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South & Midwest First Four Round Game Picks and NCAAB Odds | 2023 NCAA Tournament & NIT Predictions

TJ Rives:

Well hey there and welcome back. It’s a Tuesday edition of the BetUS College Basketball Show as we get ready for all of the mayhem to actually get underway tonight. The first four has two games in Dayton, Ohio tonight and tomorrow night and then we’ve got 32 games coming.

It’s like Christmas for college basketball fans coming on Thursday and Friday. We are here for you on the BetUS College Basketball show, lots of handicapping. There’s also NIT games tonight that we’re going to go over, et cetera. We’re going to get a chance to do this in full today and throughout this week previewing everything that we want to preview and Q&A opportunity folks for you to get in if you’re in our live chat. So make sure to get some questions rolling. We’ll see some questions and some comments going down here on the bottom of the screen as we go along.

I am the somewhat capable host, TJ Rives. Here are the handicappers. Hello, Mattie Cox. First time we’ve had you off the weekend. We have a bracket, my friend. So thoughts here as we get ready to get all of this underway? Give me a couple of overall thoughts off the weekend and off the bracket if you would.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, a lot of great match-ups. I think a general theme you’ve heard people talking about all over the Twitter sphere airwaves is how good the 12, 13, 14 seeds are. We should have hotly contested games up and down. And if you look at the average spread currently in the market between the five 12s, four 13s and three 14s, it’s the lowest, I think, since in the last 15 or so years. It’s really, I think, indicative of how much parody we’re going to have probably throughout this field because of how good the majors are and I think also because of how there’s a lack of maybe top end, high-end talent at the upper end of the spectrum. So it should make for a fun tournament.

TJ Rives:

Yeah, you always know there’s an upset coming. You know there’s several that are probably coming with double digits in front of their names this weekend, Thursday and Friday and this weekend. Where are they coming? That’s the real question. Corbie Craig, hello for a second straight day. Glad to have you with us. We’re ready to handicap some games. You’ve been analyzing the brackets some more, rolling the sleeves up figuratively, diving into this. How are we feeling for a Tuesday?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, some big moves over the last 48 hours. We also saw some in that T line. I think CBI lines are out now, so a lot of basketball to look around at.

TJ Rives:

That is degenerate deep in the weeds on the CBI. Give me a big line move because I’m not aware, I rely on you guys. Give me a big line move from when we were talking yesterday to now that just stood out to you, if there is one or maybe there’s a couple of them.

Corbie Craig:

Miami fell from three and a half to two, a flat two that took Miami. It’s unfortunate. I’m sure everyone went straight to win that game, but a flat two that had to take Miami. And then in the NIT Villanova announced a couple injuries so they went from a one and a half point dollar to a three-point dollar versus liberty I believe.

TJ Rives:

All right, good enough on that. So let’s take a look here at where we stand. And again, we’re going to go over different match-ups, different brackets and even some NIT talk and then have some time for Q&A here in a little bit. But the NCA tournament actually gets underway tonight with the first two of the first four games. This is something they went to over a decade ago, playing four games essentially to fill out the final field of 64 doing it on the court. Two of those games tonight, two more games tomorrow night before the barrage begins.

All right, so let’s take a look at the records here for the show. Notice because there was no handicapping on Monday, that means the records are going to look incredibly similar to how they looked on Monday’s edition of the program. So the show remains just above 500 and you see where Corbie stands and you see where Mattie Cox stands as we get ready to get into the action for a Tuesday.

And again, we’re going to have a bunch of different stuff that we’re going to be discussing on the show. So why don’t we start with the NIT in a game that has some intrigue. I know Mid Major Matt was talking about this game yesterday. It is Toledo and Michigan on Michigan’s campus. They’re going to get this going before those first four games get rolling, just before the first one of them gets rolling. Michigan a six point favorite over Toledo that did lose in the MACC final on Saturday night to Kent State, one of the higher scoring teams in the Mid-American conference, very entertaining team. Our total is up there. It’s 162 and a half. Some discussion on this one. Mattie Cox begin this with Michigan, Toledo and the NIT and a quick thought or two if you would.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, some big money coming on Toledo. It’s just a really good team that had a tough match-up at the end of their conference tournament in the MACC Kent State. The winner of that is a darling and favorite pick of many to win and prevail over Indiana, just to give you context as to how respectable of a loss that is for the rocket. They’ve also played in these non-insulate tournament post-season formats before. I believe. I think that experience probably will matter. And there usually is a motivational advantage for the Mid Majors playing the big boys. Even though it is a home game for Michigan, I tend to think the rockets will be more locked in and more engaged. I also think they’re not a lot worse than Michigan, just on a pure power rating basis either. So I understand the money. I wouldn’t play it at six though. I think I’d probably need closer to seven, closer to the opener.

