What a great start to the college basketball season!! Duke vs. Michigan State was intense and well-played, with Duke’s offense and shooting a little too much in the final minutes against a valiant Spartan effort. Grayson Allen thrust himself into the National Player of the Year front-runner position with a simply perfect 37-point performance. He was aggressive, poised, and absolutely LETHAL from behind the arc. He hit open threes. He hit contested threes. And he LED a team of freshman through his will and intensity. It was pretty awesome to watch.
In the nightcap, we came up a half-point short of a 2-0 ATS day (Purdue over Marquette was an EASY winner), with Kansas beating Kentucky by four points in a game that was tense throughout the entire second half. Kentucky looked like a vastly different team than the one that sleepwalked through their first two home games, and more like the one that merited a Top Five preseason ranking.
If that was a Final Four Preview, sign me up in April!
Last night’s disappointing half-point loss aside, it’s been another good start to my college basketball picks. Let’s see if we can keep it going and build up some momentum heading into a huge week of Thanksgiving tournaments.
** Interesting sign of the times – Seton Hall is a 16-point favorite over Indiana. Wow.
Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:
Creighton Blue Jays at Northwestern Wildcats -3
This is a HUGE show-me game for each squad. For Creighton it is a chance to stack a valuable bubble chip for Selection Sunday. The Blue Jays have one of the more ambitious schedules in the Big East, so capitalizing on a few of those opportunities will be paramount is a season that looks like it could be “bubbily”
For Northwestern, this is a great chance to establish a new culture of expectation. Last season was a magic carpet ride to the school’s well-publicized first EVER NCAA Tournament berth. This season, going to the Dance isn’t a hope, it is an expectation. Northwestern fancies themselves as a legit Top 25 team this season, and for good reason. They are ranked in the preseason for the first time in school history. Scottie Lindsay is back to lead the Wildcats, along with Bryant McIntosh, Dererk Pardon and Vic Law. This is a team with impressive tourney experience and plenty of talent.
This should be a really good college basketball game, but I’ll take the Wildcats to pull away late and get the win and cover. Northwestern is a decent Big Ten sleeper. Creighton returns Marcus Foster, who should be first team All Big East, but only Khyri Thomas returns as a starter. Especially early in the season, I’ll take the veteran team playing a home game.
MY PICK: NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS -3
** Note – this line is 3.5 or as high as 5 in some books, so if you like Northwestern as I do, shop around for a good line!