Maryland Terrapins @ Florida State Seminoles (-17)
The Terrapins have put together some nice games here and there, but they’ve put together some stinkers too. I expect this to be the latter. As I said in my newsletter, I’m taking the Florida State team on a good day to cover this spread.
Tennessee Volunteers (+29.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide
The Volunteers can put up some points, they’ve done it against good defenses before, and I think they throw up a couple touchdowns against the studly Crimson Tide defense. I don’t think they have a chance to win, but the points should be covered if they can put together a couple scoring drives. If there’s any weakness to the Crimson Tide it’s that they don’t throw the ball amazingly and their defensive secondary isn’t as awesome as the rest of their group. I don’t think it will be close, but 34-13 wouldn’t surprise me.
USC Trojans @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-8.5)
The Trojans have been alright, but there’s a reason they are 8.5 point dogs at Notre Dame, they just aren’t an elite program right now and it shows. They don’t run the ball really well, and they don’t have the consistency offensively because of that. They have some talent on the outside but they are a little dinged up and might not be able to make those big plays for QB Matt Barkley. Notre Dame plays fast and they are getting consistent offensively. USC’s defense isn’t a good group, allowing lots of points to mediocre teams. I see the Irish taking full advantage of that.
Tennessee Volunteers @ Michigan Wolverines March Madness Pick: The Tennessee Volunteers are a crazy team to try and understand, but I think I might have a read on them. The Vols play their best basketball against their biggest and best competition, and have a number of hiccups against teams they should beat. While that might give them a shot to upset Duke if they get past the round of 64, I’m pretty sure it makes them a team to pick against going up against Michigan.
The Wolverines had a solid season in a tough Big 10, but the Volunteers have more talent and should probably beat Michigan if everything depended on that. But it doesn’t.
The Wolverines have been pretty feisty all season long, playing tight with teams they shouldn’t be hanging with, and winning a few big games in the process. They have shown they can hang with the best college basketball has to offer, and with everyone expecting the talented Vols to walk over the Wolverines, I think Michigan comes out ready to prove themselves in the Big Dance.
(9) Tennessee Volunteers @ (8) Michigan Wolverines (+2) (3/18) (truTV)
Tennessee Volunteers @ Kentucky Wildcats Free Basketball Picks: Yes, Kentucky gets two of my 3 games this week. I just love the match-up with a Tennessee team that will be playing their first game with Bruce Pearl back at the helm after his 8-game SEC suspension. The Vols can play with anyone, and for better or worse, they usually do. In this case, it’s for the better. Expect a close game despite the unranked Vols going into Kentucky to play the 11th ranked Wildcats.
I think Tennessee has the talent to play with the Wildcats, and since Kentucky plays mostly through two freshman, I think the Volunteers have the advantage with their set of upper classmen. Sure, the Vols have struggled lately, but they step up for big games, they have their head coach back in the mix, and here as we approach the second half of February, it becomes winning time.
It might come down to if Scotty Hopson can play. His ankle has been bothering him, and he’s a huge piece of the puzzle for the Vols. In the last game against Alabama, without Hopson, the Vols really struggled to score the basketball, shooting just 35% in an overtime loss.
But like I said, coach is back on the sidelines for the first time in SEC play. For those that think a coach only matters when he’s screwing things up for his team, you’re wrong. Pearl has quite the presence, and I think that raises the Vols up to another level.
I like their tenacity and physicality against this young Kentucky team. The 9 points are also nice.
Tennessee Volunteers @ #11 Kentucky Wildcats (2/8) (ESPN)
For a little more on this match-up visit JustBet.com
North Carolina Tar Heels @ Tennessee Volunteers Music City Bowl Pick: I’m not sold on Tennessee – their last 4 games have shown me that they can win, and win when it matters, but only against teams like Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Memphis – hardly big wins to hang your hat on. Winning is big, for confidence and just learning how to do it, but because you won doesn’t mean you’ll win. So, when I finally decided to pick the Vols, I didn’t do so because of those 4 wins to end the season, the 4 straight wins they needed to become bowl eligible. I picked them because this is a home game for the Vols, and they’ve been better at home than on the road. Defensively, they are figuring it out. Since allowing 41, 41, and 38 in three straight games (against Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina) they haven’t allowed more than 14 points. That’s a nice turnaround.
