The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 17, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Sunday, March 18

Sunday’s PiRate Rating Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Purdue Butler 5.4
Michigan St. Syracuse 8.5
North Carolina Texas A&M 5.9
Cincinnati Nevada 4.9
Auburn Clemson 1.4
Kansas St. MD-Baltimore Co. 9.8
Xavier Florida St. 3.7
West Virginia Marshall 10.2

Sunday’s TV Schedule

All times Eastern Daylight

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:10 PM 2 Purdue 10 Butler Detroit CBS
2:40 PM 3 Michigan St. 11 Syracuse Detroit CBS
5:15 PM 2 North Carolina 7 Texas A&M Charlotte CBS
6:10 PM 2 Cincinnati 7 Nevada Nashville TNT
7:10 PM 4 Auburn 5 Clemson San Diego TBS
7:45 PM 9 Kansas St. 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TruTV
8:40 PM 1 Xavier 9 Florida St. Nashville TNT
9:40 PM 5 West Virginia 13 Marshall San Diego TBS

Bracket-Picking Criteria Results

Of the eight teams in the Sweet 16 as of Saturday night, we still have six teams alive.  Our picks went 6-2 and were within a half-second of going 8-0, as our two losses came on last-second shots in the Loyola-Tennessee and Michigan-Houston games.

For the tournament, our picks are now 32-12.

The New PiRate Ratings Bracketology Criteria have performed on par with the traditional criteria that we used for over 20 years.  We will wait until the championship before deciding if the new criteria was worth discarding the old method.

Here is a look at today’s games as the criteria applies to each of the eight contests.

Purdue vs. Butler
The big question is, “Will Isaac Haas play?” The next biggest question is, “If he plays, can he be anywhere near 100%?”

If Haas is able to give anything close to his regular contribution, Purdue is too strong for Butler. But, as we have already seen in this tournament, Virginia not having its best defender, and Tennessee not having one of its key big men available were contributing factors in losses. If Haas is not able to play, then Butler gains a major advantage in this game. The Boilermakers rely on Haas more for his offense than his defense, and it is true shooting percentage margin where Purdue is so superior in this contest. Remove Haas and his 66% TS%, and this advantage melts away somewhat.

PiRate Pick: Purdue

Michigan St. vs. Syracuse
This will be an interesting contest. The schedule strengths are identical, so we can look at the stats as if the two teams have played the same exact schedules. Michigan State has a clear true shooting percentage margin advantage and the Spartans also enjoy a modest R+T rating advantage.
The interest in this game comes from Michigan State’s issue against zone defenses. The Syracuse 2-3 matchup zone is tough to face the first time, and the Spartans had all of a day to study it and then implement a strategy against it.
It’s a different zone entirely, but Michigan State fared poorly twice against Michigan’s 1-3-1 trapping zone. Syracuse will trap out of their matchup zone as well.
On paper, Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston should thrive against zone defenses, but they did not hit from outside in one of the two games, and they turned the ball over against the traps the other. Maybe, the third time’s the charm? Or then maybe Syracuse is primed to make another surprise run to the Final Four? We’ll stick with Sparty.

PiRate Pick: Michigan St.

North Carolina vs. Texas A&M
North Carolina is almost playing at home, but Kansas just showed that having an in-state regional doesn’t guarantee two easy victories. However, the Jayhawks advanced, so the Tar Heels should get a little extra help with maybe a point or point and a half for playing so close to home as the state school where the tournament will be played.
The Tar Heels don’t need all that much extra oomph in the Big Dance. They are the defending champions, and they appear to be nearing peak performance at the right time.
Texas A&M is not going to be the weak victim. The Aggies will have the power to keep the inside game honest. A&M actually has a slightly better true shooting percentage margin than the Tar Heels, but North Carolina enjoys the R+T advantage. Down the road, North Carolina might struggle against a team that can force turnovers, but A&M isn’t one of those teams.

PiRate Pick: North Carolina

Cincinnati vs. Nevada
This game could be interesting for awhile, but Cincinnati is a bit too physical for the underdog Wolf Pack. The Bearcats’ R+T rating advantage is considerable here, and they enjoy a small true shooting percentage advantage as well. Eventually, Cinti will dominate on the glass, and this should lead to a run of several points, where the Bearcats send the Wolf Pack back to Reno, and that’s no gamble saying so.

PiRate Pick: Cincinnati

Auburn vs. Clemson
This is another one of those games where one key injury makes a huge difference in one team’s statistics. Auburn just narrowly escaped a first round upset bid by Charleston, and without a dominating or even contributing big man, the Tigers just aren’t the same team they were before Anfernee McLemore was lost for the season.

Clemson is not going to just show up and win this game, and they may not win even if they produce an A+ effort. Auburn still has a tough pressure defense on the perimeter, and Clemson has a negative turnover margin, so the War Eagles should get a couple extra scoring opportunities with steals.

However, when it comes down to it, Clemson has a decidedly better true shooting percentage margin and should be able to score inside enough times to win this battle again. CU enjoys a slightly better stength of schedule, and this should be the final nail in the coffin in this game.

PiRate Pick: Clemson

Kansas St. vs. MD-Baltimore Co.
Can they do it again? Is there any way a Number 16 seed can be one of the last 16 in the field? Here’s the funny thing about this game: Kansas State is precariously on the minimum R+T margin line to be picked against anybody in the tournament. Teams that rebound as poorly as Kansas State seldom make it very far in the NCAA Tournament. There are just a handful of teams in the last 50 years that won twice in one NCAA Tournament when their rebounding margin was worse than -3.
Maryland-Baltimore County would have been our pick in this game if the Terriers had a positive rebounding margin of 1.5 or better, but UMBC also has a negative rebounding margin. The Terriers might have been our pick if they held the true shooting percentage margin advantage in this game, but Kansas State has the better numbers here as well. Throw in the fact that the Wildcats’ schedule strength is about 15 points stronger than that of UMBC, and we just cannot pull the trigger on this one and take the most incredible long shot to ever make the Sweet 16.

PiRate Pick: Kansas St.

Xavier vs. Florida St.
This game should be the second most exciting game of the day. The Seminoles match up well with the top-seeded Musketeers, and this game should remain close for at least all of the first half and a good bit of the second half. Xavier has a slightly stronger schedule strength which makes their true shooting percentage margin and R+T rating advantages enough to matter. The margin of safety in this game is rather small, almost nonexistent, so a cold shooting day by Xavier could be enough to turn this game the other way.

PiRate Pick: Xavier

West Virginia vs.Marshall
We saved the best for last. In case you didn’t know, there is more than just a Round of 32 game here. These two in-state rivals don’t get along, and it’s almost as hated as Xavier and Cincinnati. It carries over to the two coaches, as they don’t really like each other.
When there is a game like this, the smaller school almost always benefits in some way.

Marshall is a woman scorned as these teams prepare to face off in a foreign land known as San Diego. West Virginia refuses to play Marshall in basketball (and football), unless the Mountaineers get two home games for every Thundering Herd home game.
What about the game itself? This will be the most interesting game of the day. Press Virginia’s defense may not exploit much in the way Marshall attacks it. The Herd had no difficulty facing Middle Tennessee’s trapping defense, as they pasted the CUSA regular season champions both times they faced them.

Alas, there is one important rule that we always follow at the PiRate Ratings. Whenever a team in the NCAA Tournament had a negative R+T Rating, we select the other team as long as that team has a positive R+T Rating. Marshall’s R+T Rating is -4.8, while the Mountaineers have a 16.6 R+T, and that is enough to give WVU about 18 more scoring opportunities. Marshall would have to hit about 18 three-pointers to neutralize that advantage.

