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Tag Archive | "2012 March Madness Picks"

2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Region Quarterfinal Ohio vs South Florida Odds and Predictions – Free NCAAB Picks 3/18/2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Region Quarterfinal Ohio vs South Florida Odds and Predictions – Free March Madness Picks 3/18/2012:Although Lehigh and Norfolk State pulled the two biggest upsets of the tournament so far, Sunday’s West Region matchup between Ohio and South Florida is a battle of underdogs. The 13th-seeded Bobcats (28-7) are fresh off an upset of Michigan, while the 12th-seeded Bulls (22-13) had to survive a play-in game and a meeting with Temple to reach the round of 32. However, there is only one spot in the Sweet 16 up for grabs, and only one Cinderella will keep dancing after Sunday’s showdown. South Florida is a 2 ½-point favorite in the game, but given the upset bug that has been going around, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

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While both teams bring momentum and confidence into the matchup, the similarities end there. Ohio likes to play at a fast pace, scoring from the perimeter and using an opportunistic defense to create transition baskets. Meanwhile, the Bulls will sacrifice quick scoring chances to control the tempo, choosing to rely heavily on their physical, grinding defense. It will be a true clash of styles Sunday, and the side that best dictates the pace will have a huge advantage.

For Ohio, point guard D.J. Cooper is the engine that powers the team on both ends of the court. He leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and in assists at 5.7 per game. Cooper also leads the team with 2.3 steals per game, and the Bobcats rank fourth in the country as a team in steals. Cooper has the ability to slash into the lane and get to the foul line, and he can also knock down shots from behind the arc. The combination makes him a difficult matchup for most teams, and even when he isn’t scoring, Cooper is usually creating open looks for teammates.

The problem for Cooper and company is that the Bulls’ suffocating defense is excellent at keeping perimeter players in check. The Bulls held a solid Temple offense to just 44 points last round, and the Bobcats could find points tough to come by, as well. Ohio has been a strong 3-point shooting team all year, but South Florida is holding opponents to less than 30-percent from beyond the arc. More importantly, the Bulls outrebound opponents almost every game, meaning the Bobcats won’t have many second-chance opportunities.

With the Bobcats’ offense likely to find points much harder to come by Sunday, the team’s defense will have to step up. Ohio’s fast, pesky guards were a perfect match for the perimeter-oriented Wolverines last round, but the Bulls are the furthest thing from a finesse, jump-shooting team. Junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and sophomore forward Victor Rudd Jr. lead a group of big bodies that love to pound opponents in the paint. South Florida’s offense isn’t pretty or explosive, but the Bulls look to the post early and often, which could spell trouble for the smaller Bobcats’ lineup.

In the end, the mismatches all seem to favor the Bulls. What South Florida lacks in offensive firepower, it makes up for in physicality and athleticism. Ohio will find it difficult to get open looks from the perimeter against a fierce USF defense, and the Bulls should be able to control the pace. A low-scoring game does not favor the Bobcats, and Ohio could struggle both on the glass and stopping the Bulls post players. South Florida knows how to win ugly, and the Bulls should be able to wear down the Bobcats throughout the course of the game.

Prediction: South Florida Bulls (-2 ½) Cover the Spread

NCAA TOURNAMENT VEGAS ODDS: Favorite: South Florida -2 Total: Over/Under 116

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Posted in NCAABComments Off on 2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: Midwest Region Quarterfinal Ohio vs South Florida Odds and Predictions – Free NCAAB Picks 3/18/2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: East Region Quarterfinal Vanderbilt vs Wisconsin Odds and Predictions – March Madness Picks 3/17/2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: East Region Quarterfinal Vanderbilt vs Wisconsin Odds and Predictions – Free March Madness Picks 3/17/2012: With a flurry of unexpected upsets dominating the headlines of the 2012 NCAA tournament, Saturday’s East Region matchup between fifth-seeded Vanderbilt and fourth-seeded Wisconsin is a rare example of the higher seeds taking care of business. The game also provides one of the biggest style clashes possible, with the high-powered offense of the Commodores (25-10) taking in the defensive-oriented approach of the Badgers (25-9). Tempo is going to play a major role in deciding the winner of the matchup, and the team that dictates the pace could end up punching its ticket to the Sweet 16. In the battle of opposing philosophies, Vanderbilt is a one-point favorite.

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On paper, the differences between these two teams really stand out. The Commodores average 73.1 points per game, while the Badgers average just 64.1 per game. However, Wisconsin is allowing just 52.8 points per game compared to a Vanderbilt defense that is allowing 65.1 points per game to opponents. If Saturday’s game creeps near the 70-point mark, the Commodores will likely be in the driver’s seat. If Wisconsin can keep the game in the 60-point range, the Badgers should be in control.

Despite the varying styles, both teams will rely heavily on 3-point shooting. Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins is one of the best sharpshooters in the country, averaging 20.1 points per game and connecting on nearly four 3-pointers a contest. More importantly, he shoots 44.6 percent from beyond arc. His teammate Jeffery Taylor can provide some firepower, as well. The forward averages 16.3 points per game, hitting two 3-pointers a game. Meanwhile, Wisconsin uses a team approach to do damage from the perimeter, stretching defenses with its soft-shooting big men. The Badgers have four players averaging more than a 3-pointer per game this season.

