Sunday, November 30, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 30

Already missed the game of the day in Texas/UConn.  That's okay, at least I can still take...

Texas San Antoino -8.5 v. Southern Utah.  Southern Utah.
Southern Utah won on a (few feet in front of) half court buzzer beater!  0-1

Texas Tech -10 v. Air Force.  Hard to call game because the Academy's three wins have been over Colorado Christian, Western State and The Citadel whereas Tech has barely covered this number in their three wins over unimpressive competition in Missouri State (bad), Northwestern State (worse) and Loyola MD (worsest.)  I'll take Tubby Smith because I've always liked him.

Kentucky -21 v. Providence.  KenPom only has this as a 14 point win for Kentucky, which tells me his formula doesn't factor in the Godliness of this Kentucky squad enough.

Stanford -7.5 @ DePaul.  DePaul got smothered at home by Lehigh.
Unbelievable from Stanford.  Unbelievable.  0-4.

Detroit -3 v. Bowling Green.  This seems generous but I've been wrong on a lot of my "this line is off" calls the past couple days.

Northern Iowa -7.5 v. Richmond.  Richmond hasn't really shown me anything yet this season.

New Mexico -9 v. USC.  I'm simply not taking USC in The Pit.

Delaware +30.5 @ Villanova.  This is a rivalry game.  The Blue Hens should be able to keep it within 30.

Southern Mississippi +3 @ Drexel.  A little worried about this pick but it's Drexel.

California -6 @ Fresno State.  What?  Cal's looked great so far and Fresno's 1-5.
And the no (wins) hitter is broken up.  By a point (although there were a few near-misses in those first 9 losses.)  1-9.

Miami (Ohio) -6 v. Elon.  Eww.

Michigan State PK v. Kansas in the Orlando (nee Old Spice) final.  Izzo's 4-1 against Kansas and this KU squad lacks its usual talent and has some rotation issues.
Marquette +2.5 v. Tennessee in the Orlando (nee Old Spice) third place game.  Coin flip.  Taking the points and the team who I've been right about twice in this event (although I didn't pick Tennessee/Kansas)
Rhode Island -2.5 v. Georgia Tech.  Now that I'm pretty sure you're decent, don't let me down Rams!

Valparaiso -3 v. Portland.  Thank God today is the end of all these neutral site tourneys with mid/low majors.
Murray State -9 v. Drake.  I mean, they should be at least able to cover a 9 point spread against The Drake.
A quarter as many pushes as wins!  4-11-1.

Western Michigan +2.5 v. San Diego in the Anaheim 5th place game.  The Toreros already beat the Broncos 77-70 at home on Monday.  If home court is worth 3 points, shouldn't USD be 4 point favorites here?
Long Beach State +7.5 v. Xavier in the Anaheim 3rd place game.  This too is a rematch that X won by 23 twelve days ago.  They shot the lights out in that game, which is unlikely to happen again and this one should be much closer.
Princeton -5.5 v. San Jose State in the Anaheim 7th place game.  Come on Tigers.  You have a proud basketball history.  Don't lose to San Jose State.

Tulane -7 v. Tennessee Tech.  Tulane's won 4 in a row by double digits against the gauntlet of Mississippi Valley State, Southern New Orleans, Southern and SE Louisiana.  At least they didn't lose by 12 to USC like their opponents.

Arkansas -12.5 v. Iona.  The O/U here is 168, which suggests a 90-78 final.  Yeah this will be high scoring.  I like Iona but it's just really hard to take a low major at Bud Walton, particularly when it plays the same up and down style but with inferior athletes & talent.

Maryland -22 v. VMI.  My Terps only got to 61 in a disappointing 5 point win over Monmouth after a comprehensive performance in KC to beat Iowa State.  They should be able to get well beyond 61 here.

Montana +9.5 @ San Francisco.  Just seems like a lot of points, also I'm kinda scared to pick against Montana after the WHUPPIN their football team put on San Diego yesterday.

Monmouth +14.5 @ SMU.  I'm digging the Hawks playing bigger schools tough this year AND I get to pick against SMU?

North Dakota State -4.5 @ Montana State.  Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Oregon -15 v. Portland State.  Vikings already won at USC but Oregon's a lot more competent than USC.

Colorado -16 v. Lipscomb.  I'm still bitter at Lipscomb for never giving city rival Belmont more of a challenge during their days in the Atlantic Sun.  The games between the two were always tight but the Bison could just never put it together for a full season.

Washington +4 v. UTEP in the Anaheim title game.  I wasn't sure what this line would be last night and the Miners as 4 points favorites seems generous, considering their last 3 wins are by 1, 6 and 4.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 29

No comments today.  Was almost too burned out to pick period.  There have just been too many games this week and there are a bunch more today (not counting what I've already failed to pick this afternoon.)

Massachusetts +7 @ Harvard

Oakland +6 v. Toledo

Davidson -11 v. UNC Wilmington

Illinois State -14.5 v. Youngstown State

Seton Hall -2.5 v. George Washington

West Virginia -14 v. College of Charleston

Dayton -17 v. Illinois Chicago

Kent State -7 v. Loyola Chicago

VCU -6 @ Old Dominion

Wichita State -14.5 v. Tulsa

Saint Mary's -12.5 v. Cal Poly

Loyola Marymount +7 v. UC Irvine

NC Central -4 v. Northern Arizona
Creighton -9.5 v. Middle Tennessee State
Cincinnati -1.5 v. Mississippi

CS Fullerton -3 v. Florida International
Wright State +6.5 v. USC Upstate

Missouri State -2.5 v. Washington State
Mercer PK v. Pacific
Colorado State -4 v. UC Santa Barbara

Portland -9 v. Drake
Murray State -2.5 v. Valpariaso

La Salle -2 v. Vanderbilt holy shit Vanderbilt seriously lost to Rutgers.  I seriously miss when they were a good SEC program that was nigh unbeatable at Memorial Gym.
Virginia -18.5 v. Rutgers

Saint Louis -1 v. Bradley.  Maybe my favorite pick of the day.
Mississippi State +3 v. TCU

North Dakota -6 v. Texas Pan American
Utah -24 v. Alabama State

Northeastern -11 v. Fairfield

Belmont -2 @ Ohio

Nebraska-Omaha -5.5 v. Nevada

Canisius +3.5 @ Buffalo

Wofford +3 @ William & Mary

George Mason -1 v. Manhattan

BYU -14.5 v. Eastern Kentucky

Arizona State -13 v. Colgate.  New favorite pick of the day.  In fact this is one of my favorite picks of the year so far.

New Mexico State +7 @ Wyoming

Albany +8 @ UNLV

Aside from the mentioned picks (ASU, SL), my favorites on the board are Illinois State, Seton Hall, Dayton and Kent State (the Chicagos are bad) and finally Cincinnati (I enjoy picking against Ole Miss basketball more than a person should.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 28

Ohio State -22.5 v. James Madison.  They almost always destroy the weak and the sad at Value City.
Well they had destroyed Sacred Heart and Campbell but the Dukes - a year removed from winning the CAA tournament, remember - proved to be a bit tougher.  No shame in a 73-56 win but it does me no good here.  0-1.

Providence -5.5 v. Yale.  Black Friday deal from Vegas, part 1!
Covered by a half point.  Okay, maybe it wasn't as big of a gift as I thought.  1-1.

Miami (FL) -21 v. South Alabama.  This is a tad too high and Miami still a tad bit too unproven (Florida clearly sucks right now and Charlotte might be mediocre tooo) to be Black Friday deal part 2 :(
Woof.  Canes D - which has been excellent this season - gave up FIFTY FOUR in the second half to wipe out a halftime cover.  1-2.

Boise State +7 v. North Carolina State.  Any chance I can take to pick against N.C. State I'm all over.
Covered by a point.  Vegas seems to be getting it closer to the pin in recent days, which makes sense.  We're all learning about everyone at this juncture.  2-2.

Cleveland State -1 @ Marshall.  Hopefully the other day was rock bottom for them and they'll start playing to their capabilities now.
Yeah they had 33 at the half of this one and won by 9.  3-2.

Arkansas -25.5 v. North Texas.  Have the Hogs supplanted Florida as the second best team in the SEC?  Maybe a bit premature to have that conversation but blowing the doors off Wake Forest and winning at SMU are both fare more impressive than anything the Gators have done.
The first #LateNightDrunkBet to fail!  The Mean Green went shot for shot with the Hogs from 3 (and from 2 as well....they just didn't shoot as many 2's.)  Still a comfortable 16 point win for the Hogs.  4-2.

Emerald Coast Classic

This is a new holiday tournament for this year on the campus of Northwest Florida State college in Niceville, Florida.  I'm just gonna consider it a homeless man's Orlando (nee Old Spice) Classic.

Southern +7.5 v. Northern Arizona.  I just have the feeling that if I pick against the SWAC team, I'll be wrong.
Covered by a half point in OT.  5-2.
Middle Tennessee State +8 v. Cincinnati.  "Middle Tennessee State +8" reminds me of "Jon and Kate Plus 8."  I should take Cincy for that alone but I don't trust them to blow out *anyone* right now.
Yeah that failed and then I trusted them to beat Mississippi and THAT failed.  Screw you, Cincy.  5-3.
Creighton -4 v. Mississippi.  I have a weird feeling about thi-ah fuck it, Black Friday deal from Vegas, part 2!
Oh so I DID kind of see this coming, apparently.  That's an iota of consolation.  5-4.

Orlando (nee Old Spice) Classic

Santa Clara +7 v. Rhode Island.  Points.
Yeah Rhode Island had a bad game against Kansas whereas Santa Clara's just bad.  5-5.
Georgia Tech -7.5 v. Rider.  Rider.
...covered by a half point.  Embarrassing from GT but that's nothing new from their basketball program.  5-6.
Marquette +12.5 v. Michigan State.  One of these days I'll stop giving Marquette respect because of the name on the front of the jersey (and how cool the colors on the jersey are in general.)  Today is not that day.
Covered by a point and a half!  6-6.

