Saturday, December 20, 2014

College Basketball Picks - December 20

Charlotte +13.5 @ Georgetown
As I figured, this would be a real test for the Hoyas.  They look like a team that's going to be on the bubble all year long and missing their shot against Kansas might end up keeping them out of the tournament.  Long way to go though and at least they held on for this one.  1-0.

Cincinnati -1.5 v. VCU
Speaking of bubble teams, will the committee give aneurysm credit to the Bearcats for their ugly loss here without their head coach?  Mick Cronin will miss another game and hopefully he gets his health straight.  Just from his on court demeanor it's not a huge surprise this happened - the guy practically looks like he's going to pop blood vessels most of the time.  Have always liked him though, especially after the way he handled himself and his team after the brawl with Xavier a few years ago.  1-1.

Michigan -1.5 v. SMU
The nightmare season for the Wolverines continues.  Looks like an NIT year for them unless they win double digits in the Big Ten or make a deep tourney run.  1-2.

Louisville -12.5 @ Western Kentucky
The logic for this pick was that the team would get its stuff together over Montrezl Harrell called them out last week.  Instead, he fought someone and the Cards got fought the whole way by a tough WKU team.  This is an interesting little in-state rivalry that I hope continues.  The big in-state rivalry is Saturday.  1-3.

Syracuse +11.5 @ Villanova
This was free money; this was always going to be close.  Brutal loss for the Cuse here after leading the whole way, most of it by double digits.  But a collapse in the final 10 seconds of regulation before an offensive no-show in overtime robbed them of what would have been a marquee win to shield them from bubble trouble.  Now things could get interesting, especially if they mess around with their soft early ACC slate.  2-3.

North Carolina PK v. Ohio State  (Chicago)
Big win for the Heels.  Another flat performance in a marquee game for the Buckeyes until it was too late.  3-3.

Providence -5 v. UMass
Sadly, it looks as if the Minutemen are back in to obscurity.  That's a shame, I've really enjoyed their fun, quality teams these past few years.  4-3.

Missouri +11 v. Illinois (St. Louis)
More free money.  This is almost always close and Saturday was no exception.  What a dagger by Rayvonte Rice at the buzzer though.  The neutral in me hopes he just goes HAM to carry the Illini to the tournament in 2015.  5-3.

Penn State -6.5 v. Drexel (Allentown)
Another win for the Nittany Lions, who are now 11-1 although none of the wins are against remotely quality competition.  Still, the confidence has been sufficiently boosted going in to B1G play and overachievement is possible, especially given how weak the league looked this weekend.  They almost let this one get away against a bad team though, so still cause for concern, and of course they blew the cover.  5-4.

Georgia Tech -3 v. Vanderbilt
Second half comeback for the Jackets to win by 5.  I'm interested in both of these teams going in to conference play though.  Are they both decent?  Mediocre?  Will one surprise while the other fades to the bottom?  We'll see.  6-4.

South Florida +6 @ Florida State (Sunrise)
6 just wasn't enough points here.  I think I still give South Florida too much respect and treat them as a Big East program.  That needs to stop.  Though I still do remain bullish on the Noles but they'll do what they do in ACC play - D up and give people a hell of a time.  6-5.

Butler -3 v. Indiana (Indianapolis)
HUGE win for the Hoosiers and a great performance as well.  When that offense is humming, this is a fine team.  Any questions about Tom Crean's job security should be laid to rest if they hadn't already.  As for the Bulldogs, chalk up one more piece of evidence that they aren't as good as they looked in Atlantis and I expect them to continue to fade closer to the bubble.  6-6.

Marshall +7 @ Arkansas State
Really nice week for the Red Wolves, who won handily at Mississippi State before avoiding the letdown performance I expected here.  Only covered by a bucket but that's enough.  6-7.

Western Michigan +3.5 @ Northwestern
Broncos led most of the way here but couldn't pull the trick their Central brethren did.  Disappointing day for the athletic program as football got handled by Air Force in the Potato Bowl.  6-8.

Kentucky -14 v. UCLA (Chicago)
Hopefully the full game makes it on to Youtube sooner or later.  Would love to watch the 24-0 start in full since I was at the mall during this game.  I can't remember a more dominant college team than Kentucky when they're on.  As for the Bruins, I've suspected since Atlantis they weren't that good and I think they're a lot closer to missing the tournament than many people realize.  A lot of work to be done.  7-8.

Pittsburgh -15.5 v. Oakland
I keep picking Pitt to cover big (ish) spreads against mid/low majors and they keep failing.  Why do I do this.  7-9.

Detroit +9.5 @ Rhode Island
Titans led by a deuce at the half....then scored 15 points in the second half.  7-10.

UC Davis +6.5 @ Air Force
Nice road win for the now 8-1 Aggies.  They're a very good shooting team that will give people problems on most nights and they're definitely a threat to get hot in Anaheim and get to the Dance.  8-10.

Davidson -4 @ Charleston
Bob McKillop's boys are now 9-1.  They were picked by everyone to be near the basement of the A-10 and I was never so sure that would be the case.  Now I'm definitely confident they can finish mid table - or better.  9-10.

Northeastern -1 @ Santa Clara
The Huskies have spent like a week out in California right before Christmas - with great success!  More Northeast programs should do this.  10-10.

Florida -12.5 v. Wake Forest (Sunrise)
Another ugly Gator performance but a half point cover.  11-10.

Iowa State -19 v. Drake (Des Moines)
Drake is dreadful.  12-10.

Notre Dame -3 v. Purdue (Indianapolis)
A validating win for the Irish, who have definitely done enough nonconference work to be a tournament team.  An awful performance by the Boilers, who have gone south since beating NC State in the ACC/B1G Challenge.  13-10.

