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UCLA BRUINS (3-2, 3-1 ATS) at KANSAS JAYHAWKS (6-0, 3-1 ATS) Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series2010-12-02
Sportsbook.com using Kansas -16.5
Two legendary programs, one dynamic college basketball setting, history, tradition. That is about all that undefeated Kansas (6-0) and UCLA (3-2) will have in common when they take the court Thursday night in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks bring a nation-best, 64-game home winning streak into play, and the Bruins will be about as welcome in Lawrence as LeBron James will be welcome Thursday night in Cleveland.
Kansas has been clicking on all cylinders, and they have yet to add top recruit Josh Selby to the rotation. The NCAA ruled recently that Selby can play beginning on December 18. So far without Selby, Kansas is shooting a Division I best 57.8% from the field. Their average margin of victory (35.3 PPG) is also tops in the nation. As a team, they are averaging 22 assists per game. The Morris brothers have been outstanding so far. Marcus Morris leads the team in scoring at 19 PPG, while brother Markieff is averaging 12.3 PPG and a team-high 9.5 RPG. Tyshawn Taylor has been stellar so far at the point, averaging a team high 7.2 APG to complement his 9.2 PPG.
After a 3-0 start, Ben Howland’s Bruins lost in the semifinals and then the consolation game of the Preseason NIT Championship in Madison Square Garden. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson leads the Bruins in points and rebounds (17.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG), and totaled 30 points and 23 rebounds in the two losses in New York City. Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt (14.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG) are both sophomores, and headline a young Bruins club that does not have a single senior on the team. The poise and discipline of this UCLA team will be sorely tested on Kansas’ home floor. The Bruins have totaled 84 assists and 81 turnovers this season. The combination of a young team that doesn’t protect the basketball, playing in a hostile road environment against an experienced team that has won 64 straight on its home floor and loves to pressure the ball looks like a bad combination for the baby bears. Normally when Kansas and UCLA play, that smell in the air is tradition. Thursday night in Lawrence, that won’t be tradition you’re whiffing, but more like the smell of a young team getting smoked.
69% of action at Sportsbook.com is betting that the Jayhawks will cover the big spread against the Bruins.
KANSAS is 20-5 ATS (+14.5 Units) when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 80%) over the last 3 seasons. The average score was KANSAS 80.3, OPPONENT 63.6 - (Rating = 3*).
Elite 8 Matchup Preview: Butler Bulldogs vs. Kansas State Wildcats2010-03-30
The No. 5 seed Butler Bulldogs (31 – 4) will be facing the No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats (29 – 7) Saturday March 27, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. www.sportsbook.com has the Kansas State Wildcats as the favorites by 4 points and the over / under at 134.5 points.
The Butler Bulldogs have been overlooked since this 2010 NCAA tournament started just over a week ago, but here they are; in the Elite 8 after having tossing No. 1 seed Syracuse Orange aside on Thursday night. The Butler Bulldogs have now won 23 consecutive games, very impressive, and are moving on to the Elite 8 for the first time in the school’s history. The Butler Bulldogs held the Orangemen, which also led the nation in field goal percentage this season with .517, to only 43.8 percent shooting and limited the Orange to just 59 points in the game. The Butler Bulldogs got huge shots from Willie Veasly, the team's defensive stopper, and Gordon Hayward, who also drained all four of his free throw shots in the final seconds of the game. The Butler Bulldogs have now won 31 games by blowout wins and clutch performances down the stretch in close games to show they belong.
If you did not watch the Kansas State versus Xavier game Thursday night, you missed perhaps the most exciting game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament so far. Huge shot after shot from both teams in a up and down, two overtime classic that the Kansas State Wildcats ultimately pulled out after a Jacob Pullen three pointer with 31 seconds left in the second overtime gave the Wildcats the lead for good. Pullen and backcourt teammate Denis Clemente, who pretty much carried the team through the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, came up with another big, almost magical performance, combining to make 53 points, grab 9 rebounds, give out 8 assists and had just two turnovers in 88 minutes of play. But more importantly for Coach Frank Martin's team, however, was the play of forwards Curtis Kelly, who got 21 points, 8 boards, 4 assists and 5 blocks, giving the Kansas State Wildcats a foremost inside presence on both sides of the floor. With Clemente and Pullen creating for other teammates and draining their shots on the outside and Kelly dominating the paint, Kansas State looked like a Final Four caliber team.
