It’s a huge Saturday in college hoops, highlighted by the rematch between Duke and Notre Dame in the early afternoon and the nightcap between the unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats and the Florida Gators. That game was circled as the potential landmine for the Wildcats back in November, but it certainly doesn’t look as daunting as it used to… so does that make it dangerous?
Those are the glamourous games, but by no means are they the only ones worth watching. Villanova gets a chance for revenge against Georgetown, and this time the game is in philly. There are a ton of big games in the Big Twelve, including Kansas with a tricky trip to Stillwater where Okie State will look to take a huge step towards solidifying a tourney bid. And the most underrated game of the night is at 7pm on ESPN as Louisville takes their hot play to Charlottesville to try and ‘upset’ the Virginia Cavaliers.
It’s wall-to-wall hoops today, so grab a seat and enjoy. We need to get back on track after a lousy week, so let’s try to light it up with my three top picks for Saturday.
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Today’s Free Picks:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Duke Blue Devils -9.5
The first game was a classic, with each team holding double-digit leads and allowing the other battle back to make for a tense finish. Duke wins that game in South Bend if not for some missed free throws. Likewise, Duke loses to Virginia on the road if not for a bevy of late three pointers. The margin is not nearly as large as some of the scores might have indicated. It was a play here or there than made the difference.
I’ll bank on the same thing today. I like Duke to win, but I don’t see Notre Dame getting blown out. They haven’t all season long – even their losses have been tense and by a possession or two. Expect their veteran team to handle the Cameron Indoor pressure and play well.
Louisville Cardinals at Virginia Cavaliers -7
Virginia is the second best team in the country and their defensive efficiency is awesome. Louisville is playing well and looks like a legit Top Ten team. However, they don’t shoot well at all, and now they have to go on the road and face a near-perfect team defense.
UVA is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. Louisville has won four straight and five of their last six, but are just 3-3 ATS and 4-5 ATS over their last six and nine games respectively. I think UVA wins by a surprising margin tonight and gets a low double-digit win.
Kentucky Wildcats -7 at Florida Gators
This game is usually the most anticipated of the SEC season. But something just ain’t right in Gainesville right now and I’m not sure a visit from Game Day can cure it. They are 12-10, and even knowing a big upset today could save the season, I’m not buying it. Kentucky is too big and too deep – and more importantly, too dominating on defense.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see UK throw one of those defensive smothering halves that holds the Gators in the low teens. Florida struggles to score, shooting under 40% in their last five games. Kentucky has held opponents to 37% shooting in their last five.
It could get ugly. If Kentucky is going to get clipped, it’s going to be when they don’t show up. There’s no way they don’t show up when the lights are as bright as tonight.