NCAA Basketball odds makers have listed the Missouri State Tigers as the 21 point favorites in their first round matchup agains Norfolk State. This number might look a little scary, but find out why we expect Mizzou to cover.
It’s been a great season for the
Missouri Tigers who have very little to complain about. They garnered 30 wins,
captured the Big 12 title and earned the second seed in the West Regional. The
big disappointment’s for the Tigers is not being a top seed in the NCAA Tournament and playing closer
Missouri will look to take out its
frustrations over the slight snub when they face 15th seeded Norfolk
State in a first-round game. Tip-off is slated for 4:40 PM ET Friday at the
CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska.
Sportsbooks opened with the Tigers listed as -21 point favorites, with NCAA Basketball odds makers setting the total at 144.5. Currently more than 65 percent of the NCAA Basketball betting action has come in on
The Tigers would have preferred a top
seed for several reasons the least of which is geography. A No.1 seed in the
Midwest would have put Missouri in the Midwest Region in St. Louis, a short
drive from campus to venue.
Meanwhile the MEAC tournament champion
Spartans have no complaints and are just happy to be dancing. This will
be the first tournament appearance in school history while the Tigers are
making their fourth straight tourney appearance at the Dance and 25th
The Tigers have never been to the Final
Four but reached the regional title game three years ago.
Missouri (30-4 SU, 18-9 ATS)
The Tigers met very little resistance in
the Big 12 tournament beating Oklahoma State 88-70 in the opener. Missouri
followed that victory with routs of Texas (81-67) and Baylor (90-75). It was
the second tournament championship in four years for the Tigers who right now
are playing like the best team in the country and at very least a Final Four
Missouri will go as far as seniors Marcus
Denmon (17.6 points per game) and Kim English (14.9 ppg) take them. Those two
players were part of the 2009 team that was seeded third in the tournament and
made a nice run. They’re supported by the talented trio of Ricardo Ratliffe,
Michael Dixon Jr. and Phil Pressey who are also averaging double digit scoring.
Pressey has developed into one of the
top point guards in the nation. He owns the school record in assists and with
four more steals, will own the school mark in that category as well.
Norfolk State (25-9 SU, 5-1 ATS)
The Spartans (25-9) earned a No. 15 seed
after winning their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title
Saturday, beating Bethune-Cookman 73-70. Norfolk State went 13-3 in the MEAC
during the regular season, finishing one game behind Savannah State.
They finished second in the MEAC in the
regular season but got hot at the right time winning seven straight and nine of
their last 10 games. The Spartans rely on a strong inside game but are no match
for the Tigers guard tandem of Denmon and English. 6-foot-10 center Kyle
O’Quinn, who was named the most outstanding player of the MEAC tournament,
leads Norfolk State with 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and could
present problems for the Tigers who only have two players taller than 6-8.
The Spartans also get offensive
production out of their guards with Chris McEachin (12.8 ppg) and Pendarvis
Williams (11.8 ppg) contributing double-digit scoring. Norfolk State is a huge
underdog for a variety of reasons but the books no doubt took into
consideration that the Spartans had more turnovers this season than assists.
Free College Basketball Pick: Norfolk State made a huge improvement
from a year ago when they were 12-20 but the happy train gets derailed tonight.
Missouri can name its own margin of victory and I say it will be somewhere in
P.S. My mantra for the tournament (and I
hope you’ll consider it) is ‘slow and steady’. There will be no major outlay in
cash on any one game. The tournament looks like a potential cash cow if you
manage your money right.