Check out John Ryan's 20* graded NCAA Basketball pick on the Kansas Jayhawks as they take on the North Carolina Wolfpack set for the Round of 16 beginning at 10:17 PM ET, Friday March 21, 2012. Is this the end of the Wolfpack's run?
North Carolina State has
enjoyed a tremendous run for their fans and it always brings back the indelible
memories of Jim Valvano when he was one of the few Cinderella teams to complete
the deal. As much as I love stories like Valvano’s and the inspiration derived
from them, I am sorry to say that this will be the end of the road for the
Kansas enters this Sweet-16 date
with a 29-6 seasons record and went an impressive 16-2 in Big-12 Conference
play. With a late surge, North Carolina State is now 24-12 on the season
despite going just 9-7 in ACC Conference action this season.
The College Basketball Betting
The NCAA Basketball odds boards opened with
Kansas a solid 8 point favorite. The sports betting public has become enamored with
the Wolfpack’s winning ways and have jumped on them in early betting. Of the 12
NCAA basketball betting shops I track, 67% of all bets have been on the
Wolfpack, yet there has been no movement in the college basketball lines. This is a clear result that the
‘sharps’ and large sports bettors are backing the Jawhawks with conviction.
In my research, when the betting
flows reach an, what I have coined an irrational exuberance, the reinforces a
play on the opponent. That level begins when 75% of the bets being placed are
on a given team so in the case of this matchup we have a bit more watching to
do. Note though, that it is certainly far more rare when the public backs a dog
of this size and gives me greater confidence that the simulator projections
will prove correct.
North Carolina State has gone
7-0-1 against the spread over their last eight games and this always gets the
amateur bettor's attention. Meanwhile, Kansas has been simply flying under the
radar doing what the media expects them to do and there is minimal betting
enthusiasm for the Jayhawks currently. I want to point out, no team is ever
‘DUE” to lose after an extended winning streak or losing streak against the
spread. This does confirm, though, when the public is on the Wolfpack bandwagon
and who could blame based on how strong they have recently played.
My simulator shows a high
probability that Kansas will win this game by 12 or more points. Kansas is
projected to shoot between 47 and 53% from the field in this game. In past
games, NC State is just 1-11 ATS when their opponents have made between 47 and
53% of their shot attempts in a game spanning the last two seasons. Kansas is a
solid 55-30 ATS in road games when they make 47% to
53% of their shots in a game since 1997.
Team Rankings, Matchups, and
Kansas is one of the truly elite
teams in the nation ranking 35th in scoring defense allowing an average of 61.5
points per game and ranking 36th in scoring offense averaging 74.4 points per
game. This combination ranks Kansas eighth in the nation outscoring opponents
by an average of 12.9 points per game.
Kansas ranks sixth in the nation
allowing opponents to shoot just 38.1% from the field. NC State has not done
well against these types of strong defenses noting they are just 4-12 ATS versus very good defensive teams
posting a shooting percentage defense of <=39% over the last two seasons.
NC State has a solid defense in
their own right, ranking 81st allowing opponents to hit 41.7% of their shots on
the season. However, Kansas has done well and made the necessary adjustments to
defeat these types of defensive teams. Kansas is a solid 13-6 ATS versus good defensive teams allowing
a shooting percentage defense of of less than 42% this season.
That being said, I am adding Kansas to my NCAA Basketball picks as a 20* Titan
Play in the Sweet 16.
My pick: Take Kansas to cover