Two and Oh with the Twitter picks yesterday but 0-2 on the site as the tough slide continues this week. Fortunately, I built up a massive cushion early in the season but it is definitely time to get things back on the right track and end this regular season the way it went for 4/5th of it; stacking WINNERS.
There are some great games on deck tonight with the Finals in the Big Twelve, Big East, ACC and a can’t-wait-Pac 12 rematch between Arizona and Oregon. We also have semifinals in the Big Ten, SEC, A-10 and AAC for a stacked and jacked day of wager-able games.
There will be plenty of time to talk about the “Big Dance” in about 48 hours, so for now, let’s focus on the immediacy of today’s action. Here’s my favorite plays on a crowded board.
Today’s College Basketball Picks:
Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks -2.5
There are some really good things about the “eye-test.” It allows for some subjectivity in the cold world of data-crunching. It allows to visibly LOOK at a basketball team and notice subtle things like the ease or difficulty with which they are getting their points or preventing their opponents from doing the same. It is a useful tool for helping discard the random “extra lucky” night or dismissing a sluggish emotional letdown performance from the larger sample.
But there is a downside too. It really depends upon WHEN your eyes were focused. If you only saw Oregon’s absolute razing of the Arizona Wildcats, their 85-58 pulverizing in Eugene on February 4th, you have no reason to think Arizona can compete tonight.
And your eyes would be deceiving you.
Since that fateful day in Eugene, the Arizona Wildcats have reeled off eight of nine and have avenged their only loss (77-72 to UCLA) with a win over the same squad last night in (relatively) comfortable fashion. They enter tonight at 29-4 and all four losses coming against teams that will likely be Top Four seeds in March – two of them before they got Alonzo Trier back in the lineup. Arizona is BIG, talented and athletic. They are well-coached, good on both ends of the floor and a legitimate National Title contender. Yet they were +375 to win their own conference tournament?
Meanwhile, Oregon has been no slouch themselves. They had a three-point loss at UCLA immediately following the Arizona game (more than understandable) and have on eight straight games, though the schedule was a little kind for the Ducks. Like Arizona, they are 29-4, and like Arizona, two of their losses came early without THEIR best player, Dillon Brooks. They have a ton of talent, a big time CLOSER in Brooks and were a #1 seed last year, so they aren’t new to this stage.
My play tonight is predicated solely on the line. IGNORE the earlier result, and if anything, consider it fuel for a really good Arizona team’s engine. That game, on the road, just got away from them. It was a bad day to have a bad day and the missed shots snowballed. It was an OUTLIER. The reality is, it is hard to find two more evenly-matched teams in the country and this game could go either way. I think Arizona has a little better top-tier talent, I think Oregon is a little scrappier. I wouldn’t be at ALL surprised if Arizona won the game straight-up, which makes getting a few points the obvious play.
Today’s Pick: Arizona Wildcats +2.5