College Basketball 2014 March Madness – Sunday Action

cmsimg_1357331247A lot of Cinderellas had their glass slippers broken on Saturday, which isn’t surprising once the field gets narrowed down to 32 and the longshots have to do the impossible a second time. We all had to know that the longshots weren’t going to pay forever, but the NDSU Bisons should have at least had a competitive game with San Diego State. By the end it was a lopsided 63-44 beating. Harvard gave it the old college try if you’ll pardon the pun, though they eventually lost to the MSU Spartans 80-73. Only the improbable Dayton stayed in the hunt after another round of eliminations, making them the highest seed left on the day as the #11 team in the South squeaked by Syracuse 55-53. All of the other favorites other than Villanova won handily – UConn racked up a MONSTER 52 points in the second half en route to a 77-65 beating of #2 Villanova in the East. I truly did not see that one coming. We’ve all heard of the “Sports Illustrated Curse” and the “2K Sports Curse” – perhaps 2014 will be the year we coin the “Dove Men Care Curse” in honor of ‘Nova coach Jay Wright. We’ve got 8 more games to go on Sunday and then everybody gets a chance to breathe for a little while before the Sweet 16 get knocked down to the Elite 8. Unfortunately for Iowa State no amount of time will bring back George Niang, as the already battle wounded warrior (anybody remember that nasty elbow he took in the Big 12 tournament semis) suffered a broken right foot. The books seem to believe that has left the Cyclones in trouble as they are an incredibly slim -123 to +103 on the money line against the North Carolina Tar Heels – a very literal coin flip. Every other game on Sunday has a wider spread, with the biggest gap coming between 12 seed Stephen F. Austin and 4 seed UCLA in the South. If you’ve never heard of the Lumberjacks I don’t blame you – they may be the least famous college sports team in the great state of Texas. They steamrolled their own conference to an undefeated 18-0 record and came into the Madness with a 32-2 record. I don’t care what your strength of schedule is – only losing two games in college basketball all year long is impressive. UCLA is always going to be UCLA, but -495 smells like a playable line versus +395 for the favorite. The game I absolutely can’t get a handle on 11 seed Tennessee vs. 14 seed Mercer. If you like longshots the good news is one will still be left after this game, which tips at 6:10 ET on TNT. To their credit the Vols look better than a team who had to play their way in by beating Iowa in the First Four. To Mercer’s credit they looked MUCH better than a 14 seed against Duke, which may owe to the fact they have 7 returning seniors on their squad. The money line is -350 on Tennessee, but in my heart, that just doesn’t feel right. I like Mercer to do it again as a +290. The rest of the favorites look good, including Wichita State at -220 to Kentucky (+180), Arizona at -300 to Gonzaga (+250) and Kansas at -270 to Stanford (+230). Incidentally I’ll eat crow on thinking Eastern Kentucky could upset the Jayhawks – you can’t win ’em all the time. For that very reason please remember to gamble responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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