We called the Duke game last night about as accurately as possible, down to Mason Plumlee’s stats and the large lead with the small shrink at the end. However a garbage time three pointer with 14 seconds remaining and Duke subsequently holding the ball until the clock expired capped a 7-0 FGCU run to close the game and backed us in to a tough-luck push. No real harm done, but a tough way to have a profit slip away last second…
A few other things really opened eyes across the college basketball world yesterday. First was the shocking blowout win for Oklahoma State over previously #6 North Carolina State. Little was expected of the Cowboys entering the season, while great expectations surrounded Mark Gottfried’s Wolfpack. Yesterday’s 76-56 win should have folks in Stillwater excited for Big 12 play, and intrigued about legit NCAA Tournament run possibilities.
The other surprising result also loosely involved the Big 12, and that would be former Big-12 member Colorado. The Buffaloes avenged last season’s NCAA Tournament loss with a comfortable win over Baylor two nights ago, and then turned around and backed it up with a solid win over Murray State in the final of the Charleston Classic. Both Colorado and Oklahoma State are unranked but piled valuable chips come Selection Sunday.
More “Feast Week” tournaments get kicked off today, and some great games are out there, including Georgetown taking on UCLA (who finally got Shabazz Mohammad eligible). But tonight’s breakdown and free pick focuses on the #1 team in the nation, the Indiana Hoosiers who will face off against Georgia.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Indiana Hoosiers -20 – Total: 135 (@ Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY)
Expectations haven’t been this high in Bloomington since the Bobby Knight days. The Hoosiers are ranked first in the country and have the consensus preseason player of the year in Cody Zeller. Add in returns Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehy and the Hoosiers are loaded with talent, experience and defensive toughness.
Things aren’t quite as positive in Georgia. This one-time proud program under Tubby Smith and Jim Harrick is looking at a potentially dreadful season, and they have already suffered losses to Southern Miss and Youngstown State. Their lone win is a squeeker against Jacksonville. At this point, it doesn’t look like they could win the Atlantic Sun, let alone contend in the SEC.
A neutral floor against a popular and well-travelling fan base of Indiana is not a good recipe to get the season on track. I like the Hoosiers to overwhelm Georgia early with defensive pressure and an efficient offense. Georgia has no answer for Zeller inside and will struggle to defend Indiana’s perimeter shooters once they are forced to double-down on Zeller.
I think tonight is going to be ugly. Indiana is laying 20, which feels like a big number in a game involving two BCS schools. Don’t let the margin frighten you. IU is going to hammer them and it won’t be close.
Free Pick: Indiana Hoosiers -20