Start your Sunday with these five matchups


    By now your sleep pattern showed be seriously disrupted, waking yourself up screaming, “onions” from a Bill Raftery call or the occasional Dick Enberg “oh my” as the brain can’t properly rest with the constant rhythm of a basketball pounding the hardwood for hours on end. Additionally, in the other regions of the brain, you are going over why you bet a certain team or why you didn’t have the “onions” to take one you know you should have. Don’t despair, roughly one more eight hour segment to go before you can rest up, with five games coming in the early afternoon or late morning depending on your proximity.

    Gonzaga vs. Syracuse 12:10E

    The Orangemen answered one question; can they play without injured center Arinze Onuaku? The answer was yes, but Vermont doesn’t have anywhere near the talent level Gonzaga (27-6, 16-11-2 ATS) has. Even if Onuaku could go, he’ll have limitations as to what he can do, which means Wesley Johnson and Andy Rautins will have to carry the scoring load, with others like Scoop Jackson and Rick Jackson chipping in. Syracuse (29-4, 20-9 ATS) is a 6.5-point favorite at and is a 9-2 ATS after allowing 25 points or less in the first half last game.

    The Bulldogs ended up drawing two phenomenal defensive teams in the early rounds of the West regional, but at least the ‘Cuse likes to get out and run, more to Gonzaga’s liking. The Zags were exquisite in the first half against Florida State, building a 16-point lead, however fell into the Seminoles trap of slow down and needed always reliable Matt Bouldin to bail them out. With the total listed at 150, Gonzaga can play their more free-flowing style, but to win have to solve Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Gonzaga is 26-12 ATS as a neutral court underdog or pick.

    1 vs. 8 seeds are 37-9 SU, winning by 9.3 points per game the last 25 years.

    Georgia Tech vs. Ohio State 2:20E

    As was documented yesterday, 10-seeds oft times present problems for No. 2 seeds, winning outright about 40 percent of the time. Georgia Tech (23-12, 16-12-1 ATS) was the sixth ACC team seeded 10th or worse since 1994 (out of seven), to pull off the upset in the first round. The Yellow Jackets have the athletes and inside power to make them a factor in any contest, however they must play at their own pace since they are 16-6 ATS when they attempt 54 to 62 shots. That means a large number of touches for Gani Lawal and freshman Derrick Favors.

    Ohio State (28-7, 17-16-2 ATS) is more diverse offensively than Warren Buffet’s portfolio, making them a headache to defend. Everyone knows what Evan Turner can do, but when Jon Diebler hits seven of the purest three-pointers you have ever seen and defenses start leaning his way, that opens up William Buford and David Lighty to expand their games. The Buckeyes are a 6.5-point pick with total of 133.5 and they are 8-2 ATS playing against a team that wins 60% to 80% of their games this season.

    The Yellow Jackets are 8-0 UNDER on a neutral court when the total is 130 to 139.5.

    Michigan State vs. Maryland 2:30E

    Round Two on Sunday resembles a Big Ten meet with four teams in action. The conference was believed to be improved this year and this is a swing game that will help determine if that belief was actually true. Michigan State (25-8, 12-20 ATS) got off a good start against New Mexico State, building a 13-point lead before seeing it all disappear to the more aggressive Aggies in the second half. The Spartans were overwhelmed by New Mexico State’s faster tempo and would have lost except for the Aggies impatience in late game shot selection and 13-22 mark from the free throw line. Coach Gary Williams more experienced team is unlikely to waste that opportunity if they reach that point and Michigan State is 5-15 ATS facing a club with a winning record this season.

    Maryland’s (24-8, 17-10 ATS) win over Houston was workman-like, taking the Cougars best shots, while maintaining control. There’s no question the Terrapins’ success revolves around senior guard Greivis Vasquez, whose game has matured to the level of doing what it takes to win, instead of making sure his numbers are in order. Maryland will undoubtedly use full court or three quarter pressure on the Spartans earlier in the game to determine who they react. The Terps are 8-1 ATS in road conditions after playing consecutive games as a favorite and is 10-2 and 9-3 ATS in last dozen outings.

    Maryland is a one-point favorite; however four seeds are 11-23 ATS since 1998.

    Missouri vs. West Virginia 2:40E

    Can Missouri (23-10, 15-12 ATS) ring the bell as an upset winner? If they bring the same intensity they played with Friday in beating Clemson they just might. The Tigers 75-60 loss to Nebraska in first Big 12 tourney contest had coach Mike Anderson thinking October, not March. The very next practice was a return to basics, including all the conditioning drills the players hate, but they got the message. Against Clemson they had 15 steals and 20 forced turnovers, which led directly to 20 points in 86-78 triumph. “Our teams typically start playing some of their better basketball right around late February, March,’’ said coach Anderson. “I guess we really turned up the intensity…” The Tigers are 15-4 ATS versus ball handling teams committing 12 or fewer turnovers a contest.

    West Virginia (28-6, 14-19 ATS) hit the snooze button to start against Morgan State down 10-0, but were alarmed into reality by the soothing tones of coach Bob Huggins and buried the Bears the rest of the first half 38-17 on the way to 27-point win. The Mountaineers will have to show patience on offense in attacking Missouri and take advantage of opportunities once they break the press. West Virginia can’t become flustered either when Mizzou goes on 6-0 or 8-2 runs, that just their style. The ‘Teers are six-point favorites and are 13-2 ATS in a NCAA tournament games since 1997.

    Cornell vs. Wisconsin 2:50E

    The Big Red of Cornell (28-4, 17-10 ATS) ended the Ivy’s league’s 12-year drought of empty NCAA trips with a resounding performance against A-10 champion Temple. “Everyone was saying we were Cinderella or it’s an upset. Not us,” sophomore Chris Wroblewski said Friday after his toppled Temple 78-65 as three-point underdogs. Cornell spent the first half pushing the ball inside and once the Owls were forced to sag lower, the nation’s top three point shooting team unleashed the hounds and total nine 3-pointers. The team from Ithaca, NY is 10-1 ATS after playing a game as an underdog.

    Wisconsin (24-8, 17-13 ATS) played average at best in holding off Wofford 53-49, nevertheless the Badgers showed their most important trait when it mattered most, poise. Wisconsin lost every bit of their early 10-point second half lead, but played solid defense in the closing minutes and made big shots to emerge victorious. The Badgers are reliable three-point defensive team and they will need to deliver. Wisky is a 4.5-point favorite and 8-1 ATS if opposing squad has win percentage of 80 percent or better.
    The tournament has shown that 4-seeds taking on 12-seeds in this round win by four points a game, about the same as oddsmakers number.


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