PiRate Pick: West Virginia

Original PiRate Ratings Bracketology Sunday Teams Picked for Sweet 16
All 8 of our original picks are still alive today.
Cincinnati
Xavier
North Carolina
West Virginia
Texas Tech
Purdue
Clemson
Michigan St.

 

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March 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Friday, March 16

Friday’s PiRate Rating Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Texas A&M Providence 3.8
Purdue Cal St. Fullerton 17.0
Wichita St. Marshall 9.4
Cincinnati Georgia St. 12.7
North Carolina Lipscomb 17.4
Arkansas Butler -1.2
West Virginia Murray St. 6.3
Nevada Texas 2.5
Creighton Kansas St. 2.5
Michigan St. Bucknell 12.8
Xavier Texas Southern 20.0
Auburn Charleston 11.9
Virginia MD-Baltimore Co. 20.6
TCU Syracuse 4.3
Missouri Florida St. -1.1
Clemson New Mexico St. 4.1

Today’s NCAA Tournament Schedule

Friday, Mar 16, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:15 PM 7 Texas A&M 10 Providence Charlotte CBS
12:40 PM 2 Purdue 15 Cal St. Fullerton Detroit truTV
1:30 PM 4 Wichita St. 13 Marshall San Diego TNT
2:00 PM 2 Cincinnati 15 Georgia St. Nashville TBS
2:45 PM 2 North Carolina 15 Lipscomb Charlotte CBS
3:10 PM 7 Arkansas 10 Butler Detroit truTV
4:00 PM 5 West Virginia 12 Murray St. San Diego TNT
4:30 PM 7 Nevada 10 Texas Nashville TBS
6:50 PM 8 Creighton 9 Kansas St. Charlotte TNT
7:10 PM 3 Michigan St. 14 Bucknell Detroit CBS
7:20 PM 1 Xavier 16 Texas Southern Nashville TBS
7:27 PM 4 Auburn 13 Charleston San Diego truTV
9:20 PM 1 Virginia 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TNT
9:40 PM 6 TCU 11 Syracuse Detroit CBS
9:50 PM 8 Missouri 9 Florida St. Nashville TBS
9:57 PM 5 Clemson 12 New Mexico St. San Diego truTV

Saturday’s Schedule

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:10 PM 1 Villanova 9 Alabama Pittsburgh CBS
2:40 PM 2 Duke 7 Rhode Island Pittsburgh CBS
5:15 PM 5 Kentucky 13 Buffalo Boise, ID CBS
6:10 PM 3 Tennessee 11 Loyola (Chi.) Dallas TNT
7:10 PM 1 Kansas 8 Seton Hall Wichita, KS TBS
7:45 PM 4 Gonzaga 5 Ohio St. Boise, ID CBS
8:40 PM 3 North Texas 6 Florida Dallas TNT
9:40 PM 3 Michigan 6 Houston Wichita, KS TBS

Bracket Results To Date: 15-5

Today’s Criteria Bracket Picks

Virginia over Maryland-Baltimore Co.

Creighton over Kansas St.

Texas over Nevada

Cincinnati over Georgia St.

Xavier over Texas Southern

Missouri over Florida St.

Texas A&M over Providence

North Carolina over Lipscomb

West Virginia over Murray St.

Wichita St. over Marshall

Butler over Arkansas

Purdue over Cal. St. Fullerton

Clemson over New Mexico St.

Auburn over College of Charleston

Syracuse over TCU

Michigan St. over Bucknell

 

 

 

March 11, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 11 , 2018

Sunday’s PiRate Ratings Spreads for Conference Tournament Championships

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Harvard Penn -1.4
Rhode Island Davidson 2.8
Tennessee Kentucky 1.1
Georgia St. Texas-Arlington 0.9
Cincinnati Houston 4.8

 

Sunday’s Conference Championship Schedule

All Times EDT

Time Conference Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Ivy League Harvard Penn ESPN2
1:00 PM Atlantic 10 Rhode Island Davidson CBS
1:00 PM Southeastern Tennessee Kentucky ESPN
2:00 PM Sun Belt Georgia St. Texas-Arlington ESPN2
3:30 PM American Cincinnati Houston CBS

Note:  Our Final Bracket Gurus Bracketology prediction will appear on this site roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.  Davidson is a potential bid-stealer, and until our gurus know whether they have earned an automatic bid or have been eliminated, they cannot fix the Bubble.  There are about a half-dozen teams that will sweat it out during today’s Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship.

Teams That Have Earned Automatic Bids Through Sunday, 6:00 AM EDT

Team Bid Conf. W-L Avg Score
Arizona AUTO P12 27-7 81-71
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9 81-73
Buffalo AUTO MAC 26-8 85-77
Cal St. Fullerton AUTO BWest 20-11 73-72
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7 75-69
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4 85-67
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13 80-76
Kansas AUTO B12 27-7 82-71
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9 83-78
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16 78-77
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5 72-62
Marshall AUTO CUSA 24-10 84-79
MD-Baltimore Co. AUTO AE 24-10 73-71
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7 75-64
Montana AUTO BSky 26-7 78-69
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5 77-66
New Mexico St. AUTO WAC 28-5 76-65
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12 67-64
San Diego St. AUTO MWC 22-10 77-68
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6 85-74
Stephen F. Austin AUTO SLC 28-6 78-68
Texas Southern AUTO SWAC 15-19 78-80
UNC-Central AUTO MEAC 19-15 70-71
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7 74-62
Villanova AUTO BE 30-4 87-71
Virginia AUTO ACC 31-2 68-53
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9 72-66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 8, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 8 , 2018

Thursday’s PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Spreads

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Connecticut SMU -5.7
Memphis South Florida 7.4
Temple Tulane 5.7
Central Florida East Carolina 13.2
VCU Dayton 1.3
George Mason Massachusetts -0.8
Richmond Duquesne 0.9
St. Louis George Washington 3.3
Virginia Louisville 6.9
Clemson Boston College 5.6
Duke Notre Dame 9.3
Miami (Fla.) North Carolina -6.4
Kansas St. TCU -3.4
Kansas Oklahoma St. 5.4
Texas Tech Texas 4.7
West Virginia Baylor 4.0
Xavier St. John’s 7.4
Creighton Providence 5.2
Villanova Marquette 11.1
Seton Hall Butler -0.4
Montana North Dakota 11.5
Weber St. Northern Colorado -2.0
Idaho Southern Utah 9.4
Eastern Washington Portland St. 1.6
UC-Davis UC-Riverside 9.0
Cal St. Fullerton Long Beach St. 1.6
UC-Irvine Hawaii 4.5
UCSB Cal Poly 12.4
Middle Tennessee Southern Miss. 13.5
Marshall UTSA 3.2
Old Dominion Louisiana Tech 7.0
Western Kentucky UAB 3.5
Buffalo Central Michigan 7.1
Ball St. Kent St. 3.2
Toledo Miami (O) 5.6
Eastern Michigan Akron 6.8
Savannah St. UNC-Central -1.8
North Carolina A&T Norfolk St. -0.1
Nevada UNLV 8.8
Fresno St. San Diego St. -1.4
Boise St. Utah St. 7.4
New Mexico Wyoming 0.1
Arizona Colorado 8.3
UCLA Stanford 3.9
USC Oregon St. 4.7
Utah Oregon 0.4
Texas A&M Alabama 2.3
Missouri Georgia 2.4
Mississippi St. LSU -0.5
Arkansas South Carolina 4.2
Sam Houston St. New Orleans 2.0
Stephen F. Austin Central Arkansas 5.3
Grand Canyon UMKC 11.1
Utah Valley Cal St. Bakersfield 10.2
New Mexico St. Chicago St. 25.4
Seattle Texas-Rio Grande Valley 3.4

One Team Earned An Automatic NCAA Tournament Bid on Wednesday

Patriot League Tournament
Bucknell 83 Colgate 54

No Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids Will Be Issued on Thursday

Teams That Have Earned An Automatic NCAA Tournament Bid

Team Bid Conf. W-L
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9

Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Orlando, FL
First 3 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Connecticut #9 SMU ESPNU
2:30 PM #5 Memphis #12 South Florida ESPNU
6:00 PM #7 Temple #10 Tulane ESPNU
8:30 PM #6 Central Florida #11 East Carolina ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Cincinnati UConn or SMU ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 Tulsa Memphis or USF ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Wichita St. Temple or Tulane ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 Houston UCF or ECU ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Cin/UConn/SMU Tulsa/Mem/USF CBS
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 Hou/UCF/ECU CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

The top three seeds have NCAA bids guaranteed at this point, so it will take a 4-seed or lower for a bid to be stolen from this league.  Tulsa has promise.  On a given day, they can compete with the top three.  However, in order to win the conference tournament, Tulsa will have to have three solid given days and wins most likely over Memphis, Cincinnati, and Wichita St.  It isn’t very likely to happen.

