March 16, 2016

NCAA Basketball Betting: Wichita State vs. Arizona

NCAA Basketball Betting:  Wichita State vs. Arizona&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Wichita State had to win one of the infernal ’11 Seed Play-in Games’ but now that they’re here we’re ready. On paper they have a tough matchup but is there a more perpetually overrated program in the country than Arizona basketball? One of the best situations in the NCAA tournament are teams that recreational players *think* are ‘perennial powerhouses’ that really aren’t ‘all that’. We sure think Arizona qualifies and their 6-8 ATS record since 2006 laying points in NCAA games doesn’t make a compelling case to the contrary.

So what *do* we like when handicapping NCAA tournament games? How about the best coach in college basketball as a small underdog? Greg Marshall might not get the press as some of the ‘big names’ in the sport but nobody coaches defense better than Marshall–he learned how to do it at the College of Charleston back when John Kresse’s Cougar teams were playing ‘in-your-face’ halfcourt defense better than anyone in the country.

Kresse always had good teams playing in the tiny gym on George Street but he never had what Marshall has to work with here–he’s got a talented senior backcourt of Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet who have been absorbing the ‘gospel according to Greg’ for four years now. And oh by the way–they have Final Four experience from the Shockers’ 2013-2014 team.

Arizona teams invariably think they’re better than they are. And that mindset is dangerous against the #1 ranked scoring defense in the country and one of only three teams allowing fewer than 60 points a game. The Wildcats were 1-4 ATS in neutral court games this year and 6-9 ATS in true road games. They only place that they were able to dominate decent teams this season was at home in Tucson. Wichita State doesn’t have to play on the ‘cats home court nor do they have to play at 2,643 ft above sea level. They’re at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island playing at about dinner time in their home time zone. They’ll be looking at unfamiliar rims and shot lines all while staring the best coached, nastiest half court defense in college hoops in the face. It’ll be a long flight back to Arizona as Wichita State advances to face Miami-FL or Buffalo. I’m not the type to do ‘big play hype’ but there sure aren’t many stronger looking plays in the first round.