Today kicks off the final month sprint toward Selection Sunday with a host of fantastic conference matchups, highlighted with College Gameday’s visit to Gainesville for the always-intense Florida/Kentucky rivaly.
For the smaller conferences, it’s the time of year where any at-large contenders need to be simply perfect; a single bad-loss can knock them into a position where the only admission to the Tourney is available by winning their conference tournament. Let’s face it, a 25-5 Murray State team has next to no chance of getting in over a 19-11 Virginia Tech or a 18-12 Baylor team. One and done? Heck, for smaller schools that “tourney pressure” starts right now.
For the big boys, it’s time to start jockeying for position. With eleven Big East teams, eight Big 12 teams, and eight Big Ten teams all feeling like they are still alive for an invitiation, the conference cannibalization gets fierce and brutal in the month of February.
It’s a great and packed slate of college hoops action today. Grab a seat, pick some winners and enjoy the games.
Must See: The crazy sports betting system released to public in January (includes NCAAB picks).
Today’s Free College Basketball Picks:
Kentucky Wildcats -1.5 @ Florida Gators
This line jumped up and literally screamed at me. Kentucky has a tantalizing platter of freshman talent to drool over, and at times they display the fulfillment of the ample potential so abundant in them. However, like any young team, they have their struggles on the road.
When I say “struggles on the road” that doesn’t mean they just lose to good teams on the road, it also means some bad ones as well. Kentucky has lost three of their four last conference games on the road, and they were all against the SEC West, which won’t be sending a single team to the NCAA Tournament.
Tonight they go to Gainesville, where the ESPN Gameday crowd will be rowdy and electric. The Gators are currently in first place in the brutally balanced SEC East. I honestly expected to have to play three to four points if I wanted to the Gators today – instead I am getting 1.5?
I know. Kentucky is a better team. Or at least it seems that way. Just remember they were a LOT better than Ole Miss and Alabama as well, and those ended with the Southern fans storming the floor in celebration. Take Florida, and consider the point a gift – of more smartly, grab a slight bump in the payout and just take the Gators on the moneyline.
PICK: Florida Gators +1.5 (-110) @ Sportsbook.com <- click to find out about Super Bowl weekend promotions
Arizona Wildcats -2.5 @ California Golden Bears
Sean Miller’s Wildcats have emerged as the premier team in the Pac 10, albeit very quietly. The much-maligned league isn’t quite back to it’s normal nationally-elite standard, however at 19-4 with a quality schedule, Arizona deserves a little more attention.
Perhaps they’d be getting it too if it wasn’t for some of the terrible non-conference play from Pac 10 schools in November and December. No team was more a an embarrassment than Cal. The Bears set basketball back to the pre-shot clock era with their abysmal performance in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic. In three games, the Bears failed to break the half-century mark even ONCE, averaging a laughable 46.7 points per contest.
Since then, Mike Montgomery’s Cal Bears have improved, and are actually a respectable 6-4 in conference play, and enter the game having won 6 of 8, and four consecutive games. However, upon closer examination, aside from the Washington State win (on whom the jury is still out), each of their six wins have come against the bottom of the league.
Arizona is the class of the conference, and should be able to show that tonight at Berkley. The Wildcats are even hotter than Cal, having win 11 of 13.
I like them making it an even dozen tonight, in a near pick-em line laying only 2.5.
PICK: Arizona Wildcats -2.5 (-110) @ Bodog.com <– $1000 Super Bowl Bonus, click to learn more