Virginia vs. Miami NCAA Hoops – Jan 3rd + Bonus Picks

It’s a packed day of college hoops with nearly every major conference except the Pac 12 in action today, so we will dive right in with a few bonus picks to keep you covered. Our three game winning streak was snapped last night with Washington going to Cal and solidifying the impression that their undefeated start was a little bit of smoke and mirrors. They could very likely end up a bubble team or worse (kind of like Clemson all those years starting 11-0, 12-0, only to get housed in ACC play and fade back to the pack.)

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Let’s pluck a few winners out of a very crowded slate today.

Today’s Free Picks:

Providence Friars at Marquette Eagles -1.5

This one is a pretty easy pick for me. Providence is good; a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender. They have already beaten an excellent Notre Dame team. They played Kentucky competitively and then took a weird hangover loss to Brown following that game. That weird loss aside, this is a pretty good club that will contend all season long in the Big East.

Marquette will be a good in a year. Wojo has a ridiculous recruiting class coming and the dude’s bringing some Duke pedigree and swagger to a good program in a lull. But that year isn’t this year. Marquette is 8-5 and they’ve already lost a conference game to DePaul. They are headed for the cellar in the conference standings and today nudges that decline more rapidly.

I’ll take the Friars on the road to get the win.

Free Pick: Providence Friars +1.5

 

Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers -3.5

Maybe I’m stubborn, but I refuse to believe a team as well coached as Michigan and with as much talent as the Wolverines will continue to play this poorly. They are a better team than Purdue, and if I would have told you four weeks ago they’d be getting points against the Boilermakers you would have laughed.

I think the Michigan resurgence starts today. This team will still be a tourney-caliber team at the end of the season, but they better gear up quickly to erase the stench of a few of their terrible losses. I’ll take Bielein and company on the road today at Mackey Arena.

Free Pick: Michigan Wolverines +3.5

 

Virginia Cavaliers -5.5 at Miami Hurricanes

Very quietly, no team in the country has been as dominant in compiling an unbeaten record as the Virginia Cavaliers. They rank in the top-2 in offensive and defensive efficiency and are favored to win EVERY remaining game on their schedule according to KenPom. This team is the real deal and they get a chance to show it today at 5:30 EST on ESPN2.

Miami got a few splashy wins early and jumped into the Top 25, but that Florida win looks worse and worse every day, and it’s pretty hard to explain a double-digit home loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay and a 28 point loss to Eastern Kentucky.

Think THOSE teams got up into Miami? Wait until this evening with Virginia’s smothering defense. Miami will be very lucky to score 50 points, and I’m not exaggerating. Virginia’s 72-27 win over Harvard wins the award for “Most Breathtaking Team Performance – Non-Kentucky.” The Canes aren’t ready for what Bennett and his Cavs are bringing to town tonight.

Free Pick: Virginia Cavaliers -5.5

Chris Scheeren / Author