TJ Rives:

Corbie, this is the eternal question in these games, who really cares? Who’s motivated? Is Michigan motivated? I almost lawed North Carolina. I don’t think it was an arrogance thing. I think it’s more or less we know we don’t care and so we don’t want to put everybody through the charade that we actually care to play in the NIT. So here again, I would think Toledo on the who cares factor cares much more about this than Michigan. Give me some handicap thoughts here just real quick.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, I think if you wanted in Toledo you missed your number. It opened what, seven and a half, Matt? I could be wrong-

TJ Rives:

Something like that.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, seven and a half, I think.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, so monies came on Toledo’s, Matt and alluded to… I think if anything and over here, which sounds miserable, I’d probably get a much better number live, just this being at Michigan. I can’t imagine Michigan people there. Also, something that I probably am wrong on, but I tried to look it up before the show, I think that it’s Michigan’s spring break, so-

TJ Rives:

Correct, it is.

Corbie Craig:

Their home court advantage has to get pushed down a good bit. And so if you could get a live number, these teams, neither of them forced turnovers much. Both of them don’t have many turnovers. Michigan’s 14th in the nation and turnovers. Toledo’s pretty close, so at least you’re going to get some quality possessions. How much do they matter? How well are they? Who knows? Toledo’s going to be scrapping. So if you can get a good live number, I like the over, but as it sits, it’s a very high number for a reason.

TJ Rives:

You bring up a couple of really good points. The first one is, without student involvement there at the Chrysler Arena, it’s not going to be the same atmosphere. Now Michigan will probably still have a few thousand fans. They have big following among the non-students that are there. Here’s another factor that a lot of people don’t understand with these, the schools don’t control the ticket prices and the NIT loves to overcharge for these tickets too. I don’t know how much that affects Michigan, but at some of these sites, you’ll see less crowd because ridiculously the NIT is charging much more for the game and people just assume, “I’m not going to pay that for a non NCA tournament game. I’ll watch on TV, I’ll watch the highlights.”

Just one more thing real quick on this one, Michigan, three straight losses coming in. They did score in the 90s late in the year at Illinois. The overtime game though with Indiana, they were in the low 60s when the game was ending in regulation and then they only got to 50 points in the Big 10 opening loss to Rutgers. So for whatever that’s worth, with what Toledo’s scoring, if you’re looking at that massive total, just keep that in mind on Michigan’s recent offense, at least, in their last couple of games. So no official play here on that NIT game, we covered it. Mid Major Matt should be happy there and a lot of people are weighing in the live chat. I see that there on the Toledo team total or on the Rockets maybe covering, et cetera.

All right, let’s move on to the one that matters. And the 2022 or the 2023 NCA tournament, the 2022/2023 season, will now culminate with the NCA tournament. And Texas A&M-Corpus Christi the Islanders and Southeast Missouri State will play the first NCA tournament game in the first four in Dayton. Corpus Christi is favored by four on the neutral floor. The total is 156 in this one. Both of these teams won wild conference championship games to get the automatic bid and get into the first four. The winner will get Alabama. Hello. Corbie Craig, begin the conversation. Neutral floor, Dayton, Ohio, first four game, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, SEMO State, Southeast Missouri State.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, SEMO would be my lean even though it seems I’m probably wrong with that. I think this has gotten steamed up at this point. SEMO earlier in the year looked like a pretty efficient team. They like to play a lot of pace. So this 156 seems to play into their favor. I will be the first one to say, I don’t know a ton about Corpus Christi, but SEMO is seventh in the nation in tempo.

We have seen their offensive numbers drop off the rebounding. It’s kind of scary, but at the end of the day, they’ve been able to force their will against a lot of good teams. They beat Morehead 65-58, a game that was not played in their favor. They want to run tempo and that game was played in 64 possessions. So an ugly start to the year. You saw what? Eight losses in a row, an ugly end of the year and then the cleanup during the tournament.

So I think you see a SEMO team that really is as unpredictable as it can come and on a neutral court with this tempo, assuming that they’re going to be able to play their style of basketball. Four points seems good, but the issue with me is four points into a total of 156, what does those four points actually matter? So I worry about that. But other than that, I think that Southeast Missouri State would be my lane getting four. I would really like to get five or six though. So I laid off this in general.