I love the semi-success Carolina had this season despite losing most of their defense to eligibility issues, and some key offensive players as well. The Tar Heels battled their way to 7-5 despite being forced to play without Robert Quinn, Greg Little, Charles Brown, and Bruce Carter for much of the season. Quinn is one of the best players in college football, and all in all this team lost 7 defensive players to eligibility. Yet they still played tough against tough teams, and got to this point.
But the past is there, and this season is already a success for the Heels. In a home game I like Tennessee to find a way to win in a close one.
North Carolina Tar Heels @ Tennessee Volunteers (+2)
Tennessee Volunteers @ South Carolina Gamecocks NCAA Picks: South Carolina is definitely up and down, and they’ve only won two games this season by more than 14 points – a 38-19 win over Furman College and a 41-13 win over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. They aren’t a kind of team that has come out and put the smack down on their opponents, regardless of how good their defense is, and how productive their offense has been at times.
All the numbers actually point to good value on the Volunteers’ side. Like I said, the Gamecocks haven’t put a big conference school away all season long. They recently lost to Kentucky despite beating Alabama and losing to Auburn by just a touchdown. Even a Georgia team that has struggled all season long made a game of it against SC.
Tennessee has been blown out a couple times, Alabama, Georgia, and Oregon – but they’ve also played tough against some tough teams like Florida (though they struggled in the second half) and LSU (they lost on that too many people on the field deal, 14-16). The numbers say Tennessee, but I’m betting on the Gamecocks.
The Vols aren’t a good road team, and South Carolina is better than the numbers insist. They are up and down, sure, but most recently they haven’t been all that impressive, slipping by Vandy after losing to Kentucky – I think they’re back to being good this week at home, and I think they win by at least 3 touchdowns. The public likes Tennessee, and so do the “experts”. I’ll take the Gamecocks.
Tennessee Volunteers @ #20 South Carolina Gamecocks (-17)
NCAA Free Picks Review for Week 8 2010 College Football: Week 8 got me 8 losses, and that wouldn’t be all that bad if I had picked 20 games, but I guess it would have been a lot worse had I picked 10. Anyway, I think I was done up pretty good in a couple of them – so here’s the review, from my point of view. I finished 7-8 in Week 8.
UCLA Bruins @ #1 Oregon Ducks (-24) (WIN)
The Ducks absolutely rolled the Bruins. It was something like 14-0 after the first 4 minutes, and the scoring hardly slowed down. The Ducks are an entirely different machine, and no, USC fans, I don’t know how the Trojans will even begin to slow down the Big O.
South Florida Bulls (+8) @ Cincinnati Bearcats (WIN)
The Bulls actually won by 8, which is always nice. The Bearcats were bound to have a stinker after a few solid performances.
Penn State Nittany Lions @ Minnesota Golden Gophers (+9.5) (LOSS)
The Gophers definitely had a chance coming out of the gates in the 2nd half with a score to make this a one-touchdown game. But a field goal, then a touchdown, then another safety broke it open. The Gophers fought back and made it 12, and had a chance to maybe sneak a cover in there, but it was all for not as the Lions won 33-21.
#8 Michigan State Spartans @ Northwestern Wildcats (+5.5) (LOSS)
It’s all good, I’ll own the loss here, but tell me you weren’t thinking, “That Lucky is a damned genius,” into the 4th quarter of this game. Someone, the Spartans derailed the huge upset, scored 21 in the 4th, and managed to not only win but cover the spread by a couple points in the process. Hogwash. I still think this was a great pick.
