Dayton vs. Rhode Island Pick – February 10th

Friday is a barren slate of action, but the Atlantic Ten bails us out with a legit GOOD GAME between Dayton and Rhode Island as two of the three likely NCAA Tournament teams jockey for conference supremacy and NCAA seeding position.

We notched another NCAA hoops winner last night to push the record to 12-3 ATS over the last two weeks as Oregon held on to the cover in a thriller in Pauley Pavilion.  Last night was billed as a blockbuster night of college hoops, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  Indiana faded late in a great game hosting Purdue, Oregon squandered a 17-point lead in Los Angeles against UCLA, who reasserted their own National Title validity, and of course, in one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, Duke triumphed at home over North Carolina.

So… about Duke… now what?  For all the angst, for all the drama, is it possible this is STILL a Final Four contender?  Well, Grayson Allen is back to playing at an All-American level, Luke Kennard has ALWAYS been playing at an All-American level, and Jayson Taytum is reemerged as a legit Top Five Lottery Pick.  Coach K is back on the bench, the rotation has begun to tighten (as is the want in nearly ALL of Coach K’s title teams – nearly all played six with a grudging seventh, despite having some McD’s All Americans stashed on the pine) and with five losses they are within one loss at most of all but five ranked teams.

Legit?  Or more importantly, safe to wager on again???

My answer – show me a ROAD win, and I’m back in.  Lay another defense-weak double digit roadie disaster, and all the questions reemerge.  But from a long-term perspective, let’s say hypothetically, they landed in a bracket tomorrow as a #4 seed with Gonzaga, Baylor and Cincinnati as the #1-#3.  Who are you taking??  Be honest.  Gut feel, plus the innate pull of a sneaky “sleeper” (as hilarious as it is to consider Duke as such).  I would wager MORE brackets would feature Duke in the Final Four than any other single team…

Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:

Dayton Flyers at Rhode Island -3

It’s Friday night, so it means a very, very thin slate of college basketball action, but fortunately the Atlantic 10 is here to bail us out.  Both Dayton and Rhode Island are high enough caliber teams to not only make the Tournament but also win a few games once they get there.  A-10 teams have made plenty of noise in the past as high-digit seeds; VCU’s famous run, Dayton to the Elite Eight several years ago, and both of these teams have the talent to do so.

But in the here and now, who comes out on top?  The three point line is exactly right.  These are two equal teams with the difference tonight being the home court.  But I’ll take the home court to mean just a slight bit more, and give Rhode Island the slight head-to-head edge.  URI started the year ranked, and lately has played like a team meriting consideration.  They have win four in a row and six of seven including comfortable road wins at Davidson and UMass.  They lost earlier at Dayton in a tense 67-64 game and should get the revenge tonight as the scene shift to their home gym.

Dayton has also been playing well, winning three in a row and six of eight, but their two losses came on the road – close at VCU (73-68) and not-so-close at UMass.  It’s hard to win road conference games at good opponents, and I think the Flyers will find a hostile and feverish crowd difficult tonight.

It’s a good game, so I wouldn’t bet the house, but I do like URI at the current -3.  Even another point would lean me to no action as this has potential to be a very close game heading in to the last two minutes.

Today’s Pick:  Rhode Island -3