TJ Rives:

All right. You mentioned Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, how much did we know about the Islanders? Trevian Tennyson, thank you very much, is their leading scorer. They were the regular season champions in the Southland Conference and they had to come from behind. They were down 15 in the first half of the title game against Northwestern State of Louisiana. Came from behind, won it. That’s why they’re here on the automatic bid. Mattie Cox, a thought real quick, even if not an official play, on a first four game, Southeast Missouri State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, again the winner slots in as the 16 seed to play Alabama in the South regional.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, good luck to whoever wins this game and that next one, but for this opener playing, I tend to like SEMO, and the reason is the injury to Terrion Murdix who will be out tonight. He got injured in the final, the Southland Conference championship against Northwestern State. He’s absolutely paramount to this team. I mean point guard, makes a lot happen.

This team has some offensive talent, but obviously it’s a team in the Southland. There’s not a ton of prolific scoring options guys that can create buckets out of nothing. The neutralizer to that though is Steve Lutz, head coach for the Islanders, former Matt Painter assistant and he’s terrific. There’s a reason why he is come out of the Southland two straight years. He’s done a lot with not a lot. However, I do think from a pure talent perspective, SEMO has them out class. I think Brad Korn’s a very good coach on the other side as well. I’m going to take the plus four with SEMO. I think that’s too many points for team missing a critical piece, even with the fact that they have the familiarity edge of playing in this last year.

TJ Rives:

All right, and forgive me, I was not sure on our stuff and I should have checked with you. So that’s going to be an official play plus the four with Southeast Missouri State, correct, Mattie Cox? For an official play on the show.

Matt Cox:

I don’t think I have as an official play. That’s just a lean for me. I’m sorry-

TJ Rives:

You know what? We’re going to do this. We’ll do the lean, I’ll do the official cup raise here. We’ll raise a glass to Southeast Missouri State. Hear-hear-

Matt Cox:

The Hawks.

TJ Rives:

We take them. We’ll go with them plus the-

Matt Cox:

10 AM.

TJ Rives:

Even if you won’t see it officially on the screen. Phillip Russell is their leading score at 18 points and five assists per game and good information there on the leading assist guy for Corpus Christi that is hurt. Again, Southeast Missouri State won the crazy controversial end to the Ohio Valley conference tournament championship game. Guys, this was the tournament where Tennessee Tech thought they had won on the length of the floor shot for it to be a three-point shot to win by one upon review after they’re celebrating and running around everywhere. No, no, it’s a two, not a three. We go to overtime and Southeast Missouri State takes it from them in the overtime to get into the NCA tournament. Now they are slotted here in this match-up in the first four coming here on Tuesday night in Dayton. That’s the first official game of 67 of them in the tournament.

Kevin, why don’t we do this. If you can put the South bracket up on the screen, put the South regional and the 16 teams. Look at Kevin, he’s all over it. You see up at the top where Alabama is as the one seed, that’s where Corpus Christi or SEMO, Southeast Missouri State, will plug in to this tournament coming up on Thursday. And you see the rest of the South bracket that we’ll make reference to, but there you go. That’s where the winner of this game is headed. Good luck with the Crims and Tide-

Matt Cox:

I’ve been on the line there.

TJ Rives:

Yeah, there you go. There you go on that. All right, so there’s the South bracket and how it looks. All right, let’s continue with the official plays on the show. Get your questions ready in a little bit. Hit that light button for us, make sure that you’re subscribing on the program.

Let’s go back to the handicapping and the analysis and that will continue with our second game in the first four in Dayton for a Tuesday night. That is Pitt and Mississippi State. That’s when coming shortly after nine Eastern time, depends on how long game number one takes on the same floor. Tonight, Pitt, one of the last teams in the field, obviously. Mississippi State may be a little safer in. Mississippi State, The Bulldogs, laying two and a half. They played good ball down the stretch of the season to help them barely sneak into the NCA tournament. Our total is 132 and a half. Mattie Cox, we’re right back to you. You are going to have an official official play on this coming up here. What is it and what do you like in the second of the two first four games for Tuesday?

Matt Cox:

Yes, so cover your eyes bud, I’m taking the over, because Mississippi State is one of the worst shooting teams in the country, I believe dead lasts in three-point percentage and in the bottom 15 in free throw percentage. However, four of the last five games have actually gone over the total. One of those was helped win overtime, but still they are scoring a little more and I think they’re playing a little more loose. And just the sheer fact that the regression debt, as I’m calling it, there’s no way this team can be a 26% three-point shooting team. It’s not the ’90s, it’s not the Golden State Awards or anything, but it’s much better than what we’ve seen so far to date. And I think Pitt, on the other end, defensively has been in shambles the last couple of weeks and now tonight they’re going to be potentially without Federico Federico, they’re only a real protector.