The backcourt duo of Pullen and Clemente give Kansas State Wildcats a decent opportunity every night. With the two of them playing, and shooting the ball so well, Frank Martin's team is going to be tough to beat. With the spread being only 4 points, www.sportsbook.com, this will not be hard to cover. However the over / under which is at 134.5 is a little harder to predict, I’d keep away from that bet.
CBB: Early Dog Hunting2010-03-12
A handful of games had early lines for Friday, with the matchups already predetermined. Here is a look at the chances of those dogs that were assigned early numbers, attempting to figure out if they can cover or win outright. Get the latest odds on the Sportsbook.com LIVE ODDS page.
St. Bonaventure’s needs your prayers
The Bonnies won their opening A-10 tourney game 83-71 over DuQuesne as a one-point favorite. After torching the nets early in the season, conference play slowed down St. Bonaventure’s. However, recently the team has regained their shooting eye, converting on 49.2 percent or more in their last four outings. The Bonnies are 5-1 and 4-2 ATS in last six contests; unfortunately they will be up against Temple defense that allows 56.8 points per game and 38.1 percent.
The Owls have won seven straight and nine or 10, with only loss at highly respected Richmond. Temple has won and covered last nine meetings by an average of 19.2 per game. Sportsbook.com has the Owls sitting as 10-point favorites and they are 6-0 ATS as neutral site favorites for this high noon start.
Underdog Cover Chance – Slim
Contrast in style
St. Louis is the higher seed at four; nevertheless, they are the underdog to Rhode Island by three-points. Oddmakers tip their hat to coach Rick Majerus, but are not convinced the Billikens 8-2 SU and ATS close to the season is for real. Ignorance is bliss for St. Louis, since they perfectly suited for this moment, having only been favored twice during this stretch. The average total score of a Billikens game is just over 122 points, while the Rams prefer the speedy 94-foot version that goes up and down to the tune of 148.6 total points a contest.
Oddsmakers might be giving an indication of what they really think having the total at 128.5, definitely at more a St. Louis pace. Rhode Island sunk St. Joe’s at home Tuesday by nine points, giving them three victories in last eight games with 1-6-1 ATS record. The Rams are in the subemployment area with 2-8-1 ATS record as favorite.
Underdog Cover Chance – Not bad
The fight has come out of Illinois, losing five of six with two covers. After shooting 49 percent or better five out of six times from Jan.23 –Feb. 9, the Fighting Illini have become card caring members of the welders union having to repair broken rims since they have been clanging hoists at 38.3 percent or worse in most contests. (5 of 6) They shot 35.6 percent against today’s opponent Wisconsin only five days ago and they are 0-5 SU and ATS at neutral site locations.
The Badgers are favored by eight-points which seems a bit generous, but they are 12-4 and 9-5 ATS off a spread cover and are 5-0 ATS after scoring in 68-79 point range this year.
Underdog Cover Chance – Slim to none
Dayton chasing bid
Dayton was the preseason choice to be A-10 champions this campaign, instead it turns out they weren’t even the second best team in Ohio from the Atlantic 10. The Flyers reached the 20-win barrier with non-cover 70-60 home win against George Washington in opening round and needs more W’s to be strongly considered for NCAA bid. The players understand their task.
“We just know we have to give it our all every single night and we cannot let up," Dayton forward Kurt Huelsman said. "We're not perfect, nobody's perfect and we made mistakes. But we have to learn and move on." Dayton is just 1-6-1 ATS and faces their biggest rival Xavier.
The Musketeers have rattled off seven wins in a row and 11 of 12 (9-3 ATS) and are playing for A-10 title and NCAA seeding. Xavier has scars from last Dayton dual, being thrashed 90-65 and is listed as three-point fave. The favored squad has covered 13 of the previous 17 conflicts.
Underdog Cover Chance – Risky
Massachusetts dealing with arachnophobia
The Minutemen were the one lower seed (11th) to pull the upset in the opening round of A-10 tourney. They upset Charlotte 59-56 as nine-point road underdogs, despite shooting 32.1 percent. Next up is one the best defensive teams in the country in Richmond, who is also very efficient on offense. On the year, UMass shoots only 40.1 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from three-point range. Those figures correlate with the Spiders defensive numbers.
