South Carolina vs Florida Pick – February 21st

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate the power structure in the ACC. For most of the season we had generally accepted the pretense that there was five POWER teams in the league (sure, some were slow on FSU, some were quick to bail on Duke, but by and large, five teams). Notre Dame was a solid #6, and there was a nice chunk of teams that could contend for a bid with Miami, Clemson, Syracuse and Virginia Tech being towards the top, Georgia Tech and Wake being longer shots, Pitt and NC State being talented yet disappointing, and Boston College, well, Boston College.

After last night’s offensively offense-less performance from the Wahoos, it is perhaps to time to reevaluate Virginia’s assumed legitimacy. Their offensive woes aren’t new, but they are getting worse. To score just 48 points, at home, in an overtime game, is stunning. They’ve lost four straight games and have averaged just 48 points in the last three…

We are getting back to business tonight after a rough week (and a ‘sit this one out Champ’ night yesterday) with a pair of picks on a crowded slate of action.

Today’s College Basketball Picks:

South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators -10

Florida is on one heckuva run right now. They’ve won eight straight games including an 88-68 win over Kentucky and wins at Georgia and Auburn by double digits. They are in line to win the SEC and possibly creep as high as a #3 (mayyyybe #2) seed. They haven’t lost since their home win to Vandy two days after a tough road loss at then-streaking South Carolina (more on that later). It’s hard to NOT like Florida right now.

But ten points is a lot. Especially against a good team licking some wounds and eager to show that last year’s collapse isn’t a trend. They have dropped three of four, including a four-overtime home loss to Alabama and a bad home loss to Vandy 71-62 in their last outing.

Over a larger sample size, South Carolina is a pretty solid ballclub. Prior to their recent skid, they had won nine of ten, all but the Kentucky game, and looked to be a solid Top 25 team with Sindarius Thornwell back in the lineup. I’m going to bank on them getting closer to their normal form tonight and at least competing in Gainesville.

Florida has been very good against the spread this season at 14-7-1. But South Carolina has been remarkable as an underdog, posting a 5-1 ATS mark on the season. The rub tonight – South Carolina, a team that was previously one of the BEST defensive teams in the country has suddenly allowed 78.1 points per game over their last five outings. Did they forget how to play defense, or do they just need to find some fire tonight?

I’m gonna bet on the latter and put some faith in Frank Martin to transfer some of HIS fire to the Gamecocks tonight for a hard-fought road effort to cover the double-digit spread.

Today’s Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA +10

Indiana Hoosiers at Iowa Hawkeyes -1.5

These teams enter with a combined seven straight losses and some mediocre resumes that are quickly turning UGLY. Indiana is all but dead at 5-9 in conference play and with four straight losses. In fact, their last WIN was even ugly, a triple-overtime home scrape against Penn State. The are just 2-5 ATS this season on the road and have shown little signs they are remotely prepared to go win a road game tonight at Iowa.

Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes, despite a brutal start to the season before Christmas, have actually been pretty good at home this season in conference play. They are 5-2 SU at home with wins over Purdue, Michigan and Ohio State. They did recently lose at home to mercurial Nebraska, but overall, it’s been a solid return at Carver Hawkeye Arena.

I can’t believe how BAD Indiana has become. I honestly had them in my Top Five back in late November after the Carolina and Kansas wins. I thought this team could go to a Final Four. But, when handicapping, it is urgently important to shed beliefs as soon as they become incorrect. No sense lingering over what could have/should have been. Objectively, this is not a team that should be a near pick-em on the road against just about anyone right now.

Today’s Pick: IOWA -1.5