It’s an absolutely ridiculous day of college hoops with must-see matchups starting at noon with Ohio State and Indiana and two of the best freshman scorers in the country in James Blackmon and D’Angelo Russell, with the action continuing all day, highlighted by undefeated Virginia’s trip to once-beaten Notre Dame at 6pm on ESPN2.
We got our season record back up over 55% thanks to Green Bay’s dominating performance over rival Milwaukee pushing us to a nice 60% ATS for the New Year in college hoops. Let’s push that mark even higher today with a trio of picks. There are so many fantastic games I really like today, but I’ll focus the column on my two favorite plays on the board. I’ll list a few other games I like, sans the breakdowns, at the end of the column – if they are games you also like, you can look a little deeper into the lines and matchups.
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Today’s Free Picks:
Maryland Terrapins at Purdue Boilermakers -1.5
Apparently one road loss to the Illini was enough to erode the goodwill the Terrapins 14-1 start had built up, because they opened as a near pick-em and are now getting a point and a half today against Purdue. I think that’s a mistake. Purdue has been better than expected and played Wisconsin really tough earlier this week, but Maryland is the vastly better basketball team.
Purdue enters at 10-6. The Wisconsin loss is no big deal and the wins over Michigan and Minnesota to open conference play were impressive. But I am still hung up on a thirty point loss to Notre Dame on a neutral court and losses to Webber State and North Florida. Meanwhile, aside from Maryland’s loss to Illinois the last time out the only blemish was a quality loss to Virginia. They also own wins over Minnesota, Michigan State, Iowa State and Arizona State.
I like Melo Trimble and Dez Wells to play well today against a tough Boilermaker squad and ultimately have just a little too much offense for Purdue to offset.
Baylor Bears -1.5 at TCU Horned Frogs
I think we can all agree TCU’s hot start was a mirage. They were 13-0 without beating a single NCAA-bound opponent. Now that league play has started, they are 0-2 after losing to West Virginia and Kansas State. It doesn’t get any easier with the Bears, who will be hungry for a win after dropping a heartbreaker to Kansas, coming to town.
Baylor has beaten TCU all five times since the Frogs leapt into the Big 12 and by an average margin of more than 20 points. I expect them to continue their dominance today – it’ll be a closer game than previous affairs, but the same ultimate result. A win for Baylor.
Other games I like: I’d lean St. Louis with the points against Davidson, despite the Billikens ugly 8-7 record. I also like Old Dominion on the road against Western Kentucky, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a big let-down game from Ole Miss after their near-miss at Kentucky and get picked off at home against South Carolina.
Have a great day of hoops my friends!