Just when it seemed like we might have a relatively mundane final day of the last weekend, things got insane. Bronson Koening hitting two three’s in the final moments of the game including a fallout corner buzzer-beating game winner wasn’t even close to the craziest thing of the evening. No, that honor goes to the Northern Iowa Panthers, the little Cinderella who could, who instead became the worst collapsing team in NCAA history. They squandered a 12 point lead in the LAST 33 SECONDS to allow Texas A&M to force overtime. I think we can all imagine what happened from there, though in the Panthers’ defense they did force a second overtime before capitulating.
I split my picks yesterday in oppositely easy fashion with Syracuse decimating Middle Tennessee State and Iowa getting throttled by the Villanova Wildcats. Still, a 6-2 ATS weekend isn’t a bad start to the weekend, and hopefully we can keep it rolling through the finish line.
The Big Dance takes a three day breather, but the NIT is still rolling along and offering up some more chances for profit. So let’s head to the “other” tournament and see if we can stack up some winners.
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Today’s Free Pick:
George Washington Colonials at Monmouth Hawks -3.5
Monmouth got jobbed out of an NCAA Tournament bid and rather than sulk about it, they are hell-bent on exacting some revenge. They are 11-1 at home this season, with their lone loss being the Iona slip up that probably cost them a tournament bid. They opened the NIT with a ten point home win over Bucknell and will be looking to keep it rolling against a GW squad that limped its way through the second half of the season after being ranked early in the year and looking like a likely NCAA Tournament team.
George Washington lost five of their last eleven games, and while none of the losses were “awful”, losses at Davidson, St. Louis and DePaul probably undid their season. They are a decent ball club, but going on the road to play a Monmouth team with a ton of motivation is a tough draw. On a neutral floor, I’d go either way. With the Monmouth home crowd, I give a huge edge to the Eagles.
Monmouth is 5-1 ATS in their last six games and has won 17 of their last 19 games at home. GW is just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall and 7-15 ATS in their last 22 road games over the past season and a half. They haven’t historically traveled well, and much of their NIT resume (including the season-making win over Virginia) came at home. Tonight they have to travel and I don’t think it’ll go well for them.
Look for Monmouth to be the more emotionally engaged team tonight and to push the tempo successfully in their favor. I like about an 80-70 game, in the Hawks favor.