I mean just look at their scores, the last five games, kind of emblematic of who they’re becoming down the stretch, gave up 82 to Syracuse, gave up 88 to Notre Dame. They actually played pretty well against Miami in the finale of the regular season, but then 81 to Georgia Tech and then 96 last game to Duke and most of those games were not all that fast. So this will be a low possession game and it won’t be a shootout by any means, but at 132 and a half, 133, I think that’s too low, given the dynamics on both ends here. So I’m taking the over in a rare total play for me.

TJ Rives:

Interesting on this. Corbie Craig, for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Again, late in the year, they won at Arkansas in late February. That helped them. They then beat Texas A&M at home. That really also helped them because Texas A&M ended up being in the top 20 of the net. Then they won in the overtime as Mattie mentioned against Florida in the SEC Tournament in Nashville. But then Alabama beat them badly and they only scored 49 points against Alabama. Make something out of the Bulldogs here. What is a thought or two about them playing Pitt in the first four tonight in Dayton, Corbie?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, Pitt has one of my favorite names in all of sports, Federico Federico. So nice to say it twice. But yeah, I’ve been on this Mississippi State over bandwagon for too long at this point. It’s treated me well because these numbers have been so low, but completely agree with Matt and the idea that at some point these people have to regress. 26% free throw, three-point shooting, 363rd in the nation.

The issue is I bet this over versus Alabama where they scored 49 points and I unfortunately watched that basketball game and realized they might not shoot better than two 26%. There’s not one person on the floor who catches the ball behind the ark and goes, “I’m going to shoot this three-point shot.” And it really made me question my thought process on them actually regressing to a number that’s not 26%. My numbers completely agree with you over here and it’s easy to understand why at some point they have to regress, but I think they play faster than we imagine. They play 334th in the nation of tempo and it doesn’t look like they play that speed. They like to speed it up some. So I do think this number’s a little low, but my worry only is Mississippi State. If they scored zero threes, I would not be surprised at this point.

TJ Rives:

Interesting that they are favored Mississippi State by a couple points. You mentioned the injury guys, you’ve brought that up. And one could argue that Pitt has played much better recent competition, including Duke. You see it right there on the screen. Would Pitt not also be a good look on the money line? Any quick thought on that before we lock Mattie Cox in? Any thought on the money line, either one of, you for Pitt?

Matt Cox:

I don’t personally like that. Again, I love the coaching advantage, Chris James for Jeff Capel, and I think Pitt has really peaked too early. I thought two weeks ago, three weeks ago, with the form they were. They were playing decent defense, but I think the injuries to the frontline, coupled with just some general regression on that side of the ball, I just don’t like the way they’re defending right now. So they’re overly reliant on making shots and it’s not a good recipe for six of us in the tournament, in my opinion.

TJ Rives:

Kevin, if you would, put the Midwest bracket up there for just a second. So we’ll show everybody where they’re plugging in. The winner of Mississippi State and Pitt will plug in middle of the screen right against Iowa State. So that will be the match-up that is upcoming on Thursday for the winner of this game in the draw with Texas on the bottom of that bracket and Xavier, as you see on the bottom of that bracket. So that’s where our winner tonight will plug into the NCA tournament coming in about 48 hours. Good stuff. Back on screen here. Let’s lock Mattie Cox.

Kevin is a whiz right now at BetUS with all the graphics and going back to point.

Matt Cox:

Kevin’s on his game.

TJ Rives:

Let’s see him on the point here with the graphic for Mattie Cox. There it is, right on command. He’s on the over for this game tonight. Mississippi State and Pitt, got to get there. Points, points, points. Can the Bulldogs make some shots, make some three-point shots? We will see if that’s the case. Mattie Cox playing the over tonight in the Pitt-Mississippi State game.

All right, let’s continue with one more in the NIT and this is Seton Hall and Colorado that is coming up tonight. This action will be taking place late night, at least Eastern time. Nine Mountain time, 11 Eastern time in Boulder for the match-up this evening between the Big East and the Big Ten two teams that came up short. Seton Hall needed a late season run, didn’t get it in the Big East. Colorado was never really on the bubble to get in the NCA tournament, couldn’t make any noise in the PAC 12 tournament as UCLA took care of them. All right, the line is four for the Colorado true home game. Total, 137 and a half. Corbie Craig, back to you. Official play upcoming here. Give me something on this one in the NIT real quick.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, too much fun in the March Madness pool, so I had to hop over to the NIT. And even worse, give me an under. I like the under 137 and a half here. No fun, I know it. But Seton Hall had to travel to Colorado on a 48 hours notice to play at Elevation, which I don’t know if that matters too much, but I do think you’re getting a number that probably doesn’t adjust enough to that. Colorado is a really fast team, but in the most miserable of ways. They’re 262nd in offensive efficiency. They don’t shoot the three-ball, they don’t defend amazing. They do get a lot of rebounds. So you’re not going to have many second chance points.