Battle 4 Atlantis

Butler +3.5 v. Georgetown.  Hey, a Big East game!  They played once last year and the Hoyas won by 3 in overtime at Hinkle.  The extra half point is the sell here.
The Butler did what The Butler does to big name programs.  If Oklahoma had done a damn thing since the 80's they probably would've beaten them too.  7-6.
Wisconsin -8 v. Oklahoma.  Badgers should win, just not sure by how much.
They won by 13!  Boy are they good.  Them and Duke is gonna be so nice.  I'm openly hoping Virginia treats us like we're Rutgers so I can give that game my full attention.  8-6.
UCLA -14 v. UAB.  Don't have a Portland Moment (mentioned a few days ago on here)
Missed by a bucket.  Blazers scored 43 against Wisconsin and 47 against Florida...but 76 here.  Maybe Steve Alford needs to work on defense a little more.  9-6.
North Carolina -5 v. Florida.  Yeah this is a Black Friday giveaway with Florida's form right now.
There are a lot of reasons I can't wait to do the first Bracketology (which I'm probably putting off until after the ACC/B1G Challenge since that will be full of seeding/bubble implications) but the potential of Florida-as-a-bubble-team might be # 1.  10-6.

Las Vegas Invitational

Prairie View A&M +7 v. Brown.  I've taken not one but TWO SWAC teams today.  Why.
Why is right.  10-7.
Stephen F. Austin -9.5 v. Austin Peay.  Seriously, Jacks, get your shit together.
They did such!  11-7.
Memphis -7 v. Indiana State.  I'd love to take the Sycamores if they weren't waffling around as much as Memphis is at the moment.
Covered by a 3 pointer.  12-7.
Baylor +3.5 v. Illinois.  Baylor's GETTING points here?
Yes because the other team had Rayvonte Rice and they didn't.  12-8.

USC Upstate Classic

Wright State -7 v. Florida International.  Isiah Thompson.
See this is why I hate these little tournaments with all small schools.  Wright loses to FIU then wins at host USC Upstate the next day?  Makes no sense.  Totally random.  12-9.
CS Fulleteron +5.5 @ USC Upstate.  The Big.....West rising tide lifts all boats?
It did not.  12-10.

Wooden Legacy

Xavier -6.5 v. UTEP.  This is a trap for my X.  UTEP might think it's on its home floor today with all the orange and blue on Fullerton's court.
Right I was.  I had legitimate reason to distrust the Miners - they only beat Washington State at home by 13 - but they're good and should fancy their chances in the title game against Washington.  12-11.
San Diego -5 v. Princeton.  I've just come to expect Princeton basketball to disappoint any time it shows remote signs of life (like yesterday.)
Yep.  13-11.
Western Michigan -7.5 v. San Jose State.  San Jose State.
Yep.  14-11.
Long Beach State PK v. Washington.  This begs the question - could the 49ERS go .500 in Pac-12 play like the Huskies did last year?  Honestly, I think they could give it a real go (I think they'd probably end up 7-11 or something though.)
Nice win for the Huskies to stay unbeaten and they should be slight favorites over UTEP tomorrow night.  Or maybe not, I don't know, that's a hard game to call.  But that's for tomorrow.  14-12.

Great Alaska Shootout

Missouri State -5.5 v. Alaska Anchorage.  Please don't lose.  Some of us still remember when the Bears were a quality Valley outfit.
They didn't lose!  But they didn't cover either :(  14-13.
Washington State -6 v. Rice.  I mean....a Pac-12 squad should never, EVER lose 71-43 to a Big West school on a neutral floor.  They've gotta play with more pride today.  It also helps that Rice is sub 300 on KenPom which is one of the main criteron for picking against.
Only won by a bucket.  This Wazzu team could be as historically bad in Pac-12 play as that football team was a few years ago when USC beat 'em 69-0 and most everyone else in the Pac-12 hung 50-60+ on them.  14-14.
Colorado State -12.5 v. Pacific.  Colorado State/UCSB should be a kind of interesting title game here.
Point and a half miss.  Getting really sick of those.  14-15.
UC Santa Barbara -10.5 v. Mercer.  Hopefully the Gauchos can handle the dramatic step up in competition.
It took overtime but Alan Williams and his 22 points, TWENTY rebounds and SIX blocks carried the Gauchos through.  It was competitive in OT though so no cover.  14-16.

NIT Season Tip Off

Minnesota -3.5 v. Georgia.  Thanksgiving should have given the Gophers a nice chance to regroup after blowing that St. John's game.  Georgia actually impressed me by staying somewhat within arm's length of the Zags though.
Oh hey a half point cover!  I'll take it considering I'm staring down my first under .500 day in a while.  15-16.
Gonzaga -6.5 v. St. John's.  If the Zags are as good as everyone thinks they are, they need to win this by double digits.  Unless of course the Johnnies are about to make a major statement on their home floor.
Oh hey a second half point cover!  And suddenly look who's back at .500.  16-16.

Challenge in Music City

Nashville's a holiday tournament destination now?  I guess it makes sense.  Gravy and country music go well together.

Valpariaso -5.5 v. Drake.  The Drake.
Valpo looking good these past couple of days.  They should be their usual Horizon threats of some sort.  17-16.
Murray State -2.5 v. Portland.  This SHOULD be a Black Friday giveaway if Murray remotely has its shit together.
Yeah they don't.  17-17.

Barclays Center Classic (another one?!)

Vanderbilt -5 v. Rutgers.  I mean, St. Peter's just won by 18 at Rutgers.
Hopefully Vanderbilt had a serious conversation about potentially folding basketball after this loss.  17-18.
Virginia -15 v. La Salle.  So this particular Barclays Center event only exists for Vegas to hand out money to people.  I see.
No, it exists to remind us that Virginia's offense is.....spotty, at best.  17-19.

Corpus Christi Coastal Classic (CREALLY?!?)

Bradley +8.5 v. TCU.  I am the 4.4% (who picked Bradley.)
Saint Louis +2.5 v. Mississippi State.  Jim Crews vs Rick Ray.  Also if you google Rick Ray it says he's 2 years old in the info box on the right side.
Extra extra!  Talent often much more important than coaching in basketball!  And the Billikens are sorely lacking in it at the moment.  18-20.

Alabama State -2.5 v. Texas Pan American.  It's a hat trick of SWAC picks!
And I went 2-1 in them!  Not sure I'll be doing it again any time soon or ever though.  19-20.

Utah -24 v. North Dakota.  The Utes are just screwing themselves by not even remotely testing themselves before Wichita comes to town on Wednesday.
But hey at least they got to beat a completely helpless foe by 37.  After how rough things were for the Utes when they first entered the Pac-12, I guess I can't blame them for wanting to feast on the weakest and saddest now that they can.  20-20.

IPFW +3.5 v. Dartmouth.  I'm getting points against Dartmouth?  Thanks!
Big Green hit a 3 at the buzzer to win but I still win!  21-20.

Maryland -15 v. Monmouth.  Still not getting a whole ton of respect I see.
Ugly, ugly 5 point win.  But Monmouth has now given West Virginia and Maryland decent fights and their other loss was by 4 in overtime.  They look like they can defend a little bit, which could make them a player in the Northeast Conference race.  21-21.

St. Peter's -13 v. Tennessee State.  They can win by 4 points less than they did at Rutgers, right?
They can not!  They could only win by 10 points less!  21-22.

Samford +25 v. Louisiana Tech.  Just don't think LA Tech deserves this big of a number right now.  Hope I'm wrong, I'd love to be back on that bandwagon.
Yeah, only lost by 13.  This number was way off but even if I were betting money it's unlikely I would've had the stones to put any on freaking Samford.  22-22.

Nebraska -17.5 v. Tennessee Martin.  Now I'm even more pissed they lost to Rhode Island after the Rams got rammed by Kansas yesterday.
URI may have still been an acceptable loss.  Only beating the Skyhawks by 11 is less acceptable.  22-23.

Indiana -22 v. UNC Greensboro.  UNC Greensboro.
Good lord they can't even beat UNC Greensboro by double digits?  They've completely regressed to the early Crean years, haven't they?  22-24.

UT Arlington -4.5 @ Montana State.  Montana State.
Sure, just give up 18 threes and let one of the 20 worst teams in the country hang 104 on you.  Go ahead.  Make my day.  22-25.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 27 (Happy Thanksgiving)

Orlando (nee Old Spice) Classic

Tennessee -5.5 v. Santa Clara.  This REEKS of the kind of upset you often see at these Turkey Day tournaments - feisty mid/low major versus mediocre major.  But it's a West Coast team flying East and I still kind of like Tennessee.
Covered by a point and a half.  Not a great look for Tennessee but the game that matters is tomorrow.  1-0.
Kansas -8 v. Rhode Island.  Look, the Rams will magically turn in to a pumpkin on a neutral floor.  Actually have no faith in this because I have no faith in Kansas.
Free money (that I didn't make) part 1.  2-0.
Michigan State -15 v. Rider.  Thought this would be a higher number.
Free money pt 2.  3-0.
Marquette +4.5 v. Georgia Tech.  They're winning this.
Correct!  4-0.

Wooden Legacy

UTEP -7.5 v. Princeton.  My grandfather's a Princeton grad.  It's sad that he has to see his school reduced to this.
They actually covered by a point and a half!  That's actually disappointing from UTEP but like Tennessee it won't matter an iota if they can take down X tomorrow.  4-1.
Xavier -10 v. San Diego.  Maybe I'll have to get him to jump on the X bandwagon with me.
Covered by a point.  The X magic continues!  82 more for that offense which might be one of the best in the country - it certainly has been thus far.  5-1.
Long Beach State -3 v. Western Michigan.  WMU might win this straight up, that's a suspiciously low number so this might be Vegas daring LBSU bets or something but I gotta go with the Beach close to home.
If that's what Vegas was doing than it messed up bigtime.  18 point win for the 49ERS.  Not that it means much but best Thanksgiving performance by a 49ERS outfit.  6-1.
Washington -12 v. San Jose State.  San Jose State.

