Saturday, March 27, 2010

Basketball Is A Sport (Elite Eight Picks)

Me doesnt's have a ton of time this morning, so I'll get right down to it

Four Elite Eight games on the board and winners are everywhere. Follow me to freedom. Every pick below is being considered a lock.

Coach Cal (-4) vs. Huggs

Words: Calipari has KU committed to playing defense, and since they have better athletes than West Virginia (and much more skilled players offensively), this seems like a pretty easy pick. I'm thinking Kentucky 65, WVU 54. West Virginia just can't score. Which means...

Kentucky-WVU UNDER (133.5)

Sentences: This might be the easiest bet on the board.

Kansas State (-4) vs. Butler

Words: As a rule, Cinderella generally goes no further than the Elite Eight (although George Mason spit in the face of that rule a few years ago), and I'm sticking to that again this year. It's been a cute story this year -- all these upsets -- but the Final Four is about the most talented teams facing off on the biggest stage. If you disagree with me, think about how boring a Northern Iowa-Butler Final Four match would have been.

As for betting against Butler today, two things scare me: One, K-State's fatigue (which might be nonexistent). Two, Butler wasn't hot when they took down Syracuse; they missed a ton of open threes. If the mighty Bulldogs get hot, we could have a ballgame with sixty seconds left on the big black hanging watch that also keeps score.

But I'm not expecting that tonight. Kansas State has been to businesslike all tournament to take Butler lightly.

Baylor (+4.5) vs. Duke

Sentences: It's possible that Duke wins here (although I'm not buying it), but it doesn't change the fact that this line is way off, probably by eight or nine points. Baylor should be favored tomorrow. Better athletes, more NBA players, deeper I need to keep going? Duke plays lock-down defense, but that won't matter if they can't score more than 50. You want to see something funny? Watch Greg Zoubek and the Plumlee brothers (sounds like a garage band) try to keep up with Baylor when they take off the other way. It won't be pretty.

(Note: Despite mentioning in my pre-Sweet 16 column, I forgot to wager on Baylor at 25/1 to win it all. If this happens -- a legitimate possibility -- I'm giving myself the ol' Brooks Hadlin. Sorry, Mom.)

Locks record: 7-5

-Brad Spieser (