We notched our third winner on four college games with an underdog straight-up winner with Avery Johnson’s Alabama Crimson Tide defending their home court against ranked-but-plummeting Texas A&M. The Aggies, who were the toast of the town just three weeks ago and now looking like an NCAA also-ran and yet another team for the massive soup pot of teams seeded between 3 and 13 who, frankly, who knows how deep they can go in the Tourney…
Elsewhere, the ranked team on the road carnage continued in Lubbock last night as Texas Tech got a huge win over visiting Iowa State. The Cyclones further ‘weirded-up’ one of the stranger resumes in college hoops this season by adding another loss to an unranked team to their wins over Kansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The ‘Clones have now lost three of four and have fallen to 6-5 in the Big Twelve.
And do you think the SMU players finally have said “bleep this!!”? They lost their third game of the year after starting 18-0, this time a home game to Tulsa. Once their undefeated season went up in smoke, the postseason-banned Ponies really had little to play for. And it has shown over the last three weeks going 2-3 in the mediocre AAC conference.
The Big East got even crazier last night with Butler knocking off Seton Hall on the road and Providence falling to 6-6 in conference despite 42 points from Ben Bentil, losing at Marquette. Those two results keep seven of the ten conference teams in the NCAA Tourney mix.
This season just keeps getting wilder and wilder, more and more interesting, and we are just getting into the heart of “bubble watch.” There are a few more impactful games on tonight’s slate, highlighted by Iowa’s visit to Bloomington, and a pair of bubble-battles between UConn and Temple and Florida State and Syracuse.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Florida State Seminoles at Syracuse Orange -3
How much difference does a coach make? Well, it appears when it is a Hall of Famer like Jim Boeheim, far more than I imagined. The ‘Cuse are making a fierce fight to get back into the tourney mix, and with the committee on the record in saying they’d evaluate Syracuse without Boeheim the same way they’d look at a team with a significant injury, they are actually in really good shape to Dance. They’ve clawed back to 6-5 in ACC play by winning six of their last seven games including wins over Duke and Notre Dame and their only loss a competitive game at Virginia. With a very manageable conference schedule remaining outside a trip to Louisville and hosting UNC, a win tonight could very well put them into the tourney.
They host a Florida State team that gets next to no attention, but has an identical 6-5 ACC record and wins over VCU, Florida, Clemson and Virginia on their resume. Of course, they also have double-digit losses to Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, and a loss to Hofstra. So, much like the rest of the country, their resume is a mixed bag with a couple above-average highlights (the three point loss to Iowa is helpful as well). They have had some struggles in conference on the road. Aside from a win at NC State, they’ve gotten pasted three times against good competition.
Right now, Syracuse also qualifies as good competition, so the three points feels awfully slim. Michael Gbinije has been playing like a first-team All ACC performer of late, and I expect him to have a nice game again tonight at home.
I’m surprised this line isn’t 5.5 or 6 given how Syracuse has played lately, but I’ll take advantage of the slim margin. Give me the Cuse to keep rolling at home.