It’s a loaded day of college hoops with a handful of excellent ACC, Big East, SEC and Pac-12 matchups across the board from noon until well after midnight Eastern. As I usually do on Saturdays, there are just too many games to only feature one pick, so let’s dive right in and see if we can stack a few winners on top of last night’s narrow Rhode Island cover at Dayton.
As always feel free to follow, argue, agree and disagree on Twitter @TheMarchManiacs (37-22 ATS on TheSportsGeek, 56-31 ATS on the season overall)
Today’s Free Picks:
Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State Wildcats -11.5
I’ve been fading Oklahoma a lot this season as I knew the name on the front of the jersey outweighed the team wearing the in 2016-2017. And how could it NOT after losing so much talent and experience from last year’s Final Four team that had been in tact fully for three seasons together. Oklahoma enters with a losing record at 6-7 (0-2 B12) and losers of five straight games.
Meanwhile, Kansas State enters 12-2 and fresh of getting completely screwed at The Phogg against Kansas this week on a ridiculous non-travel call on Kansas’s buzzer beater. But, a loss is a loss, and with that non-win, the best win on their resume this season is Boston College or a three-point home win over Texas. Yuck.
And now I have to lay double digits to get them today at home?
Here’s another fun fact: Throw out the Baylor debacle, and Oklahoma has lost their four games by an average of 3.75 points. The losses are to Wichita State, Auburn, Memphis and @TCU – all teams that profile pretty similarly to Kansas State, especially Wichita State and TCU (24th and 38th in KenPom).
I don’t see any reason to think Oklahoma flat out can’t compete in this game, and that makes getting nearly a dozen points hard to pass up.
Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Wolverines -8
I looked up this line twice because I thought it was a typo. Michigan laying eight against Maryland? Huh?
The Wolverines are average at best. They enter at 11-4 and 1-1 in the Big Ten with a loss out lousy Iowa and a three-point home win over Penn State. They got blown out my South Carolina, struggled to beat Texas and lost to Virginia Tech. Their only real good win is over SMU.
Meanwhile, Maryland’s schedule has left a little to be desired, but they are 13-2 with wins over Georgetown, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Their losses are a two pointer to Nebraska and a 73-59 loss to Pitt.
At best, this is a -4 or -5 line. But at -8? I’ll take Melo Trimble and the points.
Colorado Buffaloes at Arizona Wildcats -12.5
Yet another quality ballclub getting a giant pile of points on the road. The Buffaloes already have five losses, but their losses are reasonable aside from a November loss to Colorado State in a rivalry game. They have lost at Arizona State (not great) by one, Utah and at BYU. They have wins over Xavier and Texas. They look like a bubble team right now, but certainly not a terrible basketball team.
Arizona has outpaced expectations despite tremendous personnel loses to injury, Europe and suspension. They enter at 14-2 and seem to have found a revelation in freshman Lauri Markkanen. They own nice wins over Utah, Cal and Texas A&M and losses to Gonzaga and Butler are nothing to be ashamed of. But they aren’t a DOMINANT team, and that’s what I need in order to be willing to lay more than a dozen against an at-worst bubble-level team.
I like Colorado to cover the points in the McHale Center tonight.
These two teams played a pair of fantastic games last year, and I expect tonight to be competitive as well.