Xavier -5 @ Auburn
Oh no.  Oh my boys.  Ohhhh that might be a loss that is a real anchor come March.  13-11.

Richmond -3.5 @ Pepperdine (NYC)
Why the hell was this in New York City?  Spiders won by a deuce.  The Waves are decent enough that I'm intrigued by their home shot at Gonzaga.  13-12.

Towson +2.5 v. La Salle
32-15 at the half.  Maybe the Towson players were Christmas shopping at Towson Town Center and showed up late?  13-13.

UNC Wilmington -4 v. East Carolina
East Carolina is 5-6 but they sure seem a hell of a lot worse than a 5-6 team.  14-13.

Kansas State -2 v. Texas A&M
It's fine for football but the Aggies continue to make no sense as an SEC basketball program and it still feels like they're in the Big 12.  15-13.

Columbia -2.5 v. Hofstra
Lions look to be best poised of anyone to challenge Harvard and Yale at the top of the Ivy.  16-13.

Northern Iowa +2 v. Iowa (Des Moines)
Hahahahahahahahahahaha Iowa.  Got a feeling their win at UNC will be one of the odder results of the season as it wears on.  UNI continues to validate itself as a tournament team.  Great to see that program doing well again.  17-13.

Eastern Michigan +2.5 @ Missouri State
Missouri State is 5-6 but they sure seem a hell of a lot worse than a 5-6 team.  18-13.

TCU -16 v. UT San Antonio
Predictable blowout spot for the Frogs.  They're yet another team I'm super intrigued to see take its cuts in league play.  19-13.

Texas -15.5 v. Long Beach State
Yet another really tough road performance for the 49ERS that ends in a cover but a loss.  19-14.

Oklahoma -6 v. Washington
Another great win for the Huskies who are still unbeaten!  They're probably the surprise of the season at this point which naturally enters Lorenzo Romar in to Coach of the Year talk.  I'm already excited for their Friday night home shot at Arizona in February which goes to show you how exciting my life is.  As for the Sooners, they continue to struggle in close games.  Might wanna work that out.  19-15.

NC State +1.5 v. West Virginia (NYC)
I made this pick because of Trevor Lacey, which was dumb because Juwan Staten was on the other side.  Wuffies continue to lack a notable nonconference win so they might wanna knock off one of the ACC powers at some point.  19-16.

Gonzaga -22 v. Cal Poly
This was in Seattle, which only partially explains the Zags slogging through it.  19-17.

San Diego State -19.5 v. Ball State
Blah.  I think I'm ready to be done caring about SDSU until any high profile Mountain West games they might have against....Colorado State?  Wyoming?  Blah.  19-18.

Fresno State -1 @ Pacific
I keep expecting Fresno to be better than they are and I keep being disappointed.  19-19.

BYU -3.5 v. Stanford
Good game that got lost in the shuffle.  Cougs won by 2.  If the Cardinal get anywhere near the bubble, that DePaul loss (by double digits!) is gonna kill them.  Too bad because they seem like a decent enough team that should land in the top half of the Pac-12, which would put them squarely on the bubble.  19-20.

Utah -8.5 @ UNLV
A one point halftime lead became a 13 point victory.  Rebs didn't get to 50 as Utah continues to show it can beat you a variety of ways.  Good team that should be thinking second weekend in March.  20-20.

IUPUI +1 v. South Alabama
Ouch.  USA football lost in the final minute in practically a home bowl game to Bowling Green and the basketball team lost in overtime.  20-21.

The Citadel +14 @ Virginia Tech
I'm very happy this covered.  Outside shot VT goes winless in ACC play but we can still believe in the dream.  21-21.

Belmont -1.5 @ Fairfield
Maybe most off line of the day.  Bruins covered it by 10.  22-21.

Indiana State -6.5 v. Eastern Illinois
Jake Odum isn't walking through that door.  22-22.

Elon PK @ UNC Greensboro
Good to see Greensboro back to being reliably bad.  22-23.

Oral Roberts +9.5 @ Memphis
Ken Tutt isn't walking through that door.  22-24.

Murray State -4.5 v. Illinois State
Racers look like they finally figured their shit out.  23-24.

Valparaiso -1 @ IPFW
Good road win for the Crusaders, who I'll always root for as long as Bryce Drew's the coach.  24-24.

George Mason +3.5 v. Iona
Let this be the start of George Mason doing a Northern Iowa and building back up to being one of the best low major programs in America.  25-24.

Saint Joseph's -9.5 @ Marist
Jared Jordan isn't walking through that door.  26-24.

Wisconsin Milwaukee -1 @ SIU Edwardsville
I pick Milwaukee to zig, they zag.  This was a really ugly zag.  26-25.

Arkansas -17 v. SE Missouri State
Oh, there's the required push on a day with this many games.  26-25-1.

Northern Colorado -9 v. Jacksonville State
Oh, there's the required second push on a day with this many games.  26-25-2.

Portland -14 v. Montana State
A lot of decent teams in the WCC midsection this year.  Gonzaga's getting tagged by at least one of them.  27-25-2.

Oregon -22.5 v. Delaware State
Is Oregon able to offer bigger checks for these guarantee games because of that Nike money?  If I were a low major AD they'd be one of my first calls every year.  27-26-2.

Michigan State -24 v. Texas Southern
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahahaha.  27-27-2.

New Mexico State -3.5 v. New Mexico
Woof.  NMSU's totally getting a 15 or 16 if they win the WAC.  27-28-2.

Arizona State -12.5 v. Lehigh
LE-HIGH!  LE-HIGH!  What a triple OT win to add to the dominant scalp of DePaul.  I hope they win the Patriot.  27-29-2.

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