I’m still reeling from Monday night’s Kansas vs. Oklahoma thriller. I caught some heat for Tweeting that one could make a cogent argument that it was the greatest regular season college basketball game ever. Yes, Notre Dame ending UCLA’s three-year plus winning streak – more important. Yes, some of the epic battles of legendary superstars back in the 1980’s exceed the talent level of Monday’s clash But when you look at how few #1 vs. #1 games have occurred in the history of college basketball, and THEN factor in that this one went to triple overtime with a leading candidate for National Player of the Year going for 46/8/7, then I stand my ground. Epic. Legendary. And a valid case for the GOAT.
So we know that those two teams are good. Very good. But it is a fair question to ask, “who the hell else is good this season??” Kentucky got absolutely throttled by an LSU team whose struggles are well-documented this season. Virginia, whom I would have answered confidently in the affirmative a recently as Monday afternoon, just lost to lowly Virginia Tech. Providence got beat by Marquette on their home floor. Butler was ranked in the Top Ten as recently as last week before losing to Providence and Xavier by more than 30 points. Oh, and speaking of Xavier, they were undefeated before Villanova beat them like they stole something.
North Carolina feels really good. Yet they have losses to UCLA and Texas. Michigan State got drummed by Iowa right after being taken to overtime by Oakland University.
So who is good this year???
The true answer is parity reigns supreme and it is shaping up as a tricky year to handicap with so many wacky results pouring in every night. It is going to be extra important to follow trends, recent play and specific matchups as we look for our nightly edge.
Meanwhile, despite the chaos, we are on a nice five game ATS winning streak thanks to Temple winning outright on the road at UConn (another example of the insanity – Temple sandwiched road wins over ranked teams around a 28-point home loss to Houston)
Let’s see if we can make it a nice half dozen in a row tonight.
Today’s Free Pick:
Duquesne Dukes at Davidson Wildcats -7
There are some really good games tonight. Georgia Tech at Pitt, Seton Hall at Villanova, Cal at Oregon. This game is one that really no one will be watching, but it’s my favorite play on the board.
Davidson feels familiar and most people think they are pretty good. After all, they started with a 7-1 (now 8-4) record and Steph Curry went there. But the four losses are VERY telling. They lost to North Carolina, Pitt, and Cal by a combined 78 points. In their most recent outing they lost to St. Bonaventure. Their best wins are over Mercer and Charleston and were over a month ago. Davidson, likely because of the name familiarity compared to most of their opponents of similar stature, are a lousy 2-9 ATS this season.
Meanwhile, Duquesne is solid this year. I’m not saying they make the Dance, but they won’t be a A-10 doormat either. They enter at 10-4 with wins over Robert Morris, Western Kentucky, Milwaukee and Penn State. None of those are marquee, but beating Penn State by 28 was at least eye-opening. They have been competitive in losses, covering against Dayton and Georgia Tech. They got blown out by Pitt, but not nearly as badly as Davidson.
Davidson could and should win this game at home. But it won’t be a romp. Look for the Dukes to play close throughout and cover the seven point spread.