College basketball again has a new number one team, Michigan, after yet another top ranked team took a big loss in their first opportunity atop the polls. Two weeks ago it was Louisville, last week it was Duke. Now the Michigan Wolverines, sporting the top ranking for the first time since the Fab Five roamed the campus, will try to avoid the same fate.
They should be able to survive their first contest, hosting Northwestern. Assuming they do, it isn’t too early to get excited about Saturday’s game at Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers. It also isn’t unreasonable to assume we could be looking at our fourth number-one team in as many weeks next Monday.
It’s been a terrible week for me personally with picks. Though the season record still sits over .500, the last seven days have been brutal. I say this not to dissuade anyone from the picks, but simply as a statement of admission. Just as the 19-2 ATS run around the Holiday wasn’t going to last forever, neither will this current 3-8 ATS streak… such is the nature of picking a high volume of games. It ebbs and flows at times. The goal is to manage money well, and win more than you lose in the long run. I think we have just the game to get back on track tonight….so, on to today’s picks.
Kentucky Wildcats at Ole Miss Rebels -2
There is something so alluring about the Wildcats pedigree and awesome assortment of talent that makes it hard for Vegas and wagerers to quit loving them. But perhaps that love should at least be tempered with some realism. I assumed this game would be a five to seven point spread. Figure three points for the home court, and it is hard to argue based on season performance that Ole Miss isn’t a few points better than the ‘Cats.
Instead? The line currently sits at just two points. This means Vegas is saying UK is one to two points BETTER than Ole Miss on a neutral court. I’m not seeing it.
Ole Miss enters tonight perfect in SEC play and winners of nine straight games. They have hammered Tennessee on the road (and swept the season series) and have handily beaten Missouri (say what you want about the Florida debacle, Mizzou is still a legit second-weekend tourney team). Meanwhile Kentucky is fresh off a narrow five-point home win against LSU, who is simply AWFUL. UK was fortunate to sneak a win at Vandy and has lost to Alabama and Texas A&M. The best win the Cats own this season is a three-point opening game win against Maryland.
Kentucky owns zero wins against Top 60 teams in current KenPom.com ratings. ZERO. Yet they are only two point dogs on the road against a 17-2 Ole Miss team whose crowd will be beyond hyped up to take down the defending national champs. Kentucky has a good chance to set the unofficial record for “most times opponent’s fans storm the court following a win.” I don’t see why another one doesn’t get added to that tally tonight.
Free Pick: Ole Miss Rebels -2