This incredible year of parity (and bizarre losses) continued this week, most notably with Iowa putting their #1 seed in serious jeopardy with a loss to lowly Penn State (who lost to Duquesne by a million earlier this year and is 3-10 in conference) and perhaps the jaw-dropper of the year, Minnesota snapping their FOURTEEN game losing streak by knocking off the Maryland Terps. I have been stubborn in clinging to the assertion that Maryland has the best starting five in the country and that would be unwise to give up on them. Bbut now that they rank 293rd in turnover ratio late in February, it is certainly fair to question if this team has the poise to make a deep tourney run.
We took a few days to focus on the pros, but are back for a HUGE Saturday of college hoops. The highlights of the schedule happen all day long, starting right at noon with Duke at Louisville and Xavier at Georgetown (I’ll take both road teams with solid leans). The action keeps on delivering with a battle for ACC supremacy when Miami visits Chapel Hill. Then we get Baylor at Texas and Villanova at Butler at 2 and 2:30, amazing Big Twelve action at 4pm and 6pm with Oklahoma at West Virginia and Kansas at Kansas State.
Then the nightcap on ESPN, a wonderful rivalry in the Hoosier state with higher mutual stakes in quite a while when Purdue and Indiana look to capitalize on the opening Iowa and Maryland offered up with this week’s surprising losses.
It’s going to be an awesome day of college hoops. Here’s my favorite play on the board.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oregon State Beavers at Oregon Ducks -12
Remember when Oregon had a commanding lead in the Pac 12 and was trending towards a #2 or #3 seed? You don’t need a long memory, because that was just seven days ago.
Since then, Oregon has dropped a pair of road games, getting slaughtered by Cal and losing at Stanford. Now the Pac 12 is wide open once again with seven teams within two games and Oregon is forced to hold serve at home against a surging and talented Oregon State team in a huge rivalry game.
I’m a little surprised the line is double digits. Oregon State has won three of their last four games, including wins over Colorado and Utah and a road win at Stanford. The problem is that was the Beavers FIRST road win of the year, and four of their five conference losses have been by double digits. That’s concerning, but I also take some comfort in the fact they BEAT Oregon by double digits earlier this season in Corvallis.
Oregon is the better team, especially when you look at their respective home/road splits. But laying 11 in a rivalry game against a pretty decent basketball team is a little aggressive. I’ll take Gary Payton Jr. and Trace Trinkle to keep this game fun and entertainingly competitive.