Battle 4 Atlantis

Oklahoma -3.5 v. Butler.  TaShawn Thomas should be able to prevent 29 offensive rebounds, yes?
He did!  Ugly but convincing win for the Sooners.  They can announce themselves as a player on the national stage with a win tomorrow against the BADGERS.  8-1.
Georgetown +9.5 v. Wisconsin.  SOMEBODY'S gotta push them eventually, right?  Right?
Right.  9-1.
North Carolina -4.5 v. UCLA.  Most high profile loser's bracket game of all time?
DOMINANT performance from UNC.  Classic Paige performance especially.  Just when you start doubting that he can pretty much single handedly dominate a game he does that.  Just like I'm dominating these picks for no money.  10-1.
Florida -14 v. UAB.  I always feel bad for the one school who's completely overmatched in one of these.  Usually it's Chaminade or whatever MAAC team is at the Orlando Classic.  A few years back it was Utah.  Remember when Harvard beat Utah like 72-47?  That was hilarious.
Yeah, the time to be talking about Florida as a potential bubble team is drawing nearer and nearer.  It can draw a lot nearer if UNC pastes them like they did UCLA.  10-2.

That Other Vegas Tournament

Brown -5 v. Austin Peay.  Austin Peay.
Oh dear.  Oh Brown.  Oh why did I ever....just whatever.  10-3.
Indiana State +13.5 v. Illinois.  God, I'm rooting so hard for them to cover.
No such luck.  10-4.
Stephen F. Austin -13 v. Prairie View A&M.  It's like Vegas thinks it's Christmas instead of Thanksgiving with this free money it's giving away.
Holy fuck they didn't cover by a point.  Officially time to start asking some serious questions about SFA.  Not that they'll get an at large or anything but they may not even be Southland favorites if we're paying attention.  10-5.

USC Upstate Classic

Florida International +8 @ USC Upstate.  USC Upstate just lost to UCF.
Isiah Thompson'd myself.  10-6.
Cal State Fullerton +6.5 v. Wright State.  I want the points here too.
Straight up win by 5.  In the bookmaker's favor, how the hell was this line supposed to be right?  Fullerton lost to USC and beat San Jose State by four.  Bad teams on a neutral floor, especially mid/low majors, is basically just tossing dice.  11-6.

Stony Brook -8.5 v. Long Island.  Seawolves are good, but not good enough for this to be a higher number.  So that's nice.
Won by 19.  I mean, Julian Boyd ain't walking through the door.  12-6.

Western Kentucky +1 v. Saint Joseph's.  Saint Joseph's is an ongoing catastrophe.
Only lost by 3!  Catastrophe showing signs of improving?!  13-6.

Great Alaska Shootout

Mercer -6.5 v. Rice.  Rice.
Juuuuust missed an OT cover.  13-7.

Baylor -3.5 v. Memphis.  Memphis lost to a D2 school.
Yes.  Yes they did.  14-7.
UC Santa Barbara -7 v. Washington State.  Poor Washington State.  If it hadn't been a *good* low major I'd have taken them.
It should literally be impossible for any Big West school to beat any Pac-12 school 71-43.  Given the dynamics of California recruiting and money in college athletics, that just seems like a thing that just flat out should not be possible.  But when you're a groundbreaking level of bad, anything is possible.  15-7.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 26

Missed Butler doing Butler things in Atlantis against UNC.  As I thought, UNC's not nearly as good as the preseason hype they received and I think they'll have a much tougher time of it in a deeper ACC if they don't things together.  They trailed almost the entire second half and were down as many as 14.  The main thing was they got DOMINATED on the boards, giving up 29 offensive rebounds (Butler had 25 in their first three games combined) and lost the rebounding battle 56-40.  As for Butler, Roosevelt Jones (the guy who hit the buzzer beater against Gonzaga on Saturday Primetime a couple years ago) has really stepped in to this team's marquee player role and they just did it how Butler does it against big time opposition in tournament settings.  And now they'll get the chance to do it again tomorrow against....

UCLA +2 v. Oklahoma in the second Atlantis quarterfinal.  This might be the game of the day; it should a shootout between two evenly matched teams who run really good offense.  Really tough pick.  I'm taking UCLA for two reasons (1) the points (2) Oklahoma seemingly has blown every big game its had in both football and basketball since forever.
Nope.  Good game but the Sooners seemed to be in control throughout.  Buddy Hield shot it well and with TaShawn Thomas now eligible they look a considerably more dangerous outfit.  0-1.
Wisconsin -23.5 v. UAB in the third Atlantis quarterfinal.  Normally I would take UAB since they'll be up for a neutral site shot against # 2 but the Badgers have just crushed and killed everything.  Can't pick against them right now.
Killing machine.  Them and Duke next week is going to be epic.  I might complain about that being on at the same time as Maryland/Virginia every day until then, starting now.  1-1.
Georgetown PK v. Florida in the last Atlantis quarterfinal.  The struggles of the Gators have been well documented.  We don't know anything about the Hoyas yet but I like them on paper and the Big East rising tide should lift their boat.  Seriously, the only two losses the conference has right now are Marquette's.
My man SMITH-RIVERA won it in overtime.  This was a back and forth game - probably the game of the day after the Maui final.  Both teams have some quality and are very interesting, Florida perhaps because it might be much closer to the bubble than it's used to being.  2-1.

East Carolina -2 v. Hawaii at the Dunk City tournament that never ends.  Seriously, what the hell is Hawaii doing in this?  Just stay on the island for Thanksgiving!
Evansville PK v. San Francisco at the Dunk City tournament that never ends.  I'm so sick of picking games between these awful teams.  Make it stop.
Green Bay -2 @ Florida Gulf Coast.  Hey, finally the one watchable permutation among these teams!  Kiefer Sykes and Brett Comer might be one of the best low major PG battles of the entire season.  I just like the Phoenix a wee bit better.
Green Bay by FOURTEEN.  And Dunk City didn't even get to 50 on its home court.  Really impressive win.  4-2.

Missouri -13.5 v. Chaminade in the Maui 7th place game.  They got humiliated yesterday and humiliated when losing to UMKC.  Hopefully that's enough humiliation for them.
Half point cover.  5-2.
BYU -1.5 v. Purdue in the Maui 5th place game.  Maybe the most hilariously off line of the season.  Seriously they're only giving a point and a half after taking a very good SDSU to the wire and scoring a hundred and twenty one yesterday?!?
Ooooooooooof.  Cougars lose in two overtimes Monday night and essentially at the buzzer in overtime tonight but all the resume is gonna say is L L to San Diego State and Purdue.  5-3.
Pittsburgh +4.5 v. Kansas State in the Maui 3rd place game.  I like the Cats and my dude Marcus Foster a lot more than Pitt but this should be not-aesthetically-pleasing and I want the points.
Yeah, the Wildcats were a little spent from pushing Arizona last night.  Great win for Pitt though and really shows off how their grinding style can still benefit in a tournament format.  6-3.
Arizona -5 v. San Diego State in the Maui final.  It's always interesting when these two hook up.  This is their fourth straight year facing each other and the third time it's on a neutral floor.  SDSU won in Tucson in 2011 but the next year that Nick Johnson block won the Diamond Head Classic and then last year Arizona won a tight one in the Sweet 16.  Both have lost the key pieces from most of those matchups but both have reloaded.  I'm taking the Cats here because I think they got their scare last night and I still have question marks about SDSU's offense when an elite defense really locks down on them like the Cats will tonight.
Had the push then jerkweed SDSU guy hit the 3 at the end.  Whatever, the points were probably the right idea.  This was within the spread for a large majority of the game and was always going to be a real fight between all these local guys on a neutral floor for a tournament title.  As usual though, Arizona's just a bit better.  6-4.

Wisconsin Milwaukee PK v. Oral Roberts in the MGM Grand event in Vegas, which may or may not be an actual tournament.  Two low majors I kinda like but who've both pissed me off at different points in the young season.  Both should still make noise in their conference races.
Auburn -2.5 v. Oregon State in Vegas.  This would be a great quarterfinal in a worst Power 5 conference program tournament.
Half point miss.  6-6.
Oklahoma State -3 v. Tulsa in the Vegas title game (?)  This game would be a lot more interesting if it were somewhere in Oklahoma.
Yeah, this line was WAY off too.  I don't know if I (and Vegas) gave Tulsa too much credit or OK State too little.  Probably lots of both.  7-6.

Western Carolina -8 v. Chicago State in the final day of CBE regional at Oakland or whatever.  Chicago State.
I *wanted* to believe Chicago State was on its own unique level of bad.  7-7.
Oakland +8 v. Georgia State.  I think GSU wins but the Grizz put up a real fight on their home floor.
Pretty much spot on.  8-7.

Minnesota -1 @ St. John's in the first Preseason NIT semifinal.  I like what I've seen out of the Gophers so far versus I've seen nothing from the Johnnies.
Oh dear.  The Gophers fell apart in the second half of the second half and the Johnnies basically just outfought them for a really good win and a crack at an elite win on its home floor tomorrow.  8-8.
Gonzaga -12.5 v. Georgia in the second Preseason NIT semifinal.  This really might hold up as the worst line of the year.  Boy did I screw up in not finishing up college and getting a salaried job so I could put much if not all of that salary on the Zags tonight.
For once, I did not screw up!  Of course Gonzaga wins by 12.  Of course.  8-8.

Miami Ohio +4 v. Virginia Tech at the ballroom in Cancun.  OF COURSE all these stupid regional tournaments on random mid major campuses go on forever and the cool event with the bouncy rims and the random dead spots on the floor and the cool ass purple and green court only lasts two nights.  Anyway, Virginia Tech.
Oh look another wish upon a star pick fails miserably.  8-9.
Northern Iowa -6.5 v. Northwestern at the ballroom in Cancun TITLE GAME.  Going against my better judgment that this will be close and trusting that UNI is legit.  Won at SFA which is impossible to win at, blew out VT (fine this isn't super impressive)....I'm backing them against a team I've faded all year.  Don't disappoint me.
Dickie V shouted out Northern Iowa on Twitter tonight!  How cool is that?!  One of seven 6-0 schools, sharing company with Kentucky, Duke and Arizona (and Eastern Michigan!), the way they just washed out two garbage power conference programs on a neutral floor in a ballroom in Mexico was just dominant and clinical.  9-9.

