We took a a little hiatus from college hoops, as there really wasn’t anything on the board yesterday I felt comfortable pulling the trigger on. Today we are back with a vengeance as college basketball unfurls one of the best slates of games yet this season, highlighted by the captivating Duke @ Syracuse matchup tonight. It pits two of the best programs in college hoops in their first conference matchup ever; the two winningest coaches in college basketball history, and oh, by the way, Duke is on fire winning five straight and Syracuse is unbeaten heading into February for the first time EVER.
Great, great stuff.
But that’s far from the only game on the board. We are 10-4 ATS in college hoops over the last week, and looking to head into Super Bowl Sunday with a nice little bankroll cushion. So let’s dive right in today’s free picks.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers -5
I kept telling people “the Buckeyes will be fine.” I think I’ve changed my mind. They went from #3 in the nation to bubble-team about as fast as any team I can ever recall, and Thursday’s OT loss to Penn State makes matters even more dire. I’ve seen a LOT of the action going Ohio State’s way today, but I’m swimming against the public on this one. Simply being desperate is not a compelling enough reason for me to think the Buckeyes are going to go into a place where nearly NO ONE has won over the last decade and a going to reverse the trend of home dominance in this matchup.
I do still, yes, hanging in there, that Ohio State will hear it’s name on Selection Sunday. But today’s loss is going to ramp up the drama another big notch in Columbus. Give me the Badgers laying a reasonable 5 points.
Kentucky Wildcats -2 at Missouri Tigers
Kentucky may have the best freshman recruiting class in history, but they’ve LOOKED like motal frosh on the road in conference play. They’ve already lost at Arkansas and LSU, and I’d put Missouri a slight peg above the Tigers in terms of overall team strength. Kentucky is 1-3 on the road. Missouri is 13-0 at home. This is a big game for the Tigers tournament resume, who despite sitting at 16-4 have yet to grab a big-time win (a neutral court loss to Illinois, home wins over UCLA and West Virginia and road wins over NC State and Arkansas are the biggest bright spots).
I think Missouri gets a big one today at home.
Kansas Jayhawks -4 at Texas Longhorns
I’ve been dancing around it for several weeks, and today’s game could push the thought bubbling in my head to declarative rather than question: Kansas is the best team in the country.
I get that at 16-4 (the same record as Texas, amongst many others) they can’t be ranked #1. But I think if you showed game film from the last month and gave opposing coaches their pick of who they’d LEAST want to face between Syracuse, Arizona, Michigan State, Florida and Kansas, you’d see the Jayhawks on a lot of ballots.
Since their wake-up call home loss to San Diego State on Jan 5th the ‘Hawks have ripped off seven straight wins including wins over Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor, as well as road wins over Oklahoma and Iowa State. With the possible exception of the perplexing Bears, those are all likely NCAA tourney wins.
Texas is a nice story. They jumped on the radar with their road win over North Carolina (which looks more pedestrian every day) and has a really nice five game winning streak going that includes some of the same names as Kansas run above.
But they are not Kansas. They do not have Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis and more. It will show today. Kansas is a little bit better every week. And that’s a scary and exciting thought come March.