Yesterday was the exact way things go when things aren’t going your way. One second to go on the clock, Pitt up one, us getting 1.5 with Georgia Tech, Pitt guy on the line shooting the second free throw. He TRIES TO MISS on purpose, and ACCIDENTALLY makes the second free throw! On accident. He THREW the ball at the rim with force, and it somehow went IN. We lose by a half-point… I know, I know, pick a better game and win without stress. And I agree. But man, that was one weird, tough, strange beat…
Alas, onward we go, careening quickly towards the NCAA Tournament, and today is the day things get REAL. There are way too many games to even begin to list them all, so just assume that nearly any and every bubble team will be tipping off in the next 36 hours.
The Big Ten doesn’t start rolling until tomorrow, but just about everyone else is full-steam ahead. Let’s dive in with a pair of picks on a packed Wednesday slate.
Today’s College Basketball Picks:
Pitt Panthers vs. Virginia Cavaliers -10.5
We got burnt by a half-point on Pitt last night, but I’m not letting that influence my fear of the Virginia Cavaliers and their atrocious offense. UVA’s scoring woes are widely chronicled, almost in equal proportion to their devastating defensive prowess. But what a limited offense does from a Vegas standpoint is put points at a premium – it essentially contracts the lines. Much like Wisconsin in year’s past, a 10-point line becomes more like 12 or 13 when adjusted for pace of play, etc. It makes tonight’s 10.5 play more like a 13 point cushion.
And 13 points is a lot on a neutral floor, even in a matchup with such a wide record discrepancy. Pitt may be 4-14 in ACC play, but just ask fellow ACC coaches if the Panthers are an “easy win” and they will laugh. There are NO gimmes in ACC play, except for maybe Boston College, and despite a 14th place finish, the Panthers still own wins over Georgi Tech, Syracuse, Florida State, Maryland, Penn State, Marquette, and yep, Virginia.
The Cavaliers assuaged some late season concerns with an impressive win when they held North Carolina to 44 points, but they are still just 5-6 SU over their last eleven games. Granted, their last game out the murdered this same Pitt squad 67-42, but they also LOST to them straight-up in Pitt earlier in the season. I’ll call the two matchups a wash.
I think UVA wins, but I don’t think it’s a blowout. I like a closer game than Vegas expects and will take the Panthers and the pile of points.
Today’s Pick: Pitt Panthers +10.5