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Mike Handzelek's First & Second Round March Madness Analysis/Review


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Mar 23, 2021
   
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Monday, March 22, 2021 Ohio vs. Creighton (NCAAB) - 6:10 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 5.5/-105 Ohio Rating: 8* Mike's Live Mad Dog Of The Night (LOSS) Nobody's given HC Jeff Boals & his Bobcats any credit for getting to & beating the last NCAA champion of this tournament. With Guard Jason Preston being consistent thus far as a floor general & 6'8" Dwight Wilson tough on the boards, I'm not willing to buck Ohio. With the Bobcats already coming within 2 of beating Illinois, I feel the points are the way to go with a team in the top 17 in both FG percentage (48.9) & PPG (80.9) in the nation. Let's go to the "Bandbox" of Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indy & play the OHIO BOBCATS buying to +8 for just 8*'s! Sunday, March 21, 2021 Loyola Chicago vs. Illinois (NCAAB) - 12:10 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 7.5/-110 Loyola Chicago Rating: 9* Mike's CBB Mushes Missed Perception Play (WIN) Doesn't it look like brilliant HC Porter Moser (10th season @ Loyola, 17th overall) & the Ramblers can make a similar run they just made 3 years ago? That inside story of their 101-year-old superfan Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt is quite remarkable. I feel the guts of this team is no doubt 6'9' Center Cameron Krutwig whose solid from pretty much anywhere 20 feet & in. Even though the Fighting Illini is a talented squad, they spent a lot of legs in winning the grueling Big Ten Tournament that culminated with a 91-88 OT win over Ohio State. There's no denying the Ramblers are an attraction getting a ton a points & ranking 3rd in the country in FG percentage @ 50.5. Let's go to bankers Life Fieldhouse to play the LOYOLA-CHICAGO RAMBLERS off the buy to + 11. North Texas vs. Villanova (NCAAB) - 8:45 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -260 Villanova Rating: 10* Mike's Second Round Cinderella Buster (WIN) If your 2-time National Champion HC Jay Wright (20th year @ Nova' & 27th overall), you have to admit that playing Winthrop & then versus HC Grant McCasland's North Texas entry equals kind of a dream start to March Madness. Even without the stellar shooting of Guard Collin Gillespie, they should have enough firepower to handle the slow-tempo of the Mean Green who rank 209th in scoring. Let's go to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy to play 10 big stars & lay the lumber on Villanova to march on to the Sweet 16 spoiling the Mean Green cinderella hopes! Syracuse vs. West Virginia (NCAAB) - 5:15 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 4/-110 Syracuse Rating: 9* Mike's Old Big East Survivor (WIN) These 2 teams are hard to separate. HC Jim Boeheim (45th season @ the Cuse') did benefit from a horrible shooting night by San Diego State in the opening round (to my dismay), but his Orange matches up nicely with HC Bob Huggins' (38th season overall, 14th @ WV) Mountaineers' led by Guard Miles McBride & Forward Derek Culver. Throw the seeds out here as these 2 go WAY back to their Big East days. I feel 6'6" Buddy Boeheim (Jim's son) can give them enough to stay close down the stretch. Let's go to Bakers Life Fieldhouse & grab the Orange off the buy @ + 6! Saturday, March 20, 2021 St. Bonaventure vs. LSU (NCAAB) - 1:45 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 2/-110 St. Bonaventure Rating: 9* Mike's CBB Earlybird Dependable (LOSS) Believe it! The mid-major Bonnies winning their 1st outright Atlantic-10 Conference regular season title is no fluke! St. Bonaventure (won 19 games in last year's COVID-19 short season & carry a current 16-4 SU record this season) will be motivated here being in just their 3rd appearance in the "Big Dance" in 21 seasons. Underdogs such as this are always a big plus when they also carry stellar defensive credentials by yielding just 60.1 PPG (ranking 4th in the country). They now take on the runner-up of the SEC in the L.S.U. Tigers (18-9 SU under HC Will Wade-formerly with VCU) who left much of their "A" game on the court before losing 80-79 to Alabama in the SEC Championship. It seemed like Freshman Guard Cameron Thomas (went to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.) was leaned on hard to get them within a hair of winning the SEC. However, the Bayou Bengals' "D" finished a distant 280th in points allowed with 75.2 this season. That defense now faces a Bonnies' squad that returns all 5 of their starters (LSU has just 2) from last season. My bottom line has to stress that L.S.U. does not thrive in this role. All the analytics say they don't shine as a favorite in this tourney going 3-9 ATS. This is especially true when favored by 5 or less where they've covered just 1 of their last 9! For the last 10 years overall, 1st Round #8 seeds that are favored by less than 5 in this tourney have gone a