By Marc Lawrence — From this week’s Playbook MARCH MADNESS TOURNEY GUIDE: Old pals Drake and Wichita State get together again today in NCAA tournament First Four action.
After having played each other for decades in their early days in the Missouri Valley, these two programs know each other’s DNA like cousins.
The history book shows the Bulldogs are 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS this season when playing with 3 or more days of rest.
They were edged, 101-99 in overtime, by Western Kentucky in their most recent NCAA appearance in 2008, dropping to 5-4 all-time in this event – with the four losses coming by an average 4 PPG.
FYI: Drake’s .862 win percentage is the highest ever of any 11 seed in the First Four contest.
Are You Feeling Lucky?
We’ve finally arrived. All 68 teams are ready to compete in March Madness and should be prepared for what should be an unforgettable tournament after the 2020 version was canceled due to COVID.
To help us chart our path, The Athletic shares 68 things to know about each NCAA Tournament team. Such as Gonzaga is the 20th team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated. For instance –
Only seven of the previous 19 won the national title. Seven didn’t even make the Final Four.
As the slowest tempo team on KenPom.com, the Virginia Cavaliers have very low Over/Under totals. However, the Over is 5-1 in their last six games.
And if you’re feeling lucky, the Cleveland State Vikings are No. 1 in the country in the “luck” stat on KenPom after finishing 5-1 in games decided by three points or less.
So, as Clint Eastwood said in his famous Dirty Harry clip, “Do You Feel Lucky?”
To help change your luck, and to read more of these highly interesting 68 stats and trends for this year’s tournament, click here.
I was reading Jeff Passan’s excellent 2021 MLB Season Preview on ESPN+ when I came across a word I had never heard: Transmogrify.
In describing Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase he said, “Whoever wins this job – James Karinchak is the favorite, but Clase’s 100 mph cutters transmogrify men into puddles and is a four-category monster.”
After Googling the word I decided it’s time to drop a new “Word Of The Day” into the Coffee Club (on days when I come across the likes of “transmogrify).
To learn the meaning of transmogrify see the new caption underneath our “Quote Of The Day” today.
FYI – Passan tabs a high reward long shot A.L. MVP in Shohei Ohtani of the Angels.
His take: Ohtani’s bat looks elite. His arm looks back to normal. MVP voters love great stories, and Ohtani fulfilling his two-way destiny is a hell of a tale – especially at +5000.
An even bigger sleeper: Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe at +8000. He was the AL MVP in the first half of the shortened 2020 season. At 80-1, he’s a phenomenal value.