Up 18 at the half, I was feeling pretty good about my Purdue -2.5 bet. Then the second half happened. Then Ohio State and Notre Dame started scoring like they were Gonzaga. Then Minnesota decided to miss free throws down the stretch and couldn’t put away Boston College. Then North Carolina forgot to cover Jordan Bohannon. Before you knew it, I was 0-4 and starting to think I needed a new hobby. Then it all came together. Penn State threw some cold water on the VaTech hype, Duke played a game likely to give Mike Krzyzewski back problems, and Syracuse well, they were just Syracuse. A 3-4 start to the year isn’t ideal, but it’s better than it could have been.
Maryland Terrapins @ Clemson Tigers
KP: Clemson -3, O/U 137
Vegas: Clemson -2, O/U 129
Clemson sure impressed with their early season win over Purdue, but I can’t help but think a 27 rating on KenPom has the Tigers punching a bit above their weight class. While Aamir Simms is one of the best players in the ACC, this is still pretty much a team that finished 16-15 a year ago. Maryland on the other hand lost two huge pieces in Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith, but they still return the majority of their nucleus. Their rating is probably right in that case. While it pains me to ever back the Terrapins, I’ll take the points.
Pick: Maryland +2
Indiana Hoosiers @ Florida State Seminoles
KP: Florida State -2, O/U 140
Vegas: Florida State -3.5, O/U 140
This is one of my favorite games of this entire challenge, and certainly the best game on the night. Trayce Jackson-Davis has been terrific early in the season and the Hoosiers are close. They could take a big step forward with a win over Florida State. Buuuuttt, Florida State is going to present a challenge similar to the one Texas did, and we know how that worked out for Archie Miller’s team. Florida State will be physical, throw a ton of bodies at Jackson-Davis, and frustrate their guards. M.J. Walker and company are looking to pick up where they left off last season and prove they can just reload. I like the game to be close, but think Florida State pulls it out in the end.
Pick: Florida State -3.5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Nebraska Cornhuskers
KP: Georgia Tech -1, O/U 147
Vegas: Georgia Tech -2, O/U 147
I see. Losses to Mercer and Georgia State just threw us off the scent. I liked the Yellow Jackets coming into the season, then they come out and blast Kentucky. Now they get to face a Nebraska team who might be the worst team in the Big Ten. It’s a new look Husker team who only have two players this season among their top eight in minutes who played for them last year. They did bring in Trey McGowen from Pittsburgh who is no stranger to the Yellow Jackets. In the Panthers’ 73-64 win over Georgia Tech, McGowen chipped in 14 points and nine assists. But new isn’t always better, a reality Nebraska will find out this year.
Pick: Georgia Tech -2
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Northwestern Wildcats
KP: Pittsburgh +5, O/U 143
Vegas: Pittsburgh +3, O/U 144.5
I don’t have a good feel for how these two teams matchup, but what I do know is they’re going to run. Northwestern is the fastest team in the country on offense while Pittsburgh is 34th. To say there’s going to be a lot of shots in this game is an understatement. Let’s just hope they make a bunch.
Pick: Over 144.5
Season Total: ATS (3-3-0), O/U (0-1-0), Total (3-4-0)