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I've Got Five On It: Sweet 16 wagers

This week in I've Got Five On It, Rivals recruiting director Rob Cassidy is back with more unsolicited gambling advice. After going 4-1 a week ago, he presses his luck and tries to keep the good vibes going, even if it will almost certainly end in disaster. Among the bets Cassidy likes: the Big 12 Tournament champs to cover, an over in an anticipated Ivy league-Big East matchup and the guard-heavy Miami Hurricanes to cover.


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Drew Timme
Drew Timme (AP Images)

THE BET: Gonzaga money line +115

Gonzaga is as comfortable in the round of 16 as any team on Earth, having been here eight years straight. It feels like senior Drew Timme, who enrolled at the school shortly after it was founded in 1907, has been on all eight rosters. Even if he hasn’t, however, Timme, Julian Strawther and the team’s next two leading scorers have all been on this stage in a Zags jersey before, and they won't be blinded by the lights.

I think the Bulldogs showed the ability to handle a dynamic point guard in their win over TCU and are built to give UCLA and its star freshman, Amari Bailey, trouble. Gonzaga is the underdog for a reason, but +115 isn't exactly a long-shot number.

Plus, my confirmation name is Aloysius, chosen to honor Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, for whom the school is named. If that’s not a winning indicator, what is?



Isaiah Wong
Isaiah Wong (AP Images)


Will Miami win this game? Who knows, but it’s exceedingly difficult for me to see a veteran team with experience playing deep into the tournament losing by eight or more on this stage. Yes, Houston has been smashing opponents as of late, but blowing out Auburn and Northern Kentucky is different than handling a guard-led Hurricanes squad led by veterans Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller, neither of whom will be rattled having led the ‘Canes to the Elite Eight a year ago.

I’m also still a firm believer that the ACC, while down, wasn’t nearly as bad as many made it out to be this season. Miami hasn't lost by more than seven points since mid-November, so gimme my Coral Gables-based grandfather, Jim Larranaga, and the points in this one.



Dylan Disu
Dylan Disu (AP Images)

THE BET: Texas -4

There are few hotter teams in the country than the Longhorns, who have won six straight and have outscored opponents by 13.5 points per game in that stretch. The streak includes a 16-point drubbing of Kansas on a neutral floor and has featured a stifling brand of defense that plays well in March.

I’m not sure where I come down on “clicking at the right time” being anything more than a made-up, self-fulfilling cliche, but if there’s something to be said for that cliche it should be said here. If Dylan Disu continues to be efficient on the offensive end and motivated on the glass I’m not sure Xavier has the depth to match up with the Longhorns for 40 minutes.

Will I be dead wrong here and have the previous sentence thrown in my face for 24 hours by people with navy blue Xs in their Twitter avatars while the Musketeers dribble out the clock? Maybe so. Whatever.



Princeton guard Ryan Langborg
Princeton guard Ryan Langborg (AP Images)

THE BET: Over 140.5

Princeton’s most publicized game of the season was an under-bettor’s dream, so the 59-55 grinder against Arizona may be burned into America’s collective mind. Ten of the Tigers’ last 13 games have eclipsed the 140-point mark, however, and it’s not just because they spent time padding point totals against inferior competition. Something called Kean University managed to score 70 against Princeton in December, and the Tigers are susceptible to giving up gaudy point totals to whoever lines up across the floor.

Meanwhile, Creighton averages 76 points per contest and allows opponents 68.5. The sticking point is that neither the Tigers nor the Blue Jays exactly brim with pace and rank 134th and 170th respectively when it comes to possessions per game.

Still, the big stage could get the adrenaline pumping and speed things up as we charge toward 141 points, which isn’t a massive total. Rooting for buckets is a blast. If we’re gonna lose gas money (or our homes), let’s have fun doing it, no?



Rick Barnes
Rick Barnes (AP Images)

THE BET: Tennessee -5.5.

This line feels like a trap. Whatever. I contend that you should get half your bet back if you identify a trap before you walk into it head first. My bookie disagrees, but I’ll save that testimony for my small claims court appearance. Anyway, all due respect to FAU coach Dusty May, who has big things in front of him and has done a remarkable job getting it going in Boca Raton. But squeaking by Memphis and beating a 16 seed are much different tasks that standing toe to toe with Rick Barnes’ Vols, who allow fewer than 58 points per contest this season.

Tennessee defends the 3-pointer particularly well, and that's where the Owls make their living at times. Tennessee’s offense isn't exactly a well-oiled machine, but the Vols have the length to give FAU fits on the glass and create second-chance points. Am I aware that this is a painfully square line of thinking and exactly how Vegas makes piles of money? Absolutely. But every once in a blue moon the public is right. I feel like this is one of those cases. ... Maybe. ... I hope?