Massachusetts is on the receiving end of 9.5-points and is just 1-5 ATS as neutral site dog. The bright side is the Minutemen are 7-3 ATS with two days rest and has covered three previous meetings with Richmond. Unfortunately, these Spiders really get under opposing teams skin, with 10 wins in 11 tries (9-1-1 ATS) and only defeat was at Xavier by two in double overtime.
Underdog Cover Chance – I wouldn't take em'
Pacific Division Confrontation
Another late game-winner from Kobe Bryant didn’t make the Los Angeles Lakers feel much better, and their Firday night dual with Phoenix might be their last chance for a while to get a true boost of confidence. Before a very easy stretch of the schedule, the Lakers desperately want a strong all-around performance when they visit a well-rested Suns team that has been playing well. The Lakers are 2-point favorites according to Sportsbook.com.
While Phoenix (40-25, 36-28-1 ATS) has won 14 of 18 (14-4 ATS) to move into a virtual tie for fifth place in the West, Los Angeles (47-18, 27-36-2 ATS) has split its last 10 to see its lead atop the conference dwindle to 2 1/2 games over red-hot Dallas. “We need to play harder and execute a little better,” said forward Ron Artest, averaging 6.3 points on 4-of-24 shooting in the last three games. “Overall, we are not playing great.” Artest’s comment is supported by recent 2-8 spread record.
Bryant has been very critical of his team, particularly on defense, and referred to the Lakers’ most recent effort as “garbage” after a 109-107 home win over Toronto on Tuesday. It was nearly their fourth consecutive loss, but Bryant’s 17-foot fallaway with 1.9 seconds left provided the difference. “We scored a lot of points tonight, (but) that’s not going to win championships,” said Bryant, averaging 32.8 points in the last four games. “You’ve got to stop people.”
That could be tough against a Phoenix club which leads the league in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent and with 109.5 points per game. Plus, the Suns should have fresh legs after getting the last five days off in a strange schedule quirk this late in a season.
“It’s important because we’re a little banged up,” coach Alvin Gentry told the team’s official Web site. “A lot of times it would be a bit discouraging because we’ve been playing with a good rhythm and you hate to break that up by going a full week without playing. But with us, I think it’s OK because we could use this week to get guys right.” It should be noted the Suns are 3-11 ATS with three or more days off. The Suns’ only four losses in the past six weeks were to teams among the West’s top eight.
The Lakers’ next three games after this one are against the West’s worst teams - Golden State, Sacramento and Minnesota - followed by a matchup with a last-place team from the East - Washington. “It’s giving these teams a quiet confidence where they think they can beat us,” an angry Lamar Odom said after the narrow win over Toronto. “I don’t expect that. We’ve got to take it to teams.”
Opening a three-game trip, the Lakers look to avoid losing five consecutive road games for the first time since March 4-15, 2007 and are 3-5-1 ATS as visitors since Jan. 31.
Los Angeles has lost two straight in Phoenix, giving up 118 points in each. Amare Stoudemire’s 26 points helped the Suns to a 118-103 home win Dec. 28 in the most recent meeting. “Everybody in Phoenix seems to dislike the Lakers which definitely gets us excited about playing them,” reserve Jared Dudley said. “But I think any time you’re playing one of the league’s best teams you’re going to get up for it.”
Stoudemire totaled 26 points in the previous two matchups this season and the Lakers won by a combined 39. He’s scored 30 in each of his last three games. Stoudemire and the Suns are 3-8 and 4-7 ATS against L.A. the past three years.
Another big man providing a lift is Robin Lopez, whose post presence defensively has helped Phoenix go 16-8 since he joined the starting lineup. Now Lopez tries to limit the effectiveness of Andrew Bynum, averaging 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in his last seven games against the Suns.
Sportsbook.com has the Lakers as two-point favorites with total of 213.5 and they are 15-6 and 9-11-1 ATS as road favorites, including being 1-6-1 ATS if the number is -4.5 or less. As expected, Phoenix has scored over 100 points in their last nine games and are 12-4 ATS after breaking the century mark. Seven of the last 11 meeting between these division rivals have gone Over the total and Los Angeles is 34-16 OVER off a close home win by three points or less and the Suns are 20-9 OVER after two consecutive games as a home favorite over the last two seasons.
This Pacific Division confrontation is available in local television markets at 9:00 Eastern with the home team having won and covered the last five contests.
StatFox Power Line – Phoenix by 4