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  • No. 8 Cincinnati beats No. 21 Houston 56-55 in AAC final
    March 11, 2018

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Gary Clark put Cincinnati ahead for good with a free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining and the eight-ranked Bearcats held for a 56-55 victory over No. 21 Houston on Sunday in the American Athletic Conference championship.

    Clark finished with 20 points and the league regular-season champions rescued themselves for the second straight day with a stellar second-half performance, limiting Houston to 20 percent shooting and 18 points after halftime.

    Cincinnati (30-4) earned the AAC's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament with its first conference tournament championship since the Bearcats won Conference USA in 2004.

    Houston (26-7), which split a pair of games against Cincinnati during the regular season, lost for just the third time in its last 15 games and is headed to the NCAA Tournament, too.

    Rob Gray led the Cougars with 17 points but missed a long 3-pointer in the closing seconds, then had a turnover that cost Houston a chance to try to win the game after Clark made one of two free throws after rebounding Gray's miss.

    KENTUCKY 77, No. 13 TENNESSEE 72

    ST. LOUIS (AP) - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points to lead Kentucky to its fourth straight Southeastern Conference Tournament championship.

    The championship is the 31st in tournament history for the fourth-seeded Wildcats (24-10), who have won seven of their past eight games since a four-game losing streak last month. It was their first victory in three tries this season against the No. 2 seed Volunteers (25-8).

    Gilgeous-Alexander was 10 of 16 from the field and added seven rebounds and a pair of steals, and he hit the clinching free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining. His 29 points were one off his career high of 30. Kevin Knox added 18 points and Quade Green had 10 for the Wildcats.

    Admiral Schofield had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Tennessee, which was attempting to win its first tournament championship since 1979.


    WASHINGTON (AP) - Still looking for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament since Stephen Curry led the way, Davidson is goin' dancin' as the Atlantic 10 champion after edging Rhode Island in the conference final behind Kellan Grady's 17 points.

    Bubble teams across the land could not have been pleased to see Davidson (21-11) pull through, because the Wildcats were not going to get to join in the March Madness fun with a loss. The top-seeded Rams (25-7), though, were an at-large selection in the bracket.

    Davidson won despite going nearly 13 minutes in the second half without making a field goal, a 0-for-11 drought that somehow did not prevent it from celebrating at game's end. The Wildcats haven't been to the NCAAs since 2015 - and haven't won a March Madness game since the Curry-led 2008 squad pulled off victories over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before bowing out against Kansas in the Elite Eight.

    E.C. Matthews led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds for Rhode Island, which was trying to win a second consecutive conference tournament title.


    • March CBB Record:


      03/11/2018 4-4-0 50.00% -2.00
      03/10/2018 23-18-0 56.10% +16.00
      03/09/2018 24-28-1 46.15% -34.00
      03/08/2018 39-37-3 51.32% -8.50
      03/07/2018 20-21-1 48.78% -15.50
      03/06/2018 13-16-0 44.44% -23.00
      03/05/2018 13-8-0 61.90% +16.00
      03/04/2018 5-3-0 62.50% +8.50
      03/03/2018 52-56-1 48.15% -48.00
      03/02/2018 13-16-0 44.83% -23.00
      03/01/2018 20-24-1 45.45% -32.00

      Totals..........226 - 231 -2....49.45%.....-136.50


      • Armadillo: Monday's six-pack

        Six interesting first round pointspreads:

        — Kentucky -6 vs Davidson

        — Clemson -5.5 vs New Mexico State

        — Tennessee -13 vs Wright State

        — Kansas -15.5 vs Penn— Lowest spread in 1-16 game since UNC-Vermont in 2012.

        — Seton Hall -2 vs NC State

        — Michigan -11.5 vs Montana


        Armadillo: Monday's List of 13: Initial thoughts on the field of 68

        13) When I first saw the brackets, it upset me that USC was left out; they’re a very good team and surely deserved to get in, right? Same with Oklahoma State and to a lesser extent, Louisville.

        Then I read something Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports posted on Twitter:

        “Louisville out. USC out. Oklahoma State out. What do they have in common? Part of the federal investigation of college hoops.”

        That actually made me feel better, that there was a reason those teams got left out, but still don’t think Syracuse belonged in, but they are in, so we move on despite that.

        12) Turns out Davidson’s win over Rhode Island knocked Notre Dame out of the field of 68.

        11) Middle Tennessee State won Conference USA, the #12 league in country, but lost in their conference tournament; the Blue Raiders played #13 non-conference schedule in the country, losing to USC by 5, Miami by 3- they beat Vandy, Ole Miss, Murray State, but they get left home.

        10) Texas Southern deserves special mention; coached by Mike Davis, who replaced Bob Knight at Indiana, the Tigers won the SWAC tourney, after starting this season 0-13.

        In November/December, Texas Southern played guarantee games at:
        Gonzaga-Ohio St-Syracuse-Kansas-Clemson-Oregon-Baylor-Wyoming-TCU-BYU

        Texas Southern may not be a great team, but their players probably pack really well, and their accountants are really happy, because all those guarantee games pay a lot of bills.

        9) Something to ponder when the Sweet 16 rolls around: looking back over the last 12 NCAA tournaments, the eventual national champ went 21-3 vs spread on the first weekend, so look for teams who were impressive on the first weekend to maintain that momentum.

        8) Since 2006, 46 of 52 #1-seeds got to the Sweet 16, so if you’re filling out a bracket and are tempted to predict an early out for a #1 seed, please don’t do it. For your own good.

        7) Last three years, #1-seeds are 7-5 vs spread in the first round.
        Last four years, #2-seeds are 9-7 vs spread in the first round.
        Last three years, #3-seeds are 4-8 vs spread in the first round.

        6) Penn is a 16-seed, the first time since at least 2002 the Ivy League champ is a 16-seed; they were a 15-seed only once in last 15 tournaments, back in ’06.

        Over the last eight years, Ivy League teams are 7-1 vs spread in NCAA first round games.

