Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tends to belong to the NBA, but college hoops certainly isn’t taking a back seat entirely. The day isn’t packed with wall-to-wall hoops but there is a single good game sprinkled throughout the day to make the Holiday complete. Xavier hosts Creighton at 2pm on FS1 in an excellent Big East matchup, and a very important one for Xavier as they have already dropped games to Butler and Villanova on the road for two losses in conference play and can ill-afford a third one to occur at home.
Syracuse is admittedly down this season, but their 7pm tilt at North Carolina is worth a watch, perhaps for no other reason than to get a look at a team whose ceiling is as high as any when playing well in North Carolina. And the 9pm game is an absolute gem with Kansas, who COULD be the newly minted #1 team in the nation this afternoon heading to Iowa State in an insanely difficult arena to protect a #1 ranking. Could there be a court-storming in Ames this evening??
Today’s Free Pick:
Syracuse Orange at North Carolina Tar Heels -14
Syracuse is 3-2 in ACC play and from a far distance, it would be possible to convince yourself that perhaps all is well for Coach Boeheim and company. But looking at their ACC resume reveals all three wins are at home, and against Miami, Pitt and Boston College – two decent teams but all unranked. Their two losses are blowout on the road to Boston College and Virginia Tech.
Meanwhile, North Carolina opened ACC play with the odd loss at Georgia Tech. Since then, they are 4-0 and have won by an average margin of 32 points at home and just beat Florida State by 13. Syracuse ain’t no Florida State this season.
This thing could, and should, get really ugly.
North Carolina has flexed their muscle at time this season, blowing out Oklahoma State, Monmouth, NC State all by 30-plus. They also blew out Wisconsin. The again, they lost to Georgia Tech and struggled with Wake Forest. HOME VS. ROAD.
Tonight they are at home, so expect a cruise-control victory. I wouldn’t be stunned if they make a mockery of this line and run the Orange right out of the Smith Center in a hurry to the point walk-ons might get in early enough to get a few shots up.
Syracuse hasn’t covered a road game yet this season (0-4 ATS) while North Carolina is a tidy 8-3 ATS at home.
I’ll eat the big pile of points and look for a Carolina romp.