We notched a nice double-up win last night with Iowa State covering (and leading most of the game at Oklahoma – I know pollsters will drop them for “losing” but that was a VERY impressive ballclub) – easily one of the ten best in the country), as well as the total going well over the 163. It’s nice to win twice on the same ballgame, and it was an equally fun game to watch. Two of the best players in the country, Georges Niang and Buddy Hield solidified their All-American status, but the supporting casts of each team showed why they are both legitimate National Championship contenders. Ryan Spangler had 20/12 for OU, while Isiah Cousins took over the second half offensively. And for Iowa State, point guard Monte Morris is unheralded but on par with the great point guards in the nation, and Devonte Burton was a relvelation off the bench. The 6’4’, 250 sophomore looked like a smaller Zach Randolph and scored in a bevy of creative and unstoppable methods.
The Big Twelve is going to be awesome this year, as Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State would all be in my “Elite Eight” team rankings and West Virginia, Baylor (yesterday’s result notwithstanding), Kansas State, Texas Tech, and even Texas are all capable of doing some occasional damage in differing degrees. Kansas is still the favorite to continue their decade-plus string of first place finishes, but man are they going to get pushed.
Let’s see if we can push through with another winner today and cap off a nice college hoops weekend.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oregon Ducks -2 at Oregon State Beavers
The Pac-12 is nuts this year. Washington, Stanford and USC all won their openers. UCLA and Utah lost. You’d have a better chance of hitting the Powerball than accurately predicting the Pac-12 standings one through twelve. It’s a total jumbled mess. There are a lot of games where I’m leaning home team, nearly sight unseen. Tonight it in that category, with a caveat.
This is a good game. Far more evenly matched than in the recent past, because Oregon State is finally good again. The main reason? Gary Payton Jr. The “Mitten” as he reportedly HATES being referred to, even though it is awesome, has the Beavers looking like an NCAA Tournament team for the first time since his famous father ran the show in Corvallis. They enter 9-2 with an RPI of 41. However, their best wins are Tulsa, Iona and UCSB or Quinipiac. Not a great slate. Meanwhile, Oregon is 11-2 with an RPI of 19. They have nice wins over Baylor and Valpo, but losses to UNLV and Boise State. So, can we all agree that RPI is JUNK??
Anyhow – the point is that both teams are decent, but it is really hard to tell just HOW good either is right now. Tonight will be a fun litmus test and a great way to start conference play. Oregon has won eight straight in this matchup, making this game SO HUGE for Oregon State and their home crowd. I think tonight is finally the night they get it done. On a neutral floor, favor Oregon by a decent margin. In Corvallis tonight? Watch out for Gary Payton Jr and the Beavs. I like them +2 and have seen as good as +120 on the money line if you want a little extra value.