Also, I’m just not buying this Colorado team. They’re already 59th per KenPom, but who have they beat? They beat Oregon in January. They beat up on some bad teams like North Alabama, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, which is okay team, but has pushed their pace and their tempo schemes a lot higher than I think they should be, 98th in the nation in tempo. But then if you look at the last X amount of games, they’ve only went over 70 twice since January 25th. So I don’t think this team actually wants to go as fast as we think and we’ve seen Seton Hall all year. Basically they want to go with snails pace. They’re 313th in the nation in three, so don’t have to worry about that. They’re going to turn the ball over a ton and they’re going to force a lot of turnover. So yeah, you’re getting an ugly scrappy game at Elevation on a 48 hours notice. Two teams that I don’t trust their offense that much. 137 and a half seems like a ton of points. I made this 133, so give me the under there.

TJ Rives:

It is a Colorado team, Mattie Cox, that lost four of its last five games down the stretch. Actually, four of its last six, winning two home games with Utah and Washington, but lost to the best teams in the conference in Arizona, USC, UCLA twice down the stretch. And again, what kind of atmosphere? Are there any students there? I believe it is spring break also in Boulder. What kind of atmosphere? Do they care, Colorado? How much does Seton Hall care, to Corbie’s point? Mattie Cox, a thought on this NIT game for a Tuesday.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, I love the under. I believe KJ Simpson and Nique Clifford, who got hurt the last game, or I believe he got hurt against UCLA, but the key injury is KJ Simpson for Colorado, their point guard, who is talented but erratic. I tend to think he is an over player when he’s in there. He’s not the most efficient, but he’s a pace pusher. He likes to get up and down. And Colorado, we’ve seen them play fast at times this season, but it’s been… I think that kind of goes against Tad Boyle’s roots, long known for his brand of Boyle Ball. He’s opened it up this year, but I think Simpson’s a big reason he opened it up. So without him in a short bench with a pretty quick turnaround, I think Corbie’s got the winner here with the under for sure. I think the pace will play very much toward the under.

TJ Rives:

All right. Again, for Seton Hall, as I mentioned, they were hanging around. Could they maybe make a move late in the year and get in the NCA tournament? Shaheen Holloway, remember? And St. Peter’s, such a great story of the 2022 tournament as a 15 seed upsetting Kentucky, then later upsetting Purdue and getting to the Elite Eight. Seton Hall couldn’t make the magic happen though, even with a couple of his players having transferred there. They lost four of their final five games, including to DePaul, at the Big East Tournament on the neutral floor, which ended any chance of at large hopes.

All right, Seton Hall, Colorado, Corbie Craig says, “I don’t see a lot of scoring on a Tuesday night in the NIT.” He says under on the official play here, under 137 and a half for that match-up. All right, about time to get to some Q&A here in just a second.

A reminder, you, yes you, still have a chance to get into our Mayhem Bracket Challenge with BetUS TV. You’ve got a chance to win a million dollars. Somebody’s got a chance to get a million bucks plus other secondary prizes right below that up for grabs. Go to betustv.com/mayhem to get in the bracket. I will tell you that a $100 deposit will get you an entry in. In fact, every deposit of $100 or more after that gets you another entry. Find out details in the description below. Click the link in the description below us and you can get in on our bracket challenge, the Mayhem Bracket Contest. You obviously have until about noontime on Thursday because that’s when the tournament begins, peeps. So get into the Mayhem Bracket, do so. Enter as many times as you want for those $100 deposits that you make at BetUS and do so by finding out. Again, [email protected] slash mayhem.

You boys ready for some questions and answers? Not just on today, but maybe some other stuff as we go over things. You guys good to go? Are we ready with the peeps and the savages here for a Tuesday? Let’s see. Easy Baby 1988, always checking in, says “Who’s the oldest team in the tournament? Who’s the youngest?” I don’t have this off the top of my head. I don’t know if you guys have any of that info, intel, off the top of your head.

Certainly experience plays a role. Like Kansas for example, bringing back upperclassmen and pieces of a national championship team, that would be somebody I would look at. Houston has a veteran team. A lot of these Houston guys were in the final four two years ago in the Elite eight last year. They’re a one seed this year. So not so much maybe just in terms of age. I’ll just throw those two out in terms of experience, Kansas and Houston. And it’s no secret that’s one of the reasons why they’re up there as number one seeds. Guys, do you have any input or any thought on oldest teams, youngest teams or any of that?

