It’s been a pretty slow week in college hoops, and tonight is no exception. There’s one legit game on the board (and it is the one will be focusing on in today’s free pick), but hang in there college hoops fans. We are going to get one heck of a weekend to make up for it. We will have a few picks covered on Saturday, but here’s a quick preview of what’s on tap.
The day kicks off with a trip for the number-one Arizona Wildcats to Ann Arbor to take on the struggling, but dangerous Michigan Wolverines. The marquee game of the day is at 5:15 EST when arguably the two most storied programs in college basketball history; Kentucky and North Carolina meet. I can’t wait for this game, because it will be such a fascinating list at two mercurial teams who have been all over the map so far this season.
Sandwiched in-between the two marquee games are a pair of hidden gems. At 2pm Wichita State puts their undefeated mark on the line against Tennessee. The Shocks should win, but it is another nice test as they continue to try and justify their lofty #12 national ranking. The other interesting game is a battle of unranked interstate foes, Indiana and Notre Dame. The game takes on even more importance for the Irish, who dropped their second home game to an unranked foe last night and desperately need a quality win before entering the ACC gauntlet.
We’ll be back with wall-to-wall coverage of this weekend’s big games, but for now, let’s get to today’s lone game and a free pick.
Maryland Terrapins -2 at Boston College Eagles (Total: 144)
This is the last time these two teams will meet as conference foes, with Maryland joining the Big Ten next season (still feels weird, but anyway…). Neither team has had the start to the season they were hoping for, but the pathways to the disappointing records are pretty different. Maryland is just 5-4, which doesn’t bode well for the NCAA Tourney expectations they had entering the season, but most of their losses are reasonable. They’ve dropped games to Ohio State, took a one-point loss to Connecticut and a two-point loss at a very good George Washington team. They have also beaten Providence and Northern Iowa.
Meanwhile, Boston College is stumbling in at 3-6 with quality losses to UConn, UMass and Providence, as well as less-quality losses to Purdue, USC and Toledo. Yes, they’ve played an above-average pre-conference schedule, but they have lost to every decent team they have faced.
Despite some struggles, I think this Maryland team is substantially better than Boston College. It’s a road conference game, but that simply keeps the line very close. I like Maryland to win this game, and two points is next to nothing to lay down.