Maryland vs. Richmond Pick NCAA Basketball – November 25th

Thanksgiving traditionally belongs to the NFL, but for those of you who wandered a little further off the sports landscape yesterday, there some was pretty interesting and compelling college hoops action.  Baylor remained perfect on the season with their second blowout win over a ranked opponent.  Sure, you could highlight that Oregon was missing their best player and subsequently lost to Georgetown  and that Michigan State barely beat Florida Gulf coast at home – but I am more of a ‘focus on the positive’ guy, and the positive is that Baylor entered unranked and now has two GREAT wins in their pile come Selection Sunday.  Perhaps no team in the country has done more to help themselves in the first two weeks of the season.

Elsewhere, Louisville bounced back from an odd overtime tussle against Old Dominion and looked excellent beating a Wichita State team that had dominated its entire schedule previously, and Temple notched an interesting win, knocking off a heavily favored and talented Florida State team.

I made a ridiculously bad typo that Kevin caught – hopefully soon enough – before too too many of you noticed.  But, my apologies for sure!  It was an, um, chaotic, Thanksgiving morning with dozens of people in my personal space and I had NO IDEA I messed up the pick/line even after re-reading my column like three times.  Yikes, might be time to go get checked out… alas, MY BAD everyone.  On the plus side, we are now 10-4 ATS this season, which is pretty ridonkulous, so….

Today’s Free Pick:

There are SO MANY really cool games today that narrowing it down to just one pick was tricky.  Wichita State vs. Michigan State (1pm), Louisville vs. Baylor (3:30), Gonzaga vs. Florida (9pm), Arizona vs. Butler (10:30p) – WOW.  But I settled on a game OFF this glamour list for my favorite VALUE play of the day.

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Maryland Terrapins -5.5 vs. Richmond Spiders — @ Barclays Center, NY

A lot of people are down on Maryland and Melo Tremble right now.  It is fair given their, and his, struggles last season and some shaky moments early on in 2016.  But the fact remains, the Terps are 5-0, including their thrilling neutral floor comeback win over Georgetown (who went on the beat Oregon, after losing to Arkansas STATE).  It also includes closer-than-expected tussles with American and Towson.  My point?  It’s been a mixed bag with Maryland, but so far they have at least emerged unscathed.   They haven’t shown consistent evidence they are ready to compete with Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue, but there is also no reason to give up on them as Big Ten contenders.

They have gotten decent play out of a pair of freshman, Anthony Cowan, who has allowed Tremble to play off the ball a little more and swingman Justin Jackson.  However, they are going to need a lot more help to emerge soon.  For today, it should be plenty to handle Richmond, picked sixth in the A-10.

Richmond has been decent in the early going, entering at 3-1, but they lost to Old Dominion (maybe a better loss that we though, seeing their Louisville effort) and struggled mightily with VMI.  Today is a major step up in competition, and I think the Terps will wear them down after about 30-35 minutes and close out with some room to cover.  If the line is close, most often I will take the solid major conference team over a middle of the pack team in a far lesser conference.

I’m not giving up on Melo Tremble just yet, and am expecting a nice effort, especially scoring-wise, to carry Maryland while they wait for the freshman to evolve into larger roles.

Free Pick:  Maryland Terrapins -5.5