Purdue Boilermakers (+24) @ #10 Ohio State Buckeyes (LOSS)
The Buckeyes covered halfway through the 2nd quarter, and I looked dumb taking the Boilermakers. It wasn’t the last time I looked bad.
Duke Blue Devils (+26.5) @ #23 Virginia Tech Hokies (LOSS)
Well, I hate Duke, but I thought they’d put up enough points. I should have known. Va Tech is actually as good as people thought they were earlier in the year, the only game that was out of the ordinary for them was the 2nd game of the season where they lost to that subdivision team. One week, we all need to let it go. Duke has…
Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Navy Midshipmen (+7) (WIN)
This is one of those games where I just shine with happiness when I watch. Everything that I thought would go right, did, times 100. Navy didn’t just cover, they didn’t just win, they dominated the Irish and embarrassed a once proud school. Jessy and Rose: Hahahahahaha…. (Big Irish Fans)
Maryland Terrapins @ Boston College Eagles (-4) (LOSS)
Boston College made a game of it in the 4th quarter, putting up two touchdowns to make it a 3-point game. BC even had a shot at mid-field with a drive starting and just under 2 minutes on the clock – but they couldn’t even get a first down, two complete passes and a 4th and 1 stuff ended BC’s hopes at stealing one from Maryland.
#11 Wisconsin Badgers @ #12 Iowa Hawkeyes (-5.5) (LOSS)
Wisconsin scored with 1 minute left to pull ahead of the Hawkeyes by a single point after Iowa had scored 10 straight points to take a 6-point lead. Did I mention they lost by a point? Oh yeah, they missed an extra point in the first quarter. Those things never come back to haunt you. It was close, and a win was right there, but the Badgers just ended up being the tougher team.
#6 LSU Tigers @ #5 Auburn Tigers (-6) (WIN)
Auburn was easily the more impressive team, but I certainly didn’t think I was going to cover when Auburn was driving late in the 4th quarter. It was 17-17 despite a huge yardage discrepancy. Then, out of nowhere, Onterio McCalebb took a run 70 yards to the house for a touchdown lead. Their defense held, and Auburn left the only undefeated Tigers team in the SEC. Final yardage difference, 526-243…. And this was a one score game, crazy.
#13 Nebraska Cornhuskers (-5.5) @ #15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (WIN)
This one was tight, and an absolute no-defense fest. But the young Nebraska kid, Martinez, they said he couldn’t throw –but it was his arm that destroyed the Cowboys’ in Oklahoma. He tossed 5 touchdown passes and 323 yards (with no interceptions) after never throwing for more than 150 yards in any game this season, and only having 3 touchdowns (and 3 interceptions) through the first 6 games. I was surprised how they did it, but not surprised that they did it.
Washington State Cougars (+35) @ #14 Stanford Cardinal (WIN)
Even when it was 31-7 heading into the 4th, I was covering (but worried). Then WSU scored, and I knew I was going to get this one easily. Then WSU made a couple big plays and brought it back with-in 10. Right now, when the Cougars are huge dogs (every week) they are basically an auto-spread-cover. Enjoy.
#7 Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5) @ Tennessee Volunteers (WIN)
Albama played tight with Tennessee for a while, going into the half with a 13-10 lead, but I must say, I turned to my buddy and said, “I’m not too worried. They’ll run it more in the 2nd half, break some big ones, and walk away with a cover.” Well, they shut out the Vols in the 2nd half, and put up 28 points of their own, mostly just running the ball. Richardson 119 yards and a long score, Ingram 88 yards and a couple scores. McElroy was solid, just like he needs to be, and the Tide will win any week.
North Carolina Tar Heels (+7) @ #25 Miami Hurricanes (LOSS)
It was 13-10 at the half, but I was worried. It was 33-10 when the game was over, and my worries were well deserved. Carolina just couldn’t move the ball after their 2nd quarter touchdown, and Miami was just solid.
