowboys' starters - Matt Pilgrim - is taller than 6 foot 6, and Keiton Page is just 5 - 9. Compare that to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who bring Favors (6 - 10, 246 pounds) and Lawal (6 - 9, 234), and whose shortest starter is 6 - 5. However, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have proven they are quite capable of handling the big boys. They handed the Kansas Jayhawks one of its two losses this year, and also beat Kansas State and Baylor, all who have very good big men.

According to Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, the game likely will come down to how well the Yellow Jackets can defend Big 12 player of the year and Oklahoma State scoring leader James Anderson and his hot shooting teammates at guard, Keiton Page and Obi Muonelo.

Georgia Tech guard D'Andre Bell said, after being asked Thursday afternoon about Oklahoma State's free shooting ability. "It works for them. The type of 3’s that they take. They take contested 3’s, in transition 3’s, whether there are hands in their faces or not, it goes in for them." Ranking 15th nationally in three point attempts and first overall in the Big 12, the Cowboys have proven this season that from long range, they can be deadly, knocking down a big shot with ease.

I would pay close attention to the halftime score of this game because Georgia Tech is just 3 - 9 this year when trailing at the half. Also, when the Yellow Jackets trail with five minutes left, they are 1-9. The winner of this game faces the Ohio State or UC Santa Barbara winner on Sunday.