We got right back to our winning ways last night when we backed the Oregon State Beavers at home, against the USC Trojans. I didn’t trust USC on the road, as they just haven’t shown any ability to win road games against solid teams yet this year. And I didn’t think the Trojans had anybody that could match up with Beavers standout Tres Tinkle. Imagine my horror when after my bet was made, the Beavers announced Tinkle would not be playing just before tipoff. Tinkle aggravated a sprained ankle he suffered in the Beavers most recent win over Oregon and would not be on the court against the Trojans.
Despite not having their best player on the floor, the Beavers led most of the game, and it looked like they would cruise to a fairly easy, win and cover. But the Trojans made a furious run late in the game to close the gap and sent the game into overtime. In the extra period, the Beavers reestablished control of the action, and eventually took the game 79-74, narrowly covering the four-point spread. It was a roller coaster of emotions sweating this game, but in the end, we came out on top.
After seeing how this game played out without Tinkle on the floor for Oregon State, I like my play even better. They managed to win and cover without their best player, what could they have done if Tinkle had been able to play? As I mentioned in my pick yesterday, I see this Oregon State team staying hot and winning a lot of games in a weak PAC-12 this year.
Getting Tinkle back healthy will be a major key to success for the Beavers, but his injury doesn’t seem all that serious, so assuming he is back on the court soon, I like this Oregon State team a lot. We will find out just what this team is made up of soon as they play UCLA, Arizona State, and Arizona in their next three games. I have my doubts about the PAC-12 this year, but the Beavers are going to be playing the best the league has to offer, and if they can survive that three-game stretch, they should emerge as the prohibitive favorites out west. For today’s pick, I will switch gears from the PAC-12 to the Big 10 as the Maryland Terrapins host the Indiana Hoosiers.
The Indiana Hoosiers will head to Maryland Friday night for a Big 10 showdown with the Terrapins. Both the Hoosiers and Terrapins have just one loss in league play and lurk just behind Michigan and Michigan State who sit tied atop the Big 10 standings. The Terrapins have won four straight games overall, including nice wins over Minnesota and Nebraska. For Indiana, the Hoosiers saw their seven-game winning streak snapped in their last game, a road loss to Michigan. The Terrapins are -6-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 143 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from the Xfinity Center in College Park.
The Indiana Hoosiers have the talent to hang with the best teams in the country this year. Juwan Morgan is a returning superstar who has seen his production increase across the board this season. His scoring, rebounds, and assists are all up over last year when he was named to the Big 10 all second-team squad. And the newcomer to join Morgan is superstar recruit, Romeo Langford. Langford was one of the most highly touted recruits in the country, and his decision to stay at home in Indiana and play for the Hoosiers immediately put them on the national championship radar.
The Hoosiers schedule is dotted with solid wins. They beat Marquette, Northwestern, Penn State, Louisville, and Butler. Their three losses on the season are to Arkansas, Duke, and Michigan. Duke and Michigan are the consensus top two teams in the country, so no shame there, and Arkansas just might be sneaky good as they are 10-4 to start the season. So, while the national title talk may be a little premature, this team is very talented, and they are only going to get better as the season wears on and Langford continues to mature and improve his game.
Maryland is in a similar spot right now in that they probably shouldn’t be considered national title contenders, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a good team. The Terrapins are led by junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. Cowan Jr. is scoring seventeen points a game to go with four rebounds and four assists. The Maryland resume is a very similar one to Indiana in that all of their losses are explainable, and they have multiple decent wins.
This number opened up at Maryland -7-points and all the sharps, myself included, jumped all over it. The line has moved towards Indiana all morning long, and I will lock it in now where it stands at Indiana +6-points. This line is likely to continue to move towards the Hoosiers as some books are posting -5.5 numbers already. I am not sure who wins this game outright, if pressed, I would lean towards Maryland at home. But given the opportunity to snatch up a bunch of points in what should be a very competitive game, I won’t pass up all that value. So, I’ll back the Hoosiers and expect a nail biter that comes down to the final few possessions. Give me the Indiana Hoosiers and the +6-points tonight from College Park!