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Thursday, December 16, 2010

College Basketball Picks Memphis over Austin Peay

In a thrilling game Johnny C called his 4th straight game with his college basketball picks including the Memphis money line pick over Austin Peay which came to fruition in overtime tonight when Chris Crawford hit 18 pts. & William Barton scored the go ahead from beyond the arc in overtime, ensuring that number 18 Memphis stays in the top 25 beating Austin Peay, 70-68 at home in Tennessee at the FedEx Forum.

Charles Carmouche scored 16 points with 7 rebounds and 7 assists for the Tigers who have only lost 1 game thus far this season at 8-1, who just came off the 1st loss to top dog Kansas Jayhawks last week.

Tyshwan Edmondson paced Austin Peay (6-6) with 22 points on 9-of-25 shooting. Edmondson also pulled down 10 rebounds for the Governors, who received 17 points and 11 boards from Melvin Baker in the heartbreaking loss.

Will Barton was fouled grabbing the rebound on the second miss and made his first try from the line. He missed the second, but Memphis got the offensive carom, leading to Antonio Barton's tying shot with 14 seconds left.

Austin Peay almost pulled it out in OT but was stopped with a block as time expired. Will Barton's 3 point shot tied it up at 62 with under 2:00 minutes left in play followed by a steal steal, and a layup for a 5 point breathing room for the Tigers.

Interesting facts about this game are that the Memphis tigers played their 1st game with Witherspoon on the bunch due to a knee injury. He will be playing again after the new year and the Barton siblings hit nine points each in a 31.1% shooting performance by Peay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Top Hated Athletes of all Time

The Top Hated Athletes of All Time

In the world of sports you find lots of athletes who end up coming off as extremely narcissistic and end up being hated as much as the infamous Vince McMahon in the hey days of the WWF.

Fans tend to hate players for a multitude of reasons and some are just enemies for playing on the other team but here are some of the most hated athletes of all time.

  • Johnny Damon - Walking around any of the streets in New England you may see a shirt that says Johnny Demon for his betrayal of the Boston Redsox after doing a magnificent job of leading them to their first World Series in years over long time rival the New York Yankees in the 2004 season. After that he moved to the Bronx and cut his hair and is afraid to walk around the streets of Boston and thus for good reason as such a well known traitor.
  • Marvin “Bad News” Barnes - For such a great college basketball player from Providence College who still holds the schools single game scoring record of 52 versus Austin Peay but was better known for his off court problems. Bad News had been arrested for the following: burglary, drug possession, and trespassing. Due to his drug use, his NBA career was cut short and he wound up homeless in San Diego, California in the early 1980s. After several rehabilation programs, Barnes started to reach out to youths in South Providence, Rhode Island where he grew up, urging them not to make the same mistakes he had.

  • Terrell Owens - Everybody who isn't T.O. seems to really hate this guy but why? He seems to be one of the best receivers in the NFL and always seems to match up well with just about any quarterback. When it comes down to it T.O. tends to hurt his teams more than he helps them by causing controversy and immense distractions on any team he plays on. Also his mockery after a touch down is cause in itself to hate this narcissist. He talked trash about his own Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and the Dallas Cowboys. It seems only fitting now that he gets to stir up trouble with equally hated number 85 Chad Ocho Cinco on the Cincisnotty Bengals.

  • Michael Vick - Well no surprise here. While it seems like if all he does is win for the Eagles than the fans there have all but nearly forgotten about the dog fighting incident(helps their mascot is a bird and not a dog) but the rest of America especially those from P.E.T.A. who don't even watch football really despise and wish death upon Mike because he used to choke and run a pit bull parade in the deep south.
  • Pete Rose - For being an all time hit leader in the Major Leagues you would think that would give a guy an automatic bid to the Hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York. Not in this case because this guy had a Mahowny gambling problem. Whether or not he fixed games and bet 10,000.00 on the reds everyday is in the past but none the less he has accrued notoriety for his actions or inactions even if Bud Selig has reinstated the former player.
  • John Rocker - A once great pitcher for his home state Atlanta Braves traveled to the big apple and had this to say " I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?" BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER. When speaking of the New York Mets
    "Nowhere else in the country do people spit at you, throw bottles at you, throw quarters at you, throw batteries at you and say, 'Hey, I did your mother last night — she's a whore.' I talked about what degenerates they were and they proved me right."
None the less the Braves fans supported him at first but it became increasingly harder and when the pitcher showed up to the next game in new York it wasn't pretty as they had some 700 police offers instead of the usually 10% of that number 70 cops and they had to limit beer sales that day (No wonder why the fans hated him so much don't mess with a mans alcohol.)

