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March 19, 2016

There are two picks tonight.

Sports Profit System is 13-4 with college basketball picks in the month of March!

1: Take Washington Wizards -8 spread against NY Knicks for 3% of the bankroll.

The Wizards have revived their post-season aspirations by winning 3 in a row! This is a streaky team that had lost 5 straight contests prior to their current run and can win or lose games in bunches. That's because they thrive on confidence and can be nearly unstoppable when they believe in themselves, and now with a 3-game winning streak under their belt, heading into the stretch run of the regular season, they have their sights set on clinching a playoff a spot! If they are going to make it however, they can't rest on their laurels and need to continue piling up W's, in order to get there. They are currently only a game and a half behind Chicago and Detroit in the Eastern conference standings and what may have seemed unlikely, is now very much a possibility!

Washington's winning streak has been fueled by All-Star John Wall's excellent play. He's taken leadership of this team and is being more vocal than ever before! Wall has recorded a 'Triple-Double' in each of the last 2 games and yet was self critical about his 'turnover issues' and admitted that he should take better care of the ball! When your star player takes responsibility and knows there is room for improvement, it bodes well for the squad as his winning attitude rubs off on teammates. The Wizards had 22 turnovers in their last game against the 76ers, which was the only reason they gave up a backdoor cover! We expect them to make ammends and limit those mistakes tonight. Washington's set of guards are far suprior to what New York has on the court these days and that gives them a key matchup advantage at two very important positions!

Coach Randy Wittman had this to say after the game against Philadelphia: "If you want to reach that next level, you have to be professional and finish teams off." He is correct and was referring to the fact that Washington gave their opponents 'life' by making silly mistakes and not killing them off! They played very poorly in the second half of that game, knowing they have a huge lead and are unlikely to lose. That mentality allowed Brett Brown's lowly squad to tie the game up in the final 6 minutes despite the fact that Washington had held a double-digit lead for much of the game and was even up by 24 points at one point! The fact that the Wizards had a late 'scare' should help them in this contest. That's because they are once again going up against an inferior opposition, whom they are likely to dominate, but will now be more careful and less complacent as a result. It also helps that the coaching staff will be reminding them of the Knicks' last visit to DC. Carmelo Anthony and company surprised Washington that day by winning 117-110! The Wizards haven't forgotten that and will be ready tonight.

The Knicks are the 3rd worst team in the East and have little but pride to play for, at this stage of the season. Carmelo Anthony is once again a frustrated figure and his body language doesn't always help New York as a leader. The surprising mid-season firing of Derek Fisher has not paid dividends either and has in fact taken this team a step backward in some ways. Kurt Rambis has not improved their play and is now in a position where he's experimenting with the squad and calling out different schemes and stategies. This is a time of transition for them and they might try a few things that a team solely focused on winning would not.

Whereas, Washington badly needs wins to keep its playoff hopes alive, there is no such sense of urgency for the New Yorkers anymore. The Wizards are the much better team at the moment and are more than capable of winning this game by double-digits! Look for them to keep the pressure on the Bulls and Pistons as they inch even closer to a post-season spot. Let's also not forget that this is the final game of a lengthy road trip for the Knicks and not just any trip but one that saw them play 5 straight games on the West coast! They then had to fly across the country for this contest and are no doubt itching to get back home to family and friends, something they will do right after this game as NY hosts the Sacramento Kings tomorrow night. That gives Kurt Rambis and the coaching staff more travelling and a back-to-back schedule to ponder. It wouldn't surprise us if he limited the minutes of certain players to keep them fresh for Sunday's matchup.

2: Take Kentucky -3 spread (buy half a point) against Indiana for 3% of the bankroll.

This is an interesting matchup between two high profile schools as the Kentucky Wildcats face off against the Indiana Hoosiers in the round of 32. These two teams are extremely similar which is why each time they step on the court to face each other, there is such anticipation and intrigue surrounding it and that is no different for today's matchup. These two teams last met in the Sweet 16 back in 2012 in a game that turned out to be an instant classic. We are expecting this to be a highly entertaining contest as well, but believe Kentucky holds a significant advantage.

While they struggled in the early part of the season, the Wildcats laid claim to a piece of the regular season conference title and came away with the SEC Tournament title as well. They head into this matchup having won 6 straight and, at the moment, are playing their very best basketball of the season. While a lot of people are talking about Indiana's 11th ranked offense in anticipation of this matchup, it’s certainly worth mentioning that Kentucky is an above average offensive team as well and can match Indiana’s proficiency shot for shot. They are also extremely balanced on both sides of the ball as they are tied for 29th in the nation in scoring, averaging 79.6 points per game. They are also above average on the defensive end as well holding their opponents to just 68 points per game. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament Kentucky dominated on both sides of the floor shooting 52.4% from the field while holding the Seawolves to just 26.3% shooting.

At their core, the Hoosiers are a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer. They are 5th in the nation in 3-point shooting, however when their shots are not falling, things can go south for them in a hurry as we have seem a few times this season. Where we believe the Wildcats will have a significant edge is the fact that they are the more battle tested team when it comes to playing on a neutral court. As good a shooting team as Indiana is, they have struggled shooting the basketball away from Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers have gone just 3-3 in neutral court games this season and while they did manage to defeat a slumping Notre Dame team, their other two victories came against the likes of a poor St. John's team and an overmatched Chattanooga team in their tournament opener. Their three losses however should be concerning to Indiana fans as they were not to top ranked clubs, losing to Wake Forest, UNLV and Michigan. Kentucky is an elite program and much more talented than the teams Indiana has faced on neutral territory.

While the Hoosiers have seemingly struggled on neutral ground, Kentucky has thrived in that setting this season, picking up wins over Duke, South Florida and Ohio State in regular season play before defeating Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament. They also just completely dominated Stony Brook in their opening match in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are playing their very best basketball of the season and have become accustomed to using their length and athleticism to simply grind down their competition on the defensive end allowing their offense to create separation on the scoreboard and we believe that is what they will do in this contest. 

This matchup will likely come down to whether or not Indiana can make their shots. We expect this will be a close back and forth affair in the early going, but Kentucky has shown their ability to come up with critical plays when needed, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Their depth and experience will be the difference in this contest as both Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis come up with clutch plays that aide their team to a win and cover and advance them to the Sweet 16. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Indiana is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. SEC teams!
  • Kentucky is 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 vs. Big Ten teams!
  • The Favorite is 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings!
  • Kentucky is 6-1 in neutral court games this season!

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