College Basketball 2014 March Madness – Elite 8 Preview

cmsimg_1357331247One thing’s for certain about March Madness 2014 – you get more accurate when you get more vague. The odds were certainly close in all of Friday’s games. Calling Iowa State vs. UConn a “coin flip” was my most accurate prognostication. Michigan narrowly escaped an upset by the #11 Vols with a 73-71 win, Michigan State intentionally bricked a free throw to hold onto a 61-59 lead over Virginia, and 8 seed Kentucky was the highest seed of the day to survive in knocking off 4 seed Louisville. As LL Cool J once said, “Here’s your chance to advance” and Kentucky not only took it 74-69, they made a statement by knocking off last year’s NCAA tournament champion. Only 7 games remain to crown a champion for 2014, so if you stacked up any bank in the tournament thus far, this is the time to roll it over in the remaining rounds. Our first action this weekend on Saturday is 11 seed Dayton playing 1 seed Florida to determine the South region champion. It may come as no surprise that Florida is the heavy money line favorite at -650 to +475, but Dayton has been defying the odds this whole time. They knocked off Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford to get this far. Jordan Sibert is the man to lead the way if he stays hot from behind the 3 point arc. ON THE OTHER HAND, Florida hasn’t lost a game dating all the way back to December 2nd of last year and that was to the Huskies – the same team that just knocked off the Cyclones. This line looks juuuuuust right. The only 1 vs. 2 seed game to determine a spot in the Final 4 comes between Arizona and Wisconsin in the West region. It’s not a long line but the Wildcats are -160 on the money against the +140 Badgers. Arizona’s Nick Johnson was awful from the field against the SDSU Aztecs, only shooting 2 for 12, but he sank 10 out of 10 free throws to make up for it. The Badgers need to rattle him AND avoid fouling him, and they need junior Frank Kaminsky and senior Ben Brust to be as lights out as they were against Baylor. I’m not eager to pick an upset in either Saturday game, but I’d go with Wisconsin. The East region comes down to 7 seed UConn against 4 seed Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans are -240 on the money line and the Huskies are +200. Everything about Tom Izzo’s team predicts success – leading MSU to the Final 4 six times before and winning the national title in 2000. ON THE OTHER HAND that was over a decade ago, and the last time they got to the championship game in 2009 they didn’t close the deal. The Midwest region will crown a champion with 8 seed Kentucky taking on 2 seed Michigan. The momentum of knocking of Louisville has actually made the Wildcats the money line favorite, -140 against Michigan at +120. It’s weird to refer to a 2 seed as the upset pick, but unless that line changes between now and Sunday, I like the changes of the underdog getting the W. Wolverines scoring leader Nik Stauskas is at times inconsistent, but the sophomore is nearly .450 from three point range. If you double team him, you’re only giving Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Morgan more open looks. As always these previews are for entertainment purposes only. If you gamble please do so responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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