Pro Bookmaker: Top Coaches Compete In Sweet 16
Going into the Sweet 16 games, Gambling.com asked Las Vegas professional oddsmaker Casey Lewless, now managing Penn Entertainment sportsbooks in Louisiana, for his predictions.
According to Lewless, coaching could be a factor in these March Madness games.
Here's his take on the upcoming games:
Alabama is looking good, but a cold shooting night from three-point range and a physical opponent, which is what they draw in San Diego State, could be their kryptonite. San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher is one of the most underrated coaches in the business. An upset wouldn’t surprise me, as the Aztecs fear no one, but I think Bama will eek this one out.
The other side is Creighton against Princeton, featuring another great coach in Creighton’s Greg McDermott. Plus, the Bluejays are a better team. Princeton’s run is over.
I see Creighton facing Alabama in the Elite Eight matchup, with the Tide rolling into the Final Four.
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This is a muddled picture with Florida Atlantic, Kansas State, Michigan State and Tennessee all vying to move on.
Tennessee will miss its point guard, who is out with injury, but I see the Vols getting by FAU. This game will be a contrast in styles, as FAU's players have never seen a shot they didn’t like, and Tennessee struggles to put the ball in the basket. However, I think Tennessee will narrowly advance.
Kansas State vs. Michigan is a coin flip. The matchup spotlights two teams doing it a different way but getting results. One of the best tourney coaches of all time is Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, who will be facing the current hot name in college coaching, Jerome Tang. Sparty wants to push the ball, while K-State plays a more methodical game. One note: Tom Izzo is something like 26-7 in games with one day preparation.
Look for Tennessee and Michigan State to battle for the right to advance to the Final Four in Houston, with the Vols singing Rocky Top all the way to Texas.
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Houston vs. Miami is a great matchup. The Cougars better not look past Miami. Though Houston’s Marcus Sasser is getting a few days to heal the groin injury, I lean toward the Hurricanes in an upset.
In the other game, I don’t see Xavier beating Texas, which has three really good guards with experience.
Texas and Miami will fight it out to advance to Houston, with the Longhorns moving on to the Final Four.
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Two street fights are evolving in the West, with Arkansas squaring off against UConn and UCLA facing Gonzaga.
While UConn is the more cohesive team on paper, the Razorbacks probably have more talent. However, the Hogs don’t play together as a unit. Still, except for Tom Izzo, Arkansas' Eric Musselman is the best tourney coach out there.
On the other side, if injuries don’t catch up to UCLA, I like the Bruins. UCLA’s Mick Cronin might be the best X’s and O’s coach in the game right now, and the extra days to prepare will help.
In the Elite Eight game, I see UCLA facing off against Arkansas, with UCLA advancing to the Final Four.
In conclusion, the Final Four is shaping up, for fans and sports betting enthusiasts, to be an exciting early April classic event, with these teams in the Final Four: Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and UCLA.
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