The Madness is already underway. Today may be the final day of the regular season, but the smaller tournaments are already beginning to shape the fields, starting with Belmont’s stunning loss in the OVC semifinals. For the second straight year, the top seed was eliminated early in the conference tourney and all but certainly, their NCAA dreams perish along with the loss. Games like this are substantial in that is softens the overall field and eliminates a very pesky 12/13 seed from doing some possible damage. Meanwhile, another potential spoiler, Winthrop, dodged some danger with an overtime win over Gardner-Webb in the Big South semis and will look to capture a bid tonight.
As fun as the smaller conference tournaments are, today is also the last weekend of the major league’s regular season and there are a lot of big games with impact; both seeding and shaping the Field of 68.
Notre Dame at Louisville is a big ACC game, as Duke and Carolina – the headliner tonight – offers up the very real possibility for a Carolina loss and the potential for Notre Dame to quietly sneak in an claim a share of the ACC regular season crown. On the other end of the spectrum, a game that was SUPPOSED to be glamorous way back when CBS scheduled it, Ohio State and Indiana try to begin their miracle run to miraculously get back in the Field…
Meanwhile, the Pac-12 will be settled today as both Oregon and Arizona (15-2) head on the road as double-digit favorites against their instate rivals. Assuming both win, they will split the regular season title, leaving a conference tournament to decide who is the candidate for the #1 seed in the Big Dance.
We had a rough week, but it is time to put that behind us and get back on the grind with a winning weekend!
Today’s College Basketball Pick:
Kansas Jayhawks at Oklahoma State Cowboys -1
The job Brad Underwood has done this season at Okie State is nothing short of remarkable. Once 0-5 and left for dead, the Pokes are now NCAA Tourney locks and have played SO WELL the last month they are actually FAVORED today against 13-time conference champs Kansas and their gaudy 27-3 battle-tested record. And, by the way, not that I put a ton of stock in polls, but Kansas is ranked #1 in the country.
So SHOULD Oklahoma State be favored?
Yes, they have been on a tear, winning five straight before taking a loss Tuesday night in difficult Ames against the Cyclones. But the Jayhawks enter winners of seven straight and 15-2 in conference play this season. They are 7-1 SU on the road, and yes, their ATS record is poor, but it is largely a function of having to cover large marks every night. They are 2-7 ATS at home, but near .500 at 3-4-1 (or 4-4, depending on the half-point in the push) on the road.
For all of Oklahoma State’s resurgent glory, they are still just 9-8 SU in Big 12 play and a surprising 3-5 ATS at home in conference play. There’s “good” and there’s “beat Kansas” good. I think Oklahoma state is more the former than latter.
I’m surprised this isn’t a point or two in Kansas’s direction, but I’ll take the point (or just go moneyline and pick up the juice) and back the ‘Hawks to finish off their conference crown in style and maintain a firm grip on the overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Today’s Pick: Kansas Jayhawks +1