Utah -26.5 v. Texas Pan American in the UTAH TOURNAMENT.  Seriously if you're gonna create a four team podunk little tournament that seemingly only exists for you to blowout the crappiest of the crappy, please blow them out.
And they did!  10-9.
Alabama State +1.5 v. North Dakota in the UTAH TOURNAMENT.  I'll stop short of saying I "like" a SWAC team but the Hornets and Texas Southern kinda come close.
I took a SWAC team.  10-10.

Alaska Anchorage +3.5 v. Pacific in the Great Alaska Shootout.  Pacific seems like EXACTLY the team who might lose to the hosts here.
I took a division 2 school.  10-11

Richmond +5.5 @ North Carolina State.  I almost took Richmond over NDSU in my FCS playoff bracket yesterday but then I thought way better of it.  I'll settle for taking them against maybe the school I enjoy rooting against the most in college sports.
Ugh.  They led early and were in it the whole first half, only trailing by a point at the break....but they faded in the second half to lose by 12.  Spoiler alert: I probably won't be taking them when they go to Northern Iowa on Sunday.  10-12. 

Davidson -1.5 @ UCF.  Both these programs have seen better days.  This line surprised me at first because I thought UCF was better than they were last year.  Nope.
Yeah wow holy shit UCF is bad.  11-12.

Louisville -23.5 v. Cleveland State.  I definitely thought Louisville had played Cleveland State multiple times in recent years or at least once.  Nope.
Yeah wow holy shit both of these teams were bad.  11-13.

Loyola Marymount -7.5 v. UC Riverside.  UC Riverside.  Also LMU actually started 10-4 last year with wins over BYU and at the Pyramid in Long Beach.  They could be feisty in WCC play this season.
This was the Western Carolina/Chicago State pick all over again.  I gotta stop picking terrible teams to cover big numbers.  11-14.

Iowa -17.5 v. Northern Illinois.  A theory of mine is that NIU's football program has been so good it's detracted from the awareness of how bad their basketball program is.

Utah State +2 @ UC Davis.  Not sure why a 9 win team from last year that has three wins this year over a non D1 school, Eastern Illinois (298th in KenPom) and Furman (311th.)  Those last two games were on the road and they won by 2 and 3 respectively.  USU isn't anything special this year but they're a lot better than those teams.
The coach's son hit a 3 to send this to overtime where the hosts took it by 7.  Nice heart warming win for holiday season.  Cold crippling loss for me.  12-15.

California -13.5 v. Cal Poly.  The Bears have been one of the season's early pleasant surprises under Cuonzo Martin.  We have a Tennessee coach who was wrongfully hated thriving in parts outside of Knoxville (L. Kiffin), can we get a hoops coach doing the same?

Duke -41 v. Furman.  Think that might be the first spread over 40 I've seen this year.
They were within a 3 of covering by halftime.  14-15.

Morehead State +2.5 @ Marshall.  Just seems like a decent upset spot.
Ooh, nice!  15-15.

Canisius -1.5 @ Cornell.  Can't this game just get snowed out?
It didn't and Canisius lost.  15-16.

West Virginia -22 v. VMI.  Don't think the Mountaineers will have very many shooting problems tonight.
They hit 100 so yeah they didn't.  16-16.

Eastern Kentucky -9 @ Southern Utah.  Southern Utah.
PUSH.  dammit.  16-16-1.

CS Northridge -5.5 v. Portland State.  I'm so sick of taking Portland State and being wrong.
So I go against them and I'm wrong!  16-17-1.

Ohio State -30.5 v. Campbell.  Richard Sherman plugging Campbell's soup to kids and calling it healthy in his fake presser yesterday was hilarious (and probably wrong.)

DePaul -9 v. Lehigh.  Can the Big East's rising tide lift the Blue Demons?
Of course it can't, what the fuck kind of question was that?  16-19-1.

South Carolina -13.5 v. UNC Asheville.  UNC Asheville's not quite bad enough that writing simply their name is rationale enough for me but they're pretty bad.
Hey a half point cover to finish us up (well other than the Alaskan game below that's just starting now.)  17-19-1.

Colorado State -8 v. Missouri State in the Great Alaska Shootout.  Three wins out of three against decent to good low major programs is enough for me.  Plus I remain skeptical of the Valley in general - I almost took Northwestern for god's sake.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 25

Houston +10.5 @ Harvard.  Kelvin Sampson's boys already won at Murray State (who is admittedly scuffling to start the season and he seems to have infused them with confidence.  Also they get EVERYONE back next year so this could be a mid major to watch next year.

Kentucky -32 v. UT-Arlington.  Hopefully the Mavericks can score quicker than Savannah State did.

Southern Mississippi -11 v. Troy.  Troy.

Hofstra +2.5 @ South Florida.  Just seems way too obvious but frankly I really don't want to pick USF and I've long liked both the Flying Dutchmen and Joe Mihalich in general.

Pennsylvania +12 @ Temple.  Ugh.  Philly has been a tire fire other than Nova this year.  Gimmie the points.

Akron +7 @ Penn State.  One of two Charleston rematches today.  The most lopsided of PSU's three Charleston games went to double overtime.  Why not take them to have another close game against a program that showed well in 2/3 games against power 5 competition?

Arkansas +4 @ SMU.  I don't care that Arkansas is maybe the worst road team in the history of ever.  Picking against SMU keeps on working.

Texas San Antonio +3 v. Loyola Chicago.  Home dog.

Charlotte +6.5 v. Miami (FL).  And here's your Charleston title game rematch.  But the real question is why didn't we get a USC/USC game today too?  Anyway the 49ers are basically a lock to play much better tonight and familiarity and all that.

Colorado -14 v. Air Force.  Prediction: Colorado tops 33 by halftime.

Cal State Fullerton +5.5 @ USC.  Protesting USC because they should be playing USCe.

Delaware +24.5 @ Stanford.  Can't shake the feeling that's too many points and I'm gonna feel like - and call myself - a dumbass when the Cardinal win by 30+.

Wisconsin Green Bay -3.5 v. Evansville.  Still at Dunk City these games are.  This could be a good one.

Florida Gulf Coast PK v. San Francisco.  Home team pick 'em.

BYU -16.5 v. Chaminade in the Maui consolation bracket.  Too much offensive firepower to offset losing a double OT war like 15 hours ago.  The Silverswords meanwhile will just be looking to put out a better performance than Missouri did today.
Kansas State +9 v. Arizona in Maui semifinal # 1.  Just think this is gonna be a real battle for the Cats.  Maybe I'm a night too soon.
San Diego State -2.5 v. Pittsburgh in Maui semifinal # 2.  Free money.  It's like whoever made this line forgot Pitt lost to Hawaii.  This isn't a serious line, is it?

Bucknell -9.5 v. Maryland Eastern Shore.  Maryland Eastern Shore.

Detroit +9 @ Toledo.  Maybe the top two teams in the Horizon getting tough road/neutral site tests tonight (forget Cleveland State because they lost to god damn Savannah State.)

Georgia State -10.5 v. Western Carolina.  Neutral site game but that near miss at Alabama is getting WCU points it doesn't deserve here.  Ron Hunter's boys seem to be hitting their stride.

Oakland -13 v. Chicago State.  Chicago State.  Also, Grizzlies might very well top 100.

Northern Iowa -8 v. Virginia Tech in Cancun.  Virginia Tech.

Miami (Ohio) +8 v. Northwestern in Cancun.  Move over Atlantis, this is the NEW headline tournament of Feast Week.

Arizona State +4 v. Alabama in the CBE third place game in KC.  Illogical pick here kinda, just thinking that Bama's gonna drop a deuce on the court tonight after coming up short against ISU.
Iowa State -4.5 v. Maryland in the CBE title game.  Free money.  I'd emotionally hedge on this if Maryland basketball were capable of making me feel emotions anymore.

VCU -5.5 v. Oregon in the Legends Classic third place game in Brooklyn.  Just think the Ducks will play in to Havoc's hands here.  Plus my Alabama theory applies for Oregon too.
Michigan +5 v. Villanova in the Legends Classic title game.  Principled pick because Michigan's getting a few points it shouldn't just because Nova got super hot in the second half last night.

William & Mary -10.5 v. Western Illinois.  Really weird game but I like one team and not the other.

Virginia -35 v. Tennessee State.  If the Virginia offense is getting a 35 point spread, you KNOW the opponent is a special kind of awful.

Bowling Green -7.5 v. SE Missouri State.  See two picks up.

Florida State -21 v. The Citadel.  The Citadel.

St. Peter's +9 @ Rutgers.  Does Rutgers EVER blow out its lesser NJ competition?  Like, ever?

Nebraska Omaha +15 @ Nebraska.  Obligatory "why's the best team in the state getting 15 points?" joke.

Creighton -17 v. Eastern Illinois.  Did you know Tony Romo AND Jimmy Garoppolo went to Eastern Illinois?

Middle Tennessee State -7 v. Northern Arizona.  MTSU hasn't shown me anything yet but this is a gut feeling pick.

IUPUI +9 @ Drake.  The Drake.

Boise State -14.5 v. Idaho.  If this doesn't have a potato themed trophy (that Boise would always win) it needs one.

Oral Roberts -4 v. Louisiana Lafayette in Vegas.  Odd line.

Monday, November 24, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 24 (Maui)

Already missed picking Weber State -1 v. Nevada at the Paradise Jam.  I would've likely been on Weber but we'll never know.

Quickly getting these 2:30 and 4/4:30 starts out of the way then hopefully I'll have the rest up by sundown.

Kansas State +2 v. Purdue in the first Maui quarter.  Love this spot.  Honestly think K-State's the better team but the Wildcats are getting faded because of a loss at a really tough place to play against a really good low major (the Beach.)  Boilers have had three easy blowouts but this is a big step up in competition.  Also when in doubt, pick against Purdue.
#emaw led pretty much the entire way.  Really nice win for them and now they get their shot at their fellow Wildcats.  Have to say 88-79 was more points than I was expecting too.  1-0.