ticket-ripping 3-15 ATS. When teams in this tournament are coming off a 1-point loss (LSU) & face a team coming off a SU win (St. Bonaventure), they've gone a no-show 2-7-1 versus the number the last 10. Dressing up as a dog has its merits for the Bonnies. When installed as an underdog off of 3 or more days rest, they post a 3-0 spread record. Numbers don't lie as the New Yorkers defense has held 14 of 20 opponents to 39% shooting or less AND have held foes to an amazing 27% from 3-point land in road or neutral court games. While L.S.U. is just 7-7 SU away from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, St. Bonaventure is a perfect 8-0 SU their last 8 on neutral floors. As we did in their last game, the 3-guard punch of Kyle Lofton, Jared Holmes & Jalen Adaway carry enough merit to get the nod this afternoon. Let's go to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington to play the ST. BONAVENTURE BONNIES as my 9* CBB Earlybird Dependable! Maryland vs. Connecticut (NCAAB) - 7:10 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -165 Connecticut Rating: 9* Mike's Late-Season Momentum Grabber (LOSS) HC Dan Hurley's Huskies (15-7 SU) certainly have momentum winning 5 of their last 6 SU despite losing to Creighton 59-56 in the Big East Championship. They return to March Madness for the 1st time since a 73-61 loss to Kansas in the 2nd Round 5 seasons ago. UConn represents the #1 cover team as favorites coming in @ a take-me-to-the-window 13-3 ATS in that role. Despite being just 16-13 SU, HC Mark Turgeon (former HC of Wichita St. & Texas A&M) backs into the tournament with some notable wins including beating Michigan State twice & taking down both Illinois & Wisconsin on the road. The backcourt tandem of Eric Ayala & Aaron Wiggins were a big part of the Terps getting to the post-season. The problem is when Maryland's been away from the Xfinity Center in College Park. However, they come into this game with a lackluster 5-7 road/neutral SU record & have lost 3 of 5 SU coming in. The analytics show this same team from College Park have lost all 5 games both SU & ATS when an underdog of 4 points or less & are 4-10 SU overall as a dog. My bottom line says the Huskies need their catalyst in Guard James Bouknight whose hitting 19 PPG & is over 81% from the FT line. Guard R.J. Cole (2nd leading scorer & hitting 38.3% from beyond the arc) is coming off a concussion but we're listing him as a "go" for tonight based on reports. This school has an excellent resume' the past 12 seasons in this tournament going 17-3 SU & 16-4 SU. "The Turtles" have also had their share of offensive woes scoring just 68.8 PPG (238th in the country) & now face a UConn "D" holding opponents to 64.6 PPG (ranking 41st). The Huskies may not be as talented as their 2014 National Championship team with Shabazz Napier who beat Kentucky, but they're an intense, well-rounded squad (8-4 SU on the road/neutral games) who are peaking @ the right time. Let's go to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette to play the CONNECTICUT HUSKIES as my 9* Late-Season Momentum Grabber! Abilene Christian vs. Texas (NCAAB) - 9:50 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 9/-110 Abilene Christian Rating: 8* Mike's Saturday Night Bailout Play (WIN) Don't get me wrong, HC Shaka Smart (in his 11th overall, 5th @ Texas) has been an excellent coach in the Big 12. However, he's not be able to get a "W" with this team in March Madness & will have trouble getting his team pumped versus the winner of the Southland Conference. I feel the Wildcats of HC Joe Golding (won 8 of their last 9 by double-digits) can play within single-digits with a defense ranked 7th in the nation (60.5 PPG). The interesting fact about Abilene Christian is they rank 1st in the country out of close to 350 teams in turnover margin (+ 6.4)! Let's go to the host of the Final Four, Lucas Oil Stadium to play the ABILENE CHRISTIAN WILDCATS buying to +10 for just 8*'s. Friday, March 19, 2021 Syracuse vs. San Diego State (NCAAB) - 9:40 PM ET Premium Pick Pick: Money Line -160 San Diego State Rating 9* Mike's Headliner Moneyliner (LOSS) Being a Syracuse fan, I always have respect for one of the all-time great CBB coaches in Jim Boeheim (45th season @ the Cuse'). However, Buddy "Buckets" Boeheim (Jim's son) & Co. have struggled against great defenses like San Diego State (23-4 SU) which rank 8th in the nation in points allowed with 60.6 & rank 3rd in points allowed per possession in road & neutral court games. The (18-9 SU) Orange fail in comparison to them considering their defense comes in 193rd yielding 70.7 PPG. There's no excuse for HC Brian Dutcher not having enough time to solve Boeheim's patented 2-3 matchup zone. In fact, the Aztecs have a good 3.5% edge in converting beyond the arc. We'[[ ride their 14-game SU winning streak as we take the SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS as my 9* Headliner Moneyliner! Mike Handzelek's 2020-21 CBB Overall Record: 6-4 for 60%
 


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