Posts Tagged ‘Elite 8 predictions’

2013 Elite 8 Predictions: Michigan vs. Florida March Madness 3/31

March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2013 Elite 8 Predictions: Michigan vs. Florida March Madness 3/31
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Trey Burke MichiganThe third ticket to the Final Four will be punched on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, where the #4 Michigan Wolverines are going to hope to find some more magic when they take on the #3 Florida Gators, who are going to be playing in their most difficult game of the tourney to date. Join us for our Elite Eight predictions and our March Madness picks for Florida vs. Michigan in the South Region Final.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators
Michigan vs. Florida Location: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Michigan vs. Florida Date/Time: Sunday, March 31st, 2:20 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Trey Burke has to continue to work his magic from the outside
For the entire first half, Burke was shut down against the Kansas Jayhawks on Friday night. He had absolutely nothing going his way, and he and his Wolverines seemed destined to be headed out on the next flight back to Ann Arbor. However, Burke really turned it around in the second half and ultimately overtime, scoring 23 points. He knocked down a three-point shot that likely kept the game going with just over a minute left in the game, and then he turned around with just a few seconds left in regulation and hit the three-pointer from tremendously long range that sent the maize and blue into a frenzy. Michigan had no business whatsoever knocking off the Jayhawks, and it is going to have to keep its feet on the ground and not get too high. Burke is the veteran of this bunch, though he is only a sophomore, and he really is the difference maker in this game for the Wolverines.

Michigan vs. Florida Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines +2.5
#3 Florida Gators -2.5
Over/Under 131
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Key #2: Florida has to get its bearings right out of the blocks
The Gators have ultimately put away all three of the teams that they have faced thus far in the tournament, but they really haven’t been particularly challenged by the caliber of team that they have faced. Now, instead of facing a No. 11, No. 14, or No. 15 seed, Florida is taking on a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country once upon a time. The Gators have had a tough time getting into the swing of games early, especially against Florida Gulf Coast and Northwestern State. Of course, Michigan got off to a terrible start against Kansas as well on Friday night, and that leaves a big question for concern as well. However, we saw what the Wolverines could do in the clutch against one of the best teams in America, and if Florida falls behind perhaps by double digits early on, there is a good chance that Michigan will be able to jump on it and force the SEC reps into some real problems.

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Key #3: The Gators can’t rely upon their rebounding to make up for poor shooting
Here’s a situation where the stats really don’t tell the whole story. If you look at what the Gators have done shooting the ball in this tournament, you’d be relatively impressed. They are hitting a very respectable 46.4 percent from the floor for the dance, and they are knocking down 37.5 percent of their three-point shots. The numbers aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible either. What you’re not seeing are how many of those made field goals are coming after grabbing offensive rebounds. Florida picked up 28 offensive boards against Northwestern State and Florida Gulf Coast combined, and that’s where a lot of the easy buckets are coming from. Against Minnesota, what we saw this team do was slow things down and take the ball to the rack quite a bit, and the Gators ultimately won that game from the charity stripe. Michigan isn’t going to get dominated on the glass as Florida Gulf Coast and Northwestern State did previously, so Florida is going to need to make a lot more of its mid-range jumpers and outside shots to move on to the Final Four.

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Elite 8 Predictions: Wichita St. vs. Ohio St. March Madness 3/30

March 30th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Elite 8 Predictions: Wichita St. vs. Ohio St. March Madness 3/30
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Wichita State ShockersThe nets are going to be coming down at Staples Center on Saturday night, as either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Wichita State Shockers are going to be off to the Final Four in Atlanta. Join us for our Elite Eight predictions, as we analyze the March Madness odds for what should be a remarkable clash between David and Goliath in the West Regional Final.

March Madness: Wichita State Shockers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Wichita State vs. Ohio State Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Wichita State vs. Ohio State Date/Time: Friday, March 29th, 7:05 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Someone on Wichita State is going to have to put a body on Deshaun Thomas
Can anyone stop this guy? We’ve been talking about Ohio State for weeks now, and the man that is always in the center of the discussion is Thomas. This is a man with great range, is lanky, can score from anywhere on the court, and can play defense as well. He’s legitimately got every tool in the bag that you would ask from a college basketball player, and he hasn’t been stopped here in the dance. Thomas put up 20 against Arizona on Thursday night, and he now has 20, 22, and 24 points in his three NCAA Tournament games. Wichita State has seen a lot of great players along the way, including a potential National Player of the Year in F Kelly Olynyk. However, Olynyk scored 26 points and put up nine boards against the Shockers as well. WSU has to do a better job on Thomas than it did on Olynyk if it realistically wants to have any chance of surviving against a very athletic team.