In this particular game, Vanderbilt’s dynamic duo could pose the tougher matchup problem. Wisconsin’s size and length take away scoring opportunities in the paint for opponents and forces teams into long-range shots. Jenkins has range to spare, and should have plenty of chances to shoot over the top of the Badgers’ paint-clogging defensive scheme. In Vanderbilt’s upset of Kentucky in the SEC title game, Jenkins was able to neutralize the shot blocking ability of Anthony Davis by scoring from the perimeter. He is certainly capable of exploiting the Wisconsin defense, as well.

The X-factor in the game could be Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor. After breaking out with several big performances last year, Taylor hasn’t been the most consistent player this season. However, he does lead the Badgers in scoring, and he rarely turns the ball over despite being the team’s primary ball handler. If Taylor has a strong shooting night, particularly when it comes to slashing and scoring in the paint, he is able to create open looks for Wisconsin’s array of spot-up 3-point shooters. He could push the Wisconsin offense to the next level.

In the end, it is going to take an abnormally hot shooting night from the Badgers to get them past Vanderbilt. Wisconsin’s painfully methodical offense normally supports the team’s defense by frustrating opponents into taking quick, low-percentage perimeter shots. However, Jenkins and the Commodores have no issues scoring from beyond the arc. Vanderbilt can put up points on just about any defense, and the Badgers just don’t have enough firepower to keep pace. Wisconsin’s deliberate style makes a blowout unlikely, but the Commodores will shoot their way into the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Vanderbilt Commodores (-1) Cover the Spread

NCAA TOURNAMENT VEGAS ODDS: Favorite: Vanderbilt -1 Total: Over/Under 122

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Posted in NCAABComments Off on 2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: East Region Quarterfinal Vanderbilt vs Wisconsin Odds and Predictions – March Madness Picks 3/17/2012

2012 March Madness Picks: Murray State vs Marquette West Region Quarterfinal Odds and Predictions – Free NCAA Tournament Picks 3/17/2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Picks: West Region Quarterfinal Murray State vs. Marquette Odds and Predictions – Free March Madness Picks 3/17/2012: The 2012 NCAA tournament continues Saturday, as the remaining teams prepare to battle it out in the round of 32, hoping to last another week and advance to the Sweet 16. Amid the myriad of games being played, a showdown in the West Region between sixth-seeded Murray State and third-seeded Marquette stands out as one of the more exciting matchups. The Golden Eagles (26-7) are a trendy pick by many to make it to the Final Four, but the Racers (31-1) have been finding ways to win all year and are the only one-loss team in the field. Both sides bring plenty of speed and offensive firepower to the table, and a fast-paced, entertaining game could be on tap. The higher-seeded Golden Eagles are favored by five points.

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After some early jitters in their opening round game against Colorado State, the Racers used a monster second half to pull away to a 58-41 victory. Meanwhile, Marquette jumped on top of BYU early, eventually overpowering the pesky Cougars to notch an 88-68 win. Since neither side was tested down the stretch, nerves could play a factor for both sides if Saturday’s game goes down to the wire. Marquette is the favorite, but with the crowd likely to back the underdog Racers, Murray State could end up having the edge in a close one.

Offensively, the Racers and Golden Eagles have very similar styles. Both teams like to push the ball in transition to get easy scores, and both sides have firepower from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles have the slight edge in points per game, but the Racers have a top-40 offense, as well. In addition, Murray State has a much higher field goal percentage as a team, ranking 23rd in the country.

With plenty of points likely to be piled up by both sides, the teams’ top scorers will have to come to play. Murray State is led by point guard Isaiah Canaan and shooting guard Donte Poole. The duo is averaging more than 33 points per game combined, and both players can score in a variety of ways. Both have made more than 100 free throws on the season, while combining for 160 3-pointers. Canaan has been lethal from beyond the arc, connecting on 95 3-pointers at a 47.3 percent clip. Marquette counters with guard Darius Johnson-Odom (18.5 ppg) and forward Jae Crowder (17.4 ppg). Like the Racers’ scoring duo, they are also capable of slashing and scoring and knocking down shots from the perimeter.

The X-factor in the game could be the Murray State defense. The Racers were stout on the defensive end all season, allowing less than 62 points per game. It allowed Murray State to win several games when their offense struggled. That being said, the Racers haven’t faced an offense with as much speed as the Marquette attack. If Murray State can limit the Golden Eagles’ transition opportunities and force them to play in the half court, the Racers could pull off the upset. If Marquette is able to get easy scores with regularity, Murray State could have trouble keeping up on the offensive end.

In the end, the similarities between the two teams will likely lead to a close game, with both sides making runs throughout the game. Marquette has an edge in athleticism, but Murray State’s stingy defense makes the Racers the more complete team. In many ways, Murray State resembles the overachieving 2004 St. Joe’s team that had excellent guard play and lost just once entering the tournament. That team went all the way to the Elite Eight before losing by two. The Racers have the experience and talent in the backcourt to make a run, and Marquette is going to find out firsthand how good this Murray State bunch really is.

Prediction: Murray State Racers (+5.5) Cover the Spread

NCAA TOURNAMENT VEGAS ODDS: Favorite: Marquette -5.5 Total: Over/Under 141.5

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Posted in NCAABComments Off on 2012 March Madness Picks: Murray State vs Marquette West Region Quarterfinal Odds and Predictions – Free NCAA Tournament Picks 3/17/2012


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