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Final Four Gambling Preview and Picks

We have come to the Final Four and this weekend is always bittersweet for me as it signifies the end of the college basketball season and while I do love the NHL playoffs, I know the gambling offseason is near (aka…baseball season).  The NCAA tournament always surprises us with a lot of upsets but this year it has been especially crazy and for us here at BuytheHook that craziness has been felt as the second weekend was pretty unkind to us with several tough beats.  But all hope is not lost as we sit 1 game under .500 for the tournament at 30-31-1.  We are finishing with a winning record and absolutely going 2-0 today.  I also want to give you my best play of the day too, although it won’t be official, and that is a 2-team ML parlay on Michigan and Villanova that pays even money.

Let’s talk about the dome effect for a minute.  I will admit I once thought the dome effect was real and if you used to be like me then you need to watch this video.

Saturday, March 31

Michigan -5.5 vs. Loyola

Yes, the Cinderella story stops here and I see Michigan winning this game by at least 10.  Loyola has had a pretty fortunate draw to this point winning their first 3 games by 4 points and each team they played has been inexperienced.  Of the 20 starters, they have played only 3 have been seniors.  Michigan, on the other hand, starts 2 seniors and 2 juniors. Loyola has also been fortunate in that the teams they have played have all been without a top player.  In the first round, the Ramblers played Miami who was without Bruce Brown, their leading scorer, rebounder, assist man and a #1 pick in the upcoming draft.  Then they played Tennessee who was without one of their top rebounders in 6-11 Kyle Alexander and Kansas St was without Dean Wade.

Loyola is one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country and that hasn’t really been a factor yet in the tournament because they are hitting around 50% of their FG’s and haven’t played a great big man yet.  Both those things change in this game as Mo Wagner is an excellent big man and Michigan is rated #4 in defensive efficiency by Kenpom.

Villanova -5 vs. Kansas

Legendary Vegas wiseguy Alan Boston tweeted this week that he has been doing his power rating for 30 years and Villanova is the highest rated ever.  I’m not sure I agree with that but this Villanova team has looked like the best team this year.  In their last game vs Texas Tech, Villanova had their worst shooting performance of the last 3 years shooting 33% and 4-24 from 3-pt range and still beat a very good Texas Tech team by double digits after beating another top Big 12 team in West Virginia by 12.  Since I am an alum of a Big 12 school I watch a lot of that conference and all year I had Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas all power rated about the same.  In fact, If Keenan Evans doesn’t get hurt against Baylor late in the year, the Red Raiders might have won the Big 12.  If Villanova took apart WV and Tech then I don’t see how this Kansas team can hang around.  Kansas loves to get out and run and that is absolutely the wrong way to play Villanova.  Texas Tech had the right idea in slowing down the Wildcats they just didn’t have enough offense.

Villanova is 7 3-pointers away from setting the NCAA record for most in a single season and they are the 2nd highest rated team in offensive efficiency according to Kenpom.  This Villanova team is one of the best offensive teams in recent memory.

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