On a neutral floor, Cincinnati’s great defense and Wichita State’s great offense should be adequate in stopping the rest of the league, and a rubber game between the top two teams is highly likely.

 

 

Big West Conference Tournament
Anaheim, CA
Top 8 Teams Qualify & Tournament Re-seeds for Semifinals
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 UC-Davis #8 UC-Riverside FSWest
2:30 PM #4 Cal St. Fullerton #5 Long Beach St. FSWest
6:00 PM #3 UC-Irvine #6 Hawaii FSWest
8:30 PM #2 UCSB #7 Cal Poly FSWest
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
9:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

In a one-bid league, the action is always exciting, as one slip up means curtains for any team.  In the Big West this year, no team has stepped up to become dominant over the rest of the league, and that should mean this tournament will be extremely exciting.

UC-Davis won its final five games of the regular season, but the Aggies won two of those games in overtime and another by just a point.  They were swept by 4th-seed Cal State Fullerton, a team that UCD would probably face again in the semifinals.

UCSB may have the best overall talent.  The Gauchos handle the ball better than any other team in the league, but they seldom force their opponents into mistakes.  They would need to be hot from the field to win the tournament.

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #3 Grand Canyon #6 UMKC ESPN3
2:30 PM #2 Utah Valley #7 Cal St. Bakersfield ESPN3
6:00 PM #1 New Mexico St. #8 Chicago St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #4 Seattle #5 Texas-Rio Grande Valley ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM GCU or UMKC UVU or CSUB ESPN3
8:30 PM NMSU or CSU Seattle or TRGV ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPNU

Sometimes, it’s the little known conference tournaments that provide both the most intrigue and excitement.  We here on the PiRate ship may be a little loopy from recent rough waters, but in our opinion, this might be the best conference tournament of all!

Start with New Mexico St.  The Aggies looked unbeatable in conference action earlier in the season.  Easy double digit wins over the top three contenders made the WAC race look insignificant after January.  Then, something changed.  Seattle, Grand Canyon, and Utah Valley started to hit their stride.  The race tightened in February, and NMSU lost back-to-back games against Utah Valley and Seattle, after narrowly beating Grand Canyon at home.

NMSU beat Miami and almost beat USC in Hawaii in November.  They still enter this tournament as the team to beat with exceptional offensive and defensive competence.  However, one cold shooting streak or maybe a hot perimeter streak by an opponent could be enough to turn one game around.

Grand Canyon is the hot team entering the conference tournament.  The Antelopes are an extension of Coach Dan Majerle.  Thunder Dan saved his best for the NBA Playoffs, and GCU will most likely be ready to play from the get-go.

If you are looking for a league tourney other than your favorite team’s league tourney, or just want to have some great late night entertainment, tune into the WAC Tournament.

Conference Tournaments Continuing Today

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Second Round–March 8–Times EST 
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 VCU #9 Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 George Mason #13 Massachusetts NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 Richmond #10 Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 St. Louis #11 George Washington NBCSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 9 EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Rhode Island VCU or Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 St. Joseph’s GMU/UMass NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 St. Bonaventure Richmond or Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 Davidson St. Louis or GWU NBCSN
       
Semifinals–March 10 EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM URI/VCU/Dayton StJo/GMU/LaSalle/UMass CBSSN
3:30 PM StBon/Rich/Duq Dav/Stl/GWU/Fordham CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11  EDT
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

 

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Virginia #9 Louisville ESPN
2:00 PM #4 Clemson #12 Boston College ESPN
7:00 PM #2 Duke #10 Notre Dame ESPN
9:00 PM #3 Miami (Fla.) #6 North Carolina ESPN
       
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Virginia or Louisville Clemson or Boston Coll. TBA
9:00 PM Duke or Notre Dame Miami or North Carolina TBA
       
Championship–March 10   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 Kansas St. #5 TCU ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 Kansas #8 Oklahoma St. ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Texas Tech #7 Texas ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 West Virginia #6 Baylor ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 9  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Kansas or Okla. St. Kan St. or TCU ESPN2
8:00 PM Texas Tech or Texas WVU or Baylor ESPN2
       
Championship–March 10  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN

 

Big East Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Xavier #9 St. John’s FS1
2:30 PM #4 Creighton #5 Providence FS1
7:00 PM #2 Villanova #7 Marquette FS1
9:30 PM #3 Seton Hall #6 Butler FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Xavier or St. John’s Creighton or Providence FS1
9:00 PM Villanova or Marquette S. Hall or Butler FS1
       
Championship–March 10  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Montana #8 North Dakota Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 Weber St. #5 Northern Colorado Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 Idaho #10 Southern Utah Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 Eastern Washington #6 Portland St. Pluto tv
       
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM Mont/UND Weber/N. Colorado Pluto tv
8:00 PM Idaho/S.Utah E.Washington/Portland St. Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU

 

Conference USA Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Middle Tennessee #9 Southern Miss. Stadium
6:30 PM #4 Marshall #5 UTSA Stadium
8:30 PM #2 Old Dominion #10 Louisiana Tech Stadium
9:00 PM #3 Western Kentucky #6 UAB Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM MTSU or Southern Miss Marshall or UTSA CBSSN
3:00 PM ODU or La. Tech Western Ky. or UAB CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Buffalo #8 Central Michigan ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Ball St. #5 Kent St. ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 Toledo #7 Miami (O) ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 Eastern Michigan #11 Akron ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Buff/CMU Ball/Kent CBSSN
9:00 PM Tol/Mia EMU/Akron See *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 Savannah St. #6 UNC-Central ESPN3
8:00 PM #4 North Carolina A&T #5 Norfolk St. ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Hampton NCAT/Norfolk St ESPN3
8:00 PM #7 Morgan St. Sav/UNCC ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Nevada #8 UNLV CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 Fresno St. #5 San Diego St. CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 Boise St. #7 Utah St. CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 New Mexico #6 Wyoming CBSSN
       
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Nevada or UNLV FSU or SDSU CBSSN
8:30 PM Boise St. or Utah St. New Mexico or Wyoming CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

 

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Arizona #8 Colorado Pac12
2:30 PM #4 UCLA #5 Stanford Pac12
6:00 PM #2 USC #10 Oregon St. Pac12
8:30 PM #3 Utah #6 Oregon FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Arizona or Colorado UCLA or Stanford Pac12
8:30 PM USC or Oregon St. Utah or Oregon FS1
       
Championship–March 10  PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1

 

Southeastern Conference Tournament
Second Round–March 8  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Texas A&M #9 Alabama SECTV
2:30 PM #5 Missouri #12 Georgia SECTV
6:00 PM #7 Mississippi St. #10 LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #6 Arkansas #11 South Carolina SECTV
       
Quarterfinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Auburn A&M or Alabama ESPN
2:30 PM #4 Kentucky Missouri or Georgia ESPN
6:00 PM #2 Tennessee Miss St. or LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #3 Florida Arkansas or S. Carolina SECTV
       
Semifinals–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Aub/A&M/Alabama UK/MO/GA ESPN
2:30 PM UT/MSU/LSU Fla/Ark/USC/OM ESPN
       
Championship–March 4   CDT
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN

 

Southland Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 Sam Houston St. #5 New Orleans ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 Stephen F. Austin #7 Central Arkansas ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 SE Louisiana Sam Houston or UNO ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 Nicholls St. SF Austin or Cent. Ark. ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 4, 2018

Spreads For Sunday’s Games

Home Team Visitor Spread
Wichita St. Cincinnati -0.9
South Florida SMU -11.0
Tulsa Temple 1.0
Memphis East Carolina 11.0
Houston Connecticut 15.2
Central Florida Tulane 8.3
Florida Gulf Coast Lipscomb 6.5
Radford Liberty 3.8
Purdue Michigan 3.9
Charleston Drexel 9.8
William & Mary Towson -1.6
Northeastern Delaware 8.9
Hofstra UNC-Wilmington 6.4
Illinois-Chicago Milwaukee 0.1
Oakland IUPUI 7.3
Iona St. Peter’s 5.1
Fairfield Quinnipiac 3.7
Loyola (Chi.) Illinois St. 7.9
Colgate Holy Cross 4.8
Bucknell Boston U 9.2
UNC-Greensboro Wofford 4.9
East Tennessee St. Furman -0.3
Fort Wayne North Dakota St. 0.9
Denver Oral Roberts 1.5
Gonzaga San Francisco 14.5
Saint Mary’s BYU 4.5

Note:  Games in Bright Red are for Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids

Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids Awarded to Date

Murray State (26-5) 

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Murray St. 68 Belmont 51

Conference Tournaments Scores From Saturday with Updated Brackets

America East Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 3
UMBC 89 UMass-Lowell 77
Hartford 71 New Hampshire 60
Vermont 75 Maine 60
Stony Brook 69 Albany 60
Semifinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Vermont #5 Stony Brook ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 UMBC #3 Hartford ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
11:00 AM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2

 

Big Ten Conference Tournament
Michigan 75 Michigan St. 64
Purdue 78 Penn St. 70
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM #3 Purdue #5 Michigan CBS

 

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
First Round–March 3
Drexel 70 James Madison 62
Delaware 86 Elon 79
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 College of Charleston #8 Drexel CAA TV
2:30 PM #4 William & Mary #5 Towson CAA TV
6:00 PM #2 Northeastern #7 Delaware CAA TV
8:30 PM #3 Hofstra #6 UNC-Wilmington CAA TV
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM CofC/Drex/JMU W&M or Towson CBSSN
8:30 PM NE/Del/Elon Hofstra or UNCW CBSSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN
Horizon League Tournament
Wright St. 87 Green Bay 72
Cleveland St. 89 Northern Kentucky 80
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 UIC #6 Milwaukee ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 Oakland #5 IUPUI ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Oakland or IUPUI #8 Cleveland St. ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Wright St. UIC or Milwaukee ESPNU
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN

 

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Fairfield 90 Niagara 77
Iona 72 Manhattan 60
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #4 Iona #9 St. Peter’s ESPN3
9:30 PM #6 Fairfield #7 Quinnipiac ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN

 

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Loyola (Chi.) 62 Bradley 54
Illinois St. 76 Southern Illinois 68
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Loyola (Chi.) #3 Illinois St. CBS

 

Northeast Conference Tournament
Wagner 75 Robert Morris 64
Long Island 78 Fairleigh-Dickinson 77
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Wagner #4 Long Island ESPN2

 

Southern Conference Tournament
UNC-Greensboro 72 The Citadel 58
Wofford 73 Mercer 53
East Tennessee St. 77 Chattanooga 59
Furman 97 Western Carolina 73
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #1 UNC-Greensboro #5 Wofford ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 East Tennessee St. #3 Furman ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Summit League Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 3
South Dakota St. 66 Western Illiois 60
South Dakota 87 Omaha 73
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 Fort Wayne #5 North Dakota St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Denver #6 Oral Roberts ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 South Dakota St. Ft.Wayne or NDSU ESPN3
8:30 PM #2 South Dakota Denver or ORU ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

 

West Coast Conference Tournament
BYU 85 San Diego 79
San Francisco 71 Pacific 70 ot
Gonzaga 83 Loyola Marymount 69
Saint Mary’s 69 Pepperdine 66
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Gonzaga #4 San Francisco ESPN
8:00 PM #2 Saint Mary’s #3 BYU ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

Other Conference Tournaments Resuming Today

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
3:00 PM #1 Florida Gulf Coast #2 Lipscomb ESPN
Big South Conference Tournament
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford #5 Liberty ESPN
Semifinals–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #2 Colgate #6 Holy Cross CBSSN
2:00 PM #1 Bucknell #5 Boston U CBSSN
       
Championship–March 7
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Bids That Will Be Awarded on Sunday

Big South Conference:  Radford or Liberty   1:00 PM EST on ESPN

Even with 2-seed Radford’s home court advantage, this game should be considered close to a toss-up.   Earlier in the season, these two teams had to play an extra five minutes to determine the outcome, as Radford won by a bucket 59-57.  Of the 20 players that appeared in that game, only one could find the basket consistently that night, as Radford’s Ed Polite, Jr. finished a perfect 7 for 7 from the field in that game.  It was no fluke, as in the return game at Liberty, Polite, Jr. went 7 for 10 from the field with a three-pointer and a perfect 8 for 8 at the line for 23 points, as Radford cruised to an easy win.  Any chance Liberty has of winning will come from limiting Radford’s ability to get second chance baskets and getting to the foul line, where they lead the Big South with a 78.5% accuracy rate.

Missouri Valley Conference:  Loyola (Chi.) or Illinois St.  2:00 PM EST on CBS

Loyola is the top seed, while Illinois State is the 3-seed.  During the regular season, Loyola won by identical 68-61 scores in a season sweep.  The Ramblers have won nine consecutive games and would be a formidable foe as an underdog in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  They rank third nationally in field goal percentage at 51% per game, and they play competent defense without fouling.

Atlantic Sun Conference:  Florida Gulf Coast or Lipscomb   3:00 PM EST on ESPN

These are the top two seeds, and they split the season series, winning on the other team’s home floor.  This game will be played at FGCU, where Lipscomb beat the Eagles 90-87, despite being forced into 23 turnovers at the hands of 19 FGCU steals.  Lipscomb has won seven games in a row and 11 out of 12, but FGCU is tournament tough and has been there before.  The Eagles have owned this league since Belmont left for the OVC, while Lipscomb has never been to the NCAA Tournament and only appeared in one previous A-Sun Tournament Championship Game.  This game should be exciting.

Big Ten: Purdue or Michigan  4:30 PM EST on CBS

Obviously, both teams are going to the NCAA Tournament, as will be Michigan State and Ohio State.  Nebraska has little or no chance, while Penn State’s chances of getting in are only marginally better.

