Holy cow did you see what Carolina did to Davidson last night? Granted, Steph Curry ain’t walking through that door (or having his jersey hang in the rafters), but Davidson was still 5-0 and a team that went to the tournament last year and has designs on doing likewise in 2015-2016. Carolina absolutely blew their doors off, winning by 33 and it could have been 50, and scoring nearly 100 points. This team LOOKS like the team everyone thought was the best in the country preseason now that Marcus Paige is back to orchestrate their high-octane offense. Paige, Jackson and Johnson can score with ease and Kennedy Meeks is a beast inside. But the true trigger is the defensive pressure this team can apply and then how QUICKLY it turns into offense. Ask Melo Trimble about that Carolina trap. If they can turn HIM over all night long, just think what they are going to do to most point guards this season…
Meanwhile, we picked up another winner with Long Beach State hanging around UCLA all night long and securing the relatively comfortable cover.
Let’s start the new week the way we finished the weekend; with some winners.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Villanova Wildcats -3.5 @ Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, HI
This Naval Base games have a tendency to be a little wacky from time to time (sweaty gyms and slippery floors, etc) so I wouldn’t be the house on this game. But what we do have are two Final Four aspiring teams meeting on a neutral floor in December – so enjoy the treat, however odd the locale may or may not end up being.
Both teams enter unbeaten, though neither team has faced a test anywhere close to as stern as each other this evening. Villanova’s best wins are over Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Stanford – not a terrible slate, but not any likely tourney teams on there either. Oklahoma’s best outings was an impressive 17-point win over Wisky, but the rest of their slate is pretty barren, aside from an opening win over Memphis in which Oklahoma didn’t play great.
Both teams have played well, justifying early season optimism. They are a combined 7-1-1 ATS, with Oklahoma a perfect 4-0.
Villanova’s guards are a little better, but smaller. Oklahoma has a little better scorers. But the difference for me is the defense of Oklahoma. I think their perimeter defense might tip tonight’s game slightly in the Sooner’s favor. Villanova is already slightly suspect shooting from long range, tallying just over 30% on the young season despite not having to match up against a team as big or athletic as the Sooners. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield gets his first chance to enter his name into the National POY race on a big stage tonight, and I think “Buddy Love” takes advantage of it.
I wouldn’t give either team a huge edge tonight, and it should be a great game. But if I can get the bigger and slightly better defensive team AND three and a half points, there is some good value present.
I’ll take the Sooners and the points to win a good one over in Honolulu.