Wichita State vs. Ohio State Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#9 Wichita State Shockers +4.5
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes -4.5
Over/Under 130
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Key #2: See the three. Be the three.
The three-point line is always crucial in these NCAA Tournament games, and the reason that Ohio State has survived to this point is because of the long range shot. The Buckeyes would have probably been knocked out of the dance in the first weekend by Iowa State had they not knocked down nine three-point shots, including the one by G Aaron Craft that won the game essentially at the gun. Ohio State is now knocking down a whopping 50.0 percent of its three-point shots, and it is averaging over seven threes per game. That’s a far shout from where the team was for most of the season. The Buckeyes were shooting just 35% from long range prior to the dance this season. Wichita State meanwhile, has been all over the place from beyond the arc in the dance. The team went a very respectable 5-of-12 against La Salle on Thursday, and that’s about what we are expecting to see again on Saturday. However, if there is an extreme to be seen from long range, we’ve seen both ends of it with the Missouri Valley reps. Wichita State hit 14-of-28 from downtown against Gonzaga in the Round of 32, but that came on the heels of hitting just 2-of-20 against Pittsburgh in the second round of the dance. As is usually the case, whichever team can stroke the three more successfully is going to be the one to watch out for come Saturday.

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Key #3: Ohio State needs to make a renewed effort defensively
Understandably, NCAA Tournament games tend to be a little odd by nature. Teams have to do things that they aren’t used to doing just to advance, games sometimes take a little while to get going, and every now and again, you see just a ton of scores in the final three minutes of the game or so as one team is trying to make a feverish comeback on the other. For Ohio State though, it is extremely odd to see a team scoring 70 points against it. During the regular season, it only happened seven times in 36 games. Now all of a sudden, all three teams here in the NCAA Tournament that it has faced have been able to get to 70. It’s a Catch-22 for sure. While we’re thrilled to see the Buckeyes do a heck of a lot better on the offensive end of the court, we don’t think that they can win a National Championship if they continue to play defense like this. They’ll need to really buckle down on Saturday against the Shockers, as the challenges are getting more and more difficult on the road to the Final Four.

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Elite 8 Predictions, Picks: Baylor vs. Kentucky 3/25/12

March 25th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Elite 8 Predictions, Picks: Baylor vs. Kentucky 3/25/12
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The top overall seed and the favorites on the NCAA Tournament odds, the Kentucky Wildcats, are hoping to be the only team in the land to repeat as a Final Four team this year when they take on the Baylor Bears on Sunday in the South Region finale.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #3 Baylor Bears vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
South Region Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Elite 8 Date/Time: Sunday, March 25th, 2:20 p.m.
Baylor vs. Kentucky Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Baylor has to prove that its talent is as good as Kentucky’s
Normally speaking, the Wildcats run into teams that perhaps have one or two players that can keep up with some of the ridiculous talent that they have to offer. In this case though, there are a slew of players with NBA potential for Baylor, and this is a squad that really can run with the Cats for the full 40 minutes. Brady Heslip has been on fire from downtown. Pierre Jackson has been a monster of a point guard, both as a distributor and as a shoot. Both Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy can jump out of the building and get rebounds with the best in the biz as well. That being said, these Bears haven’t exactly had the roughest road to get here to the Elite 8, and the big knock against them this year is that they haven’t been able to beat the big time teams. There are two losses to the Kansas Jayhawks (though there is a win as well from the Big XII Tournament) and three to the Missouri Tigers. This Kentucky team is certainly just as good and likely better than both. It should be interesting to say the least.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Baylor Bears +7.5
Kentucky Wildcats -7.5
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Key #2: Kentucky’s defense has to avoid giving up those big time runs
We saw both the Iowa State Cyclones and the Indiana Hoosiers figure out how to put up huge gobs of points on the Wildcats, and it is starting to feel like this might be the demise of this team at some point here in this tourney. The defense for UK just doesn’t seem to match the talent of the offense, and guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, and Terrence Jones shouldn’t be allowing nine offensive rebounds and a slew of second chance points to a team like the Hoosiers, who only have really two legitimate rebounders on their team. This is where the Bears can really capitalize, as they are a team that feeds off of momentum. We’ve seen it a lot, and we might see it again, and if that turns out to be the case, we are warning the Big Blue Nation that its team could be in a lot of trouble. Even though Baylor is a No. 3 seed, it is going to be playing this one like it is a No. 16 going against the Wildcats, and the team just is not going to give up, and it won’t stop believing during this whole 40 minutes.

