We notched an easy win last night with Virginia Tech winning outright and controlling the game throughout against Florida State to advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. I’m still not sure how they became such a large underdog as the game got closer and closer to tip-off. Apparently a lot of the public saw something I did not and wasn’t impressed with VA Tech’s five game (now six) winning streak. I’m not sure if they can keep it up again tonight against Miami, but Buzz Peterson has definitely built a competitive team in Blacksburg.
Meanwhile, every major conference tournament is in action today; the Big Twelve and ACC quarterfinals feature a few dazzling matchups; Baylor vs. Texas and Iowa State vs. Oklahoma and the ACC gives us Duke vs. Notre Dame. The Big East has Butler and Providence and the SEC is chock full of Bubble Battles. And of course, all four Pac 12 games could go either way in that parity-insane league.
The next 72 hours are about as good as college basketball gets, so enjoy some wall-to-wall awesome hoops. Let’s see if we can stack a few winners along the way as well. Given the crazy parity and the neutral floors, I am once again drawn to the underdogs today. Here’s my favorite.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oregon State Beavers vs. Cal Bears -6.5
One team is fighting for their lives. One team is young and fighting for a seed. I’ll take the former.
Gary Payton Jr, Tres Trinkle and the Oregon Beavers have little room for error tonight if they want to feel confident on Selection Sunday. A big win tonight over Cal should punch their ticket. And I think they’ll get it. Cal has been SO dependent on home court to amass their late season winning streak. The Bears closed with an 8-1 record, but all but two of their wins were at home. They split the season series with Oregon State with each winning with some room to spare on their own floor. Gary Payton Jr, the two-time Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year was brilliant in the win with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. I expect him to be a BIG factor today as well.
This game is a lot more evenly matched than the records suggest. Cal depended so heavily on being at home, despite some real growth from this young team, I am a little skeptical as to how well they will play on a neutral floor. I lean Cal winning, but six and a half is enough for me to get on board with the Beavers, who could very well win straight up.