  • Art Heyman - Duke College basketball player from Long Island pissed off everybody outside of Raleigh when he chose to become a blue devil and not a Tar-Heel even though he already committed to Chapel Hill. On top of that his attitude sucked with this famous quote “Coaches would tell me to do something, and I’d say, ‘Go fuck yourself.’ I didn’t respect authority or structure. Wait it gets better on February 4th 1961 in Chapel Hill, when instigated a fight with his buddy from Long Island, Larry Brown. In the ensuing brawl, Heyman allegedly punched a male cheerleader and nailed coach Frank McGuire in the crotch.
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson andArnold "Chick" Gandil - For being one of the main ring leaders in the infamous Black Sox Scandal which involved throwing the 1919 World Series will forever let these athlete go down in history for letting the Reds defeat the Chicago White Sox. Not until 60+ years later would somebody involved with the Reds go down in history for another gambling scandal (see pete rose above)

  • O.J. Simpson - The Juice is loose. While it is astonishing that for all of these hated athlete lists out there that Orenthal James is often excluded. Where not going to get into the debate on whether or not he did it. The staff here at Coopers Pick is far too intelligent to get involved in that debate all were going to say is that this guy is the most well known football player and hated athlete of all time from his probable involvement in the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in which went to trial had his acquittal and later he was arrested for robbing somebody in Las Vegas, Nevada to regain his valuable memorabilia. Interesting story this guy brings to the table in terms of disliked athletes.
Hopefully you liked this list if so stay tuned for more fun lists for all the players and honorable mentions that we might have missed. Also if you need any live betting odds, sports picks, or anything else sports related than please feel free to check out the rest of coopers sports picks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top College Basketball Dunks

If you like slam dunks and you like college basketball (who doesnt) than you may enjoy the mixtape youtube video of the 50 best NCAA basketball jams of all time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

March Madness to expand to 68 teams

As Ted Turner looks to ink a deal for TNT to have broadcasting rights for the NCAA College basketball tournament that just passed. We look into the reality that the tournament will soon be expanding beyond the 64 (65) teams to 68 teams. Giving us that extra 2 games to bet on!

The deeal that was announced on thursday is a 14-year, $10.8 billion dollar television rights deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting that will allow every game to be shown live on one of four networks.

So now we have 68 and soon we may have 96

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This blog has moved

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Monday, April 12, 2010

William Hill

Since we are not offering a full coverage of the big Wolrd Cup this summer taking place in South Africa we are going to have to pass you onto our European friends WH: William hill allows you to be a part of all the world cup action - check the odds for the most entertaining football matches.

We will not be offering live odds so feel free to use William hill for the live world cup odds and news on the biggest soccer event of the year.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Duke has opened up as a seven-point favorite over Butler following their 78-57 dismantling of West Virginia. Early action has pushed the number to as high as eight in some books. It's a big number but don't get carried away and fall victim to 'last game syndrome. (college basketball lines)

When it comes to championships, every bettor faces ‘last game syndrome.’ The sinking realization that this will be the last major event of your favorite sport for months forces the gambler in you to consider risking muti-unit plays. After all, this is your last chance at getting action for months, right? Might as well go out with a bang and make the game more ‘exciting.’

You don’t have to be that guy. You’ve worked hard to build up units all season long, if you see an edge here take it but no reason to get carried away. For those of you still on the fence, here’s a breakdown of Duke-Butler:

1. The Slipper Don't Fit

Please end all discussion of Butler as the tourney’s Cinderella. The Bulldogs opened the season ranked #11 in the nation and finished #8 in the polls. Butler has won 25 straight games including victories over Syracuse, Michigan State, and Kansas State. Butler is the real deal. They shouldn’t be fitted for any glass slippers if they can pull it off because they’ve been wearing a big ole size 20 shoe all year.

