Saturday, December 27, 2014

College Basketball Picks - December 27

I was considering being lazy and skipping picks for Saturday because I'm kinda worn out from the holiday and the bracket and the bubble watch and all that.  And then I realized that the Game of the Year is happening and I gotta at least make a pick for that, right?

Indiana +3 v. Georgetown (NYC).  Yep.  And here it is.  Hoosiers over the Hoyas.  No, yeah, this is 2015 2014 not 1986 so this isn't the Game of the Year but seriously, this should be an excellent appetizer for the big one.  I basically want the points here and also I'm intrigued by Indiana's offense more than anything Georgetown has at this moment.

Ohio State -18 v. Wright State.  It's too bad the Buckeyes won't end up remotely near the bubble - because if they did the nonconference schedule would be putrid enough to potentially keep them out.

Green Bay -4.5 v. Georgia State.  Ooh, great low major battle.  That's a 12/13 matchup in my latest bracket (linked above) and it wouldn't be shocking to see either or both get through in March.  Given how good both are at this level, the points would make sense but I'm very confident in a Phoenix win.

Louisville +6 v. Kentucky.  And here it is - for realsies.  That's a pretty big number but it has to be when there's the kind of blowout potential Kentucky has.  I just can't see the Cards getting blown out in their gym.  If Kentucky crushes and kills, yeah, sure, nothing can stop it.  But if it does anything less, this is going to be a total war for 40 minutes at least.  With all of that said, I still have a really hard time seeing the hosts get the win here.

Minnesota -19.5 v. UNC Wilmington.  The Gophers haven't exactly challenged themselves either since their coach played his dad in Puerto Rico on opening night.

Saint Mary's -10 v. Santa Clara.  Welcome to WCC play!  The I-880 Derby is a nice showpiece kickoff and a proper appetizer to the major opening day showdown.  The Gaels have almost always had the better team but this year it's by a considerable distance.

Maryland -17.5 v. Oakland.  Oakland's really not good at playing defense and that's a big problem going up against this Terrapin attack right now.

North Carolina -25 v. UAB.  Not having a football program isn't so bad, UAB.  Is it *really* so great if you're losing a crap December bowl game in an empty stadium to Rutgers?!

Portland +7 @ San Diego.  I think this might be a crazy line.  I'm REALLY high on the Pilots and don't think there's this much difference between the two even at the Slim Gym.  I like USD too but this could very well be a Portland win.

Gonzaga -6 @ BYU.  Cougars have been far too up and down for me to be confident taking them here.  It makes sense that they'd get up for the biggest game of the year and the Marriott will be rocking - man, we're gonna have two spectacular atmospheres on Saturday - but you don't know if the jumpers will be falling and the Zags are really good.

Pacific +3 v. San Francisco.  Even though it makes total geographical sense and they fit the profile of a WCC school to a T, it still feels weird seeing Pacific in this league.  Maybe I just miss them always being in the Big West scrum as opposed to an also ran here.

Pepperdine -13 v. IUPUI.  Wait a minute, IUPUI's not in the WCC!  They ARE really bad though.

Georgia -16.5 v. Mercer.  Speaking of really bad, it's Mercer.  Them and Saint Louis are the two tournament teams from last year who were absolutely loaded with seniors and now they've completely fallen off a cliff and are starting back over.

Tennessee -21.5 v. Tennessee State.  Fun fact - the only reason Tennessee State's not a SWAC school is travel costs.

UNLV -18.5 v. Southern Utah.  Sure, I'll buy that the Arizona win Brought The Team Together and A Young Team Grew Up.  Especially now that it gets to feast on the Thunderbirds (always root for them bc of that name, STILL lament when they almost shocked Troy Bell's BC from the 14 hole.)

Illinois -26 v. Kennesaw State.  Rarely do I get to pick against Kennesaw State.  I'm not passing up those chances.

Colorado State -2 @ New Mexico State.  It'll be hard pressed for something, anything, to top this as the most wrong line of the year.  I don't give a damn if the Aggies win by 100, there's no way in any universe ever that they should be only 2 point underdogs.

Seton Hall -25 v. Maine.  Ken Pomeroy, on MaineI always root for Maine to win its conference tournament. And every year I am disappointed. The Black Bears got a break this season when super-freshman Justin Edwards decided to stay in Orono instead of transferring to a program with a more illustrious postseason tradition, which is like every single one. Maine has never won a conference championship and has never participated in a postseason tournament of any kind. Perhaps if Rick Carlisle had shown the kind of commitment that Edwards has, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Not that we are conversing, mind you, but Carlisle left for Virginia after his sophomore year in 1981 and eventually got to a Final Four. That should have been Maine’s Final Four. More recently, if Tom Knight had not forsaken his home state and attended Notre Dame, perhaps we would be talking about a much better Maine team this season. But that is the story of Maine basketball. And because Boston University could not educate its players is leaving America East and is not eligible for the tournament, Maine is forced to play its quarterfinal game against the tournament host, Albany, squelching what little hope the Black Bears might have had for glory. That is the story of Maine basketball.

Northwestern -9.5 v. Northern Kentucky.  When you play in the Big Ten and you're not even a double digit favorite against Northern Kentucky, you can probably be assured that you're gonna be in for it come conference season (which is literally like Tuesday.)

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