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UCLA vs. Colorado Pick NCAA Basketball – January 12th

We rolled to another easy college hoops victory last night as Tennessee scored just 22 points in the first half -equaling the game total for South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell en route to an easy road win for the Gamecocks.  The win was our third in a row and seventh in eight games pushing the season mark at The Sports Geek to 43-23 ATS.  Let’s keep stacking em up today.

Elsewhere in college basketball giant-killer Butler was unable to recreate the magic last night in Omaha, as Creighton rolled to a 75-64 home win that wasn’t as close as the score.  Creighton might be the most overlooked team in the country right now.  They are 16-1 and the only loss is Villanova, who might very well be #1 again Monday.  They rank 6th in the nation in offensive efficiency and the score the 8th most points per game.  Most impressively, they rank second in the country with 91.0 points a game, meaning this team can travel as well.

And last point of note – it was a BAD day for mid-majors (and sadly, I think it is time to put the A-10 in the mid-major category).  Dayton got blasted in Amherst last night, leaving the league that entered the season with lofty expectations looking like they could be a one-bid league if VCU were to win the conference tournament… There is still time to the Flyers and Rhoda Island to get hot, but so far, very disappointing returns for the league as whole.

There are some nice games on the slate including Notre Dame putting their perfect ACC record on the line in Miami, SMU visiting Cincy in a battle of the AAC’s best, and UCLA taking the Globetrotter’s road show to Colorado (who is surprisingly winless in Pac-12 play).

 

Today’s Free Pick:

UCLA Bruins -6.5 at Colorado Buffaloes

My affinity for this year’s Bruins squad is pretty well documented.  I’m on record saying I think, right now, using the eye test, this is the BEST team in the country.  No one shares the ball better.  No one is more balanced and dynamic offensively, and no team is having more FUN.  Sure, Duke and Kentucky have equal (or greater) overall talent.  But they don’t hit the court like THIS every night.  UCLA’s only loss is a fluky road-loss at Final Four-potential Oregon.  (Not a fluke they lost to Oregon – but HOW – a missed Bryce Alford front-end of a one-and-one followed by a contested Dillon Brooks buzzer-beating three – was a little fluky).

UCLA ranks second in the nation in offensive efficiency.  They score a second-best 92.8 points per game.  And man, they do it with style.  So are their any chinks in the Bruins’ armor?

Well, you can make the argument they’ve lost their only REAL conference road game (Oregon State was a freebie) and that almost all of their games have been at home or on a neutral court.  That their second best win of the season is either Nebraska or Michigan or Cal – none better than a bubble team at best.  That’s a fair argument I counter with “97-92 AT RUPP ARENA.”

And my last counter – just WATCH them play.  They LOOK different and BETTER than any other team in the country.

Meanwhile, Colorado is 10-6 and winless in Pac-12 play.  They have some quality losses: by 6 to Notre Dame, by 8 @BYU, and all three conference losses were on the road, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State, so you can argue they aren’t as bad as their record and will probably level out a bit in conference play once they get to play at home.  But at home against UCLA isn’t exactly a reprieve from the grind.  Most of their losses have been by more than seven point including the bad loss to Colorado State.

I think UCLA passes another big test today; beating a reasonably quality team on the road with ease.

Look for their ball movement and offensive creativity and efficiency to be more than the Buffs can keep up with.  In short, Colorado just can’t score enough points to beat them.

I’ll lay the seven on the road and take the Bruins to roll.

Free Pick:  UCLA Bruins -6.5