NCAA Notes: UGA and Cincy ‘unders’ still cashing

Published on Sunday, 3/10/13, at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

–With its never-a-doubt 69-53 pimpslap win Saturday night at North Carolina, I think Duke is a No. 1 seed even if it loses early at the ACC Tournament. UNC saw its 7-0 ATS surge halted but the ‘under’ did connect in a sixth straight game for the Tar Heels.

–Even though Cincinnati needed overtime to win 61-53 Saturday vs. South Florida, the 114 combined points still stayed ‘under’ the 116-point total. The Bearcats have now seen the ‘under’ cash at an amazing 20-4 overall clip.

–On the flip side, the ‘over’ has hit in 13 consecutive games for Iowa St., which has seen the ‘over’ cash at an incredible 19-3 overall rate.

–With yet another cover in Saturday’s gut-wrenching loss at Alabama, Georgia improved to 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games. Trailing by 14 at halftime as a 7.5-point road underdog, Mark Fox’s team rallied to get ahead of the number and actually tied the game in the final minute on a trey from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. UGA had the ball with a chance to win at the end of regulation but committed a turnover on a drive to the basket with a few ticks remaining. Alabama point guard Trevor Releford had enough time for a few dribbles before launching a desperation heave from halfcourt. Fittingly in terms of how the Bulldogs have been beaten in heartbreaking fashion so many times this year, Releford’s shot got nothing but net to lift the Crimson Tide to a 61-58 home win.

–Assuming Auburn makes the no-brainer decision (never a given on The Plains) to jettison Tony Barbee out of town, I believe the looming coaching search should revolve around two veterans who might be realistic ‘gets:’ Minnesota’s Tubby Smith or Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy. The Gophers are still going to the NCAA Tournament, but they have been the nation’s most inconsistent team this year and the locals aren’t happy. The last time things got like this for Smith, he bolted Kentucky for Minnesota. Auburn isn’t a great job by any means but it does have a new arena, is a two-hour drive from the rich recruiting fields of Atlanta and isn’t exactly facing a murderer’s row of opponents when you think about the rest of the SEC. I’m told Eustachy loves Colorado and he has a very solid Rams squad that could play deep into March. With that said, he established a lot of recruiting contacts in the South during his eight-year tenure at So. Miss, and he would certainly listen to Auburn if it came strong with a lucrative offer.

–When Tourney Time rolls around, I think about what (if any) elite players have the ability to put their teams on their back and carry them for six games. Danny Manning did it for Kansas in 1988, Carmelo Anthony did it for the ‘Cuse in 2003 and Kemba Walker did it for UConn in 2011. Does Creighton’s Doug McDermott have the stones/talent/heart to pull off a similar act? I don’t know the answer to that question but after watching the Bluejays beat a very solid Wichita St. team Sunday in the MVC Tourney finals, I know that his supporting cast is capable of big things. Although McDermott doesn’t have Larry Brown on the sidelines, he certainly has as much talent around him as Manning had with ‘The Miracles.’ Gregory Echenique gives Creighton a big guy that can bang with any post player in America. Grant Gibbs is a terrific shooter (53% from the field, 40% from deep) with an excellent 202/71 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Ethan Wragge is another guy who can stroke it, making 44 percent of his 3’s and 94% from the free-throw line. One more key stat to keep in mind with the Bluejays is that six of their best players shoot 74 percent or better from the charity stripe.

–All the stats you need for Monday’s Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s showdown in the WCC Tournament finals can be found at this link at

–My 24-6 college hoops run (80%) got cooled off Sunday with a pair of heartbreaking losses with Illinois (+9.5 in 12-point loss at Ohio St.) and Michigan (-1 in one-point loss to Indiana in which it missed two front ends in the final minute and a pair of high-percentage shots on the final possession). Nevertheless, I’m still brimming with confidence as we get deeper into March. Join the fun with me and let me help you cash winners. My NCAA Tournament package is available now and with its purchase, you get all of this coming week’s conference-tourney action, in addition to all NIT and CBI picks as well.

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