Archive for March, 2010

Big boys begin conference tourneys

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

With many of the small and mid-major college basketball conference tournaments either over or darn near, it’s time for the big boys to begin sorting their situations out, and in the process finalize the field for the upcoming NCAA championship tournament.

In two of the more high-profile gatherings of this week, the Big 12 Conference, which could get as many as seven of its teams into the Big Dance, does its thing in Kansas City beginning Wednesday. And the Big 10 Conference, which may only send four teams to the NCAA tournament, meets in Indianapolis starting Thursday.

The action in the Big 12 commences when eighth-seeded Colorado takes on ninth-seeded Texas Tech (12:30 pm Eastern Wednesday, Big 12 Network), and Missouri and Nebraska play the 5/12 game (3 E, B12N). Then in Wednesday’s night session seven seed Oklahoma State goes up against 10 seed Oklahoma (7 E, B12N), and sixth-seeded Texas, the former No. 1 team in the land, plays 11th-seeded Iowa State (9:30 E, B12N).

On quarterfinal Thursday in the Big 12 the Colorado/Texas Tech winner gets top-seeded and current No. 1 ranked Kansas (12:30 E, ESPN2), and the Mizzou/Nebraska winner plays fourth-seeded Texas A&M (3 E, B12N). Then the OSU/OU victor gets second-seeded Kansas State (7 E, B12N), and the Texas/ISU winner plays third-seeded Baylor (9:30 E, ESPN2).

Big 12 semifinal play goes down Friday night (7 and 9:30 E, B12N), and the Big 12 tournament championship game will be played Saturday evening (6 E, ESPN).

Kansas, which went 15-1 in conference play, is the clear favorite at Oddsmaker.com to win the Big 12 Conference tournament this weekend, listed at -300. K-State (11-5) is the second choice on Oddsmaker.com’s Big 12 tournament betting board at +300, followed by Baylor (11-5) at +500, Texas (9-7) at +600, Oklahoma State (9-7) at +1,000, Texas A&M (11-5) at +1,200, Mizzou (10-6) at +1,500, Oklahoma (4-12) and Texas Tech (4-12) at +3,000, Colorado (6-10) at +7,500, Iowa State (4-12) at +20,000 and Nebraska (2-14) at +30,000.

Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan State ended up tied for first place in the Big 10 regular season standings, all at 14-4, but OSU got the top seed in the conference tournament thanks to the better record in play among the three teams.

Big 10 tournament play begins Thursday afternoon when eighth-seeded Michigan takes on ninth-seeded Iowa (2:30 pm E, ESPN2). Then seven seed Northwestern takes on 10 seed Indiana (5 E, ESPN2). And Minnesota and Penn State cap off the night with the six/11 game (7:30 E, Big 10 Network).

Friday’s Big 10 action starts with the top-seeded Buckeyes playing the winner of the Michigan/Iowa game (noon E, ESPN). Then fourth-seeded Wisconsin takes on a fifth-seeded Illinois team that desperately needs another win at least to make the NCAA tournament (2:25 E, ESPN). The late session then starts with the second-seeded Boilermakers going against the Northwestern/Indiana winner (6:30 E, BTN). And the third-seeded Spartans then play the winner of the Minnesota/Penn State game (9 E, BTN).

The Big 10 semifinals will be played Saturday afternoon (1:40 and 4 E, CBS), and the conference tournament championship game is set for Sunday afternoon (3:30 E, CBS).

As of Tuesday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing Ohio State as a +150 favorite to win the Big 10 tournament this weekend. Michigan State is the second choice on that board at +175, followed by Purdue at +300, Wisconsin (13-5 in conference play) at +500, Illinois (10-8) and Minnesota (9-9) at +1,500, Michigan (7-11) and Northwestern (7-11) at +5,000, and Iowa (4-14), Indiana (4-14) and Penn State (3-15) at +7,500.

Cavs mismatch leads off NBA slate

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The field heads into the far turn this week in the steeplechase that is the NBA’s regular season, and a few of the usual suspects still lead the way. But good battles abound among a good part of the field for playoff spots and seedings.

Best meets worst Wednesday night in the Association when the Cleveland Cavaliers, now suddenly without both Ilgauskas and Shaq in the middle, visit the New Jersey Nets (7:30 pm Eastern). Cleveland, an easy winner over New York Monday night, leads the Eastern Conference by six games over second-place Orlando, and owns a game and a half advantage over the Lakers in the race for the best record in the league. New Jersey, meanwhile, owns six wins on the season, one of which, surprisingly, came Saturday at Boston.

The Nets are a dismal 22-36 vs. the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads this season. However, in the three previous meeting this season between these two teams, as underdogs of 14, 10, and 16 points, NJ is 3-0 ATS, losing to the Cavs by 10, eight, and seven points.

Also, as the Nets rank 30th in the league in scoring, they’ve gone 23-33 on the totals.

Two teams who’ve been struggling lately hook up when the Charlotte Bobcats visit the Boston Celtics (7:30 E Wednesday). Charlotte is tied with Miami for the eight spot in the East, but they’re only 4-8 over the last month. Boston, meanwhile, still leads the Atlantic Division by six games over second-place Toronto, but they’ve lost two straight games, and are only 13-13 this calendar year.

Boston has bounced the Bobcats in two earlier meetings this season, by scores of 92-59 and 108-90, but their 21-35 ATS mark is one of the worst in the league.

And in what sizes up to be good Western Conference shootout, the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Denver Nuggets (9 E Wednesday). OKC is 11-2 over its last 13 games, and owns the six spot in the West. The Thunder is also 35-23 vs. the Oddsmaker.com numbers this season. Denver, on the other hand, is still the two seed in the West, but they’re only 6-6 over their last 12 games.

Thursday night the Lakers hit Miami to take on the streaky Heat in the opener of TNT’s doubleheader (8 E). And out in Arizona the spunky Phoenix Suns host the Utah Jazz in the TV nightcap (10:30 E).

The Lakers lead the West by 5.5 games over second-place Dallas, and, as mentioned above, they’re only a game and a half back of Cleveland in the overall league standings. Miami, meanwhile, has been running hot and cold; they lost five in a row at the beginning of February, then won five straight, and have now lost four more in a row.

Phoenix is 12-3 over its last 15 games, and owns the five spot in the West. The Suns are also 36-26 ATS this season. Utah has played its way into the four seed in the West, although they lost at home to the Clippers Monday night. The Jazz have also been one of the best bets in the league this season, going 36-21 vs. the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads.