Ole Miss vs Tennessee NCAA Hoops + 2 Bonus Picks – Jan 9th

We took one on the chin last night, as the Big East continues to get wackier and wackier this season.  Pitt looked inept in their first Big East home game and has looked offensively challenged most of the season.  So, of course, they head into Georgetown’s gym last night and score a season-high 73 points versus the Hoyas, blowing them out 73-49.  This is fresh off the heels of back-to-back pathetic losses to open the season for the Panthers.

Go figure….

Either way, it’s a tough loss for both G’town and me here at the, so let’s crash the boards and rebound with a couple of winners tonight.

We shall start with a conference that seems to make a little more sense (insert the “because all but three teams stink” joke here), the SEC.

Ole Miss Rebels at Tennessee Volunteers -2

Folks, it definitely ain’t football season any longer… the SEC’s blissful dominance could actually continue come March, with Mizzou and Florida legit Final Four teams and anyone smart still not discounting Kentucky gelling over the next six weeks, but the overall depth of the SEC and the dregs at the bottom of the league make it hard to rank them ahead of even the Mountain West in conference power rankings.

Tonight two of the better middle-of-the-pack’ers meet in Knoxville in a game that will likely have big bubble implications and a fourth or fifth SEC team jockey for a spoton the Dance card.  Tennessee is only 8-4, but there is no question they have challenged themselves far more than Ole Miss.  Tennessee’s losses are to Virginia, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Georgetown – all possible or even likely tourney teams, and they own an impressive win over Wichita State and quality wins over Xavier and UMass.  Granted the 37-36 loss to Georgetown was quite possibly the worst game I have ever watched, but…

Ole Miss enters at 11-2, but they have played an absolute dog of a schedule.  Their losses are to Indiana State and Middle Tennessee State and their wins are littered with low-major opponents like Lipscomb, Loyola Marymount, Fordham and McNeese State.  There is little to no indication they are ready to face a high-caliber defense in a true road environment tonight.

I know Tennessee has looked more than a little vulnerable, but laying just two tonight at home against an overrated Ole Miss squad is too good to pass up.  Give me the Vols at home.  It may not be pretty, but they should get the win.

Free Pick:  Tennessee Volunteers -2

Bonus Picks:

A couple other quick wagers I like tonight:

I’ve said it a few times before, and I am going to keep on the NC State train; this is one of the more undervalued teams in the country right now.  They took a few losses early, but the talent is there and they have tremendous offensive balance.  I love them at home tonight against GA Tech.  I was optimistic on the Jackets until their absolutely humbling loss at Miami last weekend.  Perhaps the Jackets are not quite back just yet.  Take the Wolfpack laying nine.

One last pick I am taking tonight, and it comes from my favorite league in the country, the Atlantic 10.  The sudden additions of Butler and VCU make this not just a good mid-major, but a truly elite conference.  Tonight preseason co-favorite St. Joe’s hosts newly-instated favorite Butler.  The Bulldogs have been awesome the last month.  Most people know they beat then #1 Indiana, but they also beatdown Northwestern on the road and have beaten every should-win by double digits.

Meanwhile, St. Joes has been a huge disappointment, 8-4 with losses to Villanova (who is awful), Fairfield, and a 29-point beatdown by Creighton.  Butler is better, and I think they get the road win tonight.

BONUS PICKS:   North Carolina State -9  &  Butler -1.5