Washington Huskies (+7) @ #18 Arizona Wildcats (LOSS)
Hahahaha-Huskies. I don’t know – these Dawgs have really tricked me a few times over the years, but I sure thought they’d be tough against the Wildcats 2nd string QB. They weren’t, they were as dominated defensively as they have been all year. I should have known the Cats would just turn to the run, and because of it, easily slip passed the Huskies. Dang it! And my winning week depended on this one, those blasted Huskies!
Alabama Crimson Tide @ Tennessee Volunteers College Football Pick: My prediction puts this game at 37-13, and that’s good enough to cover for the road squad. I know Tennessee is better than their 2-4 record insists. They’ve played good football against good teams, nearly upsetting LSU (before too many men on the field squashed the last play, which I’m sure you remember now that I mention it) lost to Florida by just 14 in a game that was closer than the score indicates. But they’ve also gotten blown out, by Oregon (duh), and Georgia (14-41).
So often, you don’t quite know what you’re going to get with the Vounteers – but you’re always going to get a blah offense with a defense that can’t stop the run. Only once this season have the Volunteers out-rushed an opponent, and that was against Tennessee Martin. Yeah, name their mascot and you get a cookie. If you guessed Hillbillies, you’re cool, but wrong. If you guess Skyhawks, you don’t get a cookie, but you certainly impressed me. You get the picture I’m sure.
Alabama often messes around with throwing the ball too much. It hurt them against South Carolina, and almost got them a loss against Arkansas, but they pulled it out late. I don’t see them passing too much against the Vols, they just don’t need to even attempt it.
Alabama’s rushing attack will be a Tennessee killer.
#7 Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5) @ Tennessee Volunteers
Here are some of my favorite NCAA Basketball games for Saturday in Conference Tournament week. There are some great semi-final and finals match-ups this week, getting me prepared for the Big Dance right around the bend. Enjoy the show!
Tennessee Volunteers @ Kentucky Wildcats (-4): I like the Wildcats to turn it on here. The Vols have always been big game warriors, but one of these days their lack of consistency is going to catch up with them, and it’s going to happen on a big stage. This is that big stage, and I think the time is now. John Wall can make the Vols pay by running the floor and pushing the ball. I don’t expect a lack of focus by the Cats this morning and that should give them the advantage.
Illinois Fighting Illini @ Ohio State Buckeyes (-7.5): I know the Illini fought through a tough Wisconsin team early last night, then held off their comeback hopes and got the big upset. I know that they are tough and resilient. However, I still see a void in their big games, something that didn’t show up yesterday but will likely be evident today when they play an Ohio State team looking at a possible 1-seed. There’s a lot for both teams to play for, and I don’t see Evan turner letting Ohio State win. I’m taking the Buckeyes big.
Miami Hurricanes (+11.5) @ Duke Blue Devils: I don’t know what I think about this except that the line is inflated because it’s a tournament game and Duke is taking part in it. The regular season line was 4 points lower, and that’s about what it should be here. So I’ll take Miami – it seems like the smart bet, and while Duke might not shoot poorly again, Miami can do lots of good things offensively – and if Duke is having a down game shooting, the Canes will upset the Devils.
I’ve picked 4 good winners on Thursday. The College Hoops action just gets better and better and better and Thursday’s action should be awesome. I am representing a handful of conferences here, the ACC, Big East, SEC, and the MWC to get solid coverage all around. Enjoy the picks!
Virginia Cavaliers (+5) @ Boston College Golden Eagles: The Cavs have struggled down the stretch, no doubt, but this team is underrated, and they are very well coached. That will be the main factor as the Cavs upset the Eagles in the ACC Tournament.
Georgetown Hoyas @ Syracuse Orange (-5.5): The Hoyas have been up and down this year, but they are fully healthy now and are going to be a tough team to send home in the NCAA Tournament. However, the Hoyas played yesterday while the Orange just watched, that’s good enough for me to take the Orange.
