It was a thrilling day of college basketball, even if the upset-riddled madness of the past two weekends was non-existent. We went from a near month of madness to a day where suddenly, almost EVERYTHING made sense. Sure, a few teams were pushed; Kansas and Baylor had to scuffle, as did Louisville at home to Miami. But in the end, the teams that were SUPPOSED to win, did. That list includes now clear-cut #1 Gonzaga who went into St. Mary’s and frankly controlled the game from the opening tip off. They now own wins over Florida, Arizona, Iowa State and a pair against the Gaels, which SHOULD all but guarantee a #1 seed in March.
We lost taking the Gaels and the points, for one of my few back-to-back losses of the season. I suppose one should be grateful to type that sentence after nearly four months of picks, but it still rankles me a little bit so I am eager to get back to work today.
Most of the big glamour games were yesterday, but today still offers up a fantastic AAC clash with Cincinnati visiting SMU, a huge Big Ten game with Northwestern trying to make their lifelong tourney-less streak moot with a win at Wisconsin and a nice in-state rivalry with Virginia and VA Tech heading to Blacksburg.
Let’s get a win to cap off the weekend.
Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:
Michigan Wolverines at Indiana Hoosiers -3
It’s really easy to be down on the Hoosiers right now. It would be fair to call them the nation’s most disappointing team, and I know personally, they are mine. I was high on IU, calling them Final Four contenders – and really who could blame me after the Kansas and North Carolina wins. Their offense was effortless, their talent abundant, and their resume was impressive.
Nine losses later, and sitting at just 5-7 in the Big Ten, today is now a near-elimination game (and a job interview) for the Hoosiers and Tom Crean. A home loss to Michigan would nearly ensure an NIT berth and complete calamity in Bloomington.
Ironically, Michigan is in a similar reality, minus the weighty expectations. Michigan also desperately needs some win to get into the Dance, something expected rather than hoped for in Ann Arbor, only they don’t have a pair of Top Ten wins to bolster their resume. SMU and Marquette look better in retrospect, and in fairness, aside from a roadie at Illinois, they don’t have any real BAD losses on their 15-9 resume. But they are 5-6 in the Big Ten and have yet to win a road conference game, making today VITAL for Michigan as well.
And that last sentence encompasses my pick – “have yet to win a road conference game.” They were competitive at Wisky and Michigan State, but have also gotten waxed at Illinois and I think they are in trouble again today.
Indiana STILL has some talent lurking. I think they play well today with their backs to the wall and get a big win. Laying three is a pretty cheap price for the slightly better team playing at home. Indiana is 5-2 SU as the favorite in conference play while Michigan is just 1-3 ATS on the road in addition to their winless SU mark.
Today’s Pick: Indiana Hoosiers -3