We had a nice 4-1 ATS weekend, but the streak was snapped with UCF’s absolute no-show in Connecticut against the 5-9 (0-3) Huskies. UCF shot 17% in the first half and the hole was too deep to dig out of en route to a comfortable loss (and deflating moment for a program feeling like they were on the verge of getting into the mix in the AAC conference with Uconn and Memphis down and a recent convincing win over Temple).
Elsewhere, two major teams made major statements yesterday. North Carolina laid an absolute BEATDOWN on the poor North Carolina State Wolfpack, taking advantage of an extra snow day of rest and waking up early and pummeling their little-brother rival 107-56. Much like fellow ACC power Duke, they responded to an early surprising conference loss with a 50-point plus win, displaying the high ceilings that makes them legit National Title contenders.
Elsewhere, Purdue took a big step towards establishing their place a top the slightly disheveled Big Ten with a convincing win over Wisconsin. Granted, the win was at home and fresh off Purdue losing at Minnesota (also 3-1 and in the four way tie with Nebraska who lost yesterday and Michigan State who got drilled by Penn State), but because of the unbalanced league schedules, Purdue doesn’t make a return trip to Madison, so this win was doubly important.
Today’s slate is nearly barren, an intentional getting-out-of-the-way for the NCAA Football Championship Game, but there is still one real game on the slate, and I happen to like the line.
Today’s Free Pick:
St. John’s Red Storm at Georgetown Hoyas -6.5
Sure, Georgetown is 8-8 overall with losses to Arkansas State and 0-4 in league play. It would be easy to look at the record and write them off as lousy and fade, fade, fade away.
But doing that would probably cost you some money.
Yes, at some point you are what your record is (Bill Parcels), but there is a little more to this story. Georgetown’s conference losses are @Marquette, Xavier, @Providence and Butler and by an average of just 7 points. More importantly, they have competed in every game closer than the final score, which often included a little padding in the final seconds with free throws (and they REALLY should have won the most recent tilt against Butler before gagging it up late and going to overtime and folding completely).
There are a lot of reasons to not like Georgetown. They blow close games late. They are 4-10 ATS on the season and they are 0-4 SU in conference play. But there is also a reason they are still favored tonight against St. John’s who is 2-2 in BEast play – Georgetown is probably a significantly better team.
St. John’s has shown some giddy-up lately. They jumped up and absolutely pummeled Syracuse and they stunned Butler, who owns wins against Villanova, Cincinnati, Arizona and Indiana. The Johnnies have those two really nice wins. And they have losses to Long Island and Deleware State. They have double digit losses to Xavier, Penn State and Creighton in the last three weeks and generally have gotten blown out when they go on the the road in a true road game.
Tonight is a true road game against an angry and desperate more-talented team. I think the Hoyas vent a little frustration tonight on Chris Mullin’s squad and pick up their first conference win of the season emphatically.