        5) Since 2003, only 8 of 60 Final Four teams lost their first conference tourney game: Here are those teams:

        2003— Marquette, Texas
        2005— Michigan State
        2007— UCLA
        2009— UConn
        2010— Michigan State (only team to do it twice)
        2016— Syracuse
        2017— South Carolina

        4) Over the last 15 years, of the 60 teams who made the Final Four, 26 won their conference tournament. Over last six years, only 7 of 24 Final Four teams won their conference tourney; from 2004-11, 19 of 32 Final Four teams did.

        7 of the last 15 national champs won their conference tourney, but only one of the last six.

        3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64, and then 68 teams, #2 seeds are 124-8 in their first round tournament games; here are the eight #2 seeds who lost in the first round:

        1990— Richmond (+9) 73, Syracuse 69
        1993— Santa Clara (+20) 64, Arizona 61
        1997— Coppin State (+17) 78, South Carolina 65
        2001— Hampton (+17.5) 58, Iowa State 57
        2012— Lehigh (+12) 75, Duke 70
        2012— Norfolk State (+21.5) 86, Missouri 84
        2013— Florida Gulf Coast (+13.5) 78, Georgetown 68
        2016— Middle Tennessee State (+18) 90, Michigan State 81

        2) First Four point spreads for Tuesday/Wednesday games:

        Tuesday: Radford -3.5 vs LIU; UCLA -3 vs St Bonaventure
        Wednesday: Texas Southern -4.5 vs NC Central; Arizona State -1 vs Syracuse

        1— Must be nice to have lot of money: Michigan State’s basketball team spent couple of days in Chicago last week, practiced in the Chicago Bulls’ practice facility, just to get away from campus.

        Big 14 teams have extra time to prepare for the NCAA’s this year, because the Big 14 tournament was a week earlier than usual. Lot of people think the layoff will make those teams fresher.


        • NCAAB
          Armadillo's Write-Up

          Monday, March 12

          Central Michigan was 9-2 in pre-conference games (schedule #340); Chippewas won three of last four games overall- they’re 4-10 vs teams ranked in top 200. Fort Wayne lost four of its last six games; they’re 7-6 in non-MAC games, and are also 4-10 vs teams in top 200. Last three years, MAC teams are 9-9 vs Summit League teams. CMU last played Thursday; Mastodons last played eight days ago.

          Drake is #7 experience team in country that starts four seniors; they lost last three games, by 8-5-2 points. Bulldogs are 6-7 in non-conference games this year; they’re 4-1 vs teams ranked outside top 200. Drake hasn’t played in 10 days. Abilene Christian hasn’t played in nine days; they lost four of last five games, are 4-5 in non-league games. Wildcats are 0-8 this season vs teams ranked in top 200. ACU is #79 experience team- they turn ball over 20.3% of time.

          Radford (-4) vs LIU
          LIU won its last five games, Radford won its last seven; Blackbirds finished T4 in NEC- they want to play fast (#39 pace). Radford plays slow (#346 pace); they finished T2 in Big South. LIU is 2-3 vs teams ranked in top 200; their SOS is #317- both their guards are sophomores. Radford was last in NCAA in ’09; their G’s are frosh/senior. Blackbirds were in NCAAs in 2011-13, going 0-3. Radford was last in NCAA’s in ’09. Last seven years, underdogs are 8-4-1 vs spread in 16-seed play-in games. NEC teams are 3-2 in play-in games; Big South teams are 2-1.

          UCLA (-3.5) vs St Bonaventure
          St Bonaventure played in this arena Jan 3, losing by 10 to the Dayton Flyers; they’re in NCAA’s for first time since ’12. Bonnies finished 2nd in A-14 this year; they’re #32 experience team, with pair of senior G’s- they won 13 of last 14 games, are 10-2 outside A-14, 7-4 vs top 100 teams. UCLA is #263 experience team; they play pace #57, and finished 3rd in Pac-12. Bruins lost three of last five games; they’re 9-3 outside Pac-12, 12-9 vs top 100 teams- they shoot 38.3% on arc and take lot of them. UCLA’s PG is a junior. Favorites are 7-7 vs spread in 11-seed play-in games, 4-0 the last two years.

          Texas Southern (-4) vs North Carolina Central
          Texas Southern started this season 0-13 with a ridiculous streak of guarantee games against big-name teams; 11 of the 13 teams are ranked in top 120. Tigers are in NCAA’s for 4th time in five years; they’re coached by former Indiana coach Davis, start frosh/soph G’s. TSU won its last seven games, North Carolina Central won its last five. NCC finished 6th in MEAC; they play slow (#320) pace, TSU plays fast (#35). Eagles start two freshman G’s. NCC is 16-11 vs teams ranked below #200- they beat SWAC’s Southern 80-67. MEAC teams are 3-4 in play-in games; SWAC teams are 1-7.

          Arizona State (-1) vs Syracuse
          Syracuse won its first NCAA tourney game last seven times they were in, with last first-round loss in ’06 to Texas A&M, but they were usually a very high seed. Orange did get to Final Four as a 10-seed two years ago. Syracuse finished T10 in ACC this year; they play slow (#342) pace, are 3-5 in last eight games- their bench plays fewest minutes in country- they have no senior starters. Arizona State went 8-11 in Pac-12 after being 12-0 at Christmas; they lost five of last six games, start three seniors. Sun Devils play fast (#36) pace. ASU is 10-9 vs top 100 teams; Syracuse is 5-9 vs top 50 teams.


          Monday, March 12

          Trend Report

          The total has gone OVER in 9 of Central Michigan's last 10 games on the road
          The total has gone OVER in 7 of Central Michigan's last 8 games
          The total has gone OVER in 5 of IPFW's last 5 games at home
          The total has gone OVER in 5 of IPFW's last 5 games

          Drake is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games at home
          Drake is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home

          The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Diego's last 6 games at home
          The total has gone OVER in 4 of San Diego's last 6 games


          • Sportsbooks release opening pointspreads for first round of NCAA Tournament

            The NCAA Tournament committee released the teams and matchups for the 2018 edition of March Madness on Sunday night. The show itself was greatly criticized for the format change and, as always, there was outrage over some of the selections. Through it all, sportsbooks were quick to react with opening pointspreads for all available opening round matchups.

