By Marc Lawrence — From the current PlaybookSports.com Basketball Newsletter: Single-digit favorites in the semifinal round of the SEC tourney are 12-3 ATS the past ten seasons.
No. 4 seeded single-digit dogs in the same tourney are 9-23 ATS, including 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in semifinal games.
Toss in Alabama’s 20-5 ATS mark against Tennessee in games in which the Vols are coming off a win, including 11-0 ATS when the Tide is installed as a favorite, and you’ve got the makings of a loaded hand with Bama today.
The Great Eight
Every March, the pressure grows stronger on what everyone at ESPN headquarters now refers to as simply The Streak. Those are the 349 teams that won’t win the men’s basketball national title.
Yes, yes, it’s true. This venerable feature that selects eight teams of the 357 in Division I that could win the title has successfully included the eventual national champion every time.
It’s not like they’ve been doing this since the 1950s. They started in 2016, but still, a streak is a streak. After breaking teams down into three groups – namely ineligible, no clear path and near misses – they have determined there are the 349 teams that won’t win the 2021 national title.
All of which leaves eight that could. They are: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado, Gonzaga, Houston, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.
To see the complete list of those who failed to make the cut, and reasons why, click here.
As we called on this page yesterday, the last time both Duke and Kentucky both failed to make the NCAA Tournament was 1976.
And according to ESPN, 1976 was also the last time there was an unbeaten National Champion, when Indiana went 32-0. If Gonzaga wins the NCAA title this year, the Bulldogs would finish 32-0.
Ironically, the No. 2 song of the year was “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John & Kiki Dee. Also in the season’s end Top 10 was “Tonight’s The Night” by Rod Stewart and “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon.
Unfortunately, due partly to COVID and to a down year on the hardwood this season, both the Blue Devils and the Wildcats must now face the music.