It was a big Saturday of college hoops, so before we get to today’s free picks, let’s quickly run through yesterday’s biggest winners and losers.
Syracuse – with their second home loss on national television in two weeks, the Orange, despite both losses being to potential national champions, fall out of the consideration for a top seed and are looking at a #3.
Butler – The only team in the nation who can boast wins over the top two teams in the country (Indiana and Gonzaga) sure doesn’t feel like the same team. They took their worst loss in a decade falling 84-52 at VCU. Butler is falling fast towards a dreaded 8/9 seed.
Kentucky – I don’t just pick on Butler and UK because they were my two losses on a .500 picks day, but because the loss puts them in a dire spot, needing either a win over Florida next week in the season finale (doubtful) or two wins in the SEC tournament to get them dancing. BIG trouble for Big Blue.
UCLA – The Bruins completed the season sweep of Arizona and are in great position to win thePac-12. Should they win out, don’t be surprised if they are the team that rockets up the boards to a Top 4 seed.
Creighton – The Blue Jays needed a big win over Wichita State to stop some of the panic over their NCAA security. Doug McDermott remained in the Naismith Award conversation with a huge performance and the Jays are now safely in the field of 68.
Arkansas – The Razorbacks took apart Kentucky, and coupled with Tennessee’s huge loss to Georgia, are now back in the NCAA Tourney conversation.
Duke – The Blue Devils are a real #1 seed consideration, especially given the amount of life injected into their team by the return of Ryan Kelly (36 points).
Miami – How can a losing team be a winner?? The Canes showed everyone they are absolutely legit with their gutty performance at Duke. They had two shots JUST miss in the final seconds to force overtime against the #3 team in the nation in their own gym where they are unbeaten this season. The Canes were impressive yesterday and still in play for a #1 seed if they win the ACC tournament.
On to today’s free picks:
Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines -4.5
The first game between these two was a fierce beatdown in East Lansing won by the Spartans 75-52. It was the first game that really called into question whether or not the Wolverines were really an elite team. Today, they have a chance for redemption at home in a game critical to their top seed chances.
Both teams enter today on a bit of a down note. Michigan is fresh off an absolutely perplexing loss to Penn State, who is now ONE and 14 in Big Ten play. Michigan State has lost two games in a row, however those games are to Indiana and at Ohio State.
Michigan has some real troubling areas, especially the erratic and sometimes invisible play of Glenn Robinson III and occasional off-games from Tim Hardaway, Jr. Trey Burke has been the lone constant and he is going to need a huge game tonight if the Wolverines are going to beat the Spartans.
Michigan is 15-0 this season at home, and I am going to ride the trend of home teams holding serve in conference road games. In fact, only two substantial victories have occurred away from home in Big Ten play this season; Wisconsin at Indiana and Indiana at Ohio State. Other than that, it’s been fairly status quo. I’m not wild about laying four and a half points and would prefer to be in the 2.5-3 range. That said, I’m going Michigan today in a huge vindicating, redemptive home performance.
Free Pick: Michigan Wolverines -4.5