NCAA Tourney 2010 Sports Betting thoughts part 2

The A10 apparently was the league to screw over this year, but don't let that get in the way of profitable sports betting. Richmond also underseeded as a 7 when probably had the resume to be a five or if I'm not being too much of a homer, definitely a 6.

They play St. Marys in the first round... and St. Marys may be a favorite according to Vegas. Remember what I said about lower seeds that were favorites? Bad news for the Spiders, who match up poorly with the West Coast team. The early start all the way in Providence Rhode Island is an underlooked advantage, with it feeling like 11 am to St. Marys. So expect this line to be close.

I also like that the Spiders lost the A10 championship narrowly. They looked sluggish all game vs. Temple and the OT vs. Xavier the night before seem to have worn them out. They'll be approaching St. Marys with an aggressive mindset.

Xavier is the third team from the A10 and because of the ineptitude of the committee gets a first round game vs. Minny in nearby Wisconsin which will be like a home game for the gophers. That breaks one of the scheduling rules the committee has set up. All three A10 teams have great backcourts and different strengths but each of those strengths are qualities many teams haven't faced too much before.

Temple's teamwork and passing is exemplary. Juan Fernandez is a taller version of Pepe Sanchez, and to stay on Argentinians probably what Mano Ginobli would have looked like in college if he was a better ball handler. They also have some tough inside players and good perimeters sharp shooters. You don't want Temple in your bracket.

Xavier is as tough as any team in the country. They come in waves with a posible NBA backcourt and again some powerful inside players. They easily could be right in the mix at the top of the big east and another team nobody wants to prepare for.

Villanova right now is pulling their hair out. They have a fairly competent opponent in the first round and then just two days to prepare for St. Marys or the third A10 team Richmond. Richmond plays a zone defense that is stifling. If you have played a steady diet of man to man, your players are going to be confused. As with most zone defenses, their hole is rebounding, but unlike many teams that zone Richmond is exceptional at getting back and defending the fast break.

So while they don't get a lot of boards they aren't exploitable in the transition (surprisingly rare). Richmond also plays a modified Princeton offense called the Richmond offense. In it there is an intricate pattern of backcuts and passing for shot creation, but at the same time there are sets that allow their impressive backcourt to create their own thing. Playing against that offense has defenders heads on a swivel.

Do they defend the sets and have their backs are turned as the point guard breaks down his man and gets an easy lay-up? Or do they worry about the motion and Richmond will just drain three point shots. Villanova has two days to prep for that? Or if St. Marys wins Villanova's guard heavy offense has to deal with an incredibly tall front line.
So in short the A10 teams are probably all underseeded, all three got hosed on matchups so you can't just start penciling them in subesquent rounds, but if you think they can overcome their first round you might want to have them advancing a game or two more.

The preparation for any of those teams for a 1st round winner is going to be difficult. If Wisconsin beats Wofford (don't sleep on them either but they are a far easier first round game than Cornell) Bo Ryan brings a similar toughness and taking care of the ball mentality as Temple but I'd have to think Wisconsin would be the underdog here.

As for Xavier they get a team like Minnesota that is hot as can be. Don't know enough about the Gophers, but I do know Tubby Smith wins and can win ugly. This will be a bruising battle if Smith's current team is anything like his personality or some of his less talent laden Kentucky teams. Pittsburgh will be waiting in the wings should they topple Oakland and that promises more of the same. Again, I think Xavier might be a small favorite in this game. Xavier is probably more talented.

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