Evansville -6 v. Fresno State at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Dunk City.  Really don't like taking either team  in this spot so I'll go with the one significantly closer to Florida.
Pushes suck for tabulation purposes alone.  1-0-1.

Clemson +1 v. LSU.  Total public fade - only 11% of the money is on them.  Also I'm operating under the assumption that a turdy ACC team can beat a turdy SEC team.  This ain't football.
Probably a case to be made that LSU's got the most underachieving athletic program in the country.  2-0-1.

Detroit -15 v. Maryland Eastern Shore.  Maryland Eastern Shore.
Ughhhh Detroit TRAILED by a bucket at the half....and then gave up a bucket at the end to swing this.  Definite demerit for Detroit here.  2-1-1.

Georgia State -18 v. Chicago State.  Chicago State.
This was 36-13 at the half.  3-1-1.

Michigan State -15.5 v. Santa Clara.  That's a reallllly long trip to the Izzone.
Yes it is.  This covered by 11 and a half, by the way.  4-1-1.

Florida International +5 @ Georgia Southern.  #neverforget
Missed by a point.  Adrian Diaz for FIU and Jelani Hewitt for GSU both went for 33.  4-2-1.

Iowa -15 v. Pepperdine.  Hawkeyes could definitely be caught sleeping after a disappointing trip to NYC.  But Pepperdine's traveling even further and also they are not good.
Sleptwalked.  4-3-1.

Brown +19 @ Illinois.  Jesus, Illini just keep getting huge spread after huge spread.
Brown led by 4 at the half.  Brown did not cover.  4-4-1.

San Diego -4 v. Western Michigan.  The road dogs actually have almost 60% of the money which is understandable: getting 4 points with a good MAC team is tasty.  But the Slim Gym is still the Slim Gym and traveling across the country is still traveling across the country.
77-70.  5-4-1.

Florida Gulf Coast -12.5 v. Marist.  If they can't beat a paltry Red Foxes team by 13, Georgetown should be retroactively awarded the victory in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
ohhhhhhh they just BARELY get to keep their win.  But the San Diego State one got taken away because this was tied at the half.  6-4-1.

San Francisco -6.5 v. Hawaii.  This too is at FGCU.  Hawaii just beat Pitt and yet they're 6 and a half point dogs to a middling WCC school on a neutral floor.  That tells you how bad they are away from the island.
A 54 point second half allowed the Dons to cruise.  Pitt couldn't even score 40 in a half against the Rainbows.  7-4-1.

Old Dominion -6 v. Gardner-Webb in the Paradise Jam third place.  Would love this a lot more if it was a point or two lower but I still don't think very much of GW, who beats crappy power conference schools from time to time (DePaul a couple years back, Billy Gillespie's Kentucky getting GRAYSON FLITTNER'D back in 07) but never comes up with a very good finished product.  Also I still like my Monarchs.
Didn't need the point or two because ODU doubled it up.  8-4-1.

Seton Hall -3 v. Illinois State in the Paradise Jam final.  Wow what a huge scalp this would be for the Redbirds and for the Missouri Valley in general.  But I'm on the Pirates bandwagon for now.  Could be Kevin Willard's best team yet.
Pirates got out 30-9 but gave up 53 in the second half.....but good thing it wasn't 54 because they won by 4.  8-5-1.

Missouri +15 v. Arizona in Maui quarter # 2.  This may be selective memory but sometimes it takes the favorite to really get rolling on day 1 in this tournament, even if they're playing Chaminade (not the case this year.)  Syracuse got pushed in this exact time spot last year but Minnesota was a lot better than Missouri.  Still, the Tigers should be fired up for this and they'll come out and play hard, especially with nobody giving them a chance and the Cats have been spotty in almost every game this season.  Boy I just wrote too many words for what's gonna be an ass whooping.  Oh well.
lol all that.  Just a bad day for Missouri all around.  8-6-1.

Pittsburgh -16.5 v. Chaminade in Maui quarter # 3.  No more Christope Variedel (the guy who went for 42 against Baylor last year) for the hosts and you know the Panthers won't be messing around after that embarrassing loss to Hawaii.
Alternatively, Pitt's not good enough to beat Chaminade by 17.  8-7-1.

Wisconsin Milwaukee +3.5 v. UL Lafayette in the MGM Grand Main Event in Vegas.  They played Auburn A LOT more competitively.
Yep, straight up win 56-52.  Lafayette scored 14 points in the first half and 38 in the second #variance.  9-7-1.

Oklahoma State -12 v. Oregon State in the second game in Vegas.  The number here feels like an admission that we don't know if the Pokes are any good or not, which is fair, but it seems exceedingly likely to me that they're at least good enough to beat a dreadful Pac-12 team by 13.
Make remarks yesterday about how I'm actually good at this and not just getting lucky with 1 point covers, get lucky with 1 point covers for like every correct pick today.  10-7-1.

Toledo -10.5 v. Bucknell.  Been wrong about the Bison plenty of times already.  They seem pretty bad and this line is small if Toledo's as good as they looked at VCU and Oregon.
Yeah, the Rockets might be.  They just put a whippin on the team who almost beat Villanova (and as we'll get to in a bit, Villanova looks pretty good!)  11-7-1.

Oakland -6.5 v. Western Carolina.  Really do not like this line, especially considering WCU gave fights to Mississippi State and Alabama.  But I do like Oakland's offense.
Maybe the craziest game of the day.  Catamounts led by 12 at the half.  Then Oakland hit a 3 point play to force OT.  Then Oakland hit a 3 pointer to force DOUBLE OT.  And then Oakland scored literally a point per minute in 2OT to lose by 9.  11-8-1.

Maryland -4.5 v. Arizona State in the first CBE semifinal in KC.  The last time we were in this, we got rekt by the Kevin Love UCLA team.  This Pac opponent should be easier.  I'm skeptical about my Terps....but also cautiously optimistic for now.  56% of the money on the underdog Sun Devils shows the public doesn't share my optimism and they are probably right.
ASU went 14/27 from 3 to keep this close throughout but 31 from true freshman point guard Melo Trimble, who I've been looking forward to ever since he signed and he obviously took a great first step in continuing the storied lineage of the Maryland point guard.  We'll see what happens tomorrow night against Iowa State.  12-8-1.

Iowa State -6.5 v. Alabama in the second CBE semifinal in KC.  This is free money.  Bama's going in the right direction but they're about to face a Cyclone side getting people back and that will be in front of a home crowd basically.  This might be close for a while before the psuedo hosts pull away or it could be a WHIPPIN like the two the 2012 Missouri team dished out to Notre Dame and Cal on back to back days.
Boy did the Cyclones mess around here.  But they still found a way to cover and that way was Georges Niang being a beast.  13-8-1.

Villanova -1.5 v. VCU in game 1 of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.  65% of the money is on the Rams and I'm a little surprised it's not even higher.  Nova's been shaky in two of its three games but I think they step their level up tonight.  They'll definitely have the crowd on their side in Barclays and my man RYAN ARCIDIACONO should be able to handle Havoc.
Uh, yeah.  Nova led by 2 at the half before VCU had a nice start to the second half and went up by 4 at the 18 minute mark before they just got BLITZED.  Final score Villanova 77, VCU 53.  Wow.  77-53 over VCU; that's gonna look pretty on a resume for seeding purposes.  14-8-1.

Michigan -5.5 v. Oregon in game 2 of the Legends Classic.  This too is free money.  This is Oregon's first game on a normal basketball court and they got a bit of a fight from Toledo in their last game, although they had a little less trouble with Detroit than the Wolverines did.  The crowd should favor Michigan and even if it didn't I'd still take them here without a second thought.
Oh but they got a FIGHT though.  Oregon really showed well tonight, hanging in the whole way.  15-8-1.

Indiana State -12 v. Austin Peay.  63% of the money on Peay?  What?
Yeah I'm done with ISUb.  ISUr is where it's at.  15-9-1.

Xavier -10 v. Murray State.  I actually like the Racers here.....but I'm not going against my number one pet love of the season thus far.
Fine, not even I thought they'd look this good thus far.  This was 52-32 at the half.  Against one of the top low majors in the country.  Of course, this has been an IMMENSELY disappointing season thus far for the Racers but it really doesn't matter until conference play.  16-9-1.

Indiana -12 v. Eastern Washington.  Ugh.  Wanna go the other way here but I just feel like the Hoosiers are due for a comprehensive performance.  I dunno.  They're one of the harder teams to figure out thus far this season.
No, they're not.  They suck and I should've jumped on the obvious upset potential.  Good for EWU though.  That was their first EVER win in front of a crowd of more than 10,000.  Think about that.  16-10-1.

Kansas -17.5 v. Rider.  Rider.
Covered by 10.  Yeah, this was way too low.  17-10-1.

Portland State -10 v. SIU Edwardsville.  SIU Edwardsville.
Why have I banished SIU Edwardsville to "their name alone is reason enough for picking against"?  They might be the best SIU!  Even though they lost this by a triple in OT.  17-11-1.

Marquette -20.5 v. NJIT.  NJIT.  (also Golden Eagles are gonna be piiiiiiiiiiiissed)
No, they're slighly better than Indiana.  17-12-1.

Auburn +4.5 v. Tulsa in the third [Vegas game.]  There's Auburn!  And they're getting points!  I like Tulsa too but I like the points.  This just feels like the sort of event where Pearl's gonna get his team way amped up to play.  I probably just think that because it's in Vegas and he's Bruce Pearl but whatever.
I like points more than Bruce Pearl's team does.  They couldn't even get 40 of 'em.  17-13-1.

