Duke and Kentucky aren’t here. Thirty-two teams that would not have been in the field of 68 last year, are.
In 2020, I suspect you remember, the NCAA Basketball Tournament ended before it began. At halftime of a Big East Tournament Game between Creighton and St. John’s, the season was called because of the Covid-19 virus.
There were 30 other teams that would have been in the field with Duke and Kentucky last year that aren’t making the journey to Indiana where all four regions of the tournament are congregating for this year’s revised format. In a typical season, the tournament games are spread throughout the country with regional games played in the West, South, East and Midwest. The tournament brackets are still labeled with those regional designations, but all the games are being played in and around Indianapolis.
In past years, when the tournament has been played, the four teams looking to crack the field of 64 would play two games on Tuesday and two games on Wednesday with 32 teams getting into action on Thursday. Sixteen more games would be played on Friday, with the Saturday and Sunday schedules determining which teams advance to the Sweet 16.
This year, all four play-in games will be staged on Thursday, with 16 games scheduled for both Friday and Saturday. The Sweet 16 field will be determined in games played on Sunday and Monday.
We don’t know what teams would have missed the tournament last year based on tournament slots being scooped up by teams that would not have earned a berth except for them capturing an automatic bid based on winning their conference tournament. We do know this, the Louisville Cardinals were left out of the field this year because Oregon State upset the competition in the Pac 12 Tournament.
Two teams that often are among the favorites to win it all are just a notch ahead of Duke and Kentucky in that UCLA and Michigan State need to participate in the play-in game to join the field of 64. Only one of them will advance because they play each other today.
Teams, like Oregon State, that celebrated an upset in their tournament to get a surprise trip to the dance, are most often sitting ducks for a more talented opening round opponent. The Beavers are underdogs on Friday against the Tennessee Volunteers, who lost to Alabama in the SEC Tournament the day before Alabama beat LSU for the conference championship.
In other words, we have Tennessee coming off a tournament loss against an Oregon State team riding in on the heels of a huge tournament victory. The Volunteers are favored, but the public money is backing the Beavers and shaved a half point off the opening line of 8½.
The Volunteers are a better team, off a loss, with a reduced point spread.
The Tournament generates point spread plays that we recommend are wagered twice, both on the first half and final score. The Double Play money management strategy coupled with the Qoxhi NCAA recommendations generated huge gains two years ago, and while we got no action last year in light of the pandemic, we look forward to another successful tournament this year.
The NCAA Basketball Championship Game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 5. Before we expect Gonzaga to capture the title that night to complete the first undefeated season since 1976, there is a lot of action to lead to that conclusion. We’re glad to add to the enjoyment of the action by delivering selections we expect will generate bottom line profits for you.