Holy cow, what a ridiculous day in college basketball yesterday. It started with a flurry; Wisconsin hitting a 45-footer at the end of regulation to force overtime and eventually beat Michigan. It ended even better; Notre Dame was D-E-A-D in the water against Louisville… until Jerian Grant went Reggie Miller and scored 12 points in the final 43 SECONDS to force overtime against the Cards. He would eventually foul out in the first overtime (along with most of the players any casual fan had ever heard of), but the fun was far from over. Notre Dame went on to win 102-100 in FIVE OT’s.
Bad news for people who bet the UNDER on those two games, but good news for us here at thesportsgeek, as those two classics helped propel us to another winning day. I will admit I expected a winning day, but not that I would get a six combined overtimes in the process…. My dread for posting a bracket in five weeks continues!
Let’s see if we can post our fourth straight winning college hoops day with a few selections from a decent Sunday slate of games…
Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes -1.5
First off, as a fan, I am giddy to see Victor Oladipo and Aaron Craft on the same floor today. They are definitely different basketball players, but have the similarity of insane on-ball defense in common. They are easily the two best perimeter defenders in the country, and it will be a treat to see who can more exert their will in disrupting the opponent’s offense.
Indiana has the clear talent advantage, but as we’ve seen in this loaded Big Ten season, that doesn’t always matter. Often, it seems the more determining factor has been WHERE the game is played. Home teams have fared very well in big conference matchups this season, especially in the elite games with the top four or five teams playing in very tight games. Ohio State and Michigan played classics, squeaking out narrow wins in their respective home gyms. Same thing with Wisconsin and Michigan, Indiana and Michigan State, the list goes on.
I think we are looking at another one today. Indiana is the better basketball team, but I think the insane Ohio State crowd and intense pressure defense of Craft is enough to slightly disrupt the Hoosiers and give the Buckeyes a close victory. I like another classic today, but lean towards OSU.
Free Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -1.5
Harvard Crimson -2 at Columbia Lions
I admit, I had to google to double-check Columbia’s mascot (I was 90% sure it was Lions…). Suffice it to say, we don’t do a ton of Ivy League game breakdowns. However, this one leapt of the page as a steal, so here’s a quick write-up.
Harvard had some issues early in the season with suspensions and is not the powerhouse, run-away Ivy League champ you’ve seen in the past few years. However, they are better than a pitiful Columbia team that enters losers of four straight and five of six overall that includes losses to Holy Cross, Cornell, Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth. Of those teams, only Princeton has a winning record at 11-8.
Harvard has won three straight ball games and is a perfect 5-0 in Ivy League play. I expect their winning ways to continue today and for them to get a nice conference road win this afternoon.
Free Pick: Harvard Crimson -2
Colorado Buffaloes at Oregon State Beavers -1.5
Colorado looked like a sure-fire NCAA Tournament team and possible Pac-12 champ during the game that was stolen from them at Arizona four weeks ago. Since then, the bottom fell out a bit for the Buffaloes, going just 5-4 since then, including a loss to lowly Utah.
Oregon State hasn’t been much better though. They are just 2-8 in Pac-12 play and even Coach Robinson’s connections to the President might be able to buy him much more time in Corvaillis is things don’t turn around soon.
I don’t think tonight is the night they do. Colorado is a talented team capable of winning tough conference games on the road as they proved against Oregon, Washington, and yes, Arizona (that was a WIN dammit). I like the Buffs to continue the momentum from Thursday’s win at Oregon and complete the state sweep tonight at Oregon State.
Free Pick: Colorado Buffaloes +1.5