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Handicapping 2014 Sweet Sixteen Betting Strengths & Weaknesses

Sweet 16 Handicapping Tips

It is amazing how quickly we get down to the Sweet Sixteen isn’t it. There are lots of really good teams in the field but as we have seen all tournament long sometimes the matchup is as important as anything. Some team’s strengths are easily neutralized and some team’s weaknesses are easily exploited. [ad-4468020]

Lets take a look at each region and look at all the teams through that lens.

East Region:

#1 Virginia Cavaliers

Strengths – The top scoring defense in college hoops they can be really stingy and get you out of your games. Their discipline and belief in their system is about as good as any team in the tournament.

Weaknesses – They lack that strong go-to offensive option who can make big buckets regardless of defender or pressure. They have amazing complimentary players but real star to light the way.

#3 Iowa State Cyclones:

Strengths – This team has amazing leadership with seniors Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane. They are also a very good shooting team that runs a lot of sets, almost more like an NBA than a college team.

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Weaknesses – The loss of Georges Niang affects their depth and productivity inside. He played a lot bigger than his height and without him they are scrambling. They are prone to teams with real length.

#4 Michigan State Spartans

Strengths – Versatility and experience. This team has playmakers all over the court and can score inside and out with multiple options. Keith Appling and Adrien Payne provide leadership to talented younger players…and there is coach Tom Izzo.

Weaknesses – This is a brittle team that has struggled with injuries for months. They are healthy now but how long can they stay that way. When they are not whole they are nearly the threat…but who is?

#7 Connecticut Huskies

Strengths – It is hard to find a better all around performer than Shabazz Napier. Lets not forget that he made the shot that gave Florida one of its losses. The team around is good enough but he has the it factor.

Weaknesses – There is no productive size on this team. The Huskies used to always have a big who at least a defensive presence but the well has run dry. For now they can make it.

West Region

#1 Arizona Wildcats

Strengths – These guys play really well together and even though they have a “star” in Aaron Gordon they share the ball and are very much a team. They have a little bit of everything.

Weaknesses – Coach Sean Miller is not going very deep into his bench right now. Brandon Ashley is still out and if these team is looking for a spark from somewhere new it might not come.

#2 Wisconsin Badgers

Strengths – The Badgers almost always play within themselves and don’t pretend to be something that they are not. This year they have increased the pace and become a more scoring oriented team. They are good shooters.

Weaknesses – Their defense is not nearly as impressive as what we are used to so be sure you are making your betting choices based on this year and not history.

#4 San Diego State Aztecs

Strengths – One of the best defensive teams left in the tournament they have length and athleticism all over the floor. In senior guard Xavier Thames they also have one of those important shot makers.

Weaknesses – Sometimes their offense looks a little ragged. Other than Thames it sometimes look like they are playing for the offensive rebound more than playing good offensive.

#6 Baylor Bears
Strengths – They have loads of length and talent and it seems like they are finally putting it all together. Maybe more than any other team they get quality production from their bench players too.

Weaknesses – It might sound cliche but they need to hit their outside shots. They don’t do much in the midrange but if their three pointers are not falling their bigs struggle with the extra attention.

South Region

#1 Florida Gators

Strengths – Umm, everything!!. This is a complete teams with PG Scottie Wilbekin at a high level. Those that want to beat them need to get him off their game. They are strong offensively and defensively and can play multiple styles.

Weaknesses – Free throw shooting. They make only 66% and outside of Wilbekin and Michael Frazier there are some very weak links. I wonder if someone might emplu an extreme strategy to see what happens.

#4 UCLA Bruins

Strengths – This team has talent and their strength may be their versatility, best exemplified by the play of point forward Kyle Anderson. They have size and will put pressure on Florida offensively.

Weaknesses – They are not a great three point shooting team. Sure their percentages look good but that is because they do not take a lot of outside shots. Florida is so good offensively they need someone to make a few to loosen them up.

#10 Stanford Cardinal

Strengths – Is it redundant to say that these guys play smart? They also are a physical team that can protect the rim. They have experience too. All of their key players are upperclassmen.

Weaknesses – This is not the most athletic team and they are not gifted shooters. They need to play at a certain pace and control the game a little bit. If they get behind big they are toast.

#11 Dayton Flyers

Strengths – Is self awareness a virtue. The Flyers know exactly who they are and how they have to play and do so. It is no fluke that they have dumped an overrated OSU and a shallow Syracuse team.

Weaknesses – This team is limited and they are getting a reprieve in facing Stanford instead of a more talented team like Kentucky. They have no secrets and may have used up all of their magic.

Midwest Region

#2 Michigan Wolverines

Strengths – I feel like the strength of Big Blue is that they haven’t really played well yet even though they have twice won by double digits. There is an explosion coming as they just have so much firepower.

Weaknesses – When you take Nik Stauskas off his game the Wolverines sometimes look a little too average. When he disappears the rest of the team should be going off like gangbusters but they don’t.

#4 Louisville Cardinals

Strengths – Similar to Michigan, they have gotten to this point without playing their best basketball, especially G Russ Smith. They have lots of experience from last year’s team and all the pieces seem to fit.

Weaknesses – They lack a true rim protector and don’t have the experience they had last year at the point. If they win it all anyway it will be even more impressive.

#8 Kentucky Wildcats

Strengths – There is no more talented team in the field, really. I love their size and their willingness to share the ball has been evident lately. These guys know they are good too.

Weaknesses – Experience, experience, experience. It is well documented because it is true. I would also love to see one of their shooters get hot for more than just a game.

#11 Tennessee Volunteers

Strengths – No team has the kind of bul up front that Tennessee does. Jarnell Stokes nearly outrebounded Mercer singlehandedly and their backcourt is probably underrated. Ignore that First Four stuff. The Vols are legit.

Weaknesses – They are missing that clutch ball handler to handle pressure and distribute the rock. Last time out Stokes led with 5 assists. He is good but if he is forced to handle to often it will come back to haunt them.

2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship –

  • Florida #1 7/2
  • Michigan State #4 9/2
  • Louisville #4 5/1
  • Arizona #1 6/1
  • Virginia #1 10/1
  • Michigan #2 16/1
  • Wisconsin #2 16/1
  • Iowa State #3 18/1
  • UCLA #4 18/1
  • Kentucky #8 20/1
  • Baylor #6 20/1
  • Tennessee #11 28/1
  • San Diego State #4 33/1
  • Connecticut #7 33/1
  • Stanford #10 50/1
  • Dayton #11 100/1


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About The Wiesguy

The Wiesguy is a newcomer to the handicapping scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada he is always sweet on the underdogs and you can often find his thoughts, musings and picks at moneydogs.blogspot.com.