CARY, North Carolina–
By John Fredericks
After going 1-1 last night with an electrifying Gonzaga win, Godzilla stands at 7-3 ATS in the Tournament. Now it’s time to conquer Friday night lights! On to the Final Four!
Xavier Vs. Texas -4.5
Give me that Musketeer love!
This is a really big game for the Longhorns and their interim coach Rodney Terry. When will he get the job? Wow, so much pressure, right?
Xavier has played very tough in these NCAA Tournaments for a long time and I really like their coach Sean Miller. Coaches matter in this tournament more than any other sport or venue. I faded Tennessee’s Rick Barnes against Duke, than turned around and picked him last night. Never go against your plan. Barnes does not win when it matters most. I got burned on him last night. Hit the road, Jack.
Miller has his underdog bunch playing inspired basketball. Plus they are loose and having fun.
Meanwhile, Texas has not been in the Sweet 16 since 2008. By contrast, this is a tight team with all the eyes of Texas on them.
As for those who follow me know, when I coached basketball I was a disciple of the great Coach Paul Westhead. I believe in offense. My philosophy: half the defense—double the offense. Westhead, now 84, developed the run and gun offense called ‘The System.” He was nicknamed “Professor” due to his former career as an English teacher and his tendency to quote Shakespeare. I read all his books, bought all his tapes and went to his coaching clinics. Frankly, I hung on his every word.
Xavier is a great offensive team and that is something Texas did not see much of in the defense first Big 12 this season.
Yes, the Horns play in the better conference but I still do not believe they have seen an offensive team like Xavier. They run, they gun, they shoot, they drive.
Xavier is 25-8 ATS (2 pushes) in their last 35 NCAA tournament games. That’s not a typo.
Texas is 2-11 ATS (1 push) in their last 14 NCAA Tournament games. That’s not a typo, either.
Texas is not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination so give me the points. Sit back, grab a cold one and watch Xavier light up the board like a Christmas pin-pall machine.
Pick: Xavier +4.5
San Diego State Vs. Alabama -7.5
Lots of drama for Alabama, we don’t need to re-hash it here. ESPN does that for us.
I love what San Diego State Head Coach Brian Dutcher said about this game: “We don’t consider ourselves an underdog to Alabama. Just play a half-court game and we win.” In your face, Tide!
Underdogs coming off a game where they allowed less than 60 points are 56.9 percent ATS in the next game, which includes going 137-96 ATS (58.8 percent) when listed as at least 4.5 point underdogs.
Alabama Coach Nate Oats is just 9-9 ATS in the tournament, which includes going just 6-7 when listed as at least a 4.5 point favorite.
Dutcher is 57 percent ATS in the tournament, and 66.7 percent ATS as an underdog. Take the points –this might be the night the Mountain West proves they belong! Go Aztecs! P.S.: Why the hell not? Screw Oats.
Pick: San Diego State +7.5