The NFL season is over, the NBA is still in it’s all star break, hockey is hockey, and unless you want to take a spin on the virtual roulette wheel (DO NOT RECOMMEND) it’s time to jump on the college basketball bandwagon!
Record: 5-7-1 (I literally hit a 12 leg parlay this weekend guys please stick with me)
8pm EST – Miami vs Pittsburgh: Miami -4
For a brief moment it seemed like Pitt was turning around their forgettable season, beating Florida State, NC State, and UNC in a row. Then they came crashing down to earth by losing to Georgia Tech, the team in last place in the ACC. The Hurricanes have been one of the most steady teams in the entire ACC this season, posting a 19-8 record, highlighted by a huge win against the #2 ranked Blue Devils in Rupp Arena. Meanwhile Pitt has dropped games against The Citadel, UMBC, and are just 6-11 in conference. Pitt is in the basement of the ACC (11th out of 15), so far this season Miami has played four games against the ACC’s basement teams, Miami has won all of those matchups by AT LEAST 4 points. Anticipate the trend to continue and The U to stay taking care of business on the ACC’s bottom feeders.
9pm EST – Alabama vs Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt +4.5
Vanderbilt is a weird team. I say that because for Vanderbilt fans they can only wonder what could’ve been this season. Scotty Pippen Jr has lived up to his namesake, but the Commodores have found themselves on the losing end of some tough games against some questionable opponents (Temple, VCU, South Carolina twice). With that in mind, Vanderbilt has three very impressive victories this season, at Arkansas, against BYU, and against LSU. Possibly more impressive has been the way they’ve played against top tier opponents. They’ve played tight with Auburn, Tennessee, and Kentucky, even going 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games. Their only loss against the spread in this stretch was a 14 point loss while being 13.5 point underdogs. Let’s look at the Crimson Tide now. They beat Gonzaga this year, but at this point in the season that feels like ancient history. Alabama is a very good team, however they have been god awful playing away from home. The Crimson Tide are 1-5 straight up and against the spread in their last 6 road games, including losses to Georgia (laughing stock), Missouri (bad), and Mississippi State (fine I guess). While I wouldn’t rush to get a Vanderbilt ML ticket in (+158, not the best value), the Commodores have shown a consistent ability to keep games close against tough opponents while ‘Bama has done nothing but play down to opponents on the road.
9pm EST – San Diego St vs Boise St: Boise St ML (-125)
The Mountain West Conference is absolute electric action, especially for those of us who like some late night hoops. I’m not so sure how Boise will do when it comes to the big dance, but they’ve been dominant in the Mountain West, especially when they play at home. They only have one conference home loss on the season to an extremely respectable Colorado State team. San Diego State isn’t bad either, but they don’t have anything special going for them. Typically the Aztecs can hang their hats on tough team defense or lethal three point shooting that can make them a problem in March, but not this year. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, but that’s a deceiving number. In those 10 games the Aztecs are 6-1 against teams in the bottom half of the Mountain West and 1-2 against teams in the top half. Boise State currently sits atop the conference. Listen this seems like a no-brainer and I don’t think Boise State -2 is a bad play, however in conference games like this where the spread and ML are so close I prefer to air on the side of caution and just lay juice on the ML.
Photo: Wesley Hitt