            Opening lines listed are from the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas:

            First Four

            16 LIU-Brooklyn
            16 Radford -3.5

            11 Arizona St.
            11 Syracuse PICK

            11 St. Bonaventure
            11 UCLA -3

            16 NC Central
            16 Texas Southern -5

            South Region

            1 Virginia -22.5
            16 UMBC

            8 Creighton -1.5
            9 Kansas St.

            5 Kentucky -5.5
            12 Davidson

            4 Arizona -8
            13 Buffalo

            6 Miami -1
            11 Loyola-Chicago

            3 Tennessee -13.5
            14 Wright St.

            7 Nevada -1.5
            10 Texas

            2 Cincinnati -16
            15 Georgia St.

            West Region

            1 Xavier
            16 NCCU/TXSO

            8 Missouri -1.5
            9 Florida St.

            5 Ohio St. -8.5
            12 S. Dakota St.

            4 Gonzaga -11.5
            13 UNC-Greensboro

            6 Houston -3.5
            11 San Diego St.

            3 Michigan -11
            14 Montana

            7 Texas A&M -4.5
            10 Providence

            2 North Carolina -17.5
            15 Lipscomb

            East Region

            1 Villanova
            16 LIU/RAD

            8 Virginia Tech -2
            9 Alabama

            5 West Virginia -9.5
            12 Murray State

            4 Wichita St. -12
            13 Marshall

            6 Florida
            11 STBON/UCLA

            3 Texas Tech -12
            14 Stephen F. Austin

            7 Arkansas
            10 Butler -1

            2 Purdue -21
            15 Cal St. Fullerton

            Midwest Region

            1 Kansas -15.5
            16 Pennsylvania

            8 Seton Hall
            9 NC State PICK

            5 Clemson -4.5
            12 New Mexico St.

            4 Auburn -11
            13 Charleston

            6 TCU
            11 ASU/SYR

            3 Michigan St. -13.5
            14 Bucknell

            7 Rhode Island
            10 Oklahoma PICK

            2 Duke -21
            15 Iona


            • Las Vegas oddsmaker provides some insight behind March Madness opening lines
              Patrick Everson

              The bracket is out, the games are on the betting board, so it’s time to take a closer look at the matchups. We check in on the opening lines and early action for a few interesting NCAA Tournament games, with insights from Matthew Holt, CEO of CG Analytics in Las Vegas.

              No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 7 Rhode Island Rams (-1)

              Many people felt Oklahoma had no business getting an at-large NCAA bid after losing eight of its last 10 games SU and ATS. The Sooners (18-13 SU, 10-20 ATS), one of the worst spread-covering teams in the nation, bowed out on the first day of the Big 12 Tournament, losing to Oklahoma State 71-60 as a 1-point favorite. But Lon Kruger’s squad apparently did enough early in the season to get in.

              Rhode Island, meanwhile, was much steadier all year long, winning the Atlantic 10 regular-season title. The Rams (25-7 SU, 16-13-1 ATS) then advanced to the A10 Tourney final before falling to Davidson on Sunday, 58-57 as a 2.5-point favorite.

              “Everyone’s talking about Oklahoma not deserving to get in. They’re a 1-point underdog to Rhode Island,” Holt said, explaining the reasoning for the Sooners being such a short pup. “There is gonna be some public support for Oklahoma, especially because of Trae Young. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the best player in college basketball. Young is the most famous player in college basketball.

              “Also, the power ratings between these two teams are really close.”

              On Sunday night, CG moved the line up a tick to Rhode Island -1.5 for this Thursday Midwest Region game.

              No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. No. 6 Miami Hurricanes (-2)

              Miami, of the mighty ACC, is certainly the more known quantity in this Thursday South Region contest. The Hurricanes (22-9 SU, 11-15 ATS) had a nice four-game run to cap the regular season, but fell to North Carolina in their ACC Tournament opener, 82-65 catching 6 points.

              Loyola-Chicago is the pride of the Missouri Valley Conference, winning both the regular-season and tournament titles. The Ramblers (28-5 SU, 19-9-1 ATS) have won 10 in a row and 17 of their last 18, going an impressive 14-4 ATS in that stretch. In the March 4 MVC final, Loyola dispatched Illinois State 65-49 laying 8.5 points.

              “That line is gonna be fairly close. It’s a 6 vs. 11 matchup, but just a 2-point spread,” Holt said. “Loyola-Chicago being one of the sleeper teams people like, so that’s already built into the spread. The power rating shows Miami should be -4.5.”

              No. 12 Davidson Wildcats vs. No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats (-6)

              Kentucky was certainly erratic for a fair amount of the season, but played some great ball down the stretch, capped by winning the SEC Tournament on Sunday. The Wildcats (24-10 SU, 17-17 ATS) went 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games, beating Tennessee in the SEC final 77-72 as a 2-point underdog.

              Davidson was 10-9 through its first 19 games, then went 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS in its last 13, including a three-game run to the Atlantic 10 Tournament title. In Sunday’s final, Davidson (21-11 SU, 18-12-1 ATS) topped aforementioned Rhode Island 58-57 as a 2.5-point pup.

              “Both these teams are red-hot, both teams playing their best basketball right now,” Holt said, noting the 6-point opening line – just a couple of 3-pointers -- shows respect for Davidson in this Thursday South Region meeting. “It’s a good game.”

              No. 11 San Diego State Aztecs vs. No. 6 Houston Cougars (-3.5)

              Houston flew a little under the radar in the American Athletic Conference, but could certainly be a team to watch over the first weekend of the NCAA Tourney in the West Region. The Cougars (26-7 SU, 18-10-1 ATS) went 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS over their last dozen games, narrowly falling to Cincinnati in Sunday’s AAC final, 56-55 as a 4.5-point ‘dog.

