Monday, December 19, 2011

College Basketball Picks: Monday, December 19

If one is truly a die hard college basketball fan, they're always on the lookout for that sleeper to break out when it's bracket time in March.  It's hard to get an edge when picking brackets - unless you know the teams that most of the population does not.  And come on, how can you not love The Nate Wolters Show?

 "I haven't seen a performance like that since Jason Kidd was in the Pac-10," Lorenzo Romar said. "The guy played the entire game without a turnover. Without a turnover. Seven assists. Thirty-four points. That's a heckuva game.
"Their guys played off of him and some of their other guys scored because of the pressure he put on our team. I thought it was an awesome performance."

There might not be a pair of better matchups between guards in college basketball than the two times Wolters and Oakland's Reggie Hamilton, who did this on Saturday to cap a 41 point, 4 rebound, 3 assist and 4 steal performance to win at Valparaiso, hook up.  That's a win that could prove crucial for the Golden Grizzlies, who go to Arizona tomorrow to try and match the win over a Pac-12 team that Wolters and his ridiculous statline from yesterday.  The two teams meet in just 11 days in Sioux Falls on December 30 - game 4 of the Summit conference season for each.  Both sit at 2-0 as we speak.  The Golden Grizz hung 59 on 'em in the first HALF in the Summit semis back in March en route to cruising to a 110-90 win (guess the over hit) but that team had a dominating inside presence in Keith Benson.  With both of these teams entirely backcourt orientated, it should be even more fun and could make the duel between Wolters and Hamilton all that much more important.

Now then, to today's games.

Monday, December 19
Howard @ # 17 Indiana (6:30 PM, BTN)
Indiana's going for its first 11-0 start since Gerald Ford was President.  Howard hasn't won 11 games in a season since George W. Bush was in his first term as President.  Now do you understand why this is a 28 and a half point spread?  That's one and a half more than the number of consecutive road losses the Bison will have after tonight!

Belmont @ Marshall (7 PM)
BracketBusters In December - Part I!  You should know about the Bruins from last year (they have EVERYONE back) whereas the Herd have already won at Cincinnati, crushed Iona and have two losses: by 2 to Ohio and by 6 at Syracuse.  This year's Belmont actually was its most impressive on opening night in a 1 point loss at Duke but has had some puzzling performances recently, most notably in a stunning loss on Saturday to Miami (Ohio.)  Damier Pitts and DeAndre Kane - maybe the best backcourt you've never heard of - gets it done against all of the visiting team's experience.

Mississippi Valley State @ # 11 Florida (7 PM, FS Florida)
There's no spread for this and thank God for the Delta Devils.  They're 290th in the Ken Pomeroy rankings.  Florida's 11th.  Florida has arguably the deepest backcourt in the country, rolling four deep with Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Brad Beal and Mike Rosario.  Mississippi Valley State has the worst 3 point percentage defense in Division 1 college basketball (45.2%.)  Oh hamburgers.

Lipscomb @ Memphis (7 PM, CSS)
Could they possibly blow this one too?  Nah.  Lipscomb lost at Tennessee Tech, for god's sake.

Nicholls @ # 5 North Carolina (7 PM, ESPNU)
It's not every day you see a 37.5 point college basketball spread but here we are.

N.C. Greensboro @ # 7 Duke (7 PM, ACC Network/RSN)
And yet if Carolina's not careful, they won't even win by the most on Tobacco Road tonight.

Cornell @ # 25 Illinois (8 PM, ESPN3)
Well it was only a matter of time before the scoring problems reared their ugly head against the wrong team at the wrong time.  Good thing Steve Donahue and Ryan Wittman aren't in Ithaca anymore.

Longwood @ Vanderbilt (8 PM)
Good night to work out the kinks.  Lancers have literally the worst defense in the country.

# 23 Creighton @ Tulsa (8 PM)
BracketBusters In December: Part II!  A lot of mid major guards are getting props this year - Wolters, Hamilton, Casper Ware at Long Beach State - but nobody ever talks about Doug McDermott.  He's only averaging 24.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  Bluejays will be looking to match or better what Valley title rival Wichita State did last week.  The two meet on New Year's Eve in Kansas.

Wyoming @ Denver (8 PM, ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain)
BracketBuster # 3!   The over/under for this one is 114 and that might be way too high.  We're talking about the 6th slowest team in the country hosting the 24th slowest.  We're talking about a defense that hasn't conceded 60 all season and one that has only given up more than 65 in its two losses to California and Iona - no shame in either.  Add in the altitude and somebody's not getting to 60 tonight.  Watch out for either team in March.

Portland @ Utah (9 PM)
CSU Bakersfield @ Colorado (9 PM)
The newest and probably worst basketball playing members of the Pac-12 both get a chance to fail further tonight.  The Utes host a team that's lost 8 of 9 and hasn't beaten a Division 1 opponent all season.  The Buffs get Rod Barnes' Roadrunners, who have dropped 4 of 5 themselves with the lone oasis being by 3 over Sacramento State.  If either loses...

Davidson v. # 12 Kansas (9 PM, ESPNU)
No, it's not quite PTI's April Fools but it's a decent litmus test for both teams at the Sprint Center.  Line is at about 13.5.  If KU's really thinking about defending its Big 12 crown from Missouri and Baylor, they cover that easy against a team that just lost by 23 at Charlotte.

Temple @ Rice (9 PM, CSS)
Owls led most of the first half at Texas before fading in the final 10 minutes.  I'm assuming they just went right to Houston for this one.  They should win this one comfortably but you never truly know with the Owls.

# 10 Marquette @ LSU (9 PM, SEC Network/RSN)
Trent Johnson's boys can play D.  They haven't given up 60 since before Thanksgiving.  That'll change tonight since they're facing a juggernaut of an offense (and a team.)  How long can they hang though?

Louisiana Monroe @ #21 UNLV (10 PM)
Warhawks are 1-10 with the lone victory over Nicholls.  Something tells me the Rebs shouldn't have their usual problems getting started early.

Southern Mississippi @ Arizona State (10 PM, FSN)
One just beat an in-state rival that's bigger than it.  The other just lost to one far smaller.

TCU @ USC (10:30 PM)
Scores of USC games this season: 66-59, 64-61 2 OT (yes, two), 56-54, 42-36 (this was a home Cal Poly), 65-62, 66-55, 63-60, 56-35, 55-40, 44-41, 63-59.  They are repulsive.  How the hell did the Horned Frogs beat Virginia?  They lost at home to Nebraska on Saturday - a real missed opportunity.  Now they're about to help set basketball back 50 years.

UC Santa Barbara @ California (10:30 PM)
BracketBusters in December, Part IV.  Wait, does the Pac-12 count as a BracketBuster league yet?  More importantly, can Jorge Gutierrez do to Orlando Johnson what he did to Damian Lillard?  The Gauchos are ruing that near miss at Washington even more after the Wolters show yesterday.  Here's their chance to make amends.  They won't, because Cal's a lot better than Washington - and possibly a lot better than people are giving them credit for.  Their SMALLEST margin of victory this year is 16.  But this is a good matchup for the Gauchos, who won't feel their size disadvantage like they often do in games like this.

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