Friday’s Southwest bracket semifinal duels at San Antonio’s
Alamodome assure at least one low-seeded squad to reach the Elite Eight.
The No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks are the foursome’s ‘chalk’ favorites,
matched up against the No. 12 Richmond Spiders. The second battle
pits the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles against the No. 11 Virginia
No. 1 Kansas vs No. 12 Richmond
Kansas was opened as a sizable 10 ½-point favorite against
Richmond, with the ‘total’ traveling south a half-point from its opener of 138
to 137 ½ on the NCAA basketball betting boards.
The Jayhawks are 1-1 ATS in the tourney, with victories against
the Boston University Terriers, 72-53, as 23 ½-point favorites and Illinois
Fighting Illini, 73-59, eight-point ‘chalk.’ The ‘under’ went 2-0,
with both matchups plunging below the ‘total’ by an average of 12 points in
Richmond is 2-0 ATS, edging out the Vanderbilt Commodores, 69-66,
as a three-point dog and defeating the Morehead State Eagles, 65-48, as a 4
½-point favorite. The ‘under’ went 1-0-1 against the closing ‘total’
of each duel, extending Richmond’s ‘under’ stretch to 7-0-1 in its last eight
Look for the ‘under’ trends to possibly end in what sets up to be
a lopsided affair. Kansas’ Marcus Morris was a top-five scorer in
the Big 12 Conference during the regular season, putting up 17.3 PPG. The
Jayhawks also bring the Big 12’s top two shooters to the floor, with Marcus and
Markieff Morris uniting to hit 59.4 percent of their buckets.
No. 10 Florida State vs No. 11 VCU
Florida State opened as a 3 ½-point favorite in Friday’s nightcap
against VCU, with the ‘total’ first set to 133. Early action on the
Seminoles and ‘under’ saw the numbers move to four and 132, respectively.
FSU presently has a 5-0 ATS streak, including its first two
tourney matchups. The Seminoles logged wins against the Notre Dame
Fighting Irish, 71-57, as 4 ½-point dogs and the Texas A&M Aggies, 57-50,
as one-point favorites. The ‘under’ cashed in both battles,
extending to 4-0 in Florida State’s last four games.
Virginia Commonwealth enters the Sweet 16 with its own hot run,
collecting at 3-0 ATS in three upsets during the tourney. The Rams
began with last Wednesday’s play-in game, notching a 59-46 win as four-point
dogs against the USC Trojans. Shaka Smart’s squad surged on with
triumphs against the Georgetown Hoyas, 74-56, as a 5 ½-point dog and the Purdue
Boilermakers, 94-76, as a 9 ½-point dog.
With both squads sizzling, the ‘under’ may be where to find the
best value instead of backing a side. FSU has given up a stingy 55.2
PPG in its last four contests, with top shot-blocker Bernard James averaging
2.8 BPG in that span. Virginia Commonwealth is coming off one of the
tourney’s highest-scoring duels, but a four-day break and facing a slower-paced
foe like the Seminoles should cool that off.
Sunday’s Southwest regional final will have the survivors of
Friday’s semifinal pairings squaring off. Kansas is currently a minus
325 choice at BookMaker to win the Southwest and advance to the tourney’s Final
Four next weekend. Florida State is listed at 4/1, followed by VCU
(7/1) and Richmond (15/2).