College Basketball: March Madness Gets Under Way

Al Dannity | Updated Mar 15, 2012

With the NCAA Tournament having tipped off this morning, Al Dannity looks ahead to the big action in the later games on Thursday.

All eyes on UConn Name brand recognition counts for an awful lot. The Huskies are not just the defending national champions, they’re NCAA Basketball betting royalty. It takes an awful lot of confidence to bet against Jim Calhoun’s team in their first match-up. Well as I said on Facebook yesterday, there has been a lot of sharp action doing just that. The Iowa State Cyclones are simply not a sexy pick. They don’t go to the Big Dance all that often and they haven’t made a Final Four since 1944. Here’s the thing, the only issue that matters with the Cyclones is just how good they are right here, right now. This team is talented and I like them to take down the Huskies today.

Only one tournament matters John Calipari made an interesting point during the week. His Wildcats are the only one of the four Kentucky schools in March Madness that didn’t win their conference tournament. While I know Coach Cal likes to win everything, I think he’ll sleep soundly without that SEC title if his players cut down the nets in New Orleans. They are massive favorites today against Western Kentucky. When I see a big number, I want a reason to go for it. The Wildcats have a good one. Their loss to Vanderbilt at the weekend still stings. They want to take it out on someone and beating the Hilltoppers by 30 sounds like as good a plan as any. I like the Kentucky to cover as -26.0 favorites.

The Few, the proud, the Zags The rise of St Mary’s has placed Gonzaga in an interesting spot. In the past any success in the Big Dance was seen as a big achievement in the WCC. Now with the Gaels, and recently added BYU, dancing the stakes have been raised. This evening Mark Few’s team squares off with an unbalanced West Virginia team. The Mountaineers have talent but they have been outplayed quite a few times this season. Knocking off a worse seeded big conference foe should no longer be a big deal to the Zags. A win here should be expected by Gonzaga fans. College Basketball betting fans no longer see them as a Cinderella. This is a program that is supposed to deliver. I think they have the mindset and maturity to get it done this evening.

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