The college beat rolled on last night with a crazy EASY winner as healthy underdog South Carolina easily defeated favored Syracuse straight up with a 64-50 win. Sindarius Thornwell led the way with 16/6/5 and the Gamecocks continued to play the stifling defense that has become Frank Martin’s calling card.
Elsewhere, it was a relatively quiet day in major NCAA hoops. A lot of good teams were in action but few played each other. The best win of the day was probably Xavier dominating a good Northern Iowa team to hand the Panthers their second head-up loss in the span of a week. Maryland remained perfect, albeit the most tentative 7-0 in America, winning 69-68 over Kansas State on a late Melo Tremble game-winning layup, and Virginia got a comfortable win over Providence 73-62.
The best games on the slate today are the final matchups in the Wooden Legacy and Advocare Classic. Iowa State and Gonzaga put their unbeaten marks heads-to-head today in Orlando at 1:30pm and Florida and Miami hook up in a neutral floor matchup at 4:30pm. The nightcap is the championship in the Wooden as UCLA tries to win their own tourney against Texas A&M.
Meanwhile, we try to keep winning as well, toting a 12-4 ATS mark into tonight and looking to push ahead of the awesome 75% mark. Let’s go!
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Today’s Free Pick:
Texas A&M Aggies vs. UCLA Bruins -3.5
I loved UCLA preseason and thought they have some of the best long-value odds to win it all at 50:1. They figured to be a work in progress as they assimilated a Top Five recruiting class into the mix with Bryce and company. So far, so good. UCLA has been dominating teams and doing it with the style that is beginning to get the often-cool Los Angeles faithful piqued. Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf look like pros, and Alford has been deferential when necessary, while still knocking down plenty of big shots and being a key component of the offense. In short, things look so promising in Westwood.
But tonight will be a true test. Texas A&M will be the best team they have faced to this point in the season. They have a quality close loss to USC offset by a quality close win over Virginia Tech, so tonight is not their first tough game. It is, however, a MUCH tougher game in my opinion. Not only is UCLA more talented than the aforementioned two teams, this is also nearly a home game for the Bruins being played as Call State Fullerton.
UCLA’s best win is Nebraska. So today is BIG jump up as well, but I’ll take the talent and the home court being enough to cover the narrow three points today. I think this team will have a few stumbles in the conference season, and expect them to really have a tough time with Kentucky. But for now, I think they are the better team tonight, and playing in a comfortable home-like environment.