March 8, 2017
There are two picks tonight.
#1: Take St. John's +2 spread (buy the half point) against Georgetown for 3% of the bankroll.
Neither of these teams come into the Big East Tournament with much momentum. Georgetown closed the season with five straight losses, including an 81-55 home rout to #2 Villanova in their regular season finale last Saturday. St. John’s has dropped four of five to close the year, however the saving grace for the Johnnies is that their lone victory during that stretch came against their opponents tonight. St. Johns won that matchup 86-80 in this building back on February 25th and have now won three of their last 4 games at Madison Square Garden. This is essentially a home game for the Red Storm and we believe that will surely give them the advantage tonight.
St. Johns are the youngest team to enter the postseason and are led by the unanimous All-Big East Freshman Team selections, Shamorie Ponds, and Marcus LoVett. Ponds and LoVett lead the team in scoring this season with 17.6 and 16.4 points per game respectively. They also lead the team in passing as LoVett collects 3.8 and Ponds gets 3.1 assists per matchup. Tariq Owens and Bashir Ahmed are making the biggest impact on the defensive end with an average of 5.6 and 5.2 rebounds. Owens also collects team-high 2.4 blocks while Ahmed averages 13.4 points per contest. While they are somewhat inexperienced, they are certainly not short on talent.
Georgetown is an absolute mess on both sides of the ball as they are averaging just 65 points per game over their last 5 contests, St. John's isn't a team that is known for their defense, however they have shown their ability on the offensive side of the ball. The Red Storm has won six of their last nine matchups with the Hoyas at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” and we believe tonight will mark win number seven. It will likely be close in the early going, but we believe St. John's offense will simply be too much for the Hoya's struggling defense as this young team punches their tickets to the next round, while the Hoya's disaster of a season finally comes to a close.
#2: Take Texas +5 spread (by the half point) against Texas Tech for 3% of the bankroll.
It would be easy to dismiss the Texas Longhorns in this contest as they enter the Big 12 tournament with seven straight losses to their credit, however, we also believe that their overall record is not truly indicative of the talent on this team. Texas has a number of playmakers; however, their inexperience has really been their Achilles Heel this season. Now with the tournament upon them, we wouldn't be surprised if we saw the best version of this Texas team tonight against their in-state rivals. If there has been one team that has had the Red Raiders number over the years, it would be the Longhorns. Texas has won 5 of the last 7 meetings with the Red Raiders and could be in line for another victory tonight.
Let's not forget that not unlike their opponents, the Red Raiders have had their fair share of struggles to end the season and come into this tournament having lost 4 of their last 5 games. Tech also only has two wins away from home this season, a victory on the road at Richmond and a neutral court victory over Utah State. They have not gotten it done on the road all season long and to now be forced to be a two-possession favorite away from home might be too tall of a task for this team to fill. The Longhorns are a team that have gotten things done on the defensive side of the ball this season and is holding teams to just 32% shooting from beyond the arc. Texas Tech went just a combined 10 for 34 from long range against Texas this season and they have struggled putting points on the board in their last few games averaging just 59 points over their last 3 games. Texas held the Red Raiders to just 58 points on the road earlier this season and we wouldn't be surprised to see a similar result tonight.
There is no question that this Texas team is hungry and in desperate need of a victory, this is their chance to end the season on a high note. Also, let's not forget that Shaka Smart is no stranger to tournament basketball. He is one of the best coaches in the country in these one and done situations and for those who have followed his career realize that betting against him in the first round of a tournament has not been the wisest move. This game will likely be a sloppy, defensive battle and if that is the case it will surely be in the Longhorns favor. We expect this game to come down to the final minutes, with either team able to pull off the victory. In what should be a close game, we expect the points to come into play.
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