What an absolutely insane weekend of basketball action we had this week! Much of the top-25 got slaughtered this weekend, with eleven ranked teams losing. That included half of the top-10 as Baylor, Gonzaga, San Diego State, Penn State, and Maryland all lost. It will be very interesting to see how the AP Poll shakes out when it is released later today. Don’t be shocked if we see a lot of movement.
Unfortunately, our bet got wrapped up in all the carnage from this weekend as well as we backed the Maryland Terrapins +3-points, at Ohio State. Maryland had won nine straight games and had dominated the Buckeyes once already this year, beating them by double-digits at home.
And while Ohio State had started to turn things around in the second half of the year, most of their recent wins came against the bottom half of the league. So, I felt that while Maryland might not pull off the outright upset, I expected a very competitive game, and snatched up the points.
OHIO STATEMENT! ??
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 23, 2020
And we got one thing right, this game was quite competitive. The Buckeyes closed out the first half on a 10-3 run and opened up the second half by scoring the first seven points, and that run was the difference in this one.
The Terrapins gave us plenty of sweat as they got this down to a four-point game with under a minute left to play and had multiple good looks to get us the cover but came up short. After watching the game, it felt like we were on the right side, getting three full points, but the ball didn’t bounce our way late, and the variance bit us.
The loss will hurt Maryland’s shot at nabbing a one seed in the NCAA tournament, but with Penn State also losing yesterday, the Terrapins still have a full two-game lead for the Big 10 regular-season title. They would have loved to have taken advantage of three of the top four teams in the country losing this weekend, but couldn’t get the job done.
For Ohio State, their late-season push continues. The Buckeyes have now won six out of their last eight games, and that includes signature wins over Maryland, Michigan, and Rutgers. The Buckeyes were sitting on the bubble a couple of weeks ago, and now with this recent surge, should be in contention for a top-eight seed. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Tallahassee, Florida, where the Florida State Seminoles host the Louisville Cardinals.
- Louisville Cardinals (23-5) at Florida State Seminoles (23-4)
- Tucker Center, Tallahassee
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN
The Louisville Cardinals are looking to avenge their earlier season loss to Florida State tonight, as they play the Seminoles in Tallahassee, with the ACC regular-season title on the line. The Cardinals are in a three-way tie in the loss column with the Seminoles and the Duke Blue Devils for first place. The Cardinals suffered back to back bad losses to Clemson and Georgia Tech this month, to open up the door for Duke and Florida State to get back into the race.
— FSU Hoops (@FSUHoops) February 24, 2020
For Florida State, the Seminoles have been on an absolute tear as they have won sixteen of their last eighteen games and are quickly establishing themselves as a legit Final Four threat. At home this year, Florida State is a perfect 14-0. They have home wins over top-100 teams like Florida, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Syracuse.
When you look at the Cardinal’s resume, two things stick out about their five losses. They either came away from home, or they came against Florida State. The Cardinals lost to Texas Tech on a neutral floor, and have road losses to Kentucky, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. Their lone home loss came to Florida State. And when you look at their record away from home, in terms of the teams that they have beaten, it is surprisingly light.
Yes, the win at Duke was a huge one. But outside of that, the Cardinals don’t have another win against a team inside of the top-50 away from home. A big part of that is that the ACC is down this year, and the schedule has played a part as well, as they just haven’t had many opportunities to play strong competition away from Louisville.
But with just three games left on the schedule, the Cardinals have this road game tonight against a top-10 Florida State team, and then a road trip to Charlottesville against a top-50 Virginia team. There are going to be ample opportunities for Louisville to win games in hostile environments and boost their resume to potentially make a case for a number one seed before Selection Sunday.
Florida State Seminoles
I have been backing this Florida State team all season long. I just feel that they are much better than they are getting credit for right now, and they are consistently underpriced in the betting market. They have what is, in my opinion, the best defense in the country, as they force so many turnovers that turn into easy transition buckets on the other end.
Their resume of wins against top-100 teams is one of the best in the country as they have beaten top-100 teams Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Purdue, Tennessee, and Florida. With the rest of the top five all stumbling this weekend, the Seminoles could jump right into a top-line seed if they can beat Louisville tonight and finish out the season with wins over very beatable teams like Notre Dame, Clemson, and Boston College.
Who Do I like?
I always tend to lean towards the home teams in league play. And that is where I am going to take a stand in this one as well. When these two teams met up earlier this season, in Louisville, the Seminoles dominated much of the action. They held the Cardinals to just 38% shooting from the floor and forced sixteen turnovers.
Even with Louisville dominating the boards and pulling down a whopping nineteen offensive rebounds, and taking four more shots from the field, and nine more free throws, Florida State still coasted to a thirteen-point victory. And now that the game has shifted to Florida State’s home floor, I see no compelling reason that the Cardinals are all of the sudden going to be much better than they were at home.
I see this game going a lot like the first one. The Seminoles will play their typical brand of suffocating defense and force Louisville into a bunch of bad shots. And while the Cardinals probably won’t get blown out, they are too good to expect that, I don’t think the cover is going to be in jeopardy. Give me the Florida State Seminoles laying -2-points tonight in what should be a fairly easy night for the home team.