|By Marc Lawrence — Continuing with our peek ahead to Selection Sunday as we share some interesting insight into teams as they prepare for the Big Dance. Remember, you can find more winning insight inside this year’s Playbook March Madness Tournament Guide. North Carolina coach Roy Williams can likely sleep well at night knowing that until at least next year, his teams have NEVER LOST an NCAA Tourney first-round game, going 28-0 SU. However, the downturn to this season was likely written on the wall when his troops lost to Auburn in the Sweet 16 Round in last year’s event, marking the first time he has ever failed to beat a No. 5 seed (now 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS). The Tar Heels will need to win the ACC tourney this week if they wish to get an invite into this year’s Big Dance. Sleep tight, Roy. |
XFL Midterm Report
ESPN contends the novelty of the XFL has worn off. It’s no longer surprising to hear coaches making their play calls on national television. Fans should be used to watching replay officials make decisions. The kickoff alignment no longer looks funky, the quarterbacks are less mysterious, and it’s not so odd to see the over/under splashed on television scrolls. The initial sheen has washed away, making way for a moment of hard truths – both good and bad – in the league’s effort to finally establish spring football amid the American sports landscape. Quality of play has been uneven, and attendance figures and television ratings have trended downward since a raucous introduction. Where does the XFL stand at midseason? Here’s one of the takeaways at the midpoint of the XFL’s 10-game regular season: It’s been a painless lean-in to gambling. By simply acknowledging the realities of sports betting, both on its broadcasts and with its partnerships, the XFL has helped de-scandalize a connection long avoided in American professional sports. In addition to opening a big lane for revenue, the league’s plan to “embrace the spread” is establishing at least some associations with new fans. The XFL has reached partnership deals with FanDuel, DraftKings and FOX Bet. According to Caesars Sportsbook, the average handle of an XFL game has been comparable to that of second-tier college basketball games. For more on this mid term report click here.
| From this week’s Playbook Basketball Newsletter: Iowa State is 12-2 SU and 13-0-1 ATS in the Big 12 tourney since 2014.. |