Notes from a gambler’s iPad:
(Editor’s note: In the interests of full disclosure, your humble sports betting correspondent does not own an iPad but he thought it sounded cooler and more current to reference an iPad than notes scribbled on loose-leaf paper.)
SHAME ON TIRICO…..During last night’s telecast of the college basketball game between Illinois and Ohio State, ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico cited the Fighting Illini’s propensity for playing close games.
“Illinois this season has played 13 games decided by five points or less,” declared Tirico. “That’s the third-most in all of Division I basketball.”
It’s also a classic case of Tirico begging the question which went unanswered.
Tirico failed to reveal the two teams involved in more close games than Illinois, sending yours truly to the Internet in search of the answer: Delaware and Gardner-Webb with 14 games apiece.
COOK’S LOOKS……College basketball expert Micah Cook says, “Duke and Iona are vulnerable teams come tourney time or anytime, for that matter.”
Cook continued, “I’ll be looking to fade Duke in the ACC tourney for sure and I’m eager to bet against Iona when the Gaels play any team with a defensive mindset.”
Other teams overrated by the marketplace in the Power Six conferences, according to Cook, include Pitt (Big East), Ohio State (Big Ten), Baylor (Big 12), Arkansas (SEC) and Stanford (Pac-12).
BYE BYE BRUCE…..Illinois has the look of a team that has quit on its coach.
Losers of nine of its last 10 games, the Fighting Illini have shown no fight on the defensive end of the floor, allowing 70 points or more in each of their last five road games.
Expect Bruce Weber to land an assistant’s job at a school outside the Big Ten after he receives his pink slip once Illinois is eliminated from the NIT.
Weber’s ties to influential AAU coaches in the Chicagoland area will keep him involved in big-time college basketball.
NO SENIOR LEADERS…..Nine of the 344 Division I college basketball teams started this season without a senior on its roster.
The “senior-less” teams are Albany, Arizona State, Binghamton, Cal-Irvine, Illinois State, St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, Savannah State and Toledo.
The combined pointspread record for the nine teams without any senior leadership is 76-77 with St. Joe’s, coached by mastermind Phil Martelli, the most successful of the group at 17-8 against the spread and Herb Sendek’s Arizona State Sun Devils the least successful at 7-20 ATS.
WEDNESDAY’S BEST BET……Two nights ago, DePaul disappointed me in the final seconds of a seven-point loss to St.John’s and last night it was Northwestern, another Chicago-area team, that stole my money in a bitter overtime loss to Michigan.
Let’s head north to Minnesota where the Timberwolves play host to the struggling Utah Jazz.
The Jazz have lost four of five and seven of nine.
They exit a home loss to a short-handed and road-weary Spurs team playing without Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter.
Love the way Rubio, Love and Beasley are coming together as a team under the watchful eye of veteran head coach Rick Adelman.
The T-wolves (16-17) will draw even with the league with a win tonight at the Target Center where attendance is up significantly over last year’s numbers.
Minny played to 78% capacity last season compared to 88% this season.
Play 520 MINNESOTA -4 over Utah.
COMING THURSDAY……A review of the Missouri Valley Conference game between Wichita State and Illinois State.
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