BYU +3.5 v. San Diego State in Maui quarter # 4 and easily the best of the lot.  I can't wait for this.  Part of me thinks Tyler Haws might just get swallowed up by the SDSU D but this feels like a really tight game.  Crowd should be fantastic for both sides too and this could end up being a massive bubble tilt, especially for the Cougars, who really REALLY need that Pitt game instead of Chaminade tomorrow.  This is great.  Now please don't be like SDSU's last game against a team from Utah.
This lived up to the hype and then some.  What a game this was.  Honestly was probably the highlight of my week.  Except for the part where I missed the pick.  17-14-1.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 23

Missed the early games because I refused to pick late last night with many of the lines not being out.  Without looking at spreads I can tell you I would have won on Wofford and Youngstown State and lost on Charleston so I'm a pretend 2-1?  Anyway.

Providence +4.5 v. Notre Dame in Mohegian Sun.  60% of the money is on the underdog Friars.  Maybe because they've shown us something and ND hasn't?

Fairfield -1.5 v. South Dakota.  This makes no sense and 80% of the money on South Dakota makes even less sense.  The common results against the other teams in this little tourney (Wofford, Sam Houston State) are lopsided in favor of the Coyotes but I'm still taking the hosts.

Eastern Michigan -15.5 v. Longwood.  Still picking against Longwood.

N.C. State -15 v. South Florida.  South Florida has struggled in each of its three wins, which is bad because those wins are over Flagler (who), Jackson State and UAB (in overtime.)  Big step up in competition.

Georgia -15.5 v. Florida Atlantic.  Bulldogs have been quietly impressive thus far since the opening night loss to rival Tech.

Washington -13 v. Pacific.  Huskies struggled with Seattle but that was in Seattle.  Pacific's not good enough to be getting this few points.

Saint Mary's -3.5 v. UC Irvine.  Ooh sneaky good California mid/low major matchup.  I'm not sure if I like the Anteaters enough to take them in Moraga.

UCLA -10 v. Long Beach State.  Ooh sneaky good California major/low major matchup.  But this feels like a bit of a letdown spot for the Beach having to go to Pauley Pavilion just days after the exhilirating home win over K-State.

Dayton -5.5 v. Boston College in the Puerto Rico third place game.  BC should really be in the final so they're probably dejected.  Flyers got handled by the champs so they'll be aiming for a considerably better performance today.
Connecticut -4 v. West Virginia in the Puerto Rico championship.  Crazy line.  Amazingly, the money is split on Bookmaker.  I have to imagine a lot of rich Husky fans are hammering their team in Vegas or offshore though.

Posting now because it's 2:30 and a couple tips are happening, update to come

Navy -1 v. Binghamton at Mohegan Sun.  Binghamton.
Northeastern -3 v. Manhattan in Mohegan Sun.  The bookies haven't adjusted for the Huskies yet?

USC +6.5 v. Penn State in the Charleston 5th place game.  Taking a leap of faith here but I think PSU's drained after its first two games and I still can't quit Andy Enfield.
South Carolina -6.5 v. Akron in the Charleston 3rd place game.  Too generous to Akron.
Charlotte +8.5 v. Miami (FL) in the Charleston championship.  Wow that is a lot of points for an underdog that's shown its worth and a favorite who still might not be good enough to run away in a championship game.

Louisiana Tech -28.5 v. Presbyterian.  Presbyterian.  Honestly I think this line might be 5 points too high but....Presbyterian.

Kent State -1.5 v. Yale.  Uhh....what?

Samford +8 @ UMKC.  Take the Roos.

Towson +5 @ Monmouth.  Feels like a close game either way.

Seton Hall -7 v. Gardner-Webb in the Paradise Jam.  This might be my new favorite line of the day.

Old Dominion -4 v. Illinois State.  I'm starting to fall in love with the Redbirds again though.

Eastern Illinois +18 @ Cincinnati.  Dumb underdog pick of the day.

Kentucky -39 v. Montana State.  This is about the biggest spread you can get.  Been looking forward to it all week.

North Texas +6.5 v. Iona.  I still love my Gaels but this is a weird, long road trip.

Vanderbilt -19 v. Tennessee State.  Tennessee State won 20 games in 2012 and gave Murray State its only loss before the NCAA tournament (at Murray.)  Then their coach left but they still won 18 games in 2013.  Last year, they won 5 games.

Northern Arizona +15.5 @ Mississippi.  Another shot at a sneaky decent low major going to Ole Piss?  Yes please!

Colorado State -16 v. Mercer.  The team who beat Duke is pretty much all gone.

Creighton -11.5 v. NC Central.  The MEAC's best team over the past couple years is still strong, but weakened.  And as Oklahoma learned earlier this week, it's really hard to play well at Qwest for 40 minutes.

Ohio State -26.5 v. Sacred Heart.  Sacred Heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 22

Virginia Tech -15.5 v. Appalachian State.  Virginia Tech's bad.  In ACC play, they're really bad.  But Appalachian State's a special kind of bad always.
Apparently VT is too.  Wow.  Just wow.  0-1.

Western Michigan -13 v. Drake.  Fading The Drake.
As previously established, The Drake is bad.  1-1.

North Carolina -13 v. Davidson.  This can be close with the right good Davidson team or the wrong bad UNC team.  Neither exists this season.
The Fighting Steph Currys actually had this tight early in the second half before UNC pulled away.  2-1.

Mississippi State -4.5 v. Utah State.  The Aggies are unbeaten but they're begging to be tagged.  I'm taking a leap of faith here I'm not ready to take with the Bulldogs but Utah State just seems due for a bit of a butt kickin.
8 points isn't a butt kickin but it is a cover!  3-1.

Texas San Antonio +1.5 v. Texas State.  The new Texas twins in FBS!  I'll take the home underdog (and the one with the better football program.)
TSU was up by 7 at the half and lost by 13.  It's just hard to win on the road, man.  4-1.

Detroit -10.5 v. South Alabama.  I don't love that line but I love USA even less.  Wait, um....
USA is great, just not the University of South Alabama.  5-1.

Cal State Fullerton -7 v. San Jose State.  I'm just not taking San Jose State.
I defend my actions.  5-2.

Indiana State -6.5 v. Brown.  This is still a good Valley program against a mid tier Ivy one.
Ho hum another line that was off that I knew was off and yet didn't win money on it.  6-2.

Nebraska -1 @ Rhode Island.  Uhh.....what?  This is a crazy line.  How is this basically a pick 'em?  Rhode Island won 14 games last year!  They bring back a lot but so does Nebraska!  Dan Hurley has the Rams going in the right direction but Tim Miles has the Huskers even further in that direction!
Of course Rhode Island was winning.  Of course.  6-3.

William & Mary -6 @ Rice.  The only reason this line isn't way off too is because that's a pretty far trip west for a team that could very well clank a lot of 3's far from home.  But I like them and I don't like Rice.
Wasn't a bad line after all, Tribe won by 4.  6-4.

Elon +14 @ Northwestern.  It's just too fun to go against Chris Collins right now.
OH THEY WERE UP THE WHOLE WAY, UP 8 WITH 4 MINUTES TO GO AND THEN UP 5 WITH 2 MINUTES TO GO IN OT AND THEY LOST.  0-18 watch is officially on (again) for Northwestern.  7-4.

Texas Tech -5.5 v. Missouri State.  Bears are gonna win this and I'm gonna feel like a moron for ever believing in TT.
Oh right Missouri State has fallen off a cliff just like the rest of the Valley.  8-4.

Wyoming +2 v. Colorado.  The Buffs are GOOD.  But it's really, really hard to win at Wyoming when Larry Shyatt has that defense going.  This could be fun, too bad it's not on TV.
Well it was fun if you're a Wyoming fan or hate Colorado!  Wow.  NINE points in the second half for the previously high flying Buffs.  56-33.  Amazing scoreline.  9-4.

Wisconsin -17 v. Boise State.  Yeah Derrick Marks is about to get swallowed up.
Four wins out of four for the Badgers by an average of 30.  10-4.

Hall of Fame Tip Off (Uncasville, CT)

Notre Dame -3.5 v. UMass.  Gonna go with the rising tide lifts all boats theory with ND and the ACC for now.  Minutemen haven't really impressed me so far this season.
Florida State -1.5 v. Providence.  I don't feel great about this but I'm not going against FSU's defense when most of Providence's top offensive weapons from last year aren't there anymore.
Uh holy shit FSU.  If not for Colorado that's the most embarrassing performance of the day.  11-5.
Manhattan -13 v. Binghamton.  Binghamton.
Northeastern -13.5 v. Navy.  Really not sure what to make of the Midshipmen though I'm thinking they're just bad and got way up for Michigan State for easily understandable reasons.  But I like the Huskies so I'll take them.
13-5 and another 3-1 in a tournament's quarterfinal round.  I'm sure that'll end next week.

CS Northridge -10 v. Samford.  Samford pushing Pitt makes a lot more sense now that Pitt lost to god damned Hawaii.
Samford becoming a team I'm always wrong about.  13-6.

UMKC +5 @ Arkansas Little Rock.  What?  The team that won at Missouri is 5 point dogs to a bottom half Sun Belt team?
Hahahahahahaha Arkansas Little Rock > Missouri.  13-7.

Ball State +3 @ IUPUI.  Idea I had just now - why don't all the Indiana low major programs all play each other and play for some sort of trophy based on combined record?  Indiana's a crazy enough basketball state that you could probably get away with this.
IUPUI wins by 2 at the buzzer in OT!  See, my idea would be fun!  14-7.

Marquette -16.5 v. Nebraska-Omaha.  Nebraska-Omaha's somewhat on the rise for a brand new Division 1 program so maybe they can provide some resistance here for an unspectacular Marquette team.
And now "somewhat on the rise" is officially "on the rise" as UNO hangs NINETY SEVEN at the Bradley Center and won by 8.  14-8.

VMI -3.5 v. UNC-Wilmington.  VMI!  POINTS!!!
That's right!  They scored 93 of them!  Unfortunately they gave up 110 of them.  14-9.

Eastern Washington +14.5 @ SMU.  Ponies are probably still reeling a bit from a tough defeat at Indiana and having already matched up with Gonzaga as well they might be underestimating a sneaky Big Sky contender.  Plus I'm just digging fading SMU.  Maybe it's the football team rubbing off.
Exactly right.  15-9.