Matt Cox:

Yeah, the oldest team, I’m just looking at Ken Palm’s experience metric, which is true D one experience. Penn State, oldest by a pretty substantial margin. They got a ton of super seniors there. Iowa State, Texas up there as well. And actually, your Memphis Tigers, TJ, one of the older, more experienced teams. They’ve really changed the blueprint there under Petty the last couple of years. The least experienced team, I believe, is Princeton. They play a ton of freshmen… And I’m sorry, it’s Fairly Dickinson, who plays a ton of not just freshmen but newcomers, Juco guys. I actually think that’s a little misleading because they actually have some experienced guys who played at St. Thomas Aquinas that came with Tobin Anderson there. So I think the truest youngest team, I guess if that makes sense, is Princeton.

TJ Rives:

And again, fairly Dickinson will be in the first four coming up tomorrow night. We’ll talk a little more about them. Corbie Craig, I don’t know if you have any thought, by the way, on the Memphis thing because obviously I’m ultra familiar. Deandre Williams is a 26 year old still playing college basketball. He got a late start on his clock to play, and even with the COVID year, his five years. And Kendrick Davis, the outstanding guard, is a 23 year old. He’s a fifth year player. That will help the average age number go up on your team to have a 26 year old and a 23 year old in your rotation. Corbie, any thought on the experience versus inexperience overall? Just real quick.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, I couldn’t imagine being 26. That’s really old, but that’s-

TJ Rives:

He got a late start academically at a junior college in his early twenties and your clock begins. And then again, there was a COVID year where everybody got the free year in 2020 that he was part of. So it is kind of weird to see somebody that old playing college basketball. A lot of times it’s like a BYU player, a Mormon player that’s been on a Mormon mission for three years or two years and might be a 25 or 26 year old, literally. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen it in service academies with some of the service academy players, if they’re in, that are sometimes 24, 25 years old. Just as an example. Go ahead, Corbie. Another thought?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, my biggest worry for a team experience-wise is probably Marquette. Marquette plays basically five sophomores. Other than that, a Charleston team is pretty young, which I think is interesting because they get San Diego State on a short number, being so young, but they do play a couple of seniors, a few underclassmen fall in. But Marquette’s the one that I really circled. They really don’t have any upperclassmen to fall back on. It’s all a sophomore base team basically at this point.

TJ Rives:

All right, good enough. More on the Q&A here. Elias is watching us and says, “Thoughts on Villanova and Liberty coming up tonight in the NIT here?” Again, Villanova thought they might make a run and make the NCA tournament, never materialized. In New York at the Big East Tournament, Yukon beat them badly. Liberty was one of the top teams in their conference, 18 and one home record, Liberty at home. Again, who really cares? Which of these teams really cares in this NIT game? Liberty is a short favorite. Mattie Cox, a thought?

Matt Cox:

Yeah, I mean Nova’s injuries here are notable. I’m trying to find the confirmations here, but that’s why I think Liberty took some money, as Corbie alluded to, it’s been up to minus three. On top of the fact, again, I think when you have the Mid Major team against a Power Conference team, especially when that Mid Major team’s at home, the motivational angle should play pretty well for the Flames who are probably not so happy after losing that title game at the hands of Kennesaw. So yeah, I wouldn’t lay three with Liberty, but I think that’s the right side, situationally.

TJ Rives:

Corbie Craig, a thought on this Liberty at home nine Eastern Time NIT game? We’re in the weeds on this. Any thought?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, I got stuck with a bad number. I took Villanova at plus two, then the news came out of Justin Moore due to soreness, wouldn’t be playing. So that’s always fun. And then Whitmore with an eye injury, he won’t be in. So got the worst of a number. I still think that Villanova’s the significantly better team. I think Liberty is kind of coasted through a conference that wasn’t too tough. They’ve struggled in some games. They’ve lost some games that make you really scratch your head. And this Villanova team, I mean you know what you’re going to get.

These two teams, the main thing for me here, and I will keep this short because it’s a Villanova Liberty game, but the main thing for me here is they play the exact same style of basketball. So who’s going to be better at their style of basketball? Villanova without Whitmore and More or Liberty with everybody? But my biggest issue is they rely on McGee so much. I don’t think that Villanova’s going to allow that to happen, just a shutdown of McGee gets Villanova this game. So give me two. Obviously I would like three more, but I get stuck with a bad number there.

TJ Rives:

All right, Jake is watching us real quick. Another NIT question. “Rutgers and Hofstra tonight. Rutgers at home.” I don’t have a line on this one, guys, you may have that. And Jake’s question is really intrigued about Rutgers, feel like they’ve got something to prove. Again, who cares more in this game? How much does Rutgers care? Corbie, any thought? And I know you guys are looking for the number there as well.