 

 

 

February 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 16-18, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:25 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Spreads For Multi-Bid Conferences and Top Mid & Low Majors

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
St. Bonaventure Rhode Island 0.6
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Central Florida SMU -0.7
Tulane Memphis 2.7
Miami (Fla.) Syracuse 6.2
Georgia Tech Virginia Tech -5.1
Boston College Notre Dame -0.9
Wake Forest North Carolina St. 0.3
Louisville North Carolina 0.0
Oklahoma Texas 5.7
Kansas St. Iowa St. 7.5
Kansas West Virginia 3.9
Baylor Texas Tech -1.1
TCU Oklahoma St. 8.3
Butler Providence 8.0
Xavier Villanova -4.0
Creighton Marquette 8.0
Northwestern Michigan St. -9.4
Iowa Indiana 0.9
Maryland Rutgers 12.6
Boise St. Air Force 17.8
San Diego St. UNLV 3.9
Wyoming San Jose St. 15.1
Utah St. Nevada -8.1
Fresno St. Colorado St. 13.9
Washington Colorado 3.7
Washington St. Utah -7.5
UCLA Oregon 4.9
USC Oregon St. 9.5
LSU Missouri 0.4
Kentucky Alabama 4.4
South Carolina Auburn -6.4
Arkansas Texas A&M 2.7
Vanderbilt Florida -3.2
Georgia Tennessee -4.4
Mississippi St. Ole Miss 6.3
San Diego BYU -3.4
San Francisco Loyola Marymount 8.8
Gonzaga Pepperdine 29.2
Portland Saint Mary’s -16.1
Pacific Santa Clara 10.0
Louisiana Tech Middle Tennessee -3.8
Rice Western Kentucky -12.2
Murray St. Tennessee Tech 14.1
Louisiana-Lafayette Texas-Arlington 10.3
Seattle New Mexico St. -8.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Connecticut -4.7
Tulsa South Florida 15.9
Cincinnati Wichita St. 7.3
Temple Houston -2.2
Clemson Duke -3.1
Florida St. Pittsburgh 20.7
Seton Hall DePaul 11.4
Michigan Ohio St. 2.0
Illinois Nebraska -0.7
Purdue Penn St. 11.9
California Stanford -6.4
Evansville Loyola (Chi.) -5.9

PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 120.5 BIGE
2 Purdue 119.9 BTEN
3 Duke 119.8 ACC
4 Virginia 119.6 ACC
5 Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
7 North Carolina 116.1 ACC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Kansas 116.0 B12
10 Texas Tech 116.0 B12
11 West Virginia 115.6 B12
12 Auburn 115.2 SEC
13 Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
14 Tennessee 114.1 SEC
15 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
16 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
17 Clemson 113.2 ACC
18 Xavier 113.0 BIGE
19 Arizona 112.8 PAC12
20 Nevada 112.5 MWC
21 TCU 112.4 B12
22 Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.3 ACC
24 Oklahoma 112.2 B12
25 Louisville 112.1 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
Houston 111.5 AAC
SMU 107.6 AAC
Temple 105.8 AAC
UCF 103.9 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Memphis 99.7 AAC
Tulane 99.4 AAC
Connecticut 99.4 AAC
East Carolina 91.7 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Duke 119.8 ACC
Virginia 119.6 ACC
North Carolina 116.1 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.3 ACC
Louisville 112.1 ACC
Miami FL 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.7 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.3 ACC
Boston College 106.3 ACC
Wake Forest 105.6 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.5 ACC
Pittsburgh 95.1 ACC
Kansas 116.0 B12
Texas Tech 116.0 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
TCU 112.4 B12
Oklahoma 112.2 B12
Baylor 111.4 B12
Texas 110.0 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 105.1 B12
Villanova 120.5 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Xavier 113.0 BIGE
Butler 112.0 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.3 BIGE
Marquette 108.9 BIGE
Providence 107.5 BIGE
St. John’s 107.1 BIGE
Georgetown 104.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.4 BIGE
Purdue 119.9 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 111.9 BTEN
Penn St. 111.5 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Nebraska 107.8 BTEN
Indiana 107.1 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.0 BTEN
Minnesota 104.8 BTEN
Illinois 104.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.5 MWC
Boise St. 108.0 MWC
San Diego St. 106.8 MWC
Fresno St. 106.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.1 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
Utah St. 100.9 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.7 MWC
San Jose St. 90.3 MWC
Arizona 112.8 PAC12
Arizona St. 110.8 PAC12
USC 109.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 107.7 PAC12
Stanford 104.2 PAC12
Oregon St. 103.2 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.9 PAC12
Washington St. 97.2 PAC12
California 94.8 PAC12
Auburn 115.2 SEC
Tennessee 114.1 SEC
Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
Florida 111.8 SEC
Kentucky 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 111.1 SEC
Missouri 110.7 SEC
Alabama 110.4 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.8 SEC
LSU 107.6 SEC
Georgia 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.3 SEC
Mississippi 104.5 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.0 WCC
BYU 106.9 WCC
San Diego 100.5 WCC
San Francisco 100.0 WCC
Pacific 99.4 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.2 WCC
Portland 92.9 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 90.3 WCC

Top Mid-Major and Low-Major Teams

Rhode Island 111.5 A10
Middle Tennessee 108.2 CUSA
Western Kentucky 106.7 CUSA
Loyola Chicago 107.4 MVC
Murray St. 106.4 OVC
Louisiana Lafayette 108.3 SB
South Dakota 106.8 Sum
New Mexico St. 108.4 WAC

Great TV Watching Options This Weekend

Once again, another great schedule of games allows college basketball fans some excellent viewing options.  Beginning tonight (Friday) at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, St. Bonaventure hosts Rhode Island.  The game will air on ESPN2.  The Bonnies (9-4/19-6) are tied for second place in the Atlantic 10 still have a remote chance to receive an at-large bid, and any chance would necessitate a win over URI.

Saturday’s great slate of games begins at 12 Noon Eastern Time.  Oklahoma hosts Texas on ESPN; Butler hosts Providence on Fox; and Miami hosts Syracuse on CBS.

At 4 PM EST, one of the best games of the day could be Arkansas hosting Texas A&M on ESPN.  At 4:30 PM EST, the Big East regular season title could be decided when Xavier hosts Villanova on Fox.  The winner should remain a number one seed on Monday.

At 6 PM EST, Kansas hosts West Virginia on ESPN.  The loser of this game will probably be eliminated from the Big 12 regular season race, while the winner will become Texas Tech’s key rival.

At 7 PM EST, Florida Gulf Coast hosts Lipscomb on ESPN3.  FGCU has already clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Sun, while Lipscomb is currently number two.  The significance here is that FGCU will host the A-Sun Tournament, so it will be interesting to see if the second best team in the league can compete with them on the same floor.

At 7:30 PM EST on ESPNU, Baylor hosts Texas Tech.  TTU has a chance to gain a game on one of the two nearest contenders (KU-WVU), but if the Red Raiders lose, then they will lose a game to the winner of that other game.  Baylor is actually the hottest team in the Big 12, and a win here would give the Bears a great upward move in the Bubble.

At 8:15 PM EST, Louisville host North Carolina on ESPN.  The winner has a chance to move up to number two in the ACC by the end of the weekend, while the loser could fall down in the standings as far as ninth place.

At 10:15 PM EST on ESPN, UCLA hosts Oregon.  Both teams are currently Bubble teams, so the winner will start the new week in good shape, while the loser will be facing some must win games.

Sunday presents additional excellent viewing options.  It starts at 1 PM EST, with two excellent Power Conference games.  Rivals Michigan and Ohio State square off in Ann Arbor in a game televised by CBS.  At the same time, Clemson hosts Duke on the ACC Network.

At 2 PM EST on ESPN3, it might not sound like a big game, but the Vermont-Hartford game in Burlington might be one to consider watching.  UVA is 12-0 in the America East Conference and will most likely host the conference tournament.  Hartford is one of three teams with enough talent to pull off an upset.

The top game of the day tips off at 4 PM EST, when Cincinnati hosts Wichita State.  This will be a battle of two aggressive, defense-dominant teams.  Cinti fell at Houston Thursday night, while the Shockers had to come from behind to beat Temple.  Seeding will be on the line in this one.

