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Cal Enters NCAA Tournament Streaking

The California Golden Bears head into March Madness as a hot play on the court and at the window, as they have gone 9-2 SU and 8-2-1 ATS in their final 11 games.  Cal will look to keep cooking when they start the NCAA Tournament against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Friday.

Cal is not going to be an easy out for any team this season as they sport the best defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 67 ppg, while featuring a rim-attacking lineup like few others. Five different Bears are averaging double-digits this season with senior Tyrone Wallace (15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists) leading the way.

Hawaii is the trendy darkhorse pick this tournament, as the Warriors posted a 27-8 SU record and came within single-digit points in losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma this year. Stefan Jankovic is a difficult challenge for any team to contain as the 6’11 Serbian finished in the top five in points and rebounds in the Big West.

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MSU Dominating As Huge Favorites

If the Michigan State Spartans feel snubbed by the committee for not getting a No.1 seed, they will get their chance to take it out on Middle Tennessee Friday. The Spartans will enter the game as a massive favorite, but they are a perfect 7-0 SU and ATS in their past seven games when favored by 17.5 points or more.

There is a real argument to be made that Michigan State is the most complete team in the nation, as the Spartans finished in the top 25 in points, points allowed and rebounds while finishing with the most assists per game in the country. The most complete player in the nation Denzel Valentine leads the incredibly effective team. The senior became the first player in recorded history to finish a season averaging 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Blue Raiders ended the season on a six-game winning streak with their relatively mediocre offense topping 75 points or more in four of those six contests. There is no doubt what got Middle Tennessee dancing though, it was their defense that held opponents to 68.3 ppg.

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Sooners Enter March Madness Cold ATS

Buddy Hield Oklahoma Sooners NCAA March Madness

Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners provided college basketball fans several memories throughout the season. The Sooners did not, however, leave any lasting memories at the betting window and finished off the season especially cold against the spread. Sooners backers will hope that ATS slump ends when they face the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Friday.

Shark Bites
  • UNDER has gone 10-0 in Oklahoma’s previous 10 games.
  • Oklahoma is 1-5 ATS in its previous six tournament games.
  • Oklahoma has been a No. 2-seed twice and is 1-1 ATS in those games.

The Sooners, currently 14.5-point favorites at online book Bovada, enter the NCAA Tournament on an 0-5 ATS (3-2 SU) run including a 69-67 loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 semifinal. Furthermore, the Sooners have the worst ATS record of any team playing in the tournament at 12-18 ATS.

Still, it’s going to be tough to bet against Hield and the experienced Sooners, especially in these early stages. Senior guard Hield leads the group with 25 points per game, shoots the three at a 46 percent clip and is the probable Naismith Award winner. There is experience throughout the lineup though with senior Isiaiah Cousins, senior Ryan Spangler and junior Jordan Woodard also featured in the starting five.

The Roadrunners went 24-8 SU but played in just three lined games this season, covering the number each time. The team enters the tournament with six-straight wins and have won 10 of their last 11 games. The lineup features five players who average double-digit points per game but the schedule doesn’t feature a ton of primetime matchups. They were blown out 94-59 by Saint Mary’s and were thumped 75-59 at Arizona State.

While the Sooners haven’t been the best wager this season, they’ve been above average when it comes to covering double-digit spreads. In 10 games when they’ve been faves of 10 or more, the Sooners have gone 6-4 ATS.

Click here for a history of the No. 2 vs. No. 15 matchup.

CS Bakersfield Roadrunners vs Oklahoma Sooners Matchup

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Notre Dame Struggling Against The Best

Notre Dame will need to start performing better against top flight opponents if they expect to last long in the NCAA Tournament, as the Fighting Irish are just 1-4 SU and ATS in their past five against teams with a winning record. Notre Dame will start their March Madness when they face the 23-12 Michigan Wolverines Friday.

The Irish ended their season going just 3-4 SU in their final seven games as their offense scored less than 65 points on five occasions. You can’t point any fingers at Zach Auguste with the senior notching five double-doubles in Notre Dame’s past seven, including a ridiculous 19 points and 22 rebounds in an overtime win over Duke.

Michigan limped through the difficult Big Ten this year with a mediocre 10-8 conference within the conference despite their defense holding opponents to just 67.5 points per game. The Wolverines starting lineup stepped up in a big way in their play-in game against Tulsa, as four of their five starters scored 12-plus points.

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Oregon Cashing Tickets With Ease

Just how tall of an order does Holy Cross have on their plate in Friday’s Round of 64 clash with Oregon? Never in the history of the tournament has a 16-seed beaten a 1-seed, but the Crusaders will be looking to change that with the eyes of the nation watching. Oregon has been sizzling against the spread as of late, going 5-1 ATS in their past six.

Shark Bites
  • Holy Cross is 4-0 SU and ATS in its last four games against teams with winning records.
  • Oregon is 5-0 SU in its last five games in March.
  • The total has gone UNDER in five of Oregon's last seven games.

Holy Cross is coming off a 59-55 First Four win over Southern, which was huge for the program. First-year head coach Bill Carmody hadn’t gotten his old school, Northwestern, into the tournament for 13 seasons (from 2000 to 2013).

