Elite 8 Day 2 Picking The Lines

Anytime Bill Self loses in the NCAA Tournament, the Bill Self #HotTakes fire out from the people in the media that you expect:

I've debunked these sorts of narratives before, and the way to analyze NCAA Tournament performance is to use Performance Against Seed Expectation. How has Self done? As a Kansas coach, he's been expected to win 37.4 games and has won 33. If we throw in his other coaching stops he's been expected to win 45.3 games and has won 43. In other words, he's won ever so slightly fewer games than expected against some extraordinarily good seeds. In 14 seasons he's had a 1 seed seven times and has never been below a 4 seed. That is remarkable.

So don't fall for these sorts of dumb narratives about coaches. The reason Self's tournament losses are always upsets is because he's always favored. The coach who has the most losses in upsets, or who loses the most in late NCAA Tournament rounds, is by definition a fantastic coach. You've got to get to those games to lose them.

Anyway, let's get to today's games:

Yesterday ATS: 2-0-0
2017 Tournament ATS: 31-28-3 (53%)
2016 Tournament ATS: 36-30-1 (55%)
2010-15 ATS: 220-167-11 (57%)

Florida (-3.5) over South Carolina: Rather than breaking down match-ups, you really just have to ask yourself if you believe in South Carolina. Because South Carolina has played amazingly well for three games, but it kind of came out of nowhere:

Both Kansas and Xavier had been playing out of their minds for three games, and both regressed in their Elite 8 game. That doesn't mean South Carolina necessarily will regress too, but it's a reminder that “momentum” is not real, and a three game explosion is more than likely an anomaly. South Carolina's defense is excellent, of course, but the difference between a defense that gave up 0.93 PPP in SEC play and one that gave up 0.94 PPP in SEC play is not significant. Florida is the better team.

Kentucky (+2.5) over North Carolina: With two teams that play very high tempos and that score efficiently, this could be a very high scoring game unless John Calipari successfully slows the game down the way that he did against UCLA. I'm going with Kentucky here because I'm not exactly sure why North Carolina is supposed to be the better team. Statistically the two teams were almost exactly even this season. Also, as good as North Carolina's offense has been, a lot of their success has come from out-athleting teams – they led the nation in offensive rebounding percentage but were just 10th in the ACC in eFG% and 12th in FT%. If Kentucky can keep North Carolina contained on the glass (the Wildcats led the SEC in defensive rebounding percentage) then I like their chances to win.outright.

About the Author: Taylor Coburn

Hi my name is Taylor C Copburn I love to play the odds and beat the point spread on NFL, NCAA and NBA games. Breaking down the risk value and finding the angle to collect on my wagers.

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