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, so it looks like it was seven and a half. And some groups bet seven and a half just a minute ago. Rutgers would make sense to me, but I really don’t like this Rutgers team overall. They’re probably getting a high number due to the fact that it’s at home and everybody knows that Rutgers sucks on the road and at the rack is decent so it’s probably adjusted in this number at some point. But Hofstra, they’re a pretty good basketball team. I wouldn’t lay much of anything on this game, but I’m interesting to know of this. Some people that I do respect just took some Hofstra at seven and a half.

TJ Rives:

Interesting. Mattie Cox, a thought here? Rutgers was the 37th at large team. When they listed it out, they were the last team out, even though they had a 40 net ranking, they left them out. Thought here on Rutgers and Hofstra?

Matt Cox:

Yeah, they’re some familiarity here. I believe these two teams played two years ago. Hofstra competed covered that game. Speedy Claxton and his star player, Aaron Estrada, I think they have enough shot making there to keep it competitive. And yeah, again, I do question where Rutgers’ mental psyche is at right now. So actually I lean toward Hofstra. I lean with where the money that came in with those groups, Corbie.

TJ Rives:

All right, another question. This is Michael. Michael, thank you for watching, says, “What does everyone think about Duke laying the six and a half? I don’t see it. Duke should roll Oral Roberts playing nothing but cupcakes.” So he thinks six and a half is too low for Duke. Guys, any thoughts on this? Mattie Cox, any thought on Duke, which will be Thursday night in Orlando? God willing, that’s about 70 miles from where I host here on BetUS TV in Tampa. I will be at the night session games, going to try to get to the second of the day session games, but the night session games are Duke-Oral Roberts and the Tennessee match-up with Louisiana. Any thought on Duke? What about that number? He’s asking, “Shouldn’t the number be higher?”

Matt Cox:

No, it shouldn’t because Oral Roberts is awesome. I actually am going to bet Oral Roberts first half. I think Duke struggles to pick up their offense, which is very spacey. They have a perimeter pick and pop weapon in Connor Vanover. That guy started at Arkansas and has completely revamped his game. Duke’s going to have trouble matching up with him, I think, at the start. Ultimately, I think Duke prevails, in the second half they make adjustments, but first half I think they come out a little sluggish.

TJ Rives:

Is the Vanover player, he’s the big guy. He’s the injury question, right? Corbie as well. We don’t know his status. He has been hurt because I know Mid Major Matt was talking about this, Mattie Cox, yesterday that if he doesn’t play and the word is out that he doesn’t play, the line might go up a couple of points because of Duke’s big guys. Corbie, any thought here on this? Just real quick on the number itself?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah. Yeah, Matt was talking about it yesterday, but I couldn’t find anything to assume that Vanover’s hurt. He played 28 minutes in the last game. He played not great, but I don’t think that he was hurt by any means. So I have no clue. I think this is a really good match-up. Unfortunate for Oral Roberts. I really like this team. This was my circle Cinderella, basically probably was everybody’s, nation’s longest wind string. But the issue is they run into a Duke team that matches up with them very well. Vanover and Phillip go after it. Abmas gets guarded by Roach and then it’s, “Okay, what can the secondary people do?”

I will say, I still think Oral Roberts plays a decent game, but I do agree with Matt, at the end of the game, I think that Duke comes out on top. I’ve been looking for a piece to money line parlay this with. It’s a 260, so you could get a pretty good near even price if you could find another piece. But I think Oral Roberts is a good match-up. It would not surprise me by any means if they backed door a six and a half with a… Abmas in his three day in the game, that just doesn’t matter. But I do think that at first half spot, I would probably lean towards Oral Roberts starting out more hot just due to the fact that they want this much more early. Obviously it matters to Duke, but Oral Roberts, they’ve been here. Abmas, it feels like he’s been doing this for years at this point. I mean this is the similar-

TJ Rives:

They pulled the two upsets two years ago in the 2021 crazy tournament. So let’s see if the magic can continue this year. They didn’t have the magic last year, but let’s see if it continues from two years ago this year in this one. Worth noting again, we said it yesterday, Mattie Cox, I don’t know if you know this number, but since the field expanded to 64 teams and 1985, now 68 teams, as it has been for about the last 15 years or so, 53 times a 12 has outright beaten a five seed, 53 of them. That means at least one on average, about one per tournament.