Finally, at 8 PM EST on the Big Ten Network, Penn State visits Purdue.  The Nittany Lions roared big time in a Thursday night blowout against Ohio State.  If Penn State pulls off the upset Sunday, that will give them two Quadrant 1 wins in a row, and that will certainly place Penn State in the heat of the discussion.  Purdue must win this game to remain in contention for a number one seed.

 

 

January 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 13-14, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:20 pm

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads of Major Conference Games

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Tulane Connecticut 3.8
Temple Memphis 10.2
South Florida Cincinnati -22.9
Tulsa Wichita St. -11.6
Duke Wake Forest 17.3
Florida St. Syracuse 7.6
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech -2.8
Clemson Miami (Fla.) 4.4
Louisville Virginia Tech 3.9
Notre Dame North Carolina 0.5
Kansas Kansas St. 12.0
Oklahoma TCU 5.6
Texas Tech West Virginia 4.8
Iowa St. Baylor -4.1
Oklahoma St. Texas 0.0
Seton Hall Georgetown 11.6
Xavier Creighton 2.2
St. John’s Villanova -12.5
Michigan St. Michigan 10.2
Minnesota Purdue -8.3
Wyoming Colorado St. 8.2
San Jose St. Air Force 0.8
Fresno St. New Mexico 5.9
Nevada Utah St. 14.6
Boise St. San Diego St. 3.3
Arizona Oregon 8.9
Washington St. California 5.6
Arizona St. Oregon St. 15.3
Washington Stanford 4.5
UCLA Colorado 10.5
Ole Miss Florida -5.0
Georgia South Carolina 4.9
Mississippi St. Auburn -3.3
Vanderbilt Kentucky -4.1
Tennessee Texas A&M 4.7
Arkansas Missouri 4.9
LSU Alabama 3.8
Pepperdine Saint Mary’s -17.3
San Francisco Gonzaga -13.5
Santa Clara BYU -10.4
San Diego Loyola Marymount 11.2
Portland Pacific -2.5
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Houston -17.2
Virginia North Carolina St. 14.7
Indiana Northwestern 0.6
Rutgers Ohio St. -6.0
USC Utah 5.6

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.1 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.0 BTEN
3 Duke 119.7 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Kansas 117.6 B12
6 Virginia 117.5 ACC
7 Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
8 Texas Tech 116.9 B12
9 North Carolina 116.2 ACC
10 Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
11 Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
12 West Virginia 115.6 B12
13 Creighton 115.0 BIGE
14 Oklahoma 114.8 B12
15 Xavier 113.7 BIGE
16 Tennessee 113.2 SEC
17 Arizona 113.2 PAC12
18 Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
19 Clemson 112.9 ACC
20 Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
21 TCU 112.7 B12
22 Florida 112.7 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.5 ACC
24 Auburn 112.4 SEC
25 Michigan 112.1 BTEN

PiRate Ratings By Major Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
SMU 110.2 AAC
Houston 110.0 AAC
UCF 105.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
Tulsa 101.4 AAC
Tulane 101.3 AAC
Connecticut 100.5 AAC
Memphis 98.6 AAC
South Florida 90.1 AAC
East Carolina 89.8 AAC
Duke 119.7 ACC
Virginia 117.5 ACC
North Carolina 116.2 ACC
Clemson 112.9 ACC
Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
Florida St. 112.5 ACC
Miami FL 112.0 ACC
Louisville 110.5 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.1 ACC
Syracuse 108.4 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.8 ACC
Wake Forest 105.4 ACC
Boston College 105.4 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.5 ACC
Kansas 117.6 B12
Texas Tech 116.9 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
Oklahoma 114.8 B12
TCU 112.7 B12
Baylor 110.9 B12
Texas 110.8 B12
Kansas St. 108.6 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.8 B12
Iowa St. 103.8 B12
Villanova 121.1 BIGE
Creighton 115.0 BIGE
Xavier 113.7 BIGE
Seton Hall 112.0 BIGE
Butler 110.3 BIGE
Marquette 110.0 BIGE
Providence 106.8 BIGE
St. John’s 105.6 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.6 BIGE
Purdue 120.0 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Michigan 112.1 BTEN
Ohio St. 112.1 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.8 BTEN
Minnesota 108.2 BTEN
Northwestern 107.6 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.4 BTEN
Indiana 104.7 BTEN
Nebraska 104.7 BTEN
Rutgers 103.1 BTEN
Nevada 111.8 MWC
San Diego St. 109.1 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
UNLV 105.9 MWC
Fresno St. 104.3 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
New Mexico 101.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.7 MWC
Air Force 92.1 MWC
San Jose St. 89.9 MWC
Arizona 113.2 PAC12
Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
USC 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 106.6 PAC12
Washington 102.7 PAC12
Colorado 102.2 PAC12
Stanford 101.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 101.4 PAC12
Washington St. 99.0 PAC12
California 96.4 PAC12
Tennessee 113.2 SEC
Florida 112.7 SEC
Auburn 112.4 SEC
Texas A&M 112.0 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Arkansas 111.8 SEC
Missouri 110.4 SEC
LSU 108.6 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
Georgia 107.0 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.1 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.9 SEC
Mississippi 104.2 SEC
Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
Saint Mary’s 111.3 WCC
BYU 106.5 WCC
San Diego 102.6 WCC
San Francisco 100.7 WCC
Pacific 97.0 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.4 WCC
Santa Clara 92.6 WCC
Portland 91.5 WCC
Pepperdine 91.0 WCC

10 Mid-Major Teams That Have The Talent And Coaching To Make The Sweet 16
(listed alphabetically)

East Tennessee St.
Conference–Southern
Current Won-Loss Records– 4-0/13-4
Head Coach–Steve Forbes
Family Tree–Bruce Pearl & Gregg Marshall

With the Buccaneers’ win over UNC-Greensboro last night, ETSU remains in a 1st place tie with Furman in the SoCon. ETSU stayed close in their NCAA Tournament game with Florida last year, and this year’s team is a bit better. The Bucs came close to pulling off the upset win at #10 Xavier earlier this season, and they didn’t get embarrassed against Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Bucs have won 11 of their last 12 with an average scoring margin of 81-64. ETSU plays at Furman next Thursday night.

Middle Tennessee St.
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-4
Head Coach–Kermit Davis, Jr.
Family Tree–Bob Boyd & Tim Floyd

It should come as no surprise to most basketball fans, especially those in the Big Ten, that the Blue Raiders are a force to be reckoned with. MTSU has won back-to-back second round NCAA Tournament games over Michigan State and Minnesota, before falling in the Round of 32 to strong teams. The Blue Raiders have at times this year played like a top 20 team. In December, they swept Florida Gulf Coast in a rare, back-to-back home and home series; then they won at neighborhood SEC rival Vanderbilt; then they blew Ole Miss off the floor in a home game; before losing close to Auburn in Birmingham in a game where they made a furious comeback to have a chance to win. Then, in Hawaii, they lost close games to USC and Miami. Star forward Nick King has five double-doubles so far, while Giddy Potts is the glue that keeps this team together. His defensive pressure can take opponents out of their offensive game plans.

Next week, MTSU plays on the road at the two toughest venues outside of their own Murphy Athletic Center. On Thursday night, the Blue Raiders visit Marshall, and on Saturday, they face off against chief rival Western Kentucky. If MTSU splits those two games, then they should secure another CUSA regular season title.

