Nevada ones to beat in Mountain West tournament

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As we head into the meat of the college hoops tournaments, Vegas is front and center hosting the Pac-12, Mountain West and WAC. But there is so much more this week and here’s my breakdown of what’s coming up before the entire field of 68 is selected this Sunday for the Big Dance.

Tuesday

ACC, at Brooklyn, N.Y.

Lots of big guns here with low scoring Virginia, whose defense is the best in the country, looking to win this. The Cavs get a 1-seed but will need to deal with perennial big guns Duke, North Carolina and Clemson. Duke comes off a big time win over arch rival UNC when Marvin Bagley III took control of the game in the second half and looked possessed.

Here are a few trends to keep in mind. The straight up winner in this tournament usually gets the ATS cover, so just pick winners. Boston College has gone 1-9 ATS as dogs vs. a team they lost to in regular season play. Wake Forest has gone 1-7 ATS with same season revenge. Duke, last year’s tourney champ, looks to be really getting it together both on defense and offense. They are our pick to win it again.

Wednesday

SUN BELT, New Orleans

Our friend and scout down in the Big Easy, Syl Friedman, tells us here at GT that Louisiana Lafayette should take this tournament. Note: A different team has won the last five years. This time around, it’s the Ragin’ Cajuns. UT Arlington won on the road at BYU and only lost by 1 to Alabama. The dog will be a nice play and a tough out.

MOUNTAIN WEST, at T&M

If you are a hoops fan and lucky enough to live in Sin City, head to the Thomas & Mack. One trend to note: The favorites in this tourney, with the exception of UNLV, have gone 9-0 ATS when giving 8 or more points. Nevada is the team to beat in a wide open event.

PAC 12 at T-Mobile

The Strip will be rocking with fans pouring in from Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and USC to root in their teams. A few trends to consider: Arizona has gone 1-7 ATS when looking for revenge from an earlier loss and just 2-7 ATS vs. a 1 or 2 seed. The 2-seeds have gone 10-2 ATS when favored by 6 points or less. Coach Sean Miller will have his troops on a mission. Wildcats could be headed to the Final Four.

A-10 at Washington, DC

Rhode Island is the top guy, winning this tournament last year and the favorites to repeat. Their main foes will be Saint Louis, Saint Bonaventure, Davidson and VCU. Dayton has gone 0-6 ATS vs. 4 and 5 seeds and 1-14 ATS as dogs of 8 or less. The Rhodies have gone 7-1 SU and ATS vs. 4 and 5 seeds.

BIG EAST at MSG

No hoops tournament would be complete without games at Madison Square Garden. The helter skelter Big East will have five teams that can jump up. The main team of course is Villanova with Xavier right behind. Butler, Creighton and Seton Hall all figure to contend. We say it’s between Nova and the X men. DePaul has gone 1-8 ATS the last nine games in this tournament. St. John’s has gone 0-9 ATS vs. a 3-seed or higher and 1-11 ATS in a second game if they get that far.

C-USA at Frisco, Texas

So where is Frisco? It just doesn’t matter who wins this. They will not go far when its 10 cents a dance. Middle Tennessee won this for fun last year and are again favored with the Hilltoppers from Western Kentucky their main foe. We like the Toppers if they are getting points as they have gone 8-2 in that role.

SEC at St. Louis

Auburn looks like the main player with surging Florida coming on strong late. The Gators just crushed Kentucky last Saturday, 80-67. Some trend notes: Kentucky has gone 9-0 ATS off a loss entering this tournament and 13-3-1 when looking for revenge. Look for a Kentucky/Florida rematch.

BIG 12 at Kansas City

We really like Kansas and West Virginia in this year’s addition. The Jayhawks will be in a playing mood as they remember getting knocked out in their first game last year by TCU, who they could meet up with again. WVU lost in the final game last year and will be hard to take out, but the Mounties have been nothing but a money burner ATS wise in this tournament, going 0-12 ATS and 0-6 ATS vs. 5 and 6 seeds. Don’t lay the points with them.

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