Rivalry Week didn’t quite live up to the hype last night. Florida absolutely dismantled Kentucky, and in truth the game was never even as close as the score. Florida moved the ball and got shots with ease. Kentucky had difficulty ever initiating any semblance of offense and needed about a dozen scramble buckets to even keep the score within twenty.
The nightcap wasn’t much different, as Michigan once again struggled on the road, this time getting completely dominated by fierce rival Michigan State. The excitement was at a crazy level in the state, as it was the first time the two teams had ever met when each was ranked in the Top Ten (hard to believe, right?). Michigan State jumped on them early and never let up. Granted, it was a home game, but perhaps it is time to start including Michigan State in the big group of teams with the potential to win it all. We’ve all seen what Izzo can do in March with far lesser teams in far more talented seasons.
Tonight, a pair of rivalry games in the ACC take center stage. So let’s break down each along with a few free pics…
Miami Hurricanes -6 at Florida State Seminoles
Betting against the Canes has been a futile proposition of late. They have won eleven games in a row and have covered in nine of those eleven wins, making them one of the hottest teams in the country both straight-up and ATS. They are a perfect 10-0 in ACC play, and lest they start to get a little comfortable, they remain fueled by the perceived slight of being ranked #3 in the country; behind an Indiana team that JUST LOST to a team that has lost 8 of 13 games, and one spot behind Duke who they thoroughly undressed on national television just three weeks ago.
Florida State has had a flair for the dramatic, thanks in large part to Michael Snaer and his three buzzer-beating wins this season. However, you have to remain close in order to have a chance at a buzzer beater. I’m not sure they’ll be able to do that tonight. Miami isn’t just winning conference games, they are dismantling people. They’ve won six of their ten conference games by nine or more points, and have beaten their two main challengers, Duke and North Carolina, by a combined 53 points.
I don’t see any stopping this Miami team right now, at least until a trip to Cameron Indoor in a few weeks. I like them to beat-up the Seminoles and win relatively easy tonight.
Free Pick: Miami Hurricanes -6
North Carolina Tarheels at Duke Blue Devils -10.5
Arguably the best rivalry in college hoops takes center stage tonight in Durham when the struggling Heels head to Duke. This is one of the larger spreads in recent memory in this storied rivalry, and it means Vegas doesn’t think much of this game tonight. Are they right? Let’s take a closer look before we dismiss this one quite that easily.
Yes, North Carolina has shown the capacity to get run out of a few gyms this season. They have the 26-point loss to Miami on their resume. They also own a hideous 18-point loss to lowly Texas and blowout losses to Indiana and Butler. For the most part this season, they have been a competitive basketball team; they have beaten UNLV, Maryland and have a nice win at Florida State. They enter tonight with a reasonable tournament resume and a 6-4 record in the ACC. The problem with their resume is that when they have met elite teams, they have gotten smoked. Not even CLOSE in any of their matchups against Top 10 teams.
Surprisingly, this rivalry has been full of blowouts recently. Four of the last six games have been decided by 14 or more points. I think we might have another one tonight. Duke has been awesome this season as long as they aren’t facing Miami… and they definitely aren’t’ tonight.
Free Pick: Duke Blue Devils -10.5