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10/14/2013 5:05:00 PM
SBR is giving you an early look at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off,
where the Michigan Wolverines lead an interesting field of eight schools on the
November NCAA odds schedule.
ESPN can hardly lose with the Puerto Rico Tip-Off
schedule. Even with a big day of NFL
games going on, the finals for this NCAA basketball tournament should draw a
good TV crowd, especially among the 50-65 male demographic that still values
the game of college hoops over what takes place on professional gridirons.
NCAA Basketball Betting Strategies
People like myself.
What attracts me most about this year's event is a wide open
field of teams in the middle of current college basketball futures odds. Five of the eight squads are in the 35/1 to
100/1 range, led by the Michigan Wolverines who made it to the NCAA Finals last
April before succumbing to the Louisville Cardinals by six in the National
The Virginia Commonwealth Rams, a victim to the Wolverines
in the NCAA Tournament during Michigan's run to the title match, are also part
of the lineup in Puerto Rico that cranks up on Nov. 21 and concludes three days
later. Joining the Wolverines and Rams
are the Georgetown Hoyas, Kansas State Wildcats, Florida State Seminoles, Northeastern
Huskies and a pair of 49ers from Charlotte and Long Beach State.
For full coverage of all early season tournaments head over to our NCAA Basketball Picks page.
Will Rams &
Wolverines Meet In Rematch Of March Madness Tilt?
The bracket sets up for a rematch between Michigan
and VCU in the semifinals, but before they get there, there are opening tilts
against Long Beach State and Florida
Based on current NCAA Basketball odds, Shaka Smart and the Rams are the preseason favorites to win
the A-10 at +175 price, and 50/1 to cut down the nets at the NCAA's. Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic led last
year's VCU squad in scoring, with Reddic also topping the team on the boards,
and they're back along with Briante Weber who is expected to man the
point. It should be a deep backcourt
with Weber and Graham joined by Melvin Johnson and Rob Brandenburg.
The Rams will be up against it vs. Florida State,
despite the Seminoles losing Michael Snaer as well as his expected replacement,
top recruit Xavier Rathan-Mayes who ran afoul of silly NCAA rules. But head coach Leonard Hamilton still has a
talented group, Okaro White at the top of that list, and the 'Noles have a very
versatile roster that can play small or get real big in a hurry. Devon Bookert should be fun to watch knocking
down treys, and Hamilton
has two 7-footers on the inside with Kiel Turpin and Michael Ojo.
Should VCU advance and find Michigan waiting, the Rams won't have to deal
with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. who combined for 32 points in the
Wolverines' 78-53 win last March. Michigan, 7/2 to win the Big Ten this season behind Ohio State
(5/2), does have Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III back, however, and that
pair scored 35 vs. Virginia
Will Hoyas Glide
Through Their Half Of Bracket?
There's no question that ESPN prefers Michigan
in the tournament finals. If the Hoyas
are going to follow through in their half of the bracket, that means breezing
past their opponent in the opener, Charlotte. The 49ers are moving back to Conference USA, and head
coach Alan Major is taking talent with him. Pierria Henry and Willie Clayton can give anyone trouble, plus Charlotte landed a solid
frontcourt mate for Clayton in frosh Cameron Blackely.
They'll have to be at their best to beat John Thompson III's
squad. Georgetown, a strong 2/1 favorite to win the
'new' Big East, has to fill big shoes left by Otto Porter Jr., and Greg
Whittington's career is on the indefinite list after a knee injury that
followed his academic ineligibility last season. But Thompson has a pretty good core with
experience to fall back on with the return of guards Markel Starks and
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, plus big men Nate Lubick, Mikael Hopkins and Moses
What's Up In Manhattan?
that is. Kansas State
is a scary team right now, not just because they have talent as the program
overall. Bruce Weber did an outstanding
job last year directing the Wildcats to the Big 12 Championship, but things
petered out quickly with an upset loss to La Salle
in the NCAA Tournament opener, and it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing at
Other than losing key players Rodney McGruder (15.6 ppg) and
Angel Rodriguez (5.2 apg), the worst news was having to begin this season
without top recruit Jevon Thomas. Weber
does have two additional 1st-year stars in the making with guard Nigel Johnson
and forward Wesley Iwundu, and it will be up to the returning upperclass trio
of Will Spradling, Thomas Gipson and Shane Southwell to hold the fort while the
youngsters come around.
Right now, I like Florida
and Kansas State
as mid-level favorites/'dogs. Michigan
will be favored
as long as John Beilein's boys are playing, but the Wolverines are upset bound
in their second game of the bracket against either VCU or the Seminoles. Check back in November when we continue to
follow this tournament with game previews and free sports picks.