It’s a big day of college hoops with two do-or-die AAC games as well as a big Pac 12 matchup and some small conference tournament games that will begin shaping the field of potential Cinderella hopefuls. We took one on the chin last night with Miami going into South Bend and thoroughly having their way with the Irish. I thought Notre Dame would be able to execute against the fierce Miami defense the same way they handled North Carolina’s length and athleticism. They did not. In fact, Miami held them to a season-low 50 points. Stunning when you consider they had only scored fewer than 70 TWICE all season long.
Miami looks legit and is making a strong case for a Top Two seed in the upcoming bracket. They finish with a tricky game at Virginia Tech, but as long as they handle their business, they will finish with no worse than a share of the ACC regular season title, and if Duke can beat UNC in Cameron Saturday, they can win the league outright. If they accomplish that AND win the ACC tournament, a #1 seed is certainly in play for the Canes.
Let’s see if we can dust off from last night’s debacle and get back on the winning track.
Today’s Free Pick:
Memphis Tigers at Temple Owls -4
This game means a ton to Temple, but is basically just for pride for Memphis at this point. The Tigers, a perennial NCAA Tournament team, is certain to see their destination be the NIT barring a conference tournament revival. However, that doesn’t mean tonight is a freebie for the Owls. Temple has a chance to win a surprising conference championship and has won seven of eight at home and has covered five of their last six games against Memphis. But in this season of parity, I am loathe to say anything is a guarantee…
But, let’s be blunt – the bottom has fallen out in Graceland. Memphis has lost six of nine including losses to USF and Tulane. It is likely Josh Pastner is coaching for his job (or already lost it, frankly) and barring a miracle, Memphis is going to finish with one of their most disappointing seasons in a decade. They have lost eight of their last nine road games straight up, and given the relative mediocrity of the AAC, that is really saying something. If they were named anything other than “Memphis” they’d probably be a 7 or 8 point underdog. A team that has lost eight of nine road games including losses to teams well out of the Top 100 going on the road to face the top team in the league??
Memphis is a total mess right now. I like Temple to win and cover with some room to spare tonight.