2. Something's gotta give

Butler has played stifling defense all tourney long, holding all five opponents to under 60 points. They've held 12 of their last 13 opponents under 60. Duke has failed to surpass the 60-point barrier just once this season, a 57-46 victory over Virginia.

Can we expect Duke to continue it's torrid 3-point shooting (13-25 against WVU)? Even if Duke cools off, the Blue Devils are still averaging just under 80 points per game it's past two contests while Butler has barely managed to average 60 themselves. They shot an abominable 30.7 percent against Michigan State. This number must improve if they want to cover.

3. A little help, please?

Butler's Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack were the only two players to record a made field goal in the first half of the MSU game. Matt Howard (12.4ppg) is questionable with a concussion, and if he's a scratch it's difficult to imagine how Butler is going to manage the glass against 7-foot Duke center Brian Zoubek and the 6'10 Plumlee twins, Miles and Mason. Duke snares an offensive rebound on 40% of their first FGA per possession, this doesn't fare well for the undersized guard lineup of Butler..

Duke's big three (Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler) have combined to average 58 points this tournament. Smith has taken his game to the next level this tourney -- if Duke wins tonight expect him to be named MVP. Butler needs to counter by having someone other than Hayward or Mack step up because Duke's big three is going to get their points regardless. Their X-factor is senior Willie Veasley (10ppg) -- they need him to be aggressive and have a big night knocking down shots from the perimeter for Butler to keep pace with the Blue Devils.

4. Intangibles

Normally, you give the intangible nod to Duke based on coach K alone. But doing so here would be based on name brand recognition only -- Matt Stevens is a cold blooded expert when it comes to matching up with opponents. His on-the-ball pressure forced Michigan State to cough the ball up 16 times and he kept MSU's bigs in foul trouble the entire game. This will be a tougher feat with a more disciplined Duke squad, while their defense is softer than Izzo's Spartans, it's also less foul prone and won't leave Butler in the double bonus for the better part of either half.

Experience won't play a big factor as neither team has a player who has ever played in a Final Four. There's the argument that no #5 seed has ever won the national championship or that this is Butler's first Final Four ever but these won't be the determining factors in the game. In the end, it's all about matchups.

Butler will need to execute a near perfect game plan and shoot the lights out to win SU tonight. Their disadvantage on the boards and lack of scoring options is a potential recipe for disaster against a team like Duke. The only Butler play is taking the points in the first half, but never feeling comfortable taking a team you don't believe can win SU. Don't expect Duke to rain 3's against a much tougher defense, but expect their bigs to eventually wear down Butler's thin frontline and create enough second chance opportunities to take Butler to cover against the spread in the end in what should be a close game with Duke edging it out.

Don't be sad that College Basketball is ending for the year you still can get all your NBA picks and basketball odds until Baseball season heats up right here at Coopers Sports Picks.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Final Four Set

The final four is set and it seems like only yesterday that 64 teams were competing for the top spot and now we are down to 4. So the final four will have Butler playing Michigan State on Saturday April 3rd in Indianapolis, Indiana and West Virginia will be facing off against Duke live on CBS as well on Saturday. The game times have yet to be determined but we will keep you posted along with access to all the winning picks and below is a recap of Sundays Games.

Final Score: Michigan State 70, Tennessee 69

Raymar Morgan sank the go-ahead free throw with 1.8 seconds left, and Michigan State held on to take a 70-69 win over Tennessee in the Midwest Regional final and make it back to the Final Four. Durrell Summers sank four three-pointers and finished with 21 points to lead the fifth-seeded Spartans (28-8), who will make a second straight Final Four appearance. Michigan State, which has now reached the Final Four six times since 1999, advanced to last year's title game before losing to North Carolina. Morgan ended with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Draymond Green also added 13 points in the victory, which sets up a national semifinal matchup with Butler, the West Region champion, next Saturday in Indianapolis. Wayne Chism had 13 points to pace Tennessee (28-9), which was playing in its first-ever Elite Eight contest, but failed to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history despite shooting better than 51 percent.

