Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

NCAA Early Day 2 Predictions

Published on March 18, 2011 by   ·   No Comments

Good morning everybody and get set for day 2 of the 2011 NCAA college basketball tournament first round. Yesterday saw a ton of very good games and a lot of close finishes. I finished the day going 12-4 overall on bracket picks but slumped yesterday with a 4-6 record vs the line. Michigan State was the back-breaker yesterday. They started to get rolled by UCLA early but made an enormous comeback down 21 points with 10 minutes left only to see Kalin Lucas travel with 2 seconds left to seal the win for the Bruins. You can take a look at more of the day 1 news here.

Day 2 Predictions

Since I’m starting on time today, I will have enough time to make the predictions into blocks of 4 games. I’m going to scale back my predictions against the spread and choose one of the four games to bet on the spread.

4 Texas vs 13 Oakland

The Texas Longhorns (27-7) will take on the 13 seed Oakland University Golden Grizzlies (25-9) from the Summit League. Oakland is not a team to be taken lightly, even though their conference is 0-3 in the NCAA tournament and hadn’t won a game under the previous conference name, the Mid-continent, since Valparaiso went to the Sweet 16 in 1998.

texas-vs-oakland-ncaa-day-2

The Golden Grizzlies played a tough non-conference schedule for a small conference school. They had close games against a lot of Big Ten schools and was able to beat a then ranked #7 Tennessee on the road. They had absolutely no problems crushing their conference opponents all year, only losing once in conference play.

texas-vs-oaklandOakland is lead by a NBA draft prospect Keith Benson, a 6-11″ center that leads the team in scoring and rebounding. This is Oakland’s third trip to the NCAA tournament. They won a play-in game with a sub .500 record in 2005 and are 0-2 in the field of 64.

So it would seem like Oakland would be a good candidate for an upset pick, right? Unfortunately for the Golden Grizzlies, they got just about the worst possible matchup in the first round. The Texas Longhorns know how to beat a team like Oakland.

Texas is still smarting from their fall from #1 ranked team to 8 seed to out in the first round of the 2010 NCAA tournament against 9 seed Wake Forest. You can tell they were bothered earlier in the year when a player said that they didn’t want to be ranked #1 again. They promptly went on to lose to Nebraska and another 2 of their next 3.

The went on to lose in the finals of the Big 12 tournament and somehow received a 4 seed. This team is more of a 2 seed then either Florida or Notre Dame. As bad as that seems for Oakland, the Golden Grizzlies are definitely not who the Longhorns wanted to get in the first round either.

Texas is currently a 10 1/2 point favorite against the 13 seed. This is a very tempting game to think of an upset taking place, but not this time around. I’m more interested in the spread on this game. The line went up from 10 to 10 1/2 even though about 60% of the bets are already on Oakland. This leads me to believe that this game could be a blowout. I correctly picked the spread against Oakland last year against Pittsburgh, so I am going to do so again today.

I’m predicting that the final score will be Texas 74, Oakland 59.

8 Michigan vs 9 Tennessee

tennessee-vs-michiganThe Michigan Wolverines (20-13) battle against the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14) in a matchup of 8 vs 9. Tennessee’s season is a story of two halves. They started the year out great going 7-0 with 3 wins against NCAA tournament teams including 1 seed Pittsburgh. Then they lost 6 of their next 9 games, followed by winning 5 games in a row against their conference. Tennessee finished up the season with a 4-7 slump and were lucky to make the NCAA tournament. Their win in the first round of the SEC tournament against Arkansas was what got them into the tournament.

The story is much the same for the Michigan Wolverines. They did not schedule a very tough non-conference schedule, although they lost to #3 Kansas in overtime. Michigan looked like they wouldn’t make the tournament in late January, when they had just finished a stretch of 7 losses in 8 games. But, the Wolverines finished very well down the stretch and was able to play their way into the tournament with crucial wins over Michigan State and Illinois.

As far as statistical matchups, Tennessee definitely has a big advantage in rebounding and Michigan has a little bit of an edge in Field Goal percentage. Michigan has only been to the tournament once in the past 10 years, but they won their first round matchup against 7 seed Clemson two years ago.

Tennessee went to the Elite 8 last year as a 6 seed and lost to Michigan State in that round. The Volunteers lost in the first round the year before as a 9 seed to Oklahoma State. In 2008, they made it to the Sweet 16 as a 2 seed and also in 2007 as a 5 seed.

Currently, Tennessee is a 1 point favorite; but I’m not going to touch this game. I believe that Tennessee is going to win the game, but I’m not willing to bet on it. The final score will be 65-63.

2 Notre Dame vs 15 Akron

notre-dame-vs-akronThe Norte Dame Fighting Irish (26-6) will face the winners of the Mid American Conference, the 15 seed Akron Zips (23-12). The Zips were an unlikely candidate to come out of the MAC. They were the 6th seed headed into the tournament and won two OT games in their conference tournament to secure the automatic bid. Ohio is playing well right now, winning 11 of their past 13 games.

Don’t sleep on MAC teams, unless you’ve already forgotten about 14 seed Ohio beating 3 seed Georgetown last year, but that was the lone conference win since 2003. Akron has made the tournament 1 time before, in 2009 when the 13 seed Zips lost to Gonzaga 77-64.

The only thing Notre Dame has to worry about is whether they will make it past the second round of the tournament. Notre Dame has only made 1 trip to the Sweet 16 in their past six tries and have only won a single tournament game since 2003. The Fighting Irish lost in the first round as a 6 seed in 2007 and 2010.

Notre Dame will win this game and should do so convincingly. If they do not, you should expect a quick exit for them in this tournament. The line is being pushed up by bets on Notre Dame fans, I’m going to stay away from this game at 13 1/2.

8 George Mason vs 9 Villanova

villanova-vs-george-masonThe George Mason Patroits (26-6) will play the Villanova Wildcats (21-11) in a matchup of 8 vs 9. At one time in Mid-January, the Wildcats were one of the best teams in the country. They have since been on an epic slide. They have gone on 5-10 down the stretch including 5 straight losses headed into the tournament. This includes an embarrassing loss to South Florida in the first round of the Big East tournament. They could not be playing any worse right now.

George Mason has not played many quality opponents, but they are probably the best team in the CAA. They were surprised by VCU in the semi-finals of the Colonial tournament but easily made the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid. Of course, this is the same team that went on a Cinderella run back in 2006 when they made it to the Final Four, but this is only their 2nd tournament game since. In 2008, 5 seed Notre Dame took out the Patriots 68-50.

Villanova has an impressive tournament record since 2005. They have only lost in the first round once; but this was as a 9 seed in 2007 against Kentucky. In 2008, the 12 seed Wildcats made an unexpected run to the Sweet 16. The next year, 3 seed Villanova made it to the Final Four. But last season, the 2 seed Wildcats almost lost in the first round to 15 seed Robert Morris and did lose in the 2nd round to 10 seed St Mary’s.

This game has George Mason written all over it. Butler already had their reminiscing moment when they had a buzzer beater against ODU; I think that George Mason will do something similar today. Villanova is currently a 1 1/2 point favorite. I have changed my mind and I’m going to make a second bet on the spread. I have George Mason winning straight up, 75-71.

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