We split our two college basketball picks yesterday to finish off a .500 weekend. It isn’t what I was aiming for, but with the chaos and craziness that abounded throughout the college hoops national landscape, I suppose it will suffice.
The coolest thing about the weekend was the absolute celebration of the sport that Coach K’s 1000th victory seems to spark. Is it an arbitrary number? Sure. It’s just more mileage between him and the rest of the distantly chasing competition. But there is something cool about seeing tweets from former players – many of whom are now successful players, coaches and broadcasters, as well as the sincere admiration from his many colleagues.
Kudos to Coach K, who no doubt nodded politely at the accolades and immediately returned his focus to how he is going to navigate this team to a much more important milestone; reaching the Final Four and possibly knocking off Kentucky to win a National Championship…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Texas Longhorns at Iowa State Cyclones -5
Neither of these two quality teams had a weekend they’d like to remember. Texas found out just how far away they really are from earning that long-elusive outright Big 12 title when the Kansas Jayhawks came in and flexed their 11-time defending champion muscle in a 75-62 win. Meanwhile, Iowa State suffered the most perplexing loss in a weekend full of upsets, getting dropped by previously winless Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Both teams will look to rebound tonight, but who has the edge?
Let’s start with the obvious – it’s REALLY hard to win at Hilton Coliseum for visiting teams. In fact, no one, including Kansas, has been able to do it in the last 17 games. Iowa State averages nearly 83 points at home on 50% shooting from the floor.
With the exception of a nice win over West Virginia, Texas has struggled against good competition. They don’t have “bad losses” in terms of the teams that have beaten them, but getting blasted by Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, and a close home loss to Stanford don’t do much to inspire confidence either.
I like the blend of veteran and young talent of Iowa State led by Georges Niang. He has been a nice blend bridging the Cyclones from the departure of two big stars to another Top 15-type season. Iowa State hasn’t been dominating in their three conference home wins; playing relatively close games with Kansas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. That could be reason to be a little cautious of the five point spread, but I think Iowa State will come out with a bigtime fire tonight after this weekend’s embarrassment.
It may not be an easy, relaxing cover – but by the time the final buzzer sounds I like the ‘Clones covering the fistful of points.