Georgetown Hoyas @ Villanova Wildcats NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Georgetown and Villanova is always a great game, but it’s even more important now with Georgetown really struggling against top-ranked teams. Villanova took down Syracuse and now they have a chance to oust another Big East power – the Hoyas, well they need to prove they’re still a Big East power. Lots of great players in this one, it will be fun.
The Hoyas are 15-5 and 12-7 ATS, when they win, they cover – but on the road they are just 4-3 this season, already losing games at Notre Dame and St. Johns – two unranked opponents. They’ve been playing better on the road lately, however, beating Rutgers and Seton Hall (covering both) and they laid a beating on St. John’s back on the Georgetown campus on January 26th. Those three wins followed 5 straight ATS losses (and three straight losses straight up). The Hoyas haven’t beaten a ranked team since they got Missouri on a neutral court back on November 30th, losing recently to Pittsburgh and getting beat by West Virginia.
After starting the season with 16 wins in their first 17 games the Wildcats have lost 2 of 3, but that one win came at Syracuse where they beat the Orange by 11 points. Still, sandwiched by losses at Connecticut and Providence has made the latter half of January a tough one for ‘Nova.
Still, at home, with just 5 points to make up, I have to take the Cats. They’ve been great there and the Hoyas haven’t been good on the road.
#20 Georgetown Hoyas @ #7 Villanova Wildcats (-5) (1/29) (ESPN)
Kansas State Wildcats @ Kansas Jayhawks NCAA Betting Free Pick: I know Kansas is a Top 10 team while Kansas State has fallen out of the Top 25, but this is probably a bigger game for K-State. They need Big 12 wins and they need them quick. They missed a ton of easy shots and still beat Baylor last time out. If they just turn those misses into makes, they have a shot at one heck of a road upset against their in-state rivals.
The Wildcats are 14-7 on the season, just 5-10 ATS, and it hasn’t been a great year thus far for Jacob Pullen and his teammates. Still, it’s not too late to turn it around. Before beating Baylor on the 24th (their last game), the Wildcats had lost 4 of 5, looking ugly in losses to Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma, and getting beat at Texas A&M by 8. Even in their win against Baylor, they greatly outplayed the Bears but couldn’t finish easy shots so the game stayed close. They’ll need those buckets to go against Kansas.
The Jayhawks have been impressive so far, but got beat by Texas on the 22nd for their first loss of the season. Kansas is 19-1 straight up, 8-10 ATS. They are led by the Morris brothers and Josh Selby, the young guard, and they can be as good as anyone.
Still, I think Kansas State’s toughness, and need to stay afloat will keep them closer to the 6th-ranked Jayhawks. 11 points is a lot, and this game has become a nice in-state rivalry lately as K-State has an improving program. Give me the big dogs!
Kansas State Wildcats (+11) @ #6 Kansas Jayhawks (1/29) (ESPN)
The No. 23 Florida Gators have a lot to play for when they visit the unranked Mississippi State Bulldogs in a nationally televised SEC conference clash at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday (1 pm ET, CBS).
Florida has not lost in six road games this season, the only SEC team without a setback away from home. The last time the Gators won six straight on the road was eight seasons ago, and the last time they won this many road games in a season was 2005-06, when they beat out every other team in March Madness and won it all at the NCAA Tournament.
Another source of motivation for the Gators is that Mississippi State was the last SEC West team to beat them – but it’s when that loss occurred that will give Florida its best and biggest reason to blow out the Bulldogs Saturday.
Mississippi State knocked Florida out of the SEC Tournament last March with a 75-69 win, thanks in large part to the Bulldogs’ Barry Stewart hitting five free throws in the last minute. It was Mississippi State’s third win over the Gators in the last four meetings.
And the Bulldogs (10-9 SU, 3-10-1 ATS, 2-3 SEC) appear ripe for the picking, losing seven of their past 10. They’re also at the bottom of most SEC defensive categories, giving up a league-worst 70.6 points per game.
Florida (16-4 SU, 6-8 ATS, 5-1 SEC) has won three straight, the latest a 104-91 win against the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday. The Gators cashed as a 3-point road underdog.
Gator guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton each had season highs with 24 points.
The Bulldogs’ latest loss was an 81-74 setback against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Thursday.
I really like the Gators in this one as a 6-point favorite. Check out my latest video at www.smpicks.com.