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.

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