March Madness 2013:
Put Some Money On It (Fri)
BEAST DOME NATION.
E.P. Bignon and Matthew L. Lofton will continue to have you ready to dominate College Basketball wit Daily Fantasy Basketball players, as well as Bet Lock Picks. Without further to do, here they both are.
MATTHEW L. LOFTON BRACKET
DAILY FANTASY BASKETBALL PLAYERS
South Game 1
Michigan vs. Kansas
Kansas vs. Michigan represents a meeting of two teams going in opposite directions. Kansas has looked lackadaisical in 3-of-4 halves it has played so far in the NCAA Tournament. However, the only good half of basketball thus far by the Jayhawks is last one they have played in.
Michigan has looked great thus far in the tournament in its two wins. The Wolverines have just slammed its two opponents from the beginning and left no ray of hope for its opponents. This looks like a recipe for an easy UM win. Not so fast.
Before this past week, only Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. have NCAA experience. What will happen when Michigan is tested? I am not saying Michigan will not win, but this has Kansas keeping the Wolverines close the entire game and then pulling away late. Who will step up?
The Sweet 16 game is famously the grinder game of the NCAA Tournament. Both coaches have multiple days to prepare rather than short turnaround. Both coaches have NCAA experience, but Bill Self put aside the history of recent upsets. And they usually occur in the first weekend.
Kansas will come out on top.
But who will be the game changers?
Of course, it begins and ends with Michigan guard Trey Burke. If you look closer at Kansas’ losses this season, stellar point guard play has been the key. He should have a big game. Burke can drive and finish (leads team with 18.6 points per game) or create for Glenn Robinson III or Mitch McGary. McGary could get a double-double as he leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game. Six players for Michigan grab six boards a game.
If you are looking for an old-fashioned shootout, this is not the game for you. This will get physical.
Kansas, however, will win with experience. A freshman in a Sweet 16 game (Ben McLemore) is scary. He leads the team with 15.8 for game, but he is a guard. Look for the bigs to be the difference in this game. You can write down Jeff Withey for a double-double (13.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg).
With a slugfest on hand, Kevin Young will come up big for the Jayhawks. He is the lowest scorer among scorers (7.6 ppg), but has the possibility for a huge game on second chance points (6.5 rpg).
Players to Watch
Trey Burke, Michigan
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
Jeff Withey, Kansas
Mitch McGary, Michigan
Kevin Young, Kansas
South Game 2
Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida
If you had Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16, please raise your hand… If you have your hand raised, you are lying. This is the Friday game which will be an offensive shootout. If a defensive-minded team like Georgetown cannot stop FGCU, what makes anyone think Florida can?
Florida should win this game, but the Gators also need to be aware. Florida is a great shooting team but has a history of falling flat. Lost at Tennessee, the Gators won the next two. Lost at Kentucky, won the next two. Lost to Ole Miss, won its first two tournament games.
Then add the crowd factor. Everyone that is not partisan Gator fan will be rooting on FGCU.
This should be guard-dominated showdown. Big men need not apply.
Guard Sherwood Brown will turn in a big game for Florida Gulf Coast. A guard leading the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) is not unusual, but to lead the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg)? This is a guard who will get his and there is no reason to believe otherwise. Guard Bernard Thompson averages 14.5 points per game and should go for 15.
Brett Comer adds 6.6 dimes per game but will need to score more than his eight point average. Forward Chase Fieler averages more than 12 a game but won’t get there.
Florida will have a tougher game on its hands it imagines but will get through. Senior guard Mike Rosario (12.5 ppg) needs a big game for the Gators with guard Scottie Wilbekin directing the offense (5.0 apg).
Forward-center Erik Murphy has a golden opportunity to be the difference maker, but from not inside. He leads the team with 12.8 ppg and 2.1 threes per game.
This game comes down to whoever is making shots, pure and simple. This will be the only game on Friday’s slate that is not grind it out. But beware before the guards of other teams are ignored, games that have shootout written all over them sometimes tends to turn into grinders.
Players to Watch
Sherwood Brown, FGCU
Mike Rosario, Florida
Sleepers to Watch
Brett Comer, FGCU
Christophe Varidel, FGCU (guard: 311 points against SDSU)
Scottie Wilbekin, Florida
Erik Murphy, Florida
Midwest Game 1
Louisville vs. Oregon
What else is new? Louisville will try and press Oregon into oblivion. Colorado State had no clue what was in for them but Oregon will be ready. The key for the Cardinals to get in the press is to make shots. Louisville made 56.4 percent of its buckets against Colorado State. Saint Louis shot 37.7 percent, Oklahoma State 41.1 percent. If Louisville shoots above 50 percent, game over. Oregon only gives up 42 percent shooting. If the Duck defense can hunker down and make it a half court game, enter Oregon’s Iranian transplant, forward Arsalen Karzemi. He needs to pick up his scoring (9.3 ppg) and can have a field day on the glass (9.9 rebounds per game).
