We split our college picks yesterday, as Arizona snapped out of their funk and laid the hammer down on Oregon State (our loss) and St. John’s not only covered at home, but won straight up over Creighton (our win – and a nice one if you took the Storm on the moneyline). The win was enormous for St. John’s who has suddenly vaulted themselves back into at-large NCAA consideration. After a dreadful start, they’ve bounced back to 14-9 and now own a nice resume-building win over Creighton.
The bubble is getting crowded as Xavier, SMU, Arizona State and Kansas State all picked up nice home wins this weekend, and Oregon and Baylor continue their suicide plunges toward the NIT. There are going to be dozens of games this week that have enormous tourney implications, and we will be around to cover a bunch of them, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, let’s dive into a pair of big games tonight…
Today’s Free Picks:
Providence Friars at Georgetown Hoyas -4.5
Tonight is a huge game for both teams. It’s basically an elimination game for either team, though more so for Georgetown. It’s difficult to see the Hoyas making the field of 68 without all but running the regular season table. That would need to start tonight with a home win over a similarly-desperate bubblemate, Providence.
The Friars have dropped three of four games and have largely struggled on the road. They are fresh off a competitive road loss at Xavier, but have been hammered at Villanova and St. John’s. Meanwhile, Georgetown seems to have suddenly righted the ship. They looked lost after blowing a huge twenty point lead at home against Xavier in the midst of a season-sinking six game losing streak. But all of a sudden they’ve won three straight including a neutral court win over Michigan State, which is why I put them back in the mix as a longshot tourney team if they can get to 18-13 or in that neighborhood.
I like the Georgetown momentum, even laying a handful of points tonight. They have the feel of a team poised to make a late push, while Providence feels a bit like a team that overachieved early and is beginning to regress back to the norm. Give me G’Town at home.
Iowa State Cyclones -2 at West Virginia Mountaineers
From a pair of bubble teams battling to stay in the mix to a long-shot bubble team trying to hang on. But it’s going to be a tough task for West Virginia tonight hosting an Iowa State team and Melvin Ejim, fresh off his record-setting Big 12 performance.
If you subtracted Kansas from Iowa State’s schedule, they’d be a two-seed worthy team. As is, they are a legit Final Four threat with a nice balanced offense and a lot of underrated talent. They’ve struggled a bit in conference play on the road, but in fairness, their losses are at Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. West Virginia is a clear peg below those three teams. I expect Iowa State to prevail in a near pick ‘em. Laying just two is a pretty generous line.