Los Angeles, CA
|Gators will gobble you up...|
We went 2-1 yesterday in Elite 8 action for a profitable day when Wichita State +5 exceeded expectations and we split our smaller action on Syracuse/Marquette game (Marquette +5 lost but the UNDER won). Still kinda shocked with the Shockers victory as well. I figured they'd keep it close and that Ohio State would pull it out. They got too deep in a hole and waited too late to make a run and ran out of time. We whiffed on Marquette who couldn't hit a shot to save their life against Syracuse's dreaded zone. I think Boeheim's working some alchemy here and created a force field that makes it nearly impossible for opposing players to penetrate. NCAA might need to send in Mulder and Scully to investigate Boeheim's paranormal assistance. In the meantime, the Orangemen advanced to yet another Final Four. How about that -- a #4 and a #9 seed advancing? If you picked chalk this year and all #1 or #2 seeds to advance to the Final Four, then you were totally screwed.
The Elite 8 is not over yet. We still have two games to play in the "chalkier" side of the bracket that include two great games. Louisville is the only #1 seed left in the tournament and they're taking on the hated #2 Duke Blue Douches. In the other match up, we have #2 Michigan rumbling with #3 Florida.
Sunday Elite Eight Games (All times ET)Here is what we think of today's games...
2:20pm #3 Florida vs. #2 Michigan +2.5
5:05pm #1 Louisville vs. #2 Duke +4
#1 Louisville (32-5 and 22-15 ATS) vs. #2 Duke (30-5 and 19-16 ATS)
Opening Line: Louisville -3.5 and 137 o/u
Current Line: -4 and 137.5
Pick: Louisville -3.5
This is a big bet only because I'm stubborn and hate Duke. I gotta get my money back from fading Duke in the Sweet 16. Plus, this championship belongs to Louisville. Only Duke stands in their way from a Final Four berth and an eventual title. Louisville is in the middle of a 13-game winning streak and every gambler knows they are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games with their only loss coming at the hands of the Ducks on Friday.
These two teams met in the Bahamas around Thanksgiving and I heard rumors that both schools banked a gajillion dollars to play at the Atlantis. Duke (ranked #5 at the time) beat Louisville (#2 at the time) by five points but L'ville didn't have their human flyswatter in Gorjui Dieng. The Bahamas game was the first time Coach K and Pitino played each other since March Madness in 1992 (the epic Duke v. Kentucky game). Coach K won their last two meetings, but you know Pitino wants to shove a win down Coach K's throat and exorcise the ghosts of Christian Laettner. Besides, Pitino in the Final Four is just one of the main and necessary components for a showdown between Pitino and his former pupil and star player at Providence, Billy Donovan.
None. I should be betting Louisville in this category, but I have that nagging Duke bias and driven by revenge. It'll either ruin my Easter Sunday, or make it an awesome end to the weekend.
#3 Florida (29-7 and 18-15 ATS) vs. #2 Michigan (29-7 and 17-16-1 ATS)
Opening Line: Florida -3 and 131 o/u
Current Line: -3 and 133
Pick: Florida -2.5
It's taking every bone in my body to not bet Michigan after they whooped a media darling (VCU) and then luckbox'd a win against a #1 seed (Kansas). Plus, the Wolverines played a tougher schedule (Big Ten vs. Florida's cakewalk through the SEC). Then again, if Kansas didn't choke I wouldn't be talking about Michigan. Those kids at Michigan never gave up and played hard down the stretch and kept the game within reach to give Trey Burke to inflict some damage. Burke drilled a tremendous 35-footer when Michigan needed him to hit a big shot to force the game into overtime. But Burke and the offspring of NBA stars -- Hardaway 2.0 and Little Big Dog -- and the diaper dandy in Mitchy McGary is still not enough to handle Florida's tight knit, yet faceless unit. The Gators are like a team of Navy Seals or ninjas. They really don't have someone who stands out as the "star player you must stop", which makes them dangerous because any one of them can kill you when you least expect it.
Billy Donovan's squad got off to a sluggish start against Gulf Coast, but they shrugged off a bad first half and came out swinging in the second half. Although they won by double digits, they failed to cover. The under is 11-3 in Florida's last 14 games (10-4 straight up and 6-8 ATS in that stretch). Florida's last four defeats were by13 points combined (at Missouri, at Kentucky, at Tennessee, and Ole Miss in SEC tourney). When Florida loses, it's a close one.
I have a gut feeling and expect to see a Pitino-Donovan showdown. The press will have a field day and the talking heads will fall out of their seats hyping up a Louisville-Florida championship game. I'm not going to say that the suits at CBS are rigging the Final Four, but if you see some shady whistles in this game going against Michigan and Duke, then it makes you wonder...