TCU Horned Frogs @ BYU Cougars (-16.5): The Cougars won this battle on March 6th by 30 points as the Horned Frogs lost 77-107. TCU has lost 4 of their last 5 and they’re just 13-18 on the season. The Cougars are looking to improve their overall seed, and the more convincing their wins the better chance the move up the charts.
LSU Tigers (+12) @ Tennessee Volunteers: LSU always plays Tennessee tough, and the Volunteers have been really good at playing really mediocre against “lesser teams” this season. That’s a recipe for a double digit cover if I’ve ever seen one. Since 2006, this game has either gone to overtime or finished within 6. I’ll take the dogs.
While the first three days of the week had few Top-25 match-ups, there’s not shortage of top-ranked opponents going at it on Saturday. I have 4 different conferences represented on Saturday, the SEC, Big 12, Mountain West, and the Big East – and the big East is BIG! All games should be good, but Villanova and Syracuse has a special place in my heart, that should be a great one! There aren’t any odds out yet, but I’ll give a prediction of the score below and you can decide on your bet accordingly.
Kentucky Wildcats (2) @ Tennessee Volunteers (17) (12:00pm ET, 2-27 – CBS): This game should be big time. The Volunteers can definitely be up and down, and there’s been some off the court business that has take it’s toll on the Tennessee club, but if one thing is consistent about them, they have competitive guys that step up big for big games. This is what you’d call a big game. The Vols have lost 3 of their last 5 and are just 5-5 over their last 10 games, but this game is big. Kentucky has lost just once this year, but they’ve had their share of close calls. What it comes down to is being at Tennessee, and I think the Vols will be ready to shut down all-world talent John Wall. That should be just enough to get them a huge upset win on Saturday. Tennessee 71, Kentucky 68.
Texas Longhorns (21) @ Texas A&M Aggies (23) (2:00pm ET, 2-27 – ESPN): From ranked #1 all the way down to #21, the Longhorns have seen their season take a turn for the worse. They are now 4th in the Big 12, and have lost 6 of their last 11 games after beating the Aggies in overtime on January 16th. That was a home game for the Longhorns, but now they’re on the road where they’ve gone 2-4 since that win. The Aggies are moving in the other direction, winning 7 of their last 10 games, and showing they can cause some problems in the post-season. I like the Aggies to continue their stellar home basketball (13-1 this season) and beat their in-state rivals. Texas A&M 73, Texas 68.
New Mexico Lobos (12) @ BYU Cougars (11) (4:00pm ET, 2-27): The Lobos haven’t lost in the last 12 games, and you have to go all the way back to the first 10 days of January to find an L on their schedule. During that stretch, they did away witha couple good MWAC teams, including BYU. But I have to go with the Cougs to win this one – it’s tough to beat a good team twice (and BYU is a very good team) and while New Mexico has shown they are a good road team (only 2 losses on the road or at a neutral site this season) I have to go with the home team finding a way to get a win on Saturday. BYU 76, New Mexico 69.
Villanova Wildcats (8) @ Syracuse Orange (4) (9:00pm ET, 2-27- ESPN): This is my game of the day and it doesn’t need too many words to describe why. Both these teams have a chance at the title, both have really clutch players, and both are coached to do what they do better than how anybody else does it. This is also #1 vs #2 in the Big East standings, and if you haven’t noticed, there’s no conference knocking at the door of the Big East as far as best conference in College Basketball. These two teams haven’t played in over a year, a game which Villanova won 89-86 in one heck of a game. The winning team has scored at least 80 points in each of the last 5 contests, while both teams have score 80+ in each of the last 2. I think this is another close one, maybe too close to call, but I like Villanova to put up one hell of a fight, and in a game they could really use to get that confidence going for the final month of the season (the Dance included) I like them to upset Syracuse. Villanova 82, Syracuse 78.