The college basketball tournaments begin with the Ohio Valley Conference on Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn., and the Missouri Valley Conference on Thursday in St. Louis, Mo. In the MVC the favorite Wichita State, you may remember, lost last year to Northern Iowa as a nine point chalk and was tossed from this tournament early.
Illinois State looks to be the main danger as they have done well in this tournament, especially as a chalk. It would be advised not to bet against the top seed Shockers in Game 1. The top seed in this tournament has won 26 straight times in their opener, covering 18.
Look for Wichita State to go all the way in this tournament and log a good spot at the Big Dance.
The Metro Atlantic Conference begins its tournament Thursday in Albany, N.Y. On Friday, March 3 we have the Horizon in Detroit, the Colonial in Charleston, S.C., the West Coast Conference right here at the Orleans Arena and the Southern Conference in Asheville, N.C.
This bettor likes the Horizon Conference, which could supply us with a good team, such as high scoring Oakland or the usual tough out Valparaiso. The winner of this conference gets a shot at the Big Dance.
Valpo looked to be a synch last year with its complete starting lineup intact but lost in OT to Wisconsin Green Bay as a 9-point chalk. We would love to see the matchup again. The 1 seed has made the championship game in 11 of 13 seasons. Look for Valparaiso to win.
In the Colonial Conference we have several teams to look at, but to say it mildly, whoever wins this tournament will probably get knocked out in the first or second round of the Big Dance. The College of Charleston will have a big home court advantage with five starters back from last year’s team. They will look to win this over defending champ NC Wilmington. NCW has been a big money maker in their first game of this tourney going 12-1 ATS.
William & Mary finished the season strong, is well coached and could go far.
At the Orleans Arena the West Coast Conference tourney should be all about what most of us thought would be the undefeated Zags, but they were upset this past Saturday by BYU after blowing a 16-point half-time lead. The loss could fire Gonzaga up for this, and if they meet up with BYU again we will be laying the points.
The Cougars from BYU have gone just 1-8-1 ATS in this tourney. Gonzaga should go all the way and will get a 1 seed in the Big Dance. We would love to bet against BYU in this tournament, especially coming off that huge win vs. the Zags.
Next week we will take a look at more conference tourneys.
1 For Thursday
Last week’s play got there so let’s try and make it two in a row as the Cornhuskers head to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers who will be around an 8-point home chalk. Nebraska just lost at home to visiting Illinois, 73-57, and this game looks to be around the same outcome with Minny coming off of a nice 10-point win over Penn State this past Saturday. They ook to have too many guns for the Cornhuskers to handle. Lay the points at home with MINNESOTA.
There were two races last week garnering Kentucky Derby points. Last Monday in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park perennial Kentucky Derby chaser Todd Pletcher sent out a colt named One Liner and he just exploded turning for home to win going away. There is a distance question mark in his pedigree so 1¼ looks to be a big problem. Plus Pletcher’s Derby record is a bigger one. It was a big effort but not sure he beat much.
This past Saturday they ran the Risen Star at the Fairgrounds with Rosie Napravnik’s hubby Joe Sharp sending out the sharp Girvin who powered home after hitting the gate at the start and battling for the lead. He paid a nice $18.20 for the win, beating the Steve Asmussen runner Untrapped. The favorite in the race, the highly regarded Mo Town, showed early speed but did not run well and finished a lack luster 5th in his first start as a 3-year-old.
Santa Anita is back in action this Thursday so we will try and come up with a winner this time around. In Thursday’s 5th race No. 5 Conquest Smartee comes off a layoff and lands in the barn of John Sadler as this 3-year-old colt comes here from Woodbine where he was under the care of Mark Casse. He gets the leading rider Flavien Prat in this downhill turf race. Conquest Smartee ran one time in Canada and was sent off as the favorite, finishing a solid second despite trouble. We should get a square price.
Vegas is the place to be in March if you are a college hoops fan. Get out, make some bets and take in some games. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.