Belmont +2 @ Western Kentucky.  Another crazy line to me.  I still think the Bruins are the better team and I'm sure as shoot that they'd be more than 1 point favorites if this were in Nashville.
Belmont wins by a point.  This line was wrong.  16-9.

St. Bonaventure -7.5 v. Canisius.  Canisius isn't getting enough respect as an awful MAAC program with this line.
ST. BONAVENTURE IS BAD.  When will I get this?  16-10.

Tennessee Tech -3 v. Chattanooga.  Chattanooga.
Missed by a point.  16-11.

Furman +2 v. UC Davis.  A host underdog welcoming in a crappy west coast team flying east?  Yes please!
No.  Not even with manners, no.  16-12.

Portland -13 v. SIU Edwardsville.  SIU Edwardsville.  Though shout out to Portland's run in the Anaheim holiday tournament a few years back.  They beat UCLA like 71-46 in that.  Most random tourney run maybe in organized tournament history.
Pilots had covered by halftime.  17-12.

Indiana -29 v. Lamar.  Lamar has kind of done a UNLV over the past few years only more exaggerated and less publicized.
Hahahahahaha Indiana can't properly blow out bad teams.  17-13.

New Mexico State +5.5 @ UTEP.  They might be the better team and they'll probably come out more fired up than they have all season for the rivalry date.
Aggies blew a 12 point halftime lead to lose by a point.  Tough lost.  18-13.

Friday, November 21, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 21

Oh my goodness there's a lot today.  Let's just get the tournaments out of the way to start.

Puerto Rico

Texas A&M -8 v. College of Charleston.  That A&M/Dayton game yesterday morning was amazing.  For the final 33 minutes or so it was played within a 5 point spread and much of that it was a one possession game.  Strangely, I'm picking the Cougars to be more dejected today after losing yesterday to the champs.  They played above their heads yesterday.
The Aggies sleepwalked through the first half but then got it together to barely cover this.  Did not come away from this impressed with them though.  1-0.

Connecticut -3 v. Dayton.  This line's a point or two too low due to the champs struggling yesterday.  And maybe Dayton's getting a little too much respect still from a nice three game stretch in March.  A&M is a decent major program at best and they played the Flyers even the whole way.
As I suspected, this line was off.  That's gonna be a theme here.  Huskies had a little trouble early then pulled away, just like yesterday.  2-0.

Boston College +9 v. West Virginia.  Still no respect for the Golden Eagles, huh.  And why?  Because WVU trashed a clearly-bad George Mason?  Come on.  As I noted yesterday, Hanlan/Staten should be fun.
BC was up 11 at the half but the Mountaineers shot 60% in the second half to come back and win by 4.  This was a disrespectful line to them either way.  3-0.

New Mexico -6.5 v. George Mason.  Early favorite for my favorite favorite of the day.
Good thing I bet money on all this!  Oh wait no.  4-0.


USC -2 v. Drexel.  I may just pick against Drexel literally every game this season.
Oh no it's a push and the perfect dream is over.  This too was a tale of two halves, with USC coming back from down 12 at recess to win by a bucket.  4-0-1.

Miami (FL) -8.5 v. Akron.  Line's a point or two too low because Akron clocked USC.
Line was apparently many points too low.  The Hurricanes continue to look excellent, although Florida didn't quite prove itself to be good today.  5-0-1.

Charlotte +2.5 v. South Carolina.  They're underdogs here?!  Maybe they'll be tired from yesterday but I honestly think they might be the better team.  At least this is the only really fascinating game here today unless Akron's gonna do it like they used to do it.
Yet another second half comeback.  49ERS trailed by 7 at the break but ended up winning by a basket.  Now they'll play back to back games with Miami - the title game on Sunday before they host the Canes on Tuesday.  6-0-1.

Penn State -13 v. Cornell.  I mean, it's DJ Newbill.  He should be able to cover this by himself.
He was not!  And he very nearly wasn't enough to even lead them to a win!  Yeah the Nittany Lions have serious problems but maybe Cornell's not nearly as bad as the basement Ivy League projections everyone had.  6-1-1.

Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)

Gardner-Webb +6.5 v. Clemson.  Let's just say I think Clemson has some serious problems with "offense" as a general concept.
They also have problems with "calling timeouts when they don't have any."  G-Webb wins because of a C-Webb.  Who would've ever thunk it?  7-1-1.

Nevada +7 v. Seton Hall.  Another underdog.  Stuff can get really weird in the Virgin Islands as opposed to other tournaments because there's often a total dearth of high quality major teams.
Missed it by a point, although the Pirates led by double digits much of the way.  I likely underestimated them.  7-2-1.

Old Dominion +2.5 v. LSU.  Make it 3 for 3.  This is a no brainer pick for me given my Monarch love and how much LSU struggled at home with Texas Tech to close out the marathon.
LSU was up 15-3 7 minutes in to the game.  By halftime they trailed by 3 and they went on to lose.  The SEC might be even worse this year than last year.  8-2-1.

Weber State +4.5 v. Illinois State.  And the clean sweep.  An even easier call given the Valley's problems as a league in general.
Really disappointing home result for Weber.  Strange how they dominate the first half at the Spectrum at Utah State but they fall behind by SIXTEEN at the half on their home floor to a decent, maybe good Valley team.  8-3-1.

Michigan State -18.5 v. Loyola-Chicago.  Ramblers are really bad and this is a perfect bounceback game for Izzo's boys.
This was always going to be a blowout.  This line not being at least 20.5 was yet another Vegas mistake.  Easy for me to say of course but things just felt incredibly predictable in general today.  9-3-1.

Virginia -13.5 v. George Washington.  I just like backing that pack line when the number's that low against a somewhat decent mid major.
Case in point - Hoos were sluggish and only scored 22 in the first half but then the D stepped up in the second half, the offense followed and a 37-16 final 20 minutes produced a cover.  10-3-1.

Oregon -6.5 v. Toledo.  This is a little low because of how good the Rockets looked at VCU.  That wasn't across the country.  I mean, this isn't to say I love Oregon or anything but they usually handle their business in home nonconference games against low major competition.
Similar deal for Toledo as the Stuart Siegal Center was.  Performed well for much of the game but once the home team was able to extend the lead a little bit, they weren't able to find a way back in.  11-3-1.

Georgia -17.5 v. Troy.  Troy at least used to have a decent football program.  It's always been a disaster in basketball.
I almost feel bad for Vegas.  It's tough to give a team like Georgia a whole bunch of points but on the flip side 17.5 just isn't nearly enough for Troy.  12-3-1.

Florida -21.5 v. UL-Monroe.  Yeah, they're gonna be pissed off against a bad opponent.
Maybe they were!  They just didn't show it in their play.  They're very depleted right now and lacking confidence.  They really need to regroup before entering a loaded-as-usual Atlantis field.  12-4-1.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee +16.5 @ Oklahoma State.  16.5 is A LOT of points for a pretty good Milwaukee going in to Gallagher-Iba to face a somewhat underwhelming OK State.
Yep, just a couple points too high.  Today would've been a great day to be actually making bets.  So many things so easily seen to be off.  13-4-1.

UC Riverside +23 @ Utah.  I'm not taking Utah to cover 23 damn points after Tuesday afternoon.
I knew I was wrong when I was taking Riverside and I did it anyway.  There's just no defending it so time to move on.  13-5-1.

Louisville -28 v. Marshall.  They're locked in right now.
Another bad pick.  This was way too high but Louisville's been crushing and killing everything much like the other national title contenders so it was easy to get seduced in to this.  13-6-1.

Georgia State +6.5 @ Colorado State.  .....?  Yeah it's tough to go to Fort Collins but this is still a lot of points for a team that could very well win outright.
Giving up 51 points in a half isn't what Ron Hunter coached teams do.  Like so many others, they had the lead at the half and then they didn't.  13-7-1.

Cal Poly -8.5 v. Delaware.  Probably gonna be kinda hard to go across the entire country and score on a really stout D when all your scorers from last year are gone.
A 22 spot in the first half proves that one.  Dominant start to finish win for the Mustangs.  There are actually a number of interesting Big West teams in the early going.  14-7-1.

Long Beach State +2.5 v. Kansas State.  They're almost always up for their home shots against major conference competition because they're so infrequent compared to the road trips.  And The Pyramid is The Pyramid.  And K-State is unspectacular.
Here's one of them.  Man, a lot of times I do well I feel like it's lucky or a fluke but today it was just things that I expected to happen happening just about how I expected them to happen.  15-7-1.

Pittsburgh -13.5 @ Hawaii.  Stopover on the way to Maui for the Panthers.  Remember when that got a top 5/10 Michigan State on their way over a few years back?  That probably won't happen here because Hawaii is really not good.  Lost at home to High Point during the Marathon.
Well hopefully the Panthers will give us a double overtime classic like the 05 Spartans did!  Wow.  Just wow, Pitt.  15-8-1.

Illinois-Chicago +10 v. Yale.  This is at Kent State for the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic.  Maybe a slight travel advantage for the Flames, who come to Ohio every year for league play?  I'm just not sure Yale's good enough to blow away a team like this on a neutral floor.
I was right!  Unfortunately they won by 12.  15-9-1.

Southern Illinois +4.5 @ Kent State.  This would make me believe in #theresurgence just a little bit more....
#thersurgence is dead.  And I don't think it's coming back to life.  15-10-1.

Central Connecticut State +4.5 v. Towson.  This is in West Long Branch New Jersey at Monmouth and I'm grabbing the points because I don't think either's much better than "quite awful."
But Towson's definitely a little bit better.  Meh.  15-11-1.

Monmouth -13 v. Bethune-Cookman.  MEAC school.

Syracuse +3.5 v. Iowa.  Boy the Orange dropped a stink bomb on the Garden last night.  There's no way Boeheim lets them play that poorly and listlessly two days in a row.  Iowa got out nicely against Texas but faded away in the second half like it was March all over again.
Orange played with a point to prove in the first half before trying to out-Iowa Iowa down the stretch but Iowa wouldn't let them.  Some serious problems in Western New York continue to need to be fixed though.  17-11-1.

