We notched an easy winner last night as Cincinnati was, as described, so insanely superior defensively that poor Bowling Green had no chance to contend, even in their home gym. They trailed only 35-31 at the half but an 18-2 opening run in half two quickly put to bed any notion of competing. The Bearcats stopped turning the ball over, buckled down on defense, and held BGSU to 28% shooting from the floor to win 83-55.
They won’t all be this easy for me this year, but it is nice to fatten up on a few dummy lines early in the season. I’ve written it before; with 350+ teams out there and such a wild variation in quality of mid-major teams from year to year (for example, Bowling Green doesn’t SOUND like a tomato can, but their own coaches picked them LAST in a bad league. So they were not getting NEARLY enough points last night), there are some good opportunities.
I’ll try to keep it a blend of good under-the-radar wagering opportunities while still paying attention to games people want to WATCH, like the UK v. Duke game Tuesday.
Before we get to today’s free pick – anyone catch UCF vs. UC Irvine on ESPN3 last night? I’m a little biased being a UCF grad, but last night was 15-feet of awesome. Watching Tacko Fall and Mamdaou guard each other was like getting in a time machine Delorian and watching Manute Bol play Manute Bol on NBA Jam. Fantastically entertaining, and bizarre, watch. (UC Irvine won 61-60 in overtime darnit).
Today’s Free Pick:
Creighton Blue Jays at Indiana Hoosiers -13
Dougie McBuckets ain’t walking through that door. And until he or a reasonable facsimile does, it is probably time to readjust our perception of Creighton. Right now, this is possibly the worst team in the new Big East. I’d take DePaul and Seton Hall over the Jays and the verdict is still out on St. John’s. The point is, this is not even close to an NCAA Tournament-level team right now despite some lingering brand recognition from several years ago.
Meanwhile, Indiana might be the most overlooked team in the country. Their backcourt is EXPLOSIVE with Ferrell and Blackmon and they have great athleticism inside with Troy Williams and freshman big man Thomas Bryant is a man-child. This team is really good, especially offensively, and I expect them to overwhelm Creighton tonight in Assembly Hall.
IU made 15 straight shot at one point in the Austin Peay tune-up game. They’ll get a better test tonight, but not by much. Creighton is 2-0, but has lost eight straight games to ranked opponents since Dougie headed to the NBA. Look for IU to roll tonight.