              San Diego State had no shot at an at-large bid unless it won the Mountain West Conference Tournament – which it did. The Aztecs (22-10 SU, 20-10 ATS) pulled off three wins in three days, including a semifinal blowout of top-seeded Nevada, followed by an 82-75 victory over New Mexico as a 4-point chalk in Saturday’s title game.

              “Houston-San Diego State is interesting because people have this love affair with the Aztecs,” Holt said of this Thursday West Region pairing. “In their power ratings, nobody is gonna have Houston as only 2 or 3 points better than San Diego State. The lowest I had this line in my power ratings was 4.25. But we’re gonna open at 3.5. The Aztecs are getting that positive momentum, playing well at the end of the year. They steamrolled through the Mountain West Tournament.”


              • NCAAB

                Monday, March 12

                Central Michigan @ IPFW

                Game 509-510
                March 12, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

                Dunkel Rating:
                Central Michigan
                Dunkel Team:
                Dunkel Line:
                Dunkel Total:
                by 2 1/2
                Vegas Team:
                Vegas Line:
                Vegas Total:
                by 5
                Dunkel Pick:
                Central Michigan
                (+5); Over

                Abilene Christian @ Drake

                Game 511-512
                March 12, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

                Dunkel Rating:
                Abilene Christian
                Dunkel Team:
                Dunkel Line:
                Dunkel Total:
                by 7
                Vegas Team:
                Vegas Line:
                Vegas Total:
                by 10
                Dunkel Pick:
                Abilene Christian
                (+10); Over

                NC A&T @ Liberty

                Game 513-514
                March 12, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

                Dunkel Rating:
                NC A&T
                Dunkel Team:
                Dunkel Line:
                Dunkel Total:
                by 15 1/2
                Vegas Team:
                Vegas Line:
                Vegas Total:
                by 11 1/2
                Dunkel Pick:
                (-11 1/2); Under

                Hartford @ San Diego

                Game 515-516
                March 12, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

                Dunkel Rating:
                San Diego
                Dunkel Team:
                Dunkel Line:
                Dunkel Total:
                San Diego
                by 12
                Vegas Team:
                Vegas Line:
                Vegas Total:
                San Diego
                by 9 1/2
                Dunkel Pick:
                San Diego
                (-9 1/2); Under


                • Bracket Analysis
                  March 12, 2018

                  Bracket Breakdown

                  This is my favorite column of the year, Bracket Analysis. This one if written annually on the night of the Selection Show. Let’s knock another one out!

                  The No. 1 seeds are Virginia, Villanova, Xavier and Kansas. Jay Kornegay and his staff at The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Villanova as the +350 ‘chalk’ to win the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Duke (5/1), Virginia (6/1) and Michigan State (6/1) have the next-shortest odds.

                  Other future numbers include Michigan (10/1), Purdue (12/1), Arizona (15/1), Kansas (18/1), North Carolina (18/1), Xavier (20/1), Cincinnati (20/1), Kentucky (25/1), Gonzaga (25/1), West Virginia (40/1), Texas Tech (40/1) and Wichita State (40/1).

                  Those numbers above came from a tweet from Jeff Sherman, the manager at The Westgate. This next set of odds are from, which has Tennessee at 40/1. Florida, Missouri and Auburn share 50/1 odds, while Ohio State and Houston are at 55 and 60/1, respectively. Oklahoma, Providence and TCU are at 75/1, and Alabama shares 85/1 odds with Clemson.

                  North Carolina State, Rhode Island, San Diego State, Va. Tech and Texas A&M each have 100/1 odds at Other future numbers include Butler (125/1), Miami (125/1), Arizona State (150/1), Arkansas (150/1), Creighton (150/1), FSU (150/1), Kansas State (150/1), Nevada (150/1), Seton Hall (150/1), Texas (150/1), UCLA (150/1), Syracuse (200/1), Davidson (250/1), St. Bonaventure (250/1) and Loyola-Chicago (300/1).

                  The Tournament starts Tuesday night in Dayton with a pair of First Four games. Long Island and Radford will collide at 6:40 p.m. Eastern for the right to advance and face Villanova on Thursday in Pittsburgh. had the Highlanders installed as 3.5-point favorites at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday night.

                  The second game of Tuesday’s even session in Dayton will pit St. Bonaventure against UCLA. The Bruins were favored by 3.5 points at The winner advances to meet sixth-seeded Florida on Thursday night in the late game of the evening session in Dallas. The Gators have beaten UCLA in all four head-to-head meetings in the NCAA Tournament, smashing the Bruins in the 2006 national-title game before thumping them again in Atlanta in the 2007 national semifinals.

                  The last four at-large berths went to UCLA, St. Bonaventure, Arizona State and Syracuse. The ‘Cuse will take on ASU in Dayton on Wednesday night for the right to advance and face sixth-seeded TCU late Friday night in Detroit. The Wynn in Las Vegas opened the Sun Devils as one-point ‘chalk’ vs. the Orange.

                  Let’s examine the paths the No. 1 seeds will have to navigate to get to San Antonio. Assuming UVA doesn’t become the first top seed to lose to a 16 seed since the Tournament extended the field to 64 (and then 68 in the last decade) teams in the 1980, Tony Bennett’s squad will face the winner of Creighton vs. Kansas State. If the Cavaliers advance to the South Region semifinals, they’ll meet the Kentucky-Arizona winner (if form holds, obviously) in Atlanta.

                  Cincinnati and Tennessee are the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, in the South Region. The Bearcats, who won the AAC Tournament with a 56-55 win over Houston in the finals Sunday, face Georgia State in the opening round. Meanwhile, Rick Barnes’s club will take on Wright State and then gets the Miami-Loyola-Chicago winner.

