We had another winning college basketball night with Georgetown not only going to Cincinnati and covering but also winning outright. However, there’s no time to rest on our laurels with a huge slate packed full of college hoops this Saturday.
Let’s get right to today’s picks:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Providence Friars -2
I was surprised to see Providence favored in this game. Even though they have won three straight games and are a respectable 5-7 in a tough conference, they are nowhere near the level of team as Notre Dame. Home court matters, but I think Notre Dame goes to Providence knowing they can ill-afford a bad loss and handles their business.
Give me Notre Dame on the road. Take the two points, and if your book offers a slight money line, I’d take advantage of it and avoid the unnecessary juice.
Free Pick: Notre Dame +2
Virginia Cavaliers at North Carolina Tar Heels -5
Virginia is very quietly headed towards a surprise NCAA Tourney berth, and could go a long way to wrapping it up with a win at North Carolina today. The Cavs are 8-3 in conference play, but aside from the Georgia Tech loss (bad loss), have been winning games relatively easily, including their nine point win over UNC a month ago.
North Carolina feels like they should be better than they are – but that is why the line is a full five points. Give me Virginia. They are the better team and I like them to cover today against a shaky UNC team. UNC shoots 43% while allowing opponents to shoot over 41%. Virginia shoots an efficient 46.2% from the floor and holds their opponents to a stifling 37.4%. They are significantly more efficient. I think it pays dividends today in Chapel Hill.
Free Pick: Virginia Cavaliers +5
Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers -19
I generally shy away from line this large, but I think IU is going to flat-out dump truck the Boilermakers today at Assembly Hall. I wouldn’t be surprised if the margin is 30. After all, they did go to West Lafayette a few weeks ago and hang a 97-60 on them.
Look for IU to steamroll to a big win at home today. I like them even laying nearly 20 points.
Free Pick: Indiana Hoosiers -19
UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal -4.5
It would be easy to dismiss this game as “take the home team, UCLA stinks on the road” after their bad loss at Cal and their even worse loss at Arizona State. However, before that, they did do into Arizona and Colorado and win tough basketball games.
The Cardinal has played better than expected, but we are coming down the stretch and it is time for the true tourney teams to emerge. I think UCLA is one, and Stanford is not. I expect the Bruins to play like it in Palo Alto today. This is another game where I love getting points, but like Georgetown last night, there is good value in a road money-line play today.
Free Pick: UCLA Bruins +4.5
Duke Blue Devils -5.5 at Maryland Terrapins
It’s last-stand time for Maryland, and it might be today or never if this talented, yet disappointing team is going to make the Big Dance. They have the big man to go head-to-head with National POY candidate Mason Plumlee in Alex Len. They have athleticism with Dez Wells and a decent backcourt. They just haven’t put it all together this season.
A visit from Duke seems to bring out heroic efforts in ACC foes. It did this year for Miami and NC State, historically it always has from Florida State, Virginia Tech and Maryland.
I’m going to roll the dice with a home heroic effort today and the Terrapins giving Duke all they can handle (and possibly even a little more) today.
Free Pick: Maryland Terrapins +5.5
Charlotte 49’ers at St. Louis Billikens -12
Talk about NO respect! Charlotte is 18-6 and fresh off a win over Butler to move to 6-4 in conference and work their way onto the NCAA Tourney bubble. St. Louis is good, but 12 points?!? That’s the kind of line you’d have with a good A-10 team hosting Fordham or Duquesne, not a fellow bubble team.
I think St. Louis wins at home, but 12 points is a little rich for my blood. Give me the Niners and the boatload of points.
Free Pick: Charlotte 49’ers +12
San Diego State Aztecs at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels -4
It’s showdown Saturday in the Mountain West with the two biggest name and traditional powers squaring off tonight in Vegas at 9PM EST. Ironically, the best conference game of the day might be earlier when two surprise contenders, Colorado State and Air Force meet in a game that has as much impact in the standings as does tonight’s showdown in Vegas.
Vegas has disappointed, but I still like the talent and potential of this team. I wouldn’t want to play them in the second in March if I was a top seed. Anthony Bennett is an absolute beast, and the possible #1 pick in the draft after the injury to Nerlens Noel. He is capable of putting the team on his back and carrying them for long stretches.
UNLV is 13-1 at home this season, and I think they make it 15 tonight. Give me the Rebs laying the four.
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels -4