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South Carolina vs. Tennessee Pick NCAA Basketball – January 11th

We hit our college basketball play with some room to spare last night as Texas Tech got a dramatic win at home over Kansas State, who now own three losses by a total of four points.  However, Kansas State was getting a pile of points so easily covered the mark.  The win was my eighth in twelve games and makes us 12-5 ATS in the last two weeks and a nice, juicy 42-23 ATS on TheSportsGeek.com.

If you follow along on Twitter (@TheMarchManiacs), it was an even better night, a perfect 4-0 ATS with Florida, Kansas and Virginia Tech all covering winning wagers as well to pull the overall season mark to 64-33-1 ATS.

It was a very telling night in college hoops with the three biggest games all being decided my overwhelming margins.  Villanova absolutely bludgeoned Xavier to reassert themselves as firmly a top the Big East.  Florida State made a loud statement as well, not just winning, but completely controlling Duke for forty minutes.

And #1 Baylor’s first time atop the rankings will be brief.  They got manhandled (oh the sweet “I told you so”) in Morgantown in a loss us college hoops pundits have seen coming for two weeks.  Just another reminder to all of us at home, the “rankings” mean very, very little in terms of handicapping which team is actually the better team and better value.

 

Today’s Free Pick:

South Carolina Gamecocks -1 at Tennessee Volunteers

I know.  I just got done tweeting about how hard it is to win road games in conference play after Nova, FSU and WVU all laid the collective lumber to Top 15 teams last night.  But the difference is, all three winning teams are Top TEN teams.  Tennessee is not.  They are not even an NCAA Tournament team.  Probably not even an NIT team.

And South Carolina is good.

I beat them up last season about their pathetic schedule and the mirage of their 13-0 start.  This year is a different story.  They own double-digit wins over Syracuse, Michigan and Texas A&M and have close losses to Seton Hall and Clemson, both without their best player.  The loss at Memphis was a bad look, but Thornwell is back and the ‘Cocks look much better since his return.

They are 12-3 and 2-0 in SEC play and perfect with Thornwell in uniform.  His absence actually saw a few players like P.J. Dozier emerge.  Dozier in nearly every game without Thornwell and gives Frank Martin’s squad a legit second scoring option.  Plus, USC DEFENDS.  With ferocity.  They have the third best team defensive efficiency ranking in all the nation at 89.8, trailing only Louisville and Cincinnati and ahead of vaunted defensive squads like Virginia and West Virginia.

Tennessee enters tonight at 8-7, (1-2) and despite a tough schedule with losses to Oregon, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Arkansas and Florida – BRUTAL SLATE, they don’t have any quality wins to balance the losses out.  Their best wins are Texas A&M and Georgia Tech and they also have a home loss to Chattanooga (solid mid major, but at home?).  To make matters worse, the Vols just dismissed their second leading scorer, Detrick Mostella from the team for “violations.”

It’s a distraction right before a visit from a fierce defensive, and vastly superior overall team.  I’ll eat the point and would be willing and eager to eat a few more if the line moves after the suspension, and take Frank Martin and South Carolina.

Free Pick:  South Carolina Gamecocks -1  (NOTE:  6:30 PM EST TIP)