Final Score: Duke 78, Baylor 71

Nolan Smith finished with a career-high 29 points, leading top-seeded Duke back into the Final Four with a 78-71 victory over Baylor in the South Regional final. Duke had not advanced to the Final Four since 2004, but did so Sunday thanks to a potent three- point shooting attack. Smith hit 4-of-6, while Jon Scheyer made 5-of-10 on his way to 20 points. The Blue Devils (33-5) made only 22 field goals, but half of them came from beyond the arc. Duke is the only No. 1 seed left in the tourney and will look to advance to the national title game for the first time since 2001 next Saturday in Indianapolis. The Blue Devils will play West Virginia, the East Region champion, in a national semifinal. LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and six rebounds for the Bears (28-8), who were looking to make the Final Four for the first time in the modern era, having last gotten there in 1950. Ekpe Udoh added 18 points, 10 boards, six assists and five blocks for third-seeded Baylor.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Michigan State beats Maryland at the buzzer

Tom Izzo can celebrate leaving Spokane Washington on his way to St. Louis as Michigan State defeated the Maryland Terps after a valiant comeback and lead with .6 seconds left when the three point shot went up that defeated the Terrapins 85-82.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NCAA Tournament Recap

Below is the recap on the NCAA Tournament round two games.

Final Score: Saint Mary's 75, Villanova 68

Providence, RI (Sports Network) - Omar Samhan carried Saint Mary's with 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting, as the 10th-seeded Gaels upended the second- seeded Villanova Wildcats, 75-68, in the second round of the South Region. Samhan added seven rebounds and recorded a big block in the final minute for Saint Mary's (28-5), which had little trouble getting past Richmond on Thursday for its first NCAA Tournament victory in 51 years. Mickey McConnell chipped in 15 points, including a go-ahead, banked three-pointer down the stretch, as the Gaels earned back-to-back wins in the tourney for the first time in program history. Saint Mary's will next play Baylor, which defeated Old Dominion on Saturday. Matthew Dellavedova ended with 14 points and helped shut down Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, who were both held out of the starting lineup for undisclosed reasons in the first round against Robert Morris. The Wildcats (25-8) pulled out an overtime win in that one, but a third straight trip to the Sweet 16 wasn't in the cards after Reynolds hit 2-of-11 from the field to finish with a meager eight points in the loss. Fisher went 3-for-13 for nine points, while Corey Stokes led the way with 15. Maalik Wayns and Antonio Pena came off the bench to provide 10 and nine, respectively, for 'Nova, which shot 36.2 percent from the floor to end its chance at a second consecutive Final Four appearance.

Final Score: Baylor 76, Old Dominion 68

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - LaceDarius Dunn had 26 points and six rebounds as third-seeded Baylor took down 11th-seeded Old Dominion, 76-68, in the second round of the South Region of the NCAA Tournament. Josh Lomers had 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks while Tweety Carter added 12 points and eight assists for the Bears (27-7), who will play No. 10 seed Saint Mary's in the next round as the Gaels shocked second-seeded Villanova earlier on Saturday. Baylor has never advanced past the Sweet 16 and is into the third round for the first time since 1950 when the event featured just eight schools. Frank Hassell had 15 points and eight rebounds, Gerald Lee added 15 points, while Kent Bazemore donated 13 points and seven assists for the Monarchs (27-9), who defeated Notre Dame in the opening round of the tournament.