Texas -5.5 v. California.  The way the Horns bounced back so dominantly after falling behind early in a tournament setting on a neutral floor against a good team was really encouraging and I continue to buy in to them.
They've definitely looked the part of Final Four contenders thus far.  18-11-1.

Youngstown State +10.5 @ Eastern Michigan.  I just can't back Eastern Michigan to win by double digits right now.
And look they only won by 9!  19-11-1.

UNC Greensboro -8.5 v. Longwood.  I just don't want to take Longwood.
Longwood won but really there were no winners here, least of all me for having to pick between these two 300 level teams.  19-12-1.

Stanford -7.5 v. UNLV.  This is the first game at the Coaches vs. Cancer at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  UNLV's just a disaster this year, barely scraping by Morehead State and Sam Houston State.
Jeez I didn't know it was THAT bad of a disaster.  Losing by 29 in a preseason tournament in New York City when you're a program with the history and brand of UNLV is honestly beyond embarrassing.  Dave Rice needs to be fired.  He's completely lost that program.  20-12-1.

Duke -17 v. Temple.  And this is game 2.  Just a case of I'm not picking against Duke right now after whooping MSU on Tuesday.  Also Temple 40, American 37 was a thing that happened.
Blue Devils rolled throughout.  Okafor dominated in the first half.  Winslow dominated throughout.  Temple continues to be mediocre but they at least put up a fight after Duke first got up 20 in the second half.  They could've just folded up like UNLV.  21-12-1

Wofford -4 @ Fairfield.  Early returns on them are saying they might be the best of the low majors this year.
Another atrocious line.  The Stags have gotten progressively worse under Sydney Johnson, who never did anything spectacular at Princeton before surprisingly leaving to go to Bridgeport and replace Ed Cooley.  22-12-1.

Sam Houston State -5.5 v. South Dakota.  This too is in Connecticut.  That's hilarious to think about a small Texas team and a South Dakota team in Connecticut.
BEARKATS hit a three to force double OT before covering by a three.  That would've been epic to have real money on.  23-12-1.

Morehead State +10.5 @ Louisiana Tech.  They've impressed me so far and the Bulldogs, who I liked before the season, haven't.
Alright, fine, I got lucky with a few close covers.  24-12-1.

American -13.5 v. Presbyterian.  Presbyterian.
I could've wrote that Presbyterian was gonna have a hard time getting to 40 and they didn't but I decided to stick with just "Presbyterian."  25-12-1.

Georgia Tech -8.5 v. IPFW.  It really IS hard to determine which of these mediocre major vs low major games will end up being close and which won't.  Just guessing here.
I guessed right!  By a half point.  26-12-1.

South Dakota State -11.5 v. North Dakota.  Mismatch between the Dakotas.
Oh wow the Jackrabbits were down 10 with 5 minutes to and stormed back to win by a bucket.  Maybe Nate Wolters showed up to play?  26-13-1.

Austin Peay +22.5 @ Illinois.  If Georgia Southern can easily cover 26.5 why can't Peay cover this?
Because they're really bad.  26-14-1.

Iona +4 @ Wake Forest.  Wow.  Iona would be favored on a neutral floor, this is a steal.
And they won by 4.  Seriously how the hell did they get FOUR points after that Wake catastrophe at Arkansas earlier this week?  27-14-1.

Washington State -13 v. Idaho State.  Big difference between really bad Pac-12 team and really bad Big Sky team.
Okay here's a miss by a point so it's not all good luck.  27-15-1.

Oral Roberts -2.5 @ Oregon State.  This is just a funny line.  Not that it's wrong, it's just hilarious.
Also hilarious was the Golden Eagles.  Hilariously bad, that is.  They honestly might not have a conference loss that's more embarrassing than 55-42 to Oregon State.  27-16-1.

Kentucky -28.5 v. Boston University.  Kentucky.
....sleptwalked through this, predictably.  But I was never gonna go against them after Tuesday so whatever.  27-17-1.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

College Basketball Picks - November 20 (Puerto Rico & Charleston)

A tabulation of yesterday to come probably after I wake up tomorrow.  But we've got morning games!  Or a morning game anyway.  But that's the way it's gonna be - the Marathon was just a taste.  Games throughout the day and night because that's just how it goes when we have tournaments.  We'll whip through the rest of Thursday's games first before focusing in a little more on the titular tournies at the end.

Michigan -18 v. Detroit.  The Bucknell prediction was one of the worst predictions in a generation.  I'm not going against the Wolverines for now.

Harvard -16 v. Florida Atlantic.  They're PISSED and they're BAD, respectively.

Maryland -17 v. Fordham.  The first Terp line of the year!  We've looked pretty good in early blowouts of Wagner and Central Connecticut State.  They're both really awful.  But Fordham is too!

Indiana +2.5 v. SMU.  A lot of these early picks are staking belief in one team or the other - or a lackthereof.  This is a stake of (dis)belief in SMU.

UAB -2.5 v. South Florida.  I feel kinda bad for South Florida.  I mean like they never really got their moment to shine in the Big East for the few years that they were there and when they did, they played the most unwatchable form of basketball maybe ever to basically negate it.

Southern Mississippi +12.5 @ Alabama.  Alabama only beat Western Carolina by 6, that's reason enough alone.

Loyola Marymount +12.5 @ Arizona State.  Arizona State didn't even get to 50 and only won by 10 against Bethune Cookman, that's MORE than reason enough alone.

Texas -5.5 v. Iowa in the first 2K Classic semifinal at the Garden.  These are really fun too tomorrow night!  I'm really buying the Longhorns right now and I'm even starting to get on that Big 12 title hype train - although that one's not entirely because of them.  We'll get to see what's up with Iowa this season in this one too.
California +5 v. Syracuse in the second 2K semi.  I was wrong about this in the tourney a few years ago when I had Cal to the Sweet 16 out of the 12 hole.  I'm back for revenge.

Niagara +8.5 @ St. Peter's.  Might be the worst game of the day.

Idaho +8.5 @ Northern Illinois.  Oh boy.  This is actually worse.

Eastern Illinois -2.5 v. UC Davis.  This is pretty bad too.

Northern Arizona +1.5 v. Fresno State.  There's some sleeper love out there for NAU.  This would be a good spot to see any signs of life on that.

Denver +10 @ Saint Mary's.  This is kind of a crazy line.  Okay, maybe it's not when you consider the Mary's just whacked a favorite of a better league but that was the Marathon and that was more at their speed.  Pioneers should be able to slow this down in front of a considerably less rowdy audience.

Tennessee -18.5 v. Texas Southern.  SWAC team.

Villanova -20 v. Bucknell.  Bitter at Bucknell pick (though the Cats are starting to cruise now.)

UCLA -27.5 v. Nicholls State.  Those really bad Southland schools might be the most overlooked and/or just overall forgotten in all of Division 1.

Now, to the first tournaments of holiday season.

Puerto Rico Tip Off
Dayton +2 v. Texas A&M.  Dayton as slight dogs in a day 1 tournament kickoff?  Yes please!  This is a true 50/50 quarterfinal game with the implications potentially paramount for schedule strength purposes, given that the other quarter in their half of the bracket is....
Connecticut -14 @ College of Charleston.  ...the defending national champions and the low major hosts.  UConn may or may not cover depending on how much it sleepwalks through this but they'll need to be ready for the Flyers or the Aggies in the semi.
Boston College +5.5 v. New Mexico.  That's a couple points too high for what wouldn't be too much of a shock if the Eagles won this.  Olivier Hanlan has been largely forgotten but he could very well have a big bounceback season and we know he can do it in tournament settings.  One of two interesting major vs mid major matchups in this half.
West Virginia -8.5 v. George Mason.  Here's the other, although this could very well be a dud if the Patriots are just bad.  Or it could be a low scoring, ugly dud if Juwan Staten isn't shooting well.  But it's an obvious can't-lose for the Mountaineers, who are in the Big 12 bubble discussion at best, which will make it interesting if they're in trouble late.

UConn's the clear favorite here.  New Mexico/West Virginia might be an interesting semifinal if it comes to be - the alternative of Staten and Hanlan dueling is fun too - and the best first round game is the first first round game, tipping off in about 7 hours from when this post is published.  It's Puerto Rico so weird stuff is almost sure to happen at some point.  The defending champs being in a tournament automatically makes that tournament fun but there's four or five other teams here who are various levels of intriguing too.

Charleston Classic
Akron +1 v. USC.  Maybe the most solid MAC program (although they're rebuilding a bit) against an utter tire fire of a Pac-12 program?  This is actually a much harder call than that because it's such an odd intersectional matchup and both are in their own sort of transitional periods right now.  Either winner will feel like they can win the tournament - it's a VERY weak field.
Miami (FL) -9 v. Drexel.  The tournament organizers had to be pumping their fists when the Hurricanes won at Florida.  The favorites become a bit more noteworthy giants now and luckily they start out with a team who is likely too offensively feeble to bother them even if they come out lackluster, which is likely in what's going to be a....muted atmosphere compared to the O-Dome on Monday.
Charlotte +3 v. Penn State.  A LOT of returning experience on both sides as young teams look to continue to grow up here.  The pick is the 49ERS, partly due to geographic advantage but mostly due to more of the most realistic possible results of this game falling on their side of the line.
South Carolina -13.5 v. Cornell.  This could be like a home game, the gym should be packed with Gamecock supporters.  Not that the players may even need it as Cornell is really bad and seems wildly overmatched even for a tournament as mediocre as this one, kind of like when the Old Spice Classic has a Marist or somebody there.

Jesus this is a bad field.  At least two of the top three teams are local - although the psuedo home team is likely to be South Carolina.  And yes, it's very confusing that the College of Charleston is NOT in this tournament but in the other tournament that starts on Thursday.  The likely final is Miami over South Carolina though a title here would really give the Frank Martin era the jump start it needs.  There's probably going to be a lot of ugly basketball here.  It's just a rough mix of teams.  But hey, it's a tournament and tournaments are great.