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Mike Handzelek's March Madness Sweet 16/Elite 8 GOY Analysis/Review


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Apr 1, 2019
   
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Sunday, March 31, 2019 Auburn vs. Kentucky (NCAAB) - 2:20 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 4.5/-110 Auburn Rating: 10* Mike's March Madness Game Of The Year (WIN) Too many people are pointing toward the last time these 2 hooked up with Kentucky cruising 80-53 @ Rupp Arena (the Tigers shot a miserable 32.8%). Some others shine their light directly @ the 6'8" star sophomore Chuma Okeke who suffered a torn ACL in Auburn's win over North Carolina on Friday. But the OTHER true story zeroes in on the Wildcats' sophomore forward P.J. Washington. I feel there's still a question mark on Washington. How good is his inflammed ankle after playing Friday & coming off missing the first 2 rounds? At any rate, I feel HC Bruce Pearl HAS THE FORMULA on how to beat Kentucky. Besides getting it done from 3-pt land (45% the last 2 games), Pearl has found a 4-man rotation in the frontcourt that's kept them fresh in their pushing fast-paced tempo style. Now it's time to crunch some numbers! What really sticks out is how well SEC tournament champs have done in the Elite 8 Round. In their past 5 tries, they've gone a near-perfect 4-0-1 ATS & 3-2 SU included within those 2 SU losses being by a total of 3 points. Pearl has also responded in a BIG way when his teams come off same season revenge losses by 19 or more. In those 3 instances, his teams have a perfect career mark of 3-0 ATS. My bottom line points toward the perfect storm. Teams in the Elite 8 Round who are coming off an upset win over a #1 seed (Auburn over North Carolina) in the Sweet 16 Round have come back to post up a perfect 13-0 ATS the past 23 seasons. How well do Pearl-coached clubs done off an NCAA Tournament double-digit win? In 7 career tries, his teams have covered 6 of them. History tells us Kentucky looks for their 5th Final Four appearance in the past 10 years under HC John Calipari. On the flip side of the coin, the Tigers are more than excited since they're playing for their 1st ever Final Four berth. That has a similar ring to it since Texas Tech earned their 1st Final Four appearance yesterday. Look for guards Bryce Brown & Jared Harper to make treys from the perimeter to keep Auburn in it to win it! Let's go to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO to play the AUBURN TIGERS (buying to +6 for 80% of play while sprinkling 20% of the pasta on the ML) as my March Madness Game Of The Year! Friday, March 29, 2019 Auburn vs. North Carolina (NCAAB) - 7:30 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -240 North Carolina Rating: 9* Mike's Friday Fire & Ice Madness Blitzer (LOSS) This one looks like that matchup between hot & cold. The cold I strongly feel will take place on the Auburn side. Look for North Carolina to step up & contest them "in the face" style since 43% of their points comes from beyond the arc. My bottom line looks @ the Tar Heels establishing an inside game with the help of their 6'5" speedy penetrating freshman guard Coby White (16.4 PPG). Look for more 2nd-chance shots with Carolina winning the battle off the windows. Getting kick-backs out to 6'8" senior forward Luke Maye (14.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) for a jumper or to 6'9" freshman guard Cameron Johnson (16.9 PPG) for a trey (hits a staggering 46.7 % of them). Remember, 2 strong suits for ( 16th-year) HC Roy Williams' squad have to be being 3rd in the nation in scoring (86.6 PPG) & out-rebounding their opponents by a wide 10 per game margin. Yes, (5th-season) HC Bruce Pearl has some rich guards with 6'3" senior Bryce Brown (15.7 PPG) & 5'11' junior Jared Harper (15.2 PPG). However, they'll be over-matched here in the backcourt, will have more turnovers versus a pressing "D" & will struggle from the free throw line @ 70.5%. NC being 1st in rebounding, 2nd in assists & being a #1 seed is clearly warranted. The game that stands out for me is when they dismantled Gonzaga earlier by a 103-90 count. Besides, Duke & Virginia, NOBODY has beaten the Tar Heels the past 19 contests. Are you ready? Let's go to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO to play the NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS as my Friday Fire & Ice Madness Blitzer! Thursday, March 28, 2019 Texas Tech vs. Michigan (NCAAB) - 9:35 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -125 Michigan Rating: 8* Mike's March Madness True Ballers (LOSS) There were a few picks considered before pulling the lever on this one. Those included a very talented Florida State team but we'll stay away due to the revenge factor. Facing facts, I'm going with a Big Ten team that's only lost 3 games excluding games with Michigan State. The team I'm talking about is last year's national title runner-up, the (30-6) Michigan Wolverines (notched 30 wins in back-to-back seasons-1st time in program history). HC John Beilein (now in his 12th season) has a balanced offense (despite losing its top 2 scorers from last season) and an improved 2nd-ranked overall defense. There's lots of things to love about this year's team. They lead the NATION in fewest turnovers with 9.0 per game. They're 3rd in SCORING defense yielding just 58.2 PPG with matches up nicely against a defensive team like (28-6) Texas Tech. When discussing their big 3, you have to look @ 6'7" freshman forward Ignas Brezdeikis. Brezdeikis leads the team in scoring (15.0 PPG) & pulls down (5.1 RPG). The other 2 happen to be one of the most talented perimeter guards in the country with 6'5" sophomore Jordan Poole (13 PPG) & 6'0" junior Zavier Simpson. Simpson is Michigan's floor general whose like a cat & creates plays from tight windows. He's averaging 9.1 PPG, grabs down an excellent 5.1 RPG (for a guard) & dishes out a team-high 6.3 APG (good for 9th in the country). But in the last 8, Simpson has upped that to 9.3 APG. My bottom line says the Red Raiders (in the 2nd round) HIGHLY benefited from Buffalo shooting a low 35% from the field (gave us our only loss here for March Madness). I expect the Wolves to take better high-percentage shots & have better ball movement on offense than the Bulls mustered versus (3rd year) HC Chris Beard & Company. I ALSO feel Michigan can mimic what Villanova did to Tech when they ousted them 71-59 in last year's Elite 8. Nova shot 4 for 24 from outside the arc but made up for it by holding the Red Raiders to 5 for 20 from that distance & 33.3% overall. Look for 7'1" Jon Teske to be an X-Factor underneath. Finally, you can't ignore Beilein's NCAA Tournament record the last 10 years where he's won 74% of his (27) games SU. Trekking to Anaheim, CA to the Honda Center to play the team with the bigger chip on their shoulders, the MICHIGAN WOLVERINES to march on as my March Madness True Ballers! Mike Handzelek's 2019 March Madness Record: 6-3 for 67% Mike Handzelek's 2018-19 CBB Overall Seasonal Record: 9-4 for 69% #1 on Vegastopdogs in CBB Win%
 


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