Missouri St.
Conference–Missouri Valley
Current Won-Loss Records–3-2/13-5
Head Coach–Paul Lusk
Family Tree–Gene Keady & Matt Painter

With Wichita State moving up to the American Athletic Conference, Missouri State becomes one of multiple contenders for the top spot in the Valley. Under Coach Paul Lusk, a former Purdue assistant, MSU has become a defensive force, especially inside, where the Bears have the best frontcourt in the league, led by top big man Alize Johnson. Johnson currently averages 15.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. This team can go eight deep with talented depth, and when their supporting cast is knocking down threes, this team can compete against anybody. MSU has a key game coming up at Drake a week from tomorrow. The winner of that game should be looking down at the rest of the league in the standings into February.

New Mexico St.
Conference–Western Athletic
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/14-3
Head Coach–Chris Jans
Family Tree–Gregg Marshall

The Aggies might be strong enough to make a Cinderella run into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and even consider themselves a possible Final Four contender. If you think this is impossible, it actually would not be a first in Las Cruces. NMSU has been in the Final Four, and it was no fluke back in 1970 when then coach Lou Henson guided the Aggies to a number three ranking in the polls.

This NMSU team has already made a name for itself with wins over Illinois in a not-so-neutral site game in Chicago and against Miami of Florida in Hawaii. After besting conference rival Grand Canyon by 11 last night, NMSU could run the table in the WAC this year and enter the NCAA Tournament as high as an 11th seed.

The Aggies are undersized and need to rely on pressure man-to-man defense with the occasional full-court press, but they play taller than they are and usually win the rebounding war, where they have a plus 8.7 margin presently.

Northern Kentucky
Conference–Horizon
Current Won-Loss Records–4-1/11-6
Head Coach–John Brannen
Family Tree–John Kresse & Anthony Grant

Until losing at home to Wright State last night, NKU looked like an almost sure thing to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after making their first appearance last year.

The Norse return the three stars that kept the team in the game against Kentucky in the Second Round last year, and it figures that NKU could win a second and even third round game this year, but they have to get there first. With Wright State looking like they could soon make this list, who knows if they will get another shot?

Old Dominion
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–3-1/12-4
Head Coach–Jeff Jones
Family Tree–Terry Holland

With an ACC championship at Virginia and four Colonial Athletic championships at American, Jeff Jones knows how to win. Old Dominion is one of four talented contenders for the CUSA crown, and most likely just one CUSA will get an invitation. So, it figures that ODU has about a 25% chance of going dancing this year. If they do get there, the Monarchs have the talent to stay around awhile.

ODU wins with its defense, where the Monarchs hold opponents to under 40% shooting from the field and then have a 5.6 rebounding margin and 3.9 turnover margin. At +9.5 in the hustle points, the opponent must shoot lights out or force ODU to shoot around 35% or worse to beat the Monarchs. Keep an eye on 6-10 post man Trey Porter, who appears to be on the cusp of breaking out into a star. In the last 5 games, he has averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 62% from the field.

If you are a fan of seeing a great offense go up against a great defense, you may want to tune into tomorrow’s ODU-Marshall game to see how the Monarchs’ defend the D’Antoni seven-second offense.

Rhode Island
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-3
Head Coach–Dan Hurley
Family Tree–Bob Wenzel (student of former Duke coach Bill Foster)

Before Rams’ fans get on our case that URI should be considered a Major and not Mid-Major team, and that they should move up into an at-large proability, we actually agree with you. And, if the Rams continue to win and make it obvious that they are a definite at-large team, we will move the A-10 up into the Major Conference grouping and rank the teams in this league like we are doing for the Mountain West and West Coast Conferences.

Dan Hurley is not getting all the publicity that his little brother has been getting at Arizona State, but the older of the two brothers is doing a smashup job at Rhode Island.
The Rams’ three losses have come to Nevada in Reno, Virginia in Brooklyn, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They have wins against Seton Hall, Providence, and Florida Gulf Coast, and they get a chance to pick up another key win tomorrow when they host St. Bonaventure.

URI came close to making the Sweet 16 last year, beating Creighton before losing a heartbreaker to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Bonaventure
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–2-2/12-4
Head Coach–Mark Schmidt
Family Tree–Bruce Parkhill and Skip Prosser

The Bonnies have been close to making the Big Dance the last two years, coming up a game or two short. This may be their best team since 1978. With wins over over Maryland and Syracuse, St. Bonaventure has already shown that big time teams do not intimidate this group. A couple of senior leaders, Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams, make a great one-two punch for the Bonnies, as the two combine to average 35.5 points per game. Earlier this season against UMass, the two combined for 60 points and 9 of 16 from behind the arc. If a dance opponent or two catches the pair this hot, SBU can get to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Of course, they still must earn their way into the dance, and losing back-to-back road games against Dayton and St. Joe’s damaged their at-large chances.

Their game with Rhode Island tomorrow morning is a real test to see if they are tournament worthy.

Vermont
Conference–America East
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/12-5
Head Coach–John Becker
Family Tree–Mike Lonergan (who was a Gary Williams disciple)

Vermont has become the Villanova of the America East Conference. The Catamounts were overwhelming favorites to win the league this year after returning most of the team that won the league last year and led Purdue for a bit in their NCAA Tournament loss to the Boilermakers.

VU’s most impressive game this year was its opener at Kentucky, where the Catamounts made a furious comeback before falling by four points. Expect the Catamounts to extend their current five-game winning streak well into double digits, and it would not surprise us if VU wins out from here to enter the NCAA Tournament at 29-5.

Forward Anthony Lamb has averaged 22.5 points per game since New Year’s Day, and if guard Ernie Duncan can become more consistent, the Catamounts can make it to the Sweet 16.

Western Kentucky
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-5
Head Coach–Rick Stansbury
Family Tree–Lake Kelly and Richard Williams

It should be no surprise to long-time basketball fans that Western Kentucky has a team capable of becoming a Sweet 16 entrant in the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers have been there before multiple times, even earning a Final Four berth in 1971, where WKU fell in overtime to Villanova.

This Hilltopper team is not going to remind the old-timers of the Clem Haskins or Jim McDaniel days. However, if you saw this team play in the Battle for Atlantis, they narrowly lost to top-ranked Villanova and then bested Purdue and SMU.
More importantly, WKU went on the road this past week and topped two of the three rivals they must defeat to win the CUSA Championship. The Hilltoppers beat Marshall 112-87 and Old Dominion 75-68, which leaves them currently tied for first with their arch-rival, Middle Tennessee.

In other years, CUSA might qualify two teams for the NCAA Tournament coming from the four teams that on any given night, could knock off a Big Ten or SEC opponent. However, unless one team runs the table in the regular season and then finished runner-up in the CUSA Tournament, it isn’t likely that the league will get an at-large bid.
WKU wins games because they have an incredible number of accurate shooters who know how to get open. All 5 starters average double figure scoring, and Coach Stansbury has a trio of competent rebounders and a duo of great playmakers.

Saturday, January 20, and Thursday, March 1 are the dates when WKU and Middle face off. The first game will be in Bowling Green, so WKU should be a slight favorite.

 

 

 

 

November 2, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for November 2-6, 2017

The PiRate Captain had to send up the white flag after his lasses staged a successful mutiny two weeks ago. Much to his chagrin and ego, the ladies proceeded to come up with back-to-back weeks of pillaging of the Vegas vessels.

Last week, they brought in enough booty to send the SS Fortune into the black for the season. They proceeded to return a profit on the investment of a whopping 147%, missing out on going a perfect 4 for 4 by one play in overtime in the Appy State-U Mass game.  For the season, the PiRate Account is now in the black with a very modest 1% ROI.

The Captain will note that in the previous two seasons, the period from the last of October to the first of December followed the same MO–the selection results went from red numbers to black numbers and clinched a profit for the overall seasons.
Now, the lasses are lobbying to change the name of the PiRate ship to Queen Anne’s Revenge. The Captain is worried that five swollen heads on the lovely ladies could lead to a return of some booty to the Nevada books, but the ladies are overly confident that they have zeroed in using their superior female intuition.

