It was an interesting night for conference leaders last night in college basketball. Our pick, Notre Dame, went ice cold in the second half and ended up getting rolled out of their own gym by Virginia. Meanwhile, Kansas found Morgantown inhospitable once again as the Mountaineers pulled away from Kansas late to record a much-needed win to get back on track.
And the list didn’t end there. Not by a long shot. Villanova was stunned on the road by unranked and struggling Marquette and Kentucky, perhaps a young team looking ahead to the glamour of Saturday’s matchup with Kansas, got blindsided 82-80 at Tennessee. All this chaos SHOULD pave the way for Gonzaga to become the nation’s new #1 team – though I admit, I’d have no problem with anyone who votes for the winner of Saturday’s Kansas/Kentucky tilt given how pedestrian the WCC has been outside of St. Mary’s.
Crazy night of college hoops and a reminder once again of just how WIDE OPEN this year’s Tournament is going to be…
Today’s Free Pick:
UConn Huskies -7 at USF Bulls
It’s not fashionable to say anything nice about the UConn Huskies right now. They are 8-11, just 3-4 in the less-than-amazing AAC Conference and seem like a program that has lost a little of its direction and certainly its national standing. However, they have won three of their last five games, including double digit wins over UCF and Temple and their two losses were at SMU and Georgetown.
But the key factor is HOW BAD the South Florida Bulls are right now. They are 0-7 in conference play with an average point differential of close to 15 points per game in the negative. They have double digit losses at home to Tulsa, Tulane and Houston – all three of their conference home games, and despite the record, it is hard for me to believe UConn is going to far significantly worse than that trio, especially Tulane.
South Florida isn’t just losing games, they are failing to legitimately compete in conference play. They are worst in the AAC at 2-5 ATS on the season, and the only reason they have two covers is because the lines are getting so wide. But tonight is single digits, and IF the Bulls were to cover, it would be their first game within single digits at home this entire conference season. If the line were 11 or 12, I’d be more hesitant, but at just seven points (or seven and a half to eight – shop around for lines), it feels like a really good value.
I’ll take the Huskies to have enough pride to put away a struggling USF team on the road tonight and not mess around and let them gain some confidence in the possibility of ending their futility.