                  Xavier, the West Region’s top seed, is looking at meeting the Missouri-FSU winner in the Round of 32. If the Musketeers advance to the Sweet 16 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, a battle with fourth-seeded Gonzaga will happen if form holds. Ohio State, the 5-seed, could certainly have something to say about that, but I’m not sure the Buckeyes will make the Round of 32 (see Bonus Nuggets below).

                  Chris Mack’s squad might be an underdog if it makes the Elite Eight and has to play second-seeded North Carolina or third-seeded Michigan.

                  Kansas is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region with a likely Round of 32 matchup vs. the Seton Hall-N.C. State winner. There’s no telling who the Jayhawks, should they advance past the first weekend, would play in the Sweet 16 because the No. 4 and 5 seeds, Auburn and Clemson, could be in danger of taking one-and-done treatment.

                  If it makes the Elite Eight, Kansas would likely have to take on Michigan State or Duke. The second-seeded Blue Devils meet Iona and would play the Rhode Island-Oklahoma survivor if they get past the Gaels.

                  The final No. 1 seed is Villanova, which will be in nearby Pittsburgh the first weekend. Jay Wright’s squad will play the Alabama-Va. Tech winner. A potential Sweet 16 showdown with West Virginia looms. ‘Nova could be looking at Texas Tech, Purdue or Florida if it advances to the East Region finals.

                  With the way Arizona and Kentucky have played in recent weeks, UVA seems to have the toughest draw of the top seeds, which is wrong since UVA is the No. 1 overall seed. Nevertheless, I still see the Cavs making the Final Four.

                  Due to the presence of UK and Arizona, who both won their conference tournaments and were preseason top-five teams, UVA is probably most likely to go out first among the No. 1 seeds. But if I had to pick the No. 1 seed that I’m most confident won’t be playing when the Tournament gets to San Antonio, I’ve got to say it’s Xavier. I do so because North Carolina and Michigan are the best teams in the West Region.

                  Davidson is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. This year’s Wildcats have one of the nation’s most underrated players (Peyton Aldridge), in addition to one of the country’s most underrated head coaches (Bob McKillop) and freshmen (Kellan Grady). They won the Atlantic-10 Tournament by edging Rhode Island, 58-57, in Sunday’s finals to steal a bid.

                  McKillop’s team will face Kentucky in a 5/12 game Thursday in Boise. John Calipari’s squad has been installed as a six-point favorite. UK knocked off Tennessee on Sunday as a 1.5-point underdog at the SEC Tournament finals in St. Louis. They’ve won four consecutive SEC Tournaments.

                  What do I see happening? I like Michigan to win the West Region. I’ll take Duke in the Midwest, Villanova in the East and UVA in the South. Look for Villanova to get to the finals by beating Duke, while Michigan will knock off UVA. I’ll go with John Beilein’s Wolverines to cut the nets down.

                  **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

                  -- Best Potential Sweet 16 matchups:
                  1-Michigan vs. North Carolina
                  2-Michigan State vs. Duke
                  3-Florida vs. Purdue
                  4-Villanova vs. West Virginia

                  -- Coaches I trust the most in March:
                  1-John Beilein (Michigan)
                  2-Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
                  3-Roy Williams (North Carolina)
                  4-Tom Izzo (Michigan State)
                  5-Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)

                  -- Player you need to know: Mike Daum is a 6’9”, 250-pound power forward for South Dakota State, a 12 seed that meets Ohio State in Boise at Taco Bell Arena on Thursday afternoon. Daum has led the Jackrabbits to three straight NCAA Tournaments, losing by five to Maryland in the 2016 tourney. After averaging 25.1 points per game as a sophomore in 2016-17, Daum averaged 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this year. The junior is a straight-up bucket maker, shooting at a 46.2 percent clip from the field, 42.1 percent from downtown and 85.6 percent from the free throw line. South Dakota State has an RPI of 46 and owns neutral-court victories over Buffalo and Iowa. The Jackrabbits also won at Ole Miss in overtime with Daum scoring 26 points.

                  -- Another player you need to know is Nevada’s Caleb Martin, who is more than capable of leading the Wolf Pack to the Elite Eight.

                  -- I think Nevada and Florida are the most unpredictable teams in the field. Both can beat anybody when they’re playing well, but both lack size and could get sent home early.

                  -- Who are some other players that are capable of single-handedly leading their teams on deep runs like Martin for Nevada? Alabama’s Collin Sexton certainly comes to mind. Others include St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams, Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans, Oklahoma’s Trae Young and Murray State’s Jonathan Stark.

                  -- Who’s hot? San Diego State has won nine games in a row while going 8-1 ATS, including a pair of wins over Nevada and one vs. Boise State. Davidson is 16-4 since the calendar hit January and has won four straight and eight of its past nine. The Wildcats’ only loss in the past month was a triple-overtime setback at St. Bonaventure.

                  -- Who’s not (hot)? Auburn hasn’t been the same since losing leading shot blocker Anferenee McLemore to a season-ending injury in February. Bruce Pearl’s club has dropped four of its last six games while posting a 1-5 spread record. Since Jan. 16, Oklahomais 4-11 SU and 3-12 ATS. The Sooners have lost eight of their past 10 games, with the last five losses coming by double-digit margins. Arizona State is 1-5 both SU and ATS in its past six contests, while Clemson has limped to a 3-5 record both SU and ATS in its last eight games since Feb. 18.

                  Injuries of Note: Alabama starting center Donta Hall is ‘questionable’ vs. Butler after sustaining a concussion on a scary fall during Friday’s SEC Tournament quarterfinals wins over Auburn. Hall averages 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. Hall has made 72.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez (17.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG) missed three games in a row after spraining his ankle at Providence on Feb. 21. Rodriguez returned for the Big East Tournament, playing just 16 minutes and scoring eight points in a 75-74 loss to Butler. TCU won’t have Jaylen Fisher in the Tournament and Miami won’t have Bruce Brown. Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt missed the SEC Tournament with an ankle injury and is ‘questionable’ vs. Davidson. Vanderbilt is averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 RPG.