Once again, the ladies picked the teams they thought had the best chance of winning outright but at the same time went off as small favorites, total tossups, or even slight underdogs. The Captain merely served as their accountant, putting together the best possible parlays as far as favorable odds go, thanks to his knowing which of the 2 dozen reputable books had the best overall odds.

 
The PiRate lasses selected four money line parlays, each going off at better than +120 odds, which is the unwritten rule for this weekly feature. Actually, there are just three parlays this week, as the fourth selection is a single game where the ladies believe the underdog should be favored by at least a touchdown.

Enjoy the picks, but remember, neither the ladies nor the Captain ever wager real money on the outcomes of these games. The goal here is to have fun with math.

#1 @ +155  
Must Win Must Lose
North Texas Louisiana Tech
#2 @ +144  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia St.
Georgia Southern
Kentucky Ole Miss
#3 @ +167  
Must Win Must Lose
Navy Temple
Northwestern Nebraska
#4 @ +204  
Must Win Must Lose
Missouri Florida
UAB Rice
Tulane Cincinnati

 

 

March 16, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Friday’s NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:39 am

NCAA Tournament–Friday, March 17, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Michigan Oklahoma St. -1 3 1
Baylor New Mexico St. 11 12 13
Arkansas Seton Hall 2 1 -1
Oregon Iona 11 12 10
Louisville Jacksonville St. 18 18 17
SMU USC 8 8 4
North Carolina Texas Southern 22 20 19
Creighton Rhode Island 4 1 2
Kansas UC-Davis 22 19 18
Dayton Wichita St. -7 -5 -1
Duke Troy 15 16 14
Cincinnati Kansas St. 2 5 2
Miami (Fla.) Michigan St. 1 2 -2
Kentucky Northern Kentucky 19 18 13
South Carolina Marquette 1 -1 1
UCLA Kent St. 16 14 10

 

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:15 PM CBS Michigan vs. Oklahoma St.
12:40 PM truTV Baylor vs. New Mexico St.
1:30 PM TNT Arkansas vs. Seton Hall
2:00 PM TBS Oregon vs. Iona
2:45 PM CBS Louisville vs. Jacksonville St.
3:10 PM truTV SMU vs. USC
4:00 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Texas Southern
4:30 PM TBS Creighton vs. Rhode Island
6:50 PM TNT Kansas vs. UC-Davis
7:10 PM CBS Dayton vs. Wichita St.
7:20 PM TBS Duke vs. Troy
7:27 PM truTV Cincinnati vs. Kansas St.
9:20 PM TNT Miami (Fla.) vs. Michigan St.
9:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Northern Kentucky
9:50 PM TBS South Carolina vs. Marquette
9:57 PM truTV UCLA vs. Kent St.

 

 

 

September 28, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–September 29-October 3, 2016

First Big Payday (even if it wasn’t real)

After failing miserably in the opening two weeks, and then failing minimally in week three, the PiRates reaped quite an imaginary booty of riches last week when our money line parlays returned 75% on investment. Thanks to winning big on the NFL Parlay of Indianapolis, Oakland, and Dallas, and to the nice college parlay of Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Memphis, our imaginary $400 wagered returned us $699 for a profit of $299 and ROI of 75%.
For the season, we are still in the hole to the tune of $193 on $1,600 wagered and an ROI of -12%. Let’s hope that like last year, once we began to win, we won consistently every week. On the other hand, one winning week out of four, even if it was big, is not enough to convince us that we are on to something again this year.

In fact, this week’s games do not excite us very much. We had to peruse the odds carefully multiple times just to come up with three parlays. At least, these parlays go off at such odds that winning just one of any of these three would make our week profitable. The glass half-empty types, which represents 95% of the players, might say that the odds on these three games are so stacked against us that there is no way any of them could win. Since our wagers are imaginary, we can see that our glass is half-full with liquids about to be poured to fill it up. In other words, we don’t feel any stress going with these three parlays this week.

1. College Parlay at +218
Ohio U over Miami of Ohio
Louisiana-Lafayette over New Mexico State
Iowa over Northwestern

You may notice that a high percentage of our college plays is made in games involving teams outside the Power Five. It is our opinion that the odds can be off more in these Group of Five games than in games where the nations’ sports eyes are more focused. Whereas games like Michigan and Wisconsin are perused carefully by the betting public, games from the MAC or Sun Belt don’t see the same amount of action, and thus we feel like the odds are a little bit off. UL-Lafayette is properly favored over New Mexico State, but we think they should be favored by more than what the line says. We feel the same way about Ohio over Miami. The Iowa-Northwestern line is about where we feel it should be, but in this case, we think the Hawkeyes have a strong chance of winning and completing the triplet parlay for a $318 return on $100 invested.

2. College Parlay at +273
Tennessee over Georgia
Akron over Kent St.
Old Dominion over Charlotte
Florida over Vanderbilt

This parlay presents us with three separate psychologies, as well as the belief that the favorites are just plain better than the underdogs and should win without any added psychologies. The public expects Tennessee to venture between the hedges and come out flat, while Georgia rebounds in a big way after losing to Ole Miss by more than 30. We feel that Georgia is just much weaker than normal this year, and the loss in Oxford was not an anamoly. The talent in Athens is just not what it normally has been in typical years. Thus, we believe that the Volunteers will win by up to two touchdowns in this game.

The Akron and Old Dominion games are further examples of Group of Five game odds being off. We believe the two favorites should be more heavily favored and choose to take advantage of the odds being favored in our direction for higher potential payouts.

The Florida-Vanderbilt game is the polar opposite of the Tennessee-Georgia game in one way, and the exact same thing in the other way. Florida had the Tennessee game secured by halftime and then saw an orange tornado vanquish their Gator bite in the second half. They can ill afford to lose two games in a row in the Volunteer State. Vanderbilt won a hard-fought overtime game at Western Kentucky last week after the Hilltoppers squandered opportunities to put the game away.

Last year, a shanked punt allowed Florida to kick a field goal and win a sloppy game 9-7 in the Swamp. The public is looking at this game and believes this one could be similar with a possible upset. However, this Vanderbilt team lacks the defense that last year’s team had. In fact, it is one of the weakest among the Power Five teams, and Florida should play four quarters similar to how they played the first two in Knoxville last week.

3. NFL Parlay at +331
Cincinnati over Miami
Houston over Tennessee
Baltimore over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Kansas City

The Dolphins had to go to overtime to beat a lowly Browns’ team using a third string quarterback. Now, they must face Cincinnati on Thursday night on national television after the Bengals dropped back-to-back games against two tough teams. Cinti should win by 10 or more.

Houston can take a commanding lead in the AFC South this week by winning this game and hoping Jacksonville can dispense of Indianapolis. The Texans had an extra three days to prepare for a team they have owned in recent years. Tennessee has a potentially potent offense hiding behind an ineffective smashmouth offense. When Marcus Mariota is forced into a quick score situation, he guides the Titans like he did at Oregon. But, the Titans refuse to use this gameplan until all hope is lost or close to lost. Expect Houston to shoot out to a double-digit lead, and then when the Titans have to play catch-up, they will make the game closer but not close enough.

Baltimore looks to begin the season at 4-0 as they host Oakland. The Raiders are having to make a 2,000-mile trip for the second week in a row, and the Raiders may show signs of fatigue after having to play last week in the oppressive heat with temperatures in the 90’s. We believe the Raiders will be just a tad slow to react on defense and not quite as explosive on offense, leading to a Ravens’ win.

The Steelers are in the same boat as the Texans this week. Following an embarrassing loss in which they were manhandled by Philly, look for Pittsburgh to bounce back with their best performance of the season.

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