Final Score: Butler 54, Murray State 52

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Gordon Hayward had 12 points and seven rebounds and forced a turnover on the game's final possession, allowing fifth- seeded Butler to escape HP Pavilion with a slim 54-52 decision over 13th- seeded Murray State in second-round play of the West Region. Matt Howard hit 1-of-2 free throws with 17.5 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 54-52 lead. After grabbing the rebound on the second miss, the Racers opted not to call a timeout and swung the ball to Isacc Miles and then to Isaiah Canaan at the top of the key. Canaan dribbled precious seconds off the clock before deciding to give the ball up to first-round hero Danero Thomas near halfcourt. Thomas, who hit a game-winning jumper to upset Vanderbilt on Thursday, never got a chance to duplicate the feat, as Hayward tipped the ball into the backcourt and corralled the loose ball as the buzzer sounded. Ronald Nored provided the go-ahead points down the stretch and finished with a game-high 15 to go with six assists for Butler (30-4), which won for the 22nd straight time despite shooting just 36 percent from the field. The Bulldogs, who have now reached the Sweet 16 three times in the last eight years, will next face the winner of the Gonzaga/Syracuse contest. Canaan hit all four of his three-point tries on his way to a team-high 14 points for Murray State (31-5), which was trying to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

Final Score: Tennessee 83, Ohio 68

Providence, RI (Sports Network) - J.P. Prince scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Tennessee took down Ohio, 83-68, in the second round of the Midwest Region. Scotty Hopson had 17 points, while Wayne Chism finished with nine points and 12 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Volunteers (27-8), who will face either Georgia Tech or Ohio State next week in the Sweet 16. Tommy Freeman drained six threes en route to a game-best 23 points for the 14th- seeded Bobcats (22-15), who shocked Georgetown on Thursday. DeVaughn Washington logged 16 points and eight boards and D.J. Cooper also contributed 16 points with six boards and five assists in defeat. Armon Bassett had 32 points in the win over Georgetown, but was limited to seven points on 2- of-10 efficiency from the field in the loss to Tennessee.

Final Score: Northern Iowa 69, Kansas 67

Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Ali Farokhmanesh scored 16 points, including a critical three-pointer in the final minute, and Northern Iowa stunned No. 1 overall seed Kansas, 69-67, in the second round of the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. Jordan Eglseder had 14 points and five rebounds for the ninth-seeded Panthers (30-4), who will make their first appearance in the Sweet 16, where they will face either Michigan State or Maryland. Marcus Morris scored 16 points to pace the Jayhawks (33-3). Cole Aldrich posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in defeat. Sherron Collins struggled to find his rhythm in his final collegiate game for Kansas, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting and a game-high five turnovers. This is Kansas' earliest exit at the NCAA Tournament since 2006 when the Jayhawks lost to Bradley in the first round. The defeat was a shocker, considering the Jayhawks were not only the top overall seed, but they were trying to win the national title for the second time in three years. In 2008, they beat Memphis for the championship, and last year Kansas fell to Michigan State in the Sweet 16. Before this Cinderella run, the Panthers lost in the first round their previous four times in the tournament. Prior to 2010, the only win Northern Iowa had at the NCAA's was in 1990 against Missouri. Northern Iowa beat UNLV in the first round on Thursday, when Farokhmanesh played hero with a deep three-pointer with 4.9 seconds remaining. Northern Iowa led nearly the entire game, but Kansas closed the gap to 63-62 with 42.8 seconds remaining behind its relentless fullcourt pressure. Farokhmanesh then drained his fourth three-pointer of the game to help slay Goliath. The Panthers are the first team to beat a No. 1 seed in the second round since UAB and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.

Final Score: Washington 82, New Mexico 64

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Quincy Pondexter poured in 18 points and pulled down five rebounds, as the 11th-seeded Washington Huskies dominated the third-seeded New Mexico Lobos, 82-64, in second-round play of the East Region. Matthew Bryan-Amaning added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies (26-9), who have won nine in a row and are 14-2 since January 26. Isaiah Thomas made four three-pointers on his way to 15 points while dishing out seven assists. Elston Turner had 10 points off the bench for Washington, which knocked off sixth-seeded Marquette by an 80-78 final in the first round on Thursday. The Huskies, who will be appearing in the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in school history, will next play either 10th-seeded Missouri or second-seeded West Virginia. Dairese Gary carried New Mexico (30-5) with 25 points. Darington Hobson chipped in 11 points and nine boards for the Lobos, who have made it to the second round seven times in program history but have still never won consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament. Roman Martinez added 10 points off the bench for New Mexico, which snuck past 14th-seeded Montana, 62-57, on Thursday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness Scores Thus Far

So far it has been the wild and crazy excitement that everybody has expected, right? The opening round has had an amazing and astonishing endings as expected and we have had 7 games that were all decided by three points or less. So if you were playing against the spread and took the favorites on every game that was giving more than 3 points than you would have made out quite alright for the opening round.

