March Madness officially begins in two weeks, but the madness truly begins today with the tipoff of conference tournaments in the Horizon League and Big South.
And the favored team in the Horizon League has been on fire, both in conference play and against the spread.
"Valparaiso has been won 18 of 20 overall and they have dominated with a 12-4 ATS mark in their last 16 games," said Mark Presley, a basketball analyst at OddsShark.com.
Valpo has a bye though first-round Horizon League tournament action, which begins Tuesday. Sixth-seeded Youngstown State hosts seventh-seeded Loyola-Chicago (7:15 p.m. ET), fourth-seeded Green Bay hosts ninth-seeded Milwaukee (8 p.m. ET) and fifth-seeded Illinois-Chicago hosts eighth-seeded Cleveland State (8 p.m. ET).
Play picks up again on Friday on the home court of top-seeded Valparaiso when third-seeded Wright State takes on the winner of the Youngstown State-Loyola game.
Saturday, Valpo, which was also the top seed in this tournament last year, and second-seeded Detroit, which upset the Crusaders in the league championship game last season as the three seed, join in the fray.
Finally, the Horizon League Championship Game will be played next Tuesday on the home court of the highest remaining seed. Most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com opened Valpo as strong favorites to win on the Horizon odds list.
Big South Tournament
Down in the Big South, where all games will be played on the home court of Coastal Carolina, play begins Tuesday, as Radford, the four seed out of the North Division, meets the five seed from the South, Winthrop (noon ET).
Then, three seed NC Asheville, the two-time defending tournament champion, plays six seed Longwood (2 p.m. ET). Three seed Campbell takes on six seed Presbyterian (6 p.m. ET), after which four seed Coastal Carolina goes against No. 5 Liberty (8 p.m. ET).
Thursday, Charleston Southern, the top seed out of the South, plays the winner of the Radford-Winthrop game (noon ET). Then, second-seeded VMI goes against the Asheville-Longwood winner (2 p.m. ET).
Then, Gardner-Webb takes on the winner of the Campbell-Presbyterian game (6 p.m. ET). Finally, High Point, the top seed in the North Division, battles the winner of the Coastal Carolina-Liberty game (8 p.m. ET).
The Big South Tournament semifinal games will be played Saturday (noon and 2 p.m. ET, ESPN3). The tournament championship game, with an NCAA tournament bid on the line, is slated for Sunday (noon ET, ESPN2).
All stats, trends and odds courtesy of OddsShark.com.
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