The topsy-turvy college hoops season continued in all its glory last night. North Carolina State, just 72 hours removed from knocking off #1 Duke, followed up their biggest regular season win in decades with a buzzer-beating loss at Maryland. It was just another example of the continuing trend of big time teams losing on the road in conference play.
However, not every big-time team has defended their home court. We took an L last night along with the San Diego State Aztecs who fell at home 82-75. What makes the loss especially disheartening is that SDSU did a very good job containing the Runnin’ Rebs stars, Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett who each tallied just nine points. Instead it was Anthony Marshall and Dejuan-Jones combining for 38 points and carrying the Rebs to the huge MWC road win.
It’s one of those seasons where competitive balance reigns supreme and interesting games are happening nearly every night.
With that in mind, let’s tackle today’s free pick and start a fresh winning streak here at thesportsgeek.com.
Florida Gators -9 at Texas A&M Aggies
Tonight’s game is a prime example of a team getting inflated for a win over a name-recognition program despite the fact the win itself wasn’t actually that great. If A&M doesn’t go into Lexington and beat Kentucky, this line is probably more like 13 or 14. However, public sentiment being what it often is, the perception shifts radically and lines tighten and stretch.
Yes, this is a road game. And yes, Florida hit a few snags in December. But overall this Gator team is significantly better than A&M at nearly every position. Texas A&M is off to a better-than-expected 12-3 start, but outside of the Kentucky win, the slate is pretty barren. Keep in mind this is the same Aggie team that lost to Southern 53-51 just three weeks ago…
Florida will also be aided by the return of Mike Rosario, and despite an injured finger Scottie Wilbiken is expected to play. Add in Kenny Boynton and the backcourt advantage for the Gators is enormous. Florida is also getting it done on the defensive end of the court, holding SEC opponents to a league-low 52 points per game. That is nearly eight points lower than any other team in the league.
Florida has won tough road games against better teams and tougher environments than the one they’ll face tonight. I like them to buck the trend of high-profile road losers and to win and cover tonight in Aggie land.
Free Pick: Florida Gators -9 <- click pick for $520 free money bonus at 5dimes