We are about to launch into one of the biggest and perhaps best days of college hoops action so far this season. The lineup is completely packed with top flight games. Cincinnati and Louisville tangle to likely decide the winner of the initial season in the AAC. There are a pair of massive Big Ten matchups with Michigan State getting a crack at evening the score against Michigan, and Iowa and Wisconsin get together in a game that replays a game Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery would like to forget.
In other action, we have another top tier Atlantic Ten game (I whiffed last night on VCU) between St. Louis and GW, and New Mexico will look to lock up their at-large positioning with a big win over #6 San Diego State. But no game will have more buzz than the highly-anticipated Syracuse v. Duke rematch tonight at Cameron Indoor. The game, of course, would have had a lot more zip on it had both teams not lost earlier this week, but is still an incredibly interesting game.
Needless to say, there is a ton of action to choose from today, so let’s dive in with my favorite duo on the board.
Today’s Free Picks:
UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal -2
UCLA might be the best team in the Pac-12 right now, and that is inclusive of Arizona. The Bruins have won seven of eight games and have looked tough in the process. As a matter of fact, at 21-5 I’m not sure how they are ranked just twenty fifth in the country…
That still doesn’t make tonight’s trip to a desperate Stanford squad an easy one. Johnny Dawkins has been on the perpetual bubble since arriving in Palo Alto, but this year is a little different as it is likely his last chance to get over the hump. The Cardinal are a decent 17-8 and a likewise decent 10-3 at home, but really need a win over a ranked opponent to solidify the resume.
UCLA has won and covered in seven of their last eight, and I like them to get a big road win tonight. The latest line had them even getting a few points, so I’ll take advantage of it.
Syracuse Orange at Duke Blue Devils -6.5
Raise your hand if you thought your be able to get Syracuse and more than a half dozen points at any point during the season a month ago?? I sure didn’t. And despite the two-week malaise they have been playing under, it is hard to see them getting run out of any gym in America.
Duke and Syracuse are both coming off tough losses; Duke’s an emotional one, Syracuse’s an equally-disappointing emotion-less one – so expect both teams to be razor sharp tonight. Duke gave the Cuse fits three weeks ago, but were aided by an insane barrage of 15 three pointers; very few of which came from their big guns Parker and Hood. I am not sure they can shoot it like that again, even at home, but I also doubt Parker will only play 26 minutes and be held largely in check.
I’ll consider those two changes a push. I suppose Duke has an edge being at home, but I like the Cuse yet again. I’m 10-0 ATS picking Cuse games this season, and looking for my faith to be rewarded once again.