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.

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