The key is when examining the March Madness Odds this year is you can not get too caught up in what happens one day because like life everyday is a new. So if you had followed the same metrics of taking every team that had less than a 3 point spread in their favor you would be 50% today 1-1 while Cooper is 2-0.

With that rule in mind today you would have taken the victory in the Xavier game as they beat Minnesota by 11 points and where only giving up one point and you would have lost in the Temple vs. Cornell game as the Philadelphia school defeated the Ivy Leaguers from Ithaca 78-65.

Yesterdays scores had the Florida Gators losing in double over time to BYU 99-92. Notre Dame being upset by Old Dominion by one point 51-50. Villanova beating Robert Morris in a near upset as they battled back and forth after having a lousy first half and thus pulling ahead in over time when it mattered. Murray State upsetting 21st ranked Vanderbilt 66-65. In the Lone Star State showdown Baylor beat out Sam Houston State by a score of 68-58, while Kansas state toppled North Texas 82-62.

Saint Mary's California beat Richmond 80-71, Butler ran over Texas El-Paso 77-59, Northern Iowa held up over UNLV by 3 points 69-66. Number 1 seeded Kentucky Wildcats beat Eastern Tennessee state by 29 points 100-71, Ohio State started off the upset and possible Cinderella story as they screwed up everybody's march madness brackets by beating Georgetown 97-83. Washington defeated Marquette by a score of 80-78, Wake Forest narrowly defeated Texas 81-80, overall number one ranked Kansas beat Lehigh 90-74, New Mexico beat the big sky grizzly's of Montana 62-57 and Tennessee rounded out the three point theory beating San Diego State 62-59.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness Brackets Now Available

Free Printable March Madness Brackets are now set and good to go for all of you waiting to fill out the brackets and start off your office pool.

Kentucky, Duke Blue Devils, and Syracuse

The Kentucky Wildcats in the east, the Duke Blue Devils in the south, Syracuse in the West and Kansas Jayhawks in the midwest round out the number one seeds leaving both West Virgina and Ohio State out of the number one seeds. With Kentucky and Duke overall ranked 2 and 3 respectively with Syracuse as the last seeded number one team.
More March Madness action to come shortly.

Kansas Jayhawks Land number 1 seed

With selection Sunday here. The Kansas Jayhawks have been named the overall number 1 seed overall for the NCAA basketball tournament. Live on CBS.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Ready for March Madness

Don't know about you but the staff here is certainly Giddy for March Madness to start. The conference championships are as exciting as ever and before you know it we will be at selection sunday!

So in the meantime to get your fix here is our Free Printable 2010 March Madness Brackets. Enjoy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Superbowl hangover March madness Brackets Time

Superbowl Hangover

It's a sad day. As the last bits of lingering confetti are swept off Bourbon street, reality sinks in.

Football season is officially over. So how can gridiron diehards keep their bankrolls in the black for the next six months? Before you strap on steel construction boots and fluff up your catering resumes, remember to sharpen your handicapping skills in preparation for the the holy grail of sports -- March Madness.

The Superbowl might be king for an evening but the NCAA tournament is the undisputed grandaddy of all wagering events. Why worry about the tourney now when we're still three weeks away from selection sunday? Some guy named John Wooden once told us: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Who better to heed such advice from than a man who won a record ten NCAA tournaments? Sports bettors are by nature impulsive beasts, but profitable ones must plan and prepare their strategy weeks in advance before launching their assault on the books.

March Madness Brackets and office pools are great for camaraderie but the real value is handicapping the opening round games. Neutral sites, overinflated spreads, and matchups between small conference darkhorses and power conference big dogs create a myriad of opportunities for the bettors to fatten their wallets. It's no secret that underdogs have covered opening round games at a 60% clip over the past 15 years. While system bettors have successfully subscribed to the blanket underdog method for years, be sure exercise caution and examine individual matchups first. The books are adjusting lines to counter the growing parity in college hoops so don't be the one to get caught off guard if this is the year that oddsmakers finally catch up.