Key #3: The Baylor guards have to frustrate Marquis Teague
When we did our Sweet 16 breakdown for the Wildcats, we said that Teague had to be a big time point guard and make good decisions with the basketball. Considering how many possessions there were in the game, the fact that he only coughed it up twice was definitely a good sign. That being said, this is a Baylor team that has quick hands and loves to get into passing lanes. We hate to keep dogging on Teague, but he is still the weakest link on this otherwise absolutely outstanding club. The Bears are averaging just under eight steals per game this year, and well over two thirds of those thefts are coming via the guards that are getting the opponents into trouble. Baylor can be a stingy team, and you can bet that it is going to turn up the pressure as high as it can for the No. 1 team in the country on Sunday.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

#2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels Preview 3/25/12

March 25th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on #2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels Preview 3/25/12
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Two of the most popular choices to beat the March Madness odds are going to square off on Sunday afternoon in what should be a remarkable bout on the Elite 8 odds between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Kansas Jayhawks.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
Midwest Region Location: Scottrade Arena, St. Louis, MO
Elite 8 Date/Time: Sunday, March 23rd, 5:00 p.m.
Kansas vs. North Carolina Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: UNC has to get over this certain home court disadvantage
The Tar Heels are essentially facing their worst fear in this one. They are taking on the Jayhawks in St. Louis, a city that is traditionally known for its roots in the Big XII, not the ACC. There will be plenty of Carolina Blue in the stands, but that doesn’t mean that the majority still won’t be pulling for Kansas. We have seen the Heels absolutely fall apart in a few games this year that either were true road games or were de facto road games, such as the horrible five touchdown loss to the Florida State Seminoles and the early season upset against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. In games like those, the crowd was able to really get the best of the Heels, and without any sort of leadership with experience running the show out of the point guard spot, it is going to be up to the rest of this team to maintain its composure if it wants to go to the Bayou for the Final Four.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Kansas Jayhawks -2
North Carolina Tar Heels +2
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Key #2: Tyshawn Taylor needs to get his head back in the game
Taylor has now had three straight lackluster games here in the tourney, and even though he averaged 16.8 points per game this season, he now has three straight games with just 10 points or fewer. He shot a woeful 0-of-6 from beyond the arc in the win over the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night, and he was a big part of why the team shot 1-of-14 from downtown as a unit. Needless to say, that isn’t going to cut it, and if Taylor is really going to step it up and be the man to lead this team as he was in the regular season, he has to get his stroke back. This was a 49.2 percent shooter and a 41.6 percent three-point shooter during the season, and he really has no excuse for jitters any longer after being in the dance last year as a freshman. Taylor just cannot go MIA in this one, though we know that he is going to have some pain in the neck guards that are very athletic guarding him.

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Key #3: North Carolina has to get an edge on the boards and make it count
It seems likely that Kendall Marshall is going to be missing out on this one again, though obviously, you are going to want to check your injury report before betting this one if you are playing the Elite 8 odds on game day. That being said, just take a look at the rebounding numbers for North Carolina on Friday night with its win over the Ohio Bobcats. Tyler Zeller had 22 boards by himself, while the whole Ohio team only had 26 rebounds. John Henson and Reggie Bullock both ripped down 10 boards apiece, while Harrison Barnes had seven. We just don’t understand how a team this talented won the rebounding battle 56-26 and still had to play in overtime and arguably should have been beaten by a No. 13 seed that was out of one of the worst conferences in America. Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson aren’t going to let matters be this easy for the Tar Heels on Sunday, and that might make the difference. If UNC does get the edge though, it has to take advantage of its second chance opportunities and to get the ball up the court in transition in a hurry.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

Elite 8 Predictions: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange 3/24/12

March 24th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Elite 8 Predictions: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange 3/24/12
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Two of the top teams in the whole NCAA Tournament are going to square off on Thursday night in Beantown, and we are set to make our Elite 8 predictions with our Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange keys to the game.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #1 Syracuse Orange
East Region Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Elite 8 Date/Time: Saturday, March 24th, 7:05 p.m.
Ohio State vs. Syracuse Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Someone is going to have to take over the role of Fab Melo in the middle
Syracuse has been able to use a strong enough defense to get the job done against some of the other teams in this tournament, knowing that none of the three opponents that the team has faced has scored more than 65 points. That being said, there really hasn’t been that dominating big man that would be able to penetrate into the teeth of that 2-3 zone like Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas will likely be able to. It is hard to see how anyone else is going to be able to anchor the middle of this defense for a lineup that is suddenly quite small, and if no one can take to the task at hand, the big boys for the Buckeyes are going to have a field day assuming that the guards take care of the basketball and can work it inside.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Ohio State Buckeyes -3
Syracuse Orange +3
Over/Under 135.5
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Key #2: Aaron Craft has to make sure the OSU offense keeps up at a good clip
It’s hard to always identify which one of the Ohio State guards is truly the point guard, but Craft is the man that has to make a lot of the big time passes to get the ball inside in the post. He did a remarkable job of this against the Cincinnati Bearcats, another team from the Big East, and another team that plays a heck of a lot like these Orange do. We know when Sullinger and Thomas get the ball in their hands, they know what they are doing with it. They shot a combined 17-of-30 from the floor and had 49 points between them, and they also had 18 boards. The key is going to be keeping them involved and getting the ball to them in the post as early as possible. If that’s the case, not only will the inside game be working, but the outside game is going to likely get involved as well when the others in the Syracuse backcourt are crashing down to help out and double team.

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Key #3: Kris Joseph has to kick his game into gear
Joseph is a man that averaged shooting the ball over 10 times per game in the regular season, and he shot 42.2 percent from the floor and 34.9 percent from downtown. He is the man that is almost certainly going to have to step up and hit the big time shot down the stretch. However, the problem is that he has now had six straight games with 12 points or fewer, and all of those games are below his scoring average, which currently sits at 13.5 points per game. It is going to take senior leadership to get the job done in this one against an Ohio State team that is likely a heck of a lot more talented than the Syracuse team that is going to be on the court.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

#7 Florida vs. #4 Louisville Elite 8 Predictions for 3/24/12

March 24th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on #7 Florida vs. #4 Louisville Elite 8 Predictions for 3/24/12
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Either the Florida Gators or the Louisville Cardinals are going to claim the first spot in the Final Four on Saturday, and we are going to try to nail down the winner of this one with our Elite 8 picks to start the weekend.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #7 Florida Gators vs. #4 Louisville Cardinals
West Region Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Elite 8 Date/Time: Saturday, March 24th, 4:30 p.m.
Wisconsin vs. Louisville Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: It’s all about the intensity
You aren’t going to find two teams that go at it on either side of the floor with the intensity that the Gators and the Cardinals bring to the table. This is the exact matchup that we were hoping to see, because Head Coaches Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino both get the most out of their players. Are these two teams amongst the most talented eight in the land? Probably not. However, there is no reason to think that either of these teams are going to back down right now. The pressure that is going to be put on both of these teams with full court pressure and the offenses that try to get up and go, and the team that wins this one very well could be the one that has the more intense runs of the two.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Florida Gators -1.5
Louisville Cardinals +1.5
Over/Under 131.5
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Key #2: Gorgui Dieng has to have a huge game
What really made the difference in Florida’s win over the Marquette Golden Eagles is that the team found a way to take the Marquette big men out of the equation. It goes without saying that the Gators are a group that love to run and do so with at least three, and usually four guards on the court. Dieng is the big man that can really do a lot on both sides of the court. You might look at the five points that Dieng had against the Michigan State Spartans and think that he had a bad game. Then look closer at the box score. He had nine boards, seven blocks, and three steals and altered a slew of what MSU tried to get done. We know what Florida does; this is a team that loves to drive the ball and kick it out to the perimeter and take three point shots if the layup or short jumper isn’t open. Dieng can change all of that when push comes to shove, and he should be able to throw his body around. If he does that and stays out of foul trouble, UF had better hope that it is hitting its outside shots without all that many difficulties, or it will be in a lot of trouble.

Key #3: It’s time for Kenny Boynton to play like a veteran
Boynton only had 11 points in the Sweet 16 against Marquette, and he has been wildly inconsistent in the postseason. He only had two points against the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC Tournament Final, and he had just eight against the Virginia Cavaliers. That being said, he also had 20 against the Norfolk State Spartans. This is a man that averages 16.0 points per game and shoots 41.1 percent from beyond the arc. There is a lot of pressure on Boynton, though there has been a heck of a lot of production from Bradley Beal and the others. We just don’t know if that’s going to be able to keep up in the rest of this tournament. The Gators really need their leader to play like one.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.