A veteran sportswriter whose work appears periodically in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Mike Tierney has covered the NFL for decades and reported from seven Super Bowls. Mike does not consider himself a pet lover. But he likes 'dogs, preferring to evaluate each game from the underdog's point of view. One of his specialties is picking NFL totals. In the past two seasons, Mike is 52-30 (63.4 percent) on NFL Over/Unders. For Mike Tierney media inquiries, contact SportsLine@CBSInteractive.com.
LAST 23 CBB ATS PICKS
15-7-1 IN LAST 23 CBB ATS PICKS | +766
A mystifyingly low spread of 3.5 has moved up a point and still has room to grow, LSU has lost eight straight outright on the road, with no covers and two pushes. Utah, conversely, is 9-4-2 ATS at home this season. Three Tigers are dealing with injuries, including PG Tremont Waters, their primary scorer. All are expected to play but some could be limited. The Utes overcame a languid NIT start against UC-Davis to win. With a mature lineup of four seniors and one junior, they should be more focused here.
Eastern Michigan, the third-best team from the MAC, apparently gives a hoot about participating in the CIT. The Eagles overran Niagara by 18 points in their opener. As for Sam Houston State, who knows? The Bearkats, off since March 9, received a bye in the tourney?s peculiar seeding system. EMU is riding an eight-game win streak outright, with the only straight-up loss by a single point. All of those foes were on a level above Sam Houston State?s. This is a likely cover by the road favorite provided the guests are motivated.
Marshall's quick tempo and infatuation with the three-pointer are the foundation for the highest total for the weekend NCAA Tournament games. Against West Virginia's stifling defensive pressure, though, the threes will not come easily. The worry is that the Mountaineers pile up points on transition hoops after turnovers. That will happen on occasion, but the Thundering Herd are seasoned enough to avoid caving. Still, finding the usual good looks at the basket will dwindle.
Florida State is blessed with depth, which will soften the blow of the likely absence of guard Terance Mann (groin). But any other scratch would have been preferable for the Seminoles. Mann's versatile play is reflected in his averages: 12.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists. Xavier wields virtually the same rotation as the one that downed FSU by 25 in last year's NCAA Tournament.
Auburn has not been the same since the devastating loss of forward Anfernee McLemore (ankle) in mid-February. Without him patrolling the paint, the Tigers are 3-4 straight-up and 1-6 ATS. More limited on offense, Auburn enters and unenviable scenario against Clemson, the sixth-best team nationwide in defensive efficiency, according to the Pomeroy Ratings. Auburn has shot south of 40 percent in six of its last outings, and another chilly night in the 30s awaits.
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