                  -- Missouri won’t have second-leading scorer Jordan Barnett for its NCAA Tournament opener against FSU following his arrest for DWI early Saturday morning. The Tigers, who are down to just seven scholarship players, will allow Barnett to travel with the team and he might be available in the Round of 32 if they get past the Seminoles. Barnett averages 13.7 points and 5.9 RPG while making 41.4 percent of his treys and 89.0 percent of his FTs.

                  -- Georgia announced Sunday that, if offered, it won’t accept a bid to the NIT. The Bulldogs fired Mark Fox on Saturday after they finished a disappointing 18-15 in his ninth season at the helm. Fox won a bunch of games – 163 total and at least 18 in each of the past five seasons -- at UGA, but his squads lost dozens of nail-biters and went to the NCAA Tournament just twice on his watch. Georgia loses only two notable players, SEC Player of the Year Yante Maten and second-leading scorer Juwan Parker. The Bulldogs will have excellent size next year with the return of senior center Derek Ogbeide, rising sophomores Nicolas Claxton, the son of Charles Claxton, who played for the Bulldogs in the 1990s, and Rayshaun Hammonds. There are also two talented guards in Tyree Crump, an excellent 3-point shooter, and Teshaun Hightower, who came on strong late in his freshmen year over the past several weeks. Candidates are believed to include Thad Matta and Tom Crean, both of whom would be excellent hires.

                  -- While we’re on the subject, Fox will land on his feet and be a quality hire for another school, and it’ll probably happen in the next two weeks. He is only 49 and has been a head coach for 14 seasons, including five at Nevada, where Fox took the Wolf Pack to three NCAA Tournaments.

                  -- According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and FanRag, Pepperdine is poised to bring former Washington head coach and current Arizona assistant Lorenzo Romar to Malibu to be its next head coach. I’m not a huge fan of Romar as a game coach, but this is undoubtedly an excellent hire for Pepperdine based simply on Romar’s ability to bring in high-profile recruits on the West coast.


                  • Things to know about NCAA tourney: No. 1s remember the Alamo
                    March 12, 2018

                    Kansas, Villanova, Virginia and Xavier - the No. 1 seeds in this year's NCAA Tournament - should remember the Alamo.

                    Especially the Jayhawks.

                    The last time all four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four was 10 years ago. That was the last time the NCAA Tournament wrapped up in San Antonio, and the last time coach Bill Self and Kansas cut down the nets as national champions.

                    Before getting to this season's Final Four, there are 64 NCAA Tournament games to be played over the next two weeks to determine if the Alamodome will be filled with No. 1 seeds again. Or if some lower seeds, or even a potential Cinderella, make it to those national semifinal games March 31.

                    Here are a few things to watch with the NCAA Tournament about to get underway:

                    - AGAIN AND AGAIN:
                    Coach K, Self and Tom Izzo keep going back to the NCAA Tournament. All have won national titles, and they're in the same regional this season.

                    Mike Krzyzewski and Duke are in the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd year in a row, two more than Izzo and Michigan State.

                    The school with the most consecutive appearances is Kansas, which stretched its active streak to 29 in a row as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional.

                    Self is in his 20th NCAA Tournament in a row, the 15th with Kansas after the Jayhawks won their unprecedented 14th straight Big 12 Conference championship . Before that, Self went to the NCAA twice with Tulsa and three times with Illinois.

                    The Spartans (29-4) are the No. 3 seed and get to stay in their home state for Friday's game against Bucknell. Kansas (27-7) also has a short trip for the opening weekend, staying in the Sunflower State to play Penn on Thursday in Wichita, Kansas.

                    The Jayhawks last year beat Michigan State in the second round of the Midwest Regional, but the only way to meet this year would be if both make it to the regional final in Omaha, Nebraska.

                    Duke (26-7), the No. 2 seed that plays Iona on Thursday, could face a potential Sweet 16 matchup against Michigan State.

                    - WHERE ARE THE 1s?: Only twice since the 2008 tournament has the NCAA title game even been a matchup of No. 1 seeds.

                    That included last season in Arizona when North Carolina beat Gonzaga, a year after the Tar Heels were the national runner-up. UNC tied the 2016 title game in Texas on a double-clutch 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left before Villanova won on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

                    Duke beat Wisconsin for the 2015 championship, the only other title game matchup of No. 1 seeds since the Jayhawks' overtime win over Memphis in 2008. North Carolina and UCLA were the other No. 1 seeds in San Antonio.

                    - WE ARE MARSHALL: While this isn't Marshall's first NCAA Tournament since the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people, including 36 members of the Thundering Herd football team, this appearance is special for fourth-year head coach and alumnus Dan D'Antoni.

                    Marshall won the Conference USA Tournament for an automatic NCAA berth, ending a 31-year drought.

                    ''A lot of people think the plane crash was just the football team, but I think you have to understand all the biggest supporters of basketball were on the airplane too, and we lost all of them,'' said D'Antoni, who at the time was a young basketball assistant coach there only months after finishing his playing career as a Herd point guard.

                    Along with the players killed in the worst disaster in U.S. sports history , there were 39 coaches, administrators, community leaders, fans and crew who died when the team's chartered jet crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, when returning from a game.

                    D'Antoni said he lost some close friends and a mentor in Dr. Ray Hagley, the team physician who was on the plane with his wife.

                    ''They always wanted me to coach at Marshall,'' said D'Antoni, now 70. ''It didn't look I was going to get the chance. It took 50 years for me to finally get back here, but that's a lot of what it meant to me, and then it's building back the program that he really gave his life for.''

                    - HURLEY BRACKET: The Hurley brothers both have their teams in the NCAA Tournament . The only way they can match up against each other is if Arizona State and Rhode Island both make it to the Sweet 16.

                    Bobby Hurley's team at Arizona State would have to win an extra game to get there. The Pac-12 Sun Devils (20-11) have to play in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday against Syracuse.

                    Rhode Island (25-7), an at-large team from the Atlantic 10 coached by Dan Hurley, plays Thursday against Oklahoma.

                    - WILDCATS IN THE SOUTH: Four teams of Wildcats are in the South Regional. Three of them play first-round games in the same arena.

                    No. 5 seed Kentucky plays No. 12 Davidson on Thursday in Boise, Idaho. The winning Wildcats in that game face a potential second-round matchup against the Arizona Wildcats, the No. 4 seed that plays Buffalo in another first-round game in Boise.

                    The other Wildcats in that regional are No. 9 seed Kansas State, which takes on Creighton on Friday in Charlotte.


                    This version corrects Davidson's opponent to Kentucky in the ''Wildcats In The South'' segment.


                    • Business as usual? Not really in this year's NCAA Tournament
                      March 12, 2018

                      The coaches, players and TV announcers waited breathlessly for the reveal, then broke down the snubs, seedings and matchups with the same glee as kids unwrapping gifts under the Christmas tree. In all, the unveiling of the NCAA Tournament bracket felt pretty much like business as usual.

                      That's really not the case this season.

                      March Madness will provide a three-week break from the troubling headlines that have consumed college basketball. All four of the tournament's No. 1 seeds - Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier - have been caught up in allegations of rule-breaking that have come up through an FBI investigation and resulting news coverage detailing potential NCAA violations.

                      They aren't alone.

                      No fewer than a dozen of the 68 programs who kick off the tournament this week have had their names mentioned in these reports. There's an undeniable chance the team cutting down the nets in San Antonio on April 2 could be forced to forfeit its title a few years down the road, after the NCAA sorts through the damage.

                      But in considering who was in and out, the selection committee only looked at who was eligible, not who was being investigated. It made for a bracket that looks fairly typical - defending champion North Carolina and runner-up Gonzaga are in, and a few blast-from-the-past underdogs such as Davidson and Butler are playing that role again this year - even if the underpinnings of college basketball may be out of whack.

                      ''March Madness and the Final Four, it's supposed to be one of the best times to be a sports fan,'' Michael L. Buckner, a Florida-based attorney who has worked on infractions cases, said last week. ''Now it's going to have this cloud hanging over it, so that's why I say it's a little surreal.''

                      For now, though, the games go on.

                      Those filling out brackets in office pools that will amass more than $10 billion in action, most of the $10 and $20 entry-fee variety, were handed their palette Sunday during a bracket-unveiling show on TBS.

                      Some highlights:

                      -The Midwest Region stands out as the toughest, headlined by Kansas, Duke and Michigan State, all of which were ranked in the top 4 in the AP preseason poll. Michigan State will go into Friday's game against Bucknell not having played a game in two weeks because of the Big Ten's early conference tournament. ''It's a concern. But with what this team has gone through this year, who cares?'' coach Tom Izzo said. It was a nod to the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked Michigan State's athletic program, along with an NCAA eligibility issue involving Miles Bridges.

                      -Teams that didn't make it included St. Mary's (weak schedule), Notre Dame (not enough quality wins), Oklahoma State (Dick Vitale went on a rant ) and Louisville (its 39 rating in the RPI is the best to miss the tournament). It was yet another blow to a Cardinals program that has lost its coach (Rick Pitino), athletic director (Tom Jurich) and even its latest national title (2013) due to a string of scandals that have played out over the past several years.

                      -Teams that squeaked in included Oklahoma, which means the nation's most electric player, Trae Young, will be on the court for at least one game, on Thursday against Rhode Island. The Sooners (18-13) went 2-8 down the stretch, but NCAA selection chair Bruce Rasmussen said games in November and December weighed just as heavily as those in February and March. Arizona State also made it off the bubble. And Syracuse, snubbed last year, was the last team in, Rasmussen said.

                      -Some of the first week's best action could be in Boise, Idaho, which features a possible second-round South matchup between No. 5 Kentucky and No. 4 Arizona, each of which won their conference tournaments. ''I had to ask my guys, `How many of you know what state Boise is in?''' coach John Calipari said, as part of an entertaining riff during an ESPN interview about the long trip his team faces.

                      It's that sort of back and forth about brackets, matchups and slights - both real and perceived - that have turned March Madness into the party it has become over the last few decades.

                      In a way, nothing changed Sunday.

                      Only this time, when the party ends, it will do so with a thud.

                      An NCAA commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to deliver recommendations shortly after the Final Four about what reforms are needed to save college basketball. At stake: A three-week extravaganza worth nearly $20 billion in TV money alone. In other words, the lifeblood of the NCAA.

                      John Tauer, the championship-winning coach at Division III St. Thomas in Minnesota, said there's too much on the line for the NCAA to stand pat.

                      ''There are enough competing pressures and enough legs to this story, that I'd be shocked if, over the next couple years, things don't change somewhat markedly,'' Tauer said.


                      • Shhh! How to stream March Madness when the boss isn't around
                        March 12, 2018

                        NEW YORK (AP) March Madness begins Tuesday. And that may mean strategizing to sneak in some games when the boss isn't looking.

                        Fortunately for you - though not your boss - all 67 games in the NCAA men's basketball tournament will be available online. Many of the games, including the Final Four, will require a password through your cable or satellite TV subscription.

                        Among the changes this year: a special stream to get the hot moments live when multiple games are played simultaneously during the first round. There are also new ways to subscribe to online TV packages, which stream many of the channels you'd get from a cable subscription.

                        Here's a viewer's guide:


                        HAPPY STREAMING

                        The best places to watch: or the NCAA March Madness Live app. All the games will be there, regardless of where they are televised.

                        CBS is televising 21 games, including two of the quarterfinals. These games won't require a cable or satellite password. To view on a streaming device such as Apple TV, Roku or Fire TV, you need a $6-a-month subscription to CBS All Access, or a subscription to one of those cable-like online packages.

