College 101 topic:
Do your research!

Nov 16, 2004 7:07 AM


Mississippi State was an example last week of how vital info can influence winning and losing wagers.

The ’Dogs, ranked sixth in the preseason GamingToday Top 25 college basketball poll, won a pair of games without their top player and failed in each case to cover the number.

Lawrence Roberts sat out the opener against Fairfield due to being handed a one-game suspension by the NCAA relating to some expenses needed to attend a tryout before the NBA draft. The Stags gave State a tough battle before falling in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, 53-49. The Bulldogs were an 11-point favorite.

The tourney continued the next night in Birmingham against host Birmingham Southern of the lightly-regarded Big South Conference. There was no BS about how the Panthers played, covering as an 11-point underdog in a 55-48 setback.

Roberts, a 6-foot-9 power forward, was eligible to play but didn’t due to suffering a broken nose in MSU’s first exhibition game. The Bulldogs advanced to the tourney semifinals this Thursday against Syracuse at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

We definitely suggest checking on the condition of Roberts prior to betting on this clash of Top 25 teams. Syracuse, also 2-0, won but failed to cover the 13-point spread in a 56-45 win over perennial Ivy League power Princeton.

If there was a sleeper in a light opening week of action, it was St. Mary’s of Calif. The Gaels, 19-12 last year as West Coast Conference member, posted a stunning 61-52 upset of California at Berkeley as a seven-point underdog.

St. Mary’s has improved its victory total the past three years and is a legitimate threat to the favorite Gonzaga and Pepperdine in the WCC.

The most ridiculous matchup of the week was Savannah State at Memphis, also in the C vs C Classic. The host Tigers, a 35-point favorite, won by 62.

In non-tourney action Sunday afternoon at Charlottesville, Virginia hosts Arizona.

Wisconsin opens its season at home Friday against Penn, the other Ivy League power. Duke scheduled its opening lemon this Saturday, hosting Tenn-Martin.

The Maui Invitational begins Monday with Texas, Iowa, BYU, Louisville, UNC, Tenn, Stanford and Chaminade competing.

Georgetown hosts Temple that night in non-tourney play. Also in action are Xavier, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Oregon and USC.