Unfortunately for the Massachusetts-based school, the numbers are simply not in their favor. The matchup is perhaps the most lopsided of all No. 1 and No. 16 seeds in terms of the contrast between offensive and defensive efficiency.

Sportsbooks are expecting this tilt to be a blowout. Oregon opened as 23-point favorites for the affair, while the total was set at 133.5.

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Shootouts Leading to OVERs With Xavier

Xavier enters the NCAAB Tournament riding a string of seven consecutive OVERs for bettors. In the Musketeers past seven outings there has been an average of 169.1 points per game. Xavier starts their March Madness against an offensive-minded Weber State Wildcats Friday.

The Musketeers spent a good portion of the season ranked inside the top 15 thanks to a balanced attack that has seen them outscore opponents by more than 10 points per game on average. The true key to a prolonged run in the tournament for Xavier will be their continued play from their incredible depth of guards, as their top three scorers play either the one or two position.

Weber State has used their superior size, six players of 6’7 or taller in their lineup, to dominate within the arc. The Wildcats drained more than 55 percent of their shots from inside the arc and have a tendency to get themselves to the charity strip if they don’t.

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Duke Winning, But Still Not Covering

Duke continues to get by, but it has been by the thinnest of margins. These overly close affairs have made the Blue Devils fade-worthy, as they are 0-6 ATS in their past six games. Duke will enter the second round as favorites when they take on upset-hungry Yale Saturday.

It may have been their first tournament appearance in more than half a century, but you would not have guessed it after Yale upset Baylor in their Round of 64 matchup. Makai Mason was the key cog to the offensive output for the Bulldogs as the sophomore scored a career-high 31 points, including scoring six of the team’s final nine points.

It was a shaky start for Duke when they took on UNC-Wilmington, but bounced-back in a big way in the second half. The Blue Devils shot 68 percent from the floor and went to the line an astounding 30 times in the final 20 minutes of their 93-85 victory. The duo of Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram combined for 43 points and 19 rebounds for Duke in that game.

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Kentucky Enters Tournament at its Best

Jamal Murray Kentucky Wildcats NCAA March Madness

Momentum is a big factor when capping the NCAA Tournament and one team who enters March Madness on fire is the Kentucky Wildcats. John Calipari and his squad open up their tournament schedule against the Stony Brook Seawolves of the America East conference.

Shark Bites
  • OVER is 5-0 in Kentucky’s previous five games.
  • Stony Brook is 22-2 SU in its previous 24 games.
  • This is Stony Brook’s first NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Wildcats enter the tournament fresh off a SEC Tournament win and a boast a five-game winning streak both straight up and against the spread.

Don’t expect the extended layoff to impact the Wildcats, however. Kentucky has gone 11-2 SU in its last 13 games with three days off in between games and are in that spot in Thursday night’s meeting.

The Seawolves come from the America East Conference and considering how few games they’ve had on the odds board this season, they could be somewhat tough to cap. One thing we do know going in, however, is that they have not been kind to backers when they have had a lined game. Entering March Madness, the Seawolves have gone a futile 0-5-1 ATS in six lined games.

Little Stony Brooks stands little chance of topping the red-hot Wildcats in their tourney opener and the +13.5 doesn’t feel near enough the way the Wildcats have been playing.

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Zags Looking to Bust Brackets in 2016

After winning the WCC conference tournament, the No. 11 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs will look to keep the ball rolling and start a Cinderella run vs the No. 6 Seton Hall Pirates. Tournaments in 2015, 2014 and  and 2012 saw two No. 11 seeds move on to the second round, and in 2011 three No. 11 seeds advanced past the first round.

Seton Hall probably doesn’t care about what past teams have done in the tournament, and are coming off a conference title of their own after upsetting Villanova 69-67. They enter the tournament hot, winning eight of nine SU, and covering the spread in six of their last seven games.

Oddsmakers are expecting a tight game, as evidenced by the 1-point spread favoring the Zags. When things went down to the wire this season, Gonzaga was better than Seton Hall. In games decided by three-points or less, Gonzaga was 5-3, while Seaton Hall went 2-3 — something for in-game bettors to keep an eye on perhaps if it’s a tight game in the final minutes.

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Kentucky Dominating Top Opponents

Kentucky has won and covered in each of their past six outings, all of which came against team’s with winning records. The Wildcats have been blowing these teams away as well with an average scoring margin of +16.3 points during their current winning streak. UK will look to continue their path to Houston when they take on the Indiana Hoosiers Saturday.

Kentucky decimated Stony Brook in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the Wildcats held their opponents to just 26.3 percent from the field while shooting over 50 percent themselves. Each of the five Wildcats starters tallied double-digit points, paced by freshman Jamal Murray’s 19. That was just the second time in the past 14 games that Murray failed to hit the 20 point plateau.

Indiana steamrolled their way into the second round by easily topping the Chattanooga 99-74. Senior point guard Yogi Ferrell paced the team with 20 points, the 20th time he has hit double-digits points in the Hoosiers' past 21 games. Indiana's defense started the game against the Mocs shaky, but steadied themselves as the game went on. 

Indiana has historically faltered against Kentucky, as the Hoosiers are just 1-4 SU and ATS in the past five meetings between the two teams. Kentucky and Indiana have last met in 2012, when the WIldcats knocked the Hoosiers out of the NCAA Turnament. 

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