It's never fair to bash system plays if they are profitable but the most successful sports handicappers are purists who objectively examine single outcomes to protect themselves from a potential system catastrophe. Now is the time to pay attention to the following:

1. Start paying attention to the obscure conference with automatic invites. Conferences such as the Horizon (Butler), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), America East (UMBC), Missouri Valley (Drake), Southern (Davidson), etc. Do some research on which teams are running away with their leagues (such as Cornell in the Ivy League) and familiarize yourself with their rosters and coaching philosophies. Put more emphasis on teams that dominate both their regular season and postseason tourneys. When the first spreads are posted, be educated enough to know which smaller conference teams are ailing: information such as who is missing their leading rebounder or second leading scorer and how important they are to their team's success can be the difference between winning and losing.

2. Ignore streaks. Even if a team runs the table during the regular season the one and done format of the tourney guarantees nothing. Teams that end conference play on a hot streak rarely carry over similar success in the tournament because they don't have the familiarity of facing in-conference opponents they've already had the luxury of playing and scouting earlier in the season. There's simply less info and film available for smaller conference teams because they get far less media exposure and televised games whereas the smaller name programs have the advantage of pulling tape on every game of their better known opponents.

3. Do factor in certain historical trends. Certain programs (Michigan State, Duke) have cement reputations for postseason success. Their respective coaches prepare their teams with rigorous non-conference schedules and have the innate ability to turn up the heat in March. Teams with tourney experience and seasoned coaches are capable of overachieving in down regular season years. Conversely, other programs consistently struggle in the tourney despite an impressive regular season body of work (Arizona, Louisville, Pittsburgh). Be careful not to ride a high powered offensive team that traditionally flounders against a defensive oriented team that uses a shot clock eating four corners reminiscent offense (anyone remember 13th seeded Princeton's upset of 4th seeded UNLV in '96?).

Do your homework on the above and you'll be well prepared come Selection Sunday. Feel free to fill out multiple low risk brackets too, just remember not to go Rick Neuheisel on us.

Monday, February 1, 2010

NBA weekly Honors

Bosh, Durant earn NBA weekly honors

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh and Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for the period ending January 31.

Bosh paced the Raptors to a 3-0 week while leading the league in rebounds (16.0 rpg) and ranking fifth in scoring (25.7 ppg). The Georgia Tech product recorded a double-double in each contest and became the first player in franchise history to have at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in three straight games. Bosh posted 26 points, 15 boards, and a season-best seven assists versus the Pacers on January 31.

Durant guided the Thunder to a 2-1 week and led the league in scoring (34.3 ppg). The 6-foot-9 Texas product had a season-high 45 points to go with 11 rebounds against the Warriors on January 31. In that game, Durant made a season-best 16 field goals on 21 attempts (76.2 percent).

Other nominees for the award were Atlanta's Joe Johnson, Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, Cleveland's LeBron James, Denver's Chauncey Billups, Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut, Orlando's Dwight Howard and Utah's Andrei Kirilenko.

Friday, January 15, 2010

21 Year old Indiana Player Dies

Southern Indiana's Lewis dies after fall

Evansville, IN (Sports Network) - University of Southern Indiana senior center Jeron Lewis died Thursday night after falling hard to the floor in his team's game at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

A release from the school said Lewis fell with a little over four minutes to play and was rushed to Owensboro Medical Health Center. However, no other details from the school were available at the time of the release.

"The University community is heartbroken with the passing of this outstanding young man," said USI president Linda L.M. Bennett. "Jeron was an excellent example of a student athlete who strove to be the best that he could be. He will be truly missed, not only by his teammates, but by the University community. Our prayers are with Jeron's family in their time of need."

Lewis, who was 21 years old, was in his second season with USI.


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Basketball blog for march madness and college hoops with picks, handicapping news, brackets, suicide pools, spreads, and more fun hoops action.

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