Hollywood Sports' 25* NIT 2ND ROUND GAME OF MONTH: Frank Sawyer's Hollywood Sports was 2-1 in NCAA Tournament action on Sunday to keep up his RED HOT 36-16 (69%) All-Sports run. Frank also enjoys a SIZZLING 27-14 (66%) CBB winning clip that he puts on the line in a game he has had CIRCLED ALL WEEK. Its Frank's #1 2nd Round Game in the NIT -- DON'T MISS IT!
Game: Illinois State at Stanford Mar 19 2012 11:30PM
Grade: Loser (-110)
Reason: At 11:30 PM EST on Monday, we will be playing the Stanford Cardinal minus the points versus the Illinois State Redbirds in the Second Round of the National Invitational Tournament. With more and more teams reliant on three-point shooting, if some team gets hot and shoots the lights out, this team can probably beat most teams in the nation. We have seen this happen a number of times over the last week -- and if you happen to have taken the other team in that situation, you just have to live with the outlier performance and move on. But we can also expect regression back to the mean in later performances -- and that is the opportunity we have here. Illinois State shot a sizzling 62.7% from the field last Wednesday -- including an uncanny 17 of 23 from behind the arc (73.9%) -- en route to their 96-93 overtime win at Ole Miss. We were on the short end of the stick for that one -- but this is a very nice opportunity to fade the Redbirds here as they make a tough trip out west to play a solid Stanford team. Illinois State is improving as they beat a very good Wichita State team in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and played Creighton tough in the tournament championship. And this club is 47th in the nation with their 37.5% shooting percentage from behind the arc. But it very unlikely they will replicate their shooting performance from last week on the road in Palo Alto as they shoot only 43.5% on the road. The Redbirds are also only 4-9 away from home with an average losing margin of -6.7 PPG. And while this team was 3rd in the MVC with their 10-9 record, the deeper metrics suggest they overachieved. Illinois State's net Efficiency Margin in conference play was -0.01 Points-Per-Possession (Offensive PPP: 1.03; Defensive PPP: 1.04) which was just 6th best in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Stanford (22-11) is also a team that is improving down the stretch with their lineup that is dominated by freshman and sophomores. They opened up NIT play with a 76-65 win over Cleveland State last Tuesday. Said sophomore Anthony Brown about the attitude of his team in this tournament: "The team was excited to play … The consensus among the team was we weren’t going to the NCAA, and the NIT is the next best thing. Having a home game was very nice." Identifying which teams are truly motivated to play in these lesser tournaments is important -- and we have every reason to believe that this young Cardinal team has something to prove as they build momentum for next season. Stanford enjoyed a respectable net Efficiency Margin of +0.03 PPP (Offensive PPP: 1.00; Defensive PPP: 0.97) against Pac-12 competition. The Cardinal was also very tough at home where they were 15-3 with an average winning margin of +7.3 PPG. Stanford has covered the point spread in 4 straight games against teams with a losing record on the road. The Cardinal has also covered 8 of their last 11 games against teams outside the Pac-12. Lastly, Stanford is supported by a historical angle that has been 65% effective since 1997. Home favorites in the 3.5-9.5 point range from a major 1-A conference now facing a team from a second-tier conference have covered the point spread in 127 of the last 196 situations where these conditions applied. Home court advantage should make the difference in this one. 25* CBB NIT Second Round Game of the Month with the Stanford Cardinal minus the points versus the Illinois State Redbirds. Best of luck for us -- Frank.