College Basketball Betting Odds – March 8

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
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College Basketball Betting Odds – March 8

Carrie Stroup here with your College Basketball betting odds for Thursday night, March 8, 2012.  As always, you can find all the latest College Basketball betting odds here at Line: Purdue -9 & 128.5

Opening Line & Total: Boilermakers -9.5 & 129.5

Nebraska will look to make the best out of a rough season when it tries to upset sixth-seeded Purdue in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Nebraska, the 11th seed in the 12-team conference, has been dreadful recently. The team has lost eight of its past nine (SU and ATS), with its lone win coming against Illinois. One of the losses in that span was an 18-point drubbing at the hands of the Boilermakers, who easily covered the 10½-point margin they were surrendering. In that game, Nebraska shot quite well (52% FG, 42% 3-pt FG) but still could not come close to Purdue. The Boilermakers have been playing well lately, going 5-2 (SU and ATS) in their past seven contests. Robbie Hummel has turned it on in those seven games with 22.6 PPG, including his season-high 29 points against the Cornhuskers.


Nebraska’s stagnating offense features just one player who reaches double-digit points on a nightly basis. Bo Spencer (15.1 PPG) is that man and has the ball in his hands a lot with 3.3 APG and 3.1 TO PG as well. He shot 8-of-14 against Purdue earlier in the year, a performance he must replicate to keep the Cornhuskers competitive. Where Nebraska needs to improve however, is with its forward play, defending Hummel. The team’s leading rebounder, 6-foot-10 forward Brandon Ubel (6.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG) should spend some time guarding him, while center Jorge Brian Diaz (8.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG) must be alert for help-defense opportunities in the paint. Nebraska’s only chance to win rests with stopping Hummel’s hot streak, a proposition that seems unlikely with this team that won just four games in Big Ten play.

Hummel (16.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG) is the engine of this Purdue offense, but he has a respectable supporting cast. Five-foot-9 senior Lewis Jackson (10.5 PPG, 4.2 APG) has handled the point guard duties admirably, with more than one steal and fewer than two turnovers per game. Although he is not a threat to shoot from deep, he is deft at finding Hummel and creating driving opportunities for himself. Ryne Smith (9.4 PPG) is another beneficiary of his passing as a deadly 3-point shooter (43% 3-pt FG, 2.6 threes per game) who hit four long balls against the Huskers earlier in the year. Over his past five games, he’s averaging 3.0 threes per contests. Play on Purdue here.  


SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (20-12) vs. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (21-10) Line & Total: Notre Dame -2.5 & 108.5

Opening Line & Total: Fighting Irish -2.5 & 108

Two of the biggest surprise teams in the Big East meet in the conference quarterfinals on Thursday when third-seeded Notre Dame takes on sixth-seeded South Florida.

This series has been quite lopsided since the Bulls joined the Big East, with the Irish winning eight of nine meetings (4-4-1 ATS). South Florida is a terrible offensive team at 59.4 PPG (327th in nation) and well-balanced Notre Dame has averaged 75.0 PPG in its past five wins. Irish leading scorer Jack Cooley has 17.0 PPG (16-of-21 FG) and 7.5 RPG in the past two meetings with USF, which were both huge Notre Dame wins (78-55 last season and 60-49 on Jan. 10).

South Florida struggles to score, but its defense has been quite stingy all season, allowing just 56.9 PPG on 38.8% FG. USF looked a little sluggish in its second round win over Villanova on Wednesday, but still won 56-47. The Bulls dominated the glass (37-25 rebounding advantage) and held the Wildcats to 17-of-50 shooting from the floor. Anthony Collins was the standout for USF with 17 points and four assists, but he also committed seven of his team’s 17 turnovers. Victor Rudd Jr. added 13 points and six rebounds against Villanova. The 13 points nearly matched his total in his previous four games combined (14 points on 5-of-23 FG). For the Bulls to be truly effective, 6-foot-10 senior Augustus Gilchrist (9.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG) needs to step up his offensive game. He has scored in double-figures 15 times this season, but has failed to surpass eight points in any of his past eight games (6.3 PPG, 35% FG). In the Jan. 10 meeting with Notre Dame, Gilchrist had a team-high 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Notre Dame’s offense has stalled outside of South Bend this year, with just 57.9 PPG on 37% FG in 14 road/neutral games (5-9 SU and ATS). In addition to Cooley’s team-high 12.5 PPG and 9.2 RPG, the Irish have two other 12-point scorers in their all-sophomore backcourt of Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins. Grant (12.5 PPG, 4.9 APG) has done a great job running the point with a 2.83 assist-to-turnover ratio. But since lighting up West Virginia for 20 points on 8-of-11 FG, Grant has a total of 20 points on 6-of-31 FG in his past three games combined. Atkins is third on the Irish in scoring (12.4 PPG, 4.1 APG), but he was a complete non-factor in the last meeting with USF, with zero points (0-for-2 FG), three assists and three turnovers in 39 minutes of action. Atkins, who averages a whopping 38.1 minutes per game, had a big performance in the regular-season finale versus Providence though, with 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds.


TEXAS LONGHORNS (19-12) vs. IOWA STATE CYCLONES (22-9) Line & Total: Texas -1 & 138.5

Opening Line & Total: Iowa St -1 & 139


Third-seeded Iowa State begins the Big 12 Tournament as slight favorites, facing a challenge from sixth-seeded Texas, which sits right on the bubble for this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Iowa State should make the big dance regardless of this game, while a loss here would all but ruin Texas’ chances to make the NCAAs. Although the two teams split the regular season, the Cyclones took both games ATS. The Longhorns (9-17 ATS) have struggled mightily against the lines, going 0-2 SU and ATS in their neutral court games this season, and sitting at a dismal 6-12 ATS (33%) against conference opponents. While Iowa State is 11-1-1 ATS in its past 13 games, winning five consecutive games ATS, Texas is 1-4 ATS in its past five as Rick Barnes’ squad has shown no bursts of life to propel itself into the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State has been an incredible bet this season (18-8-1 ATS, 14-3-1 in Big 12 play) and should continue that success with a favorable spread.

Texas (73.3 PPG) has a strong offense and its hopes for victory rest on one player. That man is J’Covan Brown (20.0 PPG) who finished the regular season with a monster 33-point performance in the team’s 73-63 loss at Kansas. The 6-foot-1 guard averages 2.4 threes per game and dishes 3.8 APG to supplement his scoring abilities. Freshman Sheldon McClellan (11.4 PPG) joins him in the backcourt, as does fellow freshman Myck Kabongo (9.8 PPG, 5.3 APG), the team’s leading passer. Those three need to dominate the perimeter in this game because the Longhorns do not have the offensive talent in the post to win on the inside. Six-foot-10 center Clint Chapman (7.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 BPG) is a solid body in the paint but nothing more.

The Cyclones (73.5 PPG) are a similarly talented offensive squad. But they have much more talent in the post, led by their top scorer, sophomore F Royce White (12.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 5.2 APG). In the team’s last meeting with Texas, he scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. He’s also coming off another double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) in the team’s regular season finale, an 80-72 win over Baylor. If the Iowa State backcourt of Scott Christopherson (12.6 PPG) and Chris Allen (12.0 PPG) can prevent the Texas guards from taking over, this game should be theirs. That is especially true if Christopherson can replicate his end-of-season performance when he registered 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He has three 20-point games in his past five times out.

-  Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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