We notched a fourth straight winning college hoops day as three favorites won, Kansas and North Carolina predicatably easy, while Wisconsin dealt us our own loss in their win by failing to cover against Georgetown. I’ve written a ton about the Big East already this season, but it is worth repeating even after a pair of losses yesterday. Butler came back down to Earth against a very good Oklahoma team, but the Bulldogs have already acquitted themselves well in the Bahamas. Keep in mind this was a team picked last or next to last in the Beast by most pundits. And Georgetown looked like a second-weekend NCAA Tourney team against Wisconsin.
Butler and Georgetown will face off in a rare conference non-conference matchup today. Both committed to this year’s Atlantis field prior to the realigning and reformation of the new Big East. Butler was an A-10 team at the time (fresh off a move from the Horizon League) and Georgetown was still in a league named the Big East, but it included Louisville, UConn, Syracuse and Notre Dame…
It’s another day of fantastic college hoops action, and one that can’t be done justice with just one pick. So let’s dive into the packed schedule and see if we can string together a fifth straight winning day…
MUST SEE: Bovada.lv has a High Credit Card Acceptance Rate for United States Sports Bettors!
Troubles depositing? Bovada.lv has a variety of great deposit options plus are awarding new depositors $100 in FREE Money Bonuses! *check local laws Click here for full details...
Today’s Free Picks:
Butler Bulldogs vs. Georgetown Hoyas -3 *** 2 PM EST Tip – Battle 4 Atlantis Third Place Game
This line perplexes me. Has Vegas watched these last few games? As we correctly identified, Butler played a little over their heads beating UNC, who coincided with one of the worst efforts you will ever see from a Roy Williams team. They both regressed (or progressed) to the mean yesterday.
Meanwhile, Georgetown has shown they are legit. They may have lost yesterday, but I found myself more impressed with Georgetown than Wisconsin in the effort. The executed well in the half court led by the fantastic point guard play of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. He looked fantastic and has been the best guard on the court in each of his first two games. Add in Joshua Smith, all 6’10’’ 350 pounds of him, and the Hoyas have some muscle inside and out (not to mention some bone-crushing screens)
Georgetown is a lot more talented and athletic to only be laying three points on a neutral court. I love the Hoyas to win and cover in this game.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Wisconsin Badgers -7 – 4:30 PM EST Tip – Battle 4 Atlantis Championship
This is another one that surprises me a bit. These are both Top 15 caliber teams. Wisconsin is bigger, Oklahoma is a little quicker, but both are good teams. Seven points on a neutral floor is a pretty large margin. I figured this would be a 4.5 or 5 at most, especially given the eye test of watching these two teams play yesterday afternoon.
I expect both Kaminski and Buddy Heald to bounce back after rough shooting days and for each team’s respective star to shine a little more brightly in the championship game. I also expect a tense and well-played final, ala the Arizona vs. San Diego State game. That’s the best parallel I can draw for today game. That game was a great illustration of the parity in college hoops between the Top 5 and Top 20. There isn’t a TON of difference on a neutral floor if both teams play well.
I’ll take Oklahoma and the points. It’s a game they could even win straight up if they shoot the ball better, so seven points allows for some wiggle room.
Gonzaga Bulldogs -6.5 vs. St. John’s Red Storm *** 7 PM EST — NIT Championship, Madison Square Garden, NY
I understand this line being a little closer than it should be, given the perception that it is a virtual home game for St. John’s. But despite the nice start for their conference as a whole, I think tonight is a fun national coming out party for one of Mark Few’s most talented teams during his decade-plus run of excellence at Gonzaga.
Gonzaga is steamrolling opponents so far, scoring 93 ppg and winning by an average margin of 36 per contest. The slept-walked to an easy double digit win against Georgia, and I expect them to be even sharper tonight.
St. John’s is off to a nice start and their win over Minnesota could wind up being an important one at the end of the year if they find themselves on the bubble. But I think the talent gap, and especially the size and depth of Gonzaga will be too much tonight. I’ll take the Zags to grab an impressive win and cover.