Guard Russ Smith is 17-31 with 50 points in the NCAA Tournament thus far for Louisville. Can he be counted on for 20+ points? And of concern is the shooting percentage the Cardinals gave up against Colorado State. The Rams shot 47.7 percent and was north of 50 most of the game. Center Gorgui Dieng needs to be involved with more than 12 points and three boards. The bench must also contribute, and a decent game from forward Montrezl Harrell off the bench would be huge for UL
For Oregon, forward Carlos Emory off the bench must continue to do what he does. He is a nice spark off the pine with 11.1 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Players to Watch
Arsalen Karzemi, Oregon
Russ Smith, Louisville
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Sleepers to Watch
Carlos Emory, Oregon
E.J. Singler, Oregon
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Midwest Game 2
Michigan State vs. Duke
This will be the best game of the night. Keep an early eye: if this is a finesse game, advantage Duke. If Michigan State can rough it up, give the advantage to the Spartans. If you believe in recent history, it even favors the MSU. The Spartans beat Duke in the Sweet 16 in 2005. Even a couple of Duke’s recent wins in the Sweet 16 have been rough. UCLA had Duke at bay in 2001 until Jason Williams went off. Duke held off a pesky Purdue charge in 2010. Then there is the Indiana debacle (2002) and Arizona (2011), both games in which Duke had double-digit leads.
Michigan State wins this game for one reason: The two-headed guard trio of Keith Appling and Gary Harris. Duke does not have much luck with physical guards The duo leads the team with 13.3 and 13.1 points, but I am afraid MSU needs to make this game ugly. Three players average six or more rebounds per game for the Spartans with forwards Adreian Payne, Derrick Nix and Branden Dawson.
Michigan State will win, but Duke could make things interesting. Guard Rasheed Sulaimon has turned in an up-and-down season thus far, but seems to be up so far in the NCAA tournament. He may be due for a letdown. On the flipside, forward Ryan Kelly has not really been good since his first game back a few weeks ago against Miami during the regular season. Another few days of practice and a better connection with teammate can be the difference.
Guard Quinn Cook will turn in strong games but has the tendency to take questionable shots early in the shot clock. The best bet for the Blue Devils is guard Seth Curry. Even with tough shooting nights, he finds away to get his points from the line. Curry has one of the best shot fakes in all of college basketball.
Players to Watch
Seth Curry, Duke
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Derrick Nix, Michigan State
Sleepers to Watch
Ryan Kelly, Duke
Quinn Cook, Duke
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
E.P. BIGNON BRACKET
3 LOCK GAMES TO BET ON
Florida Gulf Coast +13
Cinderella is still at the ball. Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU) has become the only 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16. The Eagles got there by knocking off Georgetown and San Diego St. convincingly. Next up is the Florida Gators who had no trouble in their 1st and 2nd round match-ups with Northwestern St and Minnesota. Right now FGCU is playing with house money and that can be very dangerous if you are the Florida Gators. The Eagles are having fun and it shows on the court with their no fear attitude, they have the athleticism to match up with the Gators and should be able to run up and down the floor with them. They will turn the ball over at times with their up tempo, high flying style of play and Florida will convert those turnovers into points. Where they are also hurting is down low with their size. Patrick Young and Eric Murphy will cause fits in the half court set and should control the boards. The clock hasn’t struck midnight yet but if FGCU wants to keep dancing they will need the score to be in the 70’s or 80’s. I don’t see them winning but they will keep it very close, take the points.
The Duke, Michigan St. match-up is arguably the best of the Sweet 16 games. Two hall of fame coaches that seem to always have their teams ready for a deep run in March. Both teams are coming off impressive wins in their 2nd round games. The Blue Devils handled a Creighton team that many predicted would knock the blue Devils out of the tournament while the Spartans cruised to a 22-point blow-out win over a very athletic Memphis squad. Duke has definitely been a different team since the return of Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils are 20-1 with Kelly in the line-up and a very average 9-4 without him. Tom Izzo is 1-6 against Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and unfortunately for Spartan fans this trend will continue. This one will be a slugfest but too much Ryan Kelly, look for Duke to advance.
The Jayhawks got off to a slow start in their 1st round match-up with Western Ky but were able to rally and survive the scare to set up a 2nd round match up with fellow Blue Blood North Carolina. The Jayhawks cruised to a 12 point victory that really wasn’t that close. After peaking with a 20-1 record and a #1 ranking, for a minute, Michigan has been a very average 6-6 since. The Wolverines have been impressive in their first two games winning by an average margin of 20 points however they have not been this deep in the tournament since the days of the “Fab Five.” Kansas has been a very impressive 11-2 against the spread in their last 13 games. Look for this to be another close one but the Jayhawks cover and move on to the Elite Eight.
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