                        You'll need a password for the remaining games, which are split among the Turner-owned cable channels - TBS, TNT and truTV. That includes the semifinals and championship game, known collectively as the Final Four. There's a three-hour grace period on most devices. Games also will be available on individual apps for TBS, TNT and truTV - again with a password.

                        On desktops and laptops, the March Madness website will have a ''boss button.'' One click replaces the game with a fake screenshot of a search engine, spreadsheet or PowerPoint-like app - your choice, but set it up ahead of time.


                        NO PASSWORD?

                        Consider subscribing to an online television package. There are some new ones since last year's tournament, including Google's YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV, joining AT&T's DirecTV Now and Sony's PlayStation Vue from before. The services cost $35 or $40 a month. Dish's Sling TV costs $25, but doesn't come with CBS. A sports-focused service, fuboTV, has CBS but not the Turner networks, so strike that.

                        Even services that include CBS might not offer the local CBS station where you live. Check before you subscribe by entering your ZIP code. To get CBS, you can also subscribe to All Access or use an antenna.


                        KEEPING UP

                        With Vue on a PlayStation 4 device, you can watch three channels on the same screen at once. This means you can keep up with games being televised simultaneously on different channels, or have a talk show taking up one of the three streams. Vue offers just one game at a time on other devices.

                        The March Madness app on Apple TV also offers three games simultaneously, up from two last year.

                        Otherwise, you can have multiple browser tabs open or watch simultaneously on a phone and a personal computer.

                        A new feature called Fast Break will switch from game to game automatically during the first round, depending on the action. It's similar to the NFL RedZone or the Olympics' Gold Zone. It's available through the March Madness app on various devices and browsers.

                        With Hulu, you can choose your favorite teams, and its live-TV service will send phone alerts and automatically record games involving those teams. Those with the basic Hulu service, without the live channels, will get condensed versions of games after they end.


                        HEARING IT

                        Westwood One's radio coverage of all games will be available with no password needed. You can also get this on Amazon's Echo devices by asking the Alexa digital assistant for the score.


                        VIRTUAL REALITY

                        Intel will be producing some games in virtual reality. This time, it'll work with Google Daydream headsets as well, not just Samsung's Gear VR. Details on prices and the specific games haven't been announced yet. Keep in mind that VR is no replacement for television; TV can get you much closer to the action with camera zooms than VR, which typically anchors you in a fixed location.


                        • Industry: $10B will be bet on March Madness, most illegally
                          March 12, 2018

                          ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) America's gambling industry predicts $10 billion will be bet on the March Madness college basketball tournament - nearly all of it illegally or off-the-books.

                          That's one of the reasons the American Gaming Association favors the full legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States.

                          The U.S. Supreme Court is weeks away from ruling on New Jersey's challenge to a law limiting legal sports betting to just four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, and a ruling that legalizes sports betting nationwide could provide new revenue opportunities for cash-strapped state governments, as well as casino companies.

                          The group found 54 million people - or about a quarter of the U.S. adult population - participated in a sports betting pool last year, spending $18 billion on entry fees. That includes 24 million who filled out basketball brackets pools and spent $2.6 billion on entry fees.

                          It also conducted a survey that found that roughly two-thirds of U.S. states make it illegal to participate in sports betting pools if money is involved. Enforcing those laws, however, has not been a priority for law enforcement.

                          ''Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we're turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball,'' said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. ''The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments.''

                          Freeman said only 3 percent of the $10 billion the group predicts will be wagered on the games will be done through legal Nevada sports books, or about $300 million.

                          The group also counted 48 pieces of sports betting legislation active in 18 state legislatures across the country as lawmakers anticipate a favorable Supreme Court ruling and prepare for the advent of legal sports betting.

                          The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey says ''sports betting is a cause for concern.'' While neutral on gambling, the group has been contacting New Jersey lawmakers to discuss needs that will arise if sports betting is legalized.

                          ''Sports betting may have more appeal to our children, it has the potential to affect the integrity of the games, and it may put many more people at risk for problem and disordered gambling,'' said Neva Pryor, the group's executive director.


                          • MONDAY, MARCH 12
                            GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

                            HART at USD 10:00 PM
                            USD -10.0
                            O 138.5


                            • NCAAB

                              Thursday, March 29

                              Penn State @ Utah

                              Game 711-712
                              March 29, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

                              Dunkel Rating:
                              Penn State
                              Dunkel Team:
                              Dunkel Line:
                              Dunkel Total:
                              Penn State
                              by 1
                              Vegas Team:
                              Vegas Line:
                              Vegas Total:
                              Penn State
                              by 4 1/2
                              134 1/2
                              Dunkel Pick:
                              (+4 1/2); Over

                              Long Sheet

                              Thursday, March 29


                              PENN ST (25 - 13) at UTAH (23 - 11) - 3/29/2018, 7:00 PM
                              There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

                              Head-to-Head Series History
                              There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


                              Armadillo's Write-Up

                              Thursday, March 29

                              NIT Championship, NYC
                              Penn State figures to have large crowd edge playing in NYC; Nittany Lions won six of last seven games- they’re 3-1 on this floor this season, between NIT and Big 14 tourney. PSU had fairly easy win Tuesday but their guards still played 37-40 minutes. Lions are 14-3 outside Big 14 this year- they’re #244 experience team that plays pace #211; Utah is #33 experience team that plays pace #299. Utes won 10 of its last 12 games; they’re 12-3 outside the Pac-12. Utah played four starters 33:00+ in 69-64 win over WKU Tuesday, surviving a -7 (13-6) turnover ratio in their win.


                              Thursday, March 29

                              Trend Report

                              PENN STATE @ UTAH
                              Penn State is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
                              Penn State is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
                              The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Utah's last 7 games
                              Utah is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games


                              • Penn State Nittany Lions
                                Penn State is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
                                Penn State is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
                                The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Penn State's last 7 games

                                Utah Utes
                                Utah is 12-4-1 ATS in its last 17 games
                                Utah is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
                                The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Utah's last 7 games