We notched another college basketball winner last night with Temple continuing their week-plus run of magic with another quality non-home court win, this time over fierce city rival St. Joe’s. The Owls still have a few bad losses on the resume, but the quality wins they have notched in the last eight days have all but forgiven them.
In larger college basketball news, the Indiana Hoosiers capped off one of the odder two weeks of results that you will ever see. They beat #3 North Carolina with a wave of intensity and talent to rebound from last week’s bizarre loss at Fort Wayne. Add in the win over Kansas two weeks ago, and that is quite a bizarre bookend to an interesting week. Having seen IU play four times now, my take is forget the loss to the Mastodons as quickly as possible and don’t let it scare you away from potential IU wagers. This IU team is one of the five best teams in the country.
The ACC retook the honors in the Challenge after four years of either losing to or splitting with the Big Ten on the strength of a 5-1 night that included a nice road win by Virginia Tech at Michigan and home wins by Louisville (Purdue), Virginia (Ohio State), Clemson (Nebraska) and Miami (Rutgers). The 9-5 ACC margin was a commanding win, but Ohio State and Indiana were very impressive last night, and Purdue going to the YUM Center was a pretty tough draw.
Let’s see if we can keep this awesome season rolling with yet another winner tonight.
Today’s Free Pick:
Cincinnati Bearcats at Iowa State Cyclones -7.5
These two teams played a holiday thriller last year in Cincinnati and this year the Bearcats make the return trip to Ames. Both teams were probably a little better overall last season, but both have shown potential early on in 2016 to be able to account for some personnel losses and still compete for a quality seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa State had a big overhaul, but do return All American candidate Monte Morris at point, along with capable scorers and all around players in Devonte Burton, Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long. Iowa State is far from Kansas, but other than Baylor and the Jayhawks, I haven’t seen anyone better in the Big Twelve.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s only blemish is a narrow loss to Rhode Island on the road. Aside from that, the Carts have been excellent, though tonight is easily their toughest game so far this season.
I think Iowa State wins, but seven and a half is a lot of points to give to a solid ballclub with good veteran guards led by All ACC candidate Troy Caupain.
Cincinnati is a tough ballclub if nothing else, so expect them to fight for 40 minutes. They may not get the win, but I don’t think they’ll get blown out either.