Look out for Charleston, for Oral Roberts, for Drake and for Virginia Commonwealth, VCU. Those are the four 12 seeds. One of them is likely winning and a couple of them may win in a match-up against a five seed. Just stay tuned. Couple more moments left with the questions and answers. Mark says, “We can’t get out of here. Corbie Craig, what about UAB?” UAB Southern Miss, how much does UAB care? How much does Jelly Walker care at home? And these schools, Corbie, used to be rivals in different conferences. They’ve been in the same conference in and out here for about the past 30 years. All right, so what about this match-up tonight and how much does UAB care? UAB laying what, almost 10, nine and a half, 10?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, I made it 15. So I lean UAB, but I can’t play this. I just don’t know. UAB’s on spring break. That’s why I’m in Florida. I’m here. But yeah, so the issue is motivation. Jelly, they would be playing a hundred percent, I’ve talked to him. They’re ready for this game. The issue comes-

TJ Rives:

Wait, wait, wait. You talked to Jelly Walker? Did you give him a pep talk? Is that what you said?

Corbie Craig:

No, I was just seeing if they were ready to play it. TJ, you think I’m just a UAV fan, talking to nobody? Come on.

TJ Rives:

So you’ve been in touch with Jelly. I’m with you. Jelly’s fired up tonight? We can take that to the bank? He cares? He cares? Okay. This would be a big concern that UAB has the letdown if they didn’t win the title game and they don’t care tonight. You follow me?

Corbie Craig:

No, they’re ready. AK’s birthday was yesterday, the coach. And so they-

TJ Rives:

Kennedy, right?

Corbie Craig:

They’re plenty ready. The issue becomes Southern Miss does have scorers that can backdoor attend pretty easy. This is not a team that you can just sleep through by any means, UAB spring break. UAB plays to a tempo that needs crowds and needs hype. And I think that them being in an empty gym is going to hurt a lot. So it’ll be interesting to watch.

TJ Rives:

Anything on this? I see you there with the schemetrics there. A couple of you in the chat are all over schemetrics on Corbie, his made up word from before. Mattie Cox, anything on this or you want to move on off the NIT? We spoke a lot about it.

Matt Cox:

Yeah, no. No feel on this one. Sorry, guys.

TJ Rives:

Jake is watching. Just one more real quick, says, “TJ, you’re picking your Memphis Tigers to upset Purdue.” Everybody needs to stop doing that because I get the feeling that it’s like a jinx in advance. Worry about Florida Atlantic first. Jake, again, weighing in on the chat. Thank you, Jake, about my Memphis Tigers or not.

We’ll go one step at a time. This is a very interesting match-up. Davis is probably the difference maker. Kendrick Davis off the dribble. I mean he dissected Houston on Sunday. Let’s see about that match-up in Columbus, Ohio with Florida Atlantic, that’s had such a tremendous season. We’ll have more time to talk about that coming up.

All right guys, that is a pretty full show. Thank you for the questions and answers. And again, I see lots and lots of live audience. Hit that light button, make sure you’re subscribed. We’re going to be here 11:00 AM through the rest of the week, 11:00 AM all the way through Saturday. We’ll do a Saturday show before eight more second round games on Saturday. And we’ll even look a little bit at Sunday as well on Saturday here on the program. 11:00 AM Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Best bets here now. To wrap the program up, let’s take a look at what the guys are on officially for a Tuesday. We see that Corbie Craig has two unders, both of them in the NIT. He also has an NIT under for North Texas and Alcorn State Wednesday night. So that is, do we dare call it a future under, a future under for Wednesday. That game is not tonight. It is tomorrow night for North Texas and Alcorn State. So Corbie goes in and puts that in there because he will not be here.

Mattie Cox did take an over and he also took an official play on the sheet, even though you don’t see it on the screen. And that’s Southeast Missouri State plus the four in the match-up with Corpus Christi in the first four tonight. So plus four on SEMO. Tonight is another official play that will count for Mattie Cox as well. With that, we’re good. Final thoughts? Corbie Craig, final thought before we’re gone?

Corbie Craig:

Yeah, the big man that Matt was alluding to was Miami’s Omier. I’m not sure if he’s going to be back. I was just looking at day-to-day status of rolled ankle. So, worth keeping a note on. I already bet Miami at two and I would really enjoy him being there if I have that ticket.

TJ Rives:

Mattie Cox, anything else before we are good and gone on Tuesday?

Matt Cox:

Lots of points in Dayton tonight. Let’s go offense, I suppose.

TJ Rives:

We want to see some of it. It should be exciting. It all gets underway with two first four games tonight. The first two of 67 games in the NCA tournament. We’re going to be here all the way through it on weekdays at 11:00 AM on the BetUS College Basketball Show. Remember to check out our sportsbook website. Kevin and everybody behind the scenes, great job with all the graphics, all the stuff. Hit that light button on the way out. Make sure that you’re subscribed. Be with us at 11:00 AM, starting Wednesday and from here on out on the BetUS College Basketball Show.

 

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