Happy Thanksgiving everyone – I hope you enjoy a holiday feast, both at the dinner table and with a ridiculous bevy of awesome football and college basketball action. We got our Thanksgiving gift a little early with a Georgetown overtime basket with four seconds to play to seal the Hoyas win and earn us a narrow push. Coupled with the Oklahoma ten-point win over UCLA it led to a third straight winning day (4-1-1 ATS overall) and has us poised for a nice Thanksgiving Day.
I gushed about the marvelous start of the Big East yesterday, so I’ll be brief; it’s going from “really good” to “someone pinch me, holy crap” after yesterday’s Butler win over #5 North Carolina and Georgetown’s win over the ranked Gators. Things will be a little tricky today with Butler getting a good Oklahoma team and Georgetown getting a potentially-great Wisconsin team. I’m not sure either can spring the upset again today, but regardless, it’s been a dream start for the reimagined and possibly re-awakening BEast…
There’s no NBA action today, so let’s put all our focus on the college hardwood with a few picks.
Today’s Free Picks:
Kansas Jayhawks -8 vs. Rhode Island Rams *** 2:30 PM EST Tip @ Orlando, FL
Danny Hurley’s Rams are off to a good start and have shown some flashes of being able to compete in the top of the A-10. Their home win over Nebraska was impressive, though Nebraska has looked a little off so far in 2014 (they struggled with Nebraska-Omaha), and they head down to Orlando for the tournament at Disney Wide World of Sports a perfect 3-0.
But make no mistake, Nebraska is not Kansas. Don’t be lulled to sleep my the Jayhawks sleeper against Kentucky. UK blitzed them with insane length and a defense like they haven’t encountered in the ranks of college hoops in quite some time. But this is still a really talented team. Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden are a talented veteran trio, and star frosh Stanley Johnson is expected to be back in the lineup today after missing a game with a shoulder injury.
Kansas is too big and too talented for the Rams. Plus, they’ll be really eager to get back on the court against a reasonable opponent and put that Kentucky embarrassment further in the rear-view mirror. I like the Jayhawks to cover a second straight game with some room to spare.
Georgetown Hoyas vs Wisconsin Badgers -7.5 *** 3:30 PM EST Tip – Grand Bahama
Wisconsin may very well be the best team in the country. They are beating opponents by thirty points a night and are allowing an average of just 46.2 ppg. They have great size, experience, shooting and they play smothering, nasty half-court defense.
Georgetown struggled to get good shots in the half court against a depleted Florida team. They are going to really have a tough time tonight. They have some good size with Davis in the post, who will have a weight edge on Kaminski, but I think the crafty Frank the Tank will have him in some early foul trouble, and from there the Hoya interior gets a little thin (pun intended).
The Badgers haven’t played a team quite as good as Georgetown, but they have hammered a good Green Bay team 84-60 and dispatched of every other opponent in their paths with an intense easieness. I think the quick turnaround the morning after an emotional overtime last-second win is a tough one for anyone, especially a young team that is a little outmanned today.
I’ll take Bo Ryan and the Badgers big.
North Carolina Tar Heels -4 vs. UCLA Bruins **** 7PM EST Tip – Grand Bahama
North Carolina played as poorly as they may play all season yesterday. They missed a ton of shots, they looked lethargic on the boards and missed about 15 blockouts. Carolina shot 38% from the floor and just 4 of 16 from distance. Their defense was good – they held Butler to 30.8% from the floor. The killer was the glass where they got outrebounded 29-14 on the offensive glass. That should NEVER happen to Carolina against a smaller Butler team, and you can bet Roy Williams will let his kids know it ain’t gonna happen again today.
Meanwhile, UCLA was ranked heading to the Bahamas, but it might have been a little inflated. They have a lot of people to replace from last year’s squad and they will struggle to be a top three Pac 12 team this year.
I like Carolina to rebound in a major way. Expect Bryce Alford to have his hands full with All-American Marcus Paige today and for him to spearhead the Tar Heels attack today.