Because the best way to feign actual knowledge on a subject is an accurate prediction, I introduce The Picks. Every weekday, Monday-Thursday (hopefully) I will pick the televised games of the night, against the spread of course, and follow the results to see if I actually know something about basketball. The results should be both entertaining (for readers) and soul-crushing (for me). And if I'm wrong, I'll just do what all the TV "experts" do: never bring it up again and avoid all accountability. And since I won't be betting actual money (that often), I win every time!
I'll also be occasionally picking against one of my roommates, Craig, so we can have a rational method of settling all disputes involving rent, household matters, etc.
Last night: I was at the Villanova-Marquette (-2) game last night which served as a 40-minute microcosm for most Philadelphia sports seasons. The Cats got the crowd's hopes up with a great first half and suddenly their NCAA Tourney hopes had serious life. But just as the crowd reached its peak of excitement, they quickly squandered their lead in the second half, fell behind by double-digits themselves, gave up 53 points in the half and caused a pretty large fight to break out a few rows behind me (there has been a fight at 100 percent of the Villanova games I have attended in my life). Suddenly the season was over, the Cats once again hated... well at least until the next game. Didn't get a chance to see the Texas-KSU game but it was nice to see Vegas' absurd line in favor of the Wildcats (-3.5) proven incorrect. And the Zags (-15), despite trailing by two at halftime to the mighty Portland Pilots, decided to outscore them by 24 in the second half, giving me a 3-0 night.
/waiting for other shoe to drop
Ohio State at Indiana (-8)- Given the Hoosiers' post-SampsGate bedshitting and near catastrophe at Northwestern Saturday, Vegas must be pretty confident in Dan Dakich's conflict resolution skills for this line to be at 8. Even though the Buckeyes have lost four of six, there is going to be some serious pressure on the Hoosiers tonight in front of the home crowd. The fans will be supportive at first but if Indiana struggles at all in the first half, they will turn on those guys like they kicked their best cow. That's why this is a tough one to pick because it's the rare game where a team's mental state will probably decide the game and despite my stellar picking record this year, it is not a result of psychic ability. I think Indiana wins but won't cover.
The Pick: Ohio State
Southern Illinois at Bradley (-1.5)- Don't look now but the Salukis, the preseason mid-major darling, have a slim chance at salvaging their at-large hopes, sneaking into the First 8 Out in Joe "The Ladies Man" Lunardi's latest bracket. Granted if they can't get the auto-bid, they need to win out until the Valley final and get a lot of help but, hey, it's something to play for. Unfortunately that run starts at Bradley tonight, which is not an easy place to win. The home team has won the last seven meetings between the two squads and only two of those have been decided by 10 or less. Bradley has had a weird season, at one point losing seven of eight but is currently on a 9-2 run to get back to a reasonable conference tourney seed. But this SIU team was feared in the preseason for a reason and its struggles aren't because of a lack of toughness or intensity. If the Salukis really believe they have a chance at the postseason and that this is a must-win, they'll find a way to get it.
The Pick: Southern Illinois
Tennessee (-2) at Vanderbilt- Perfect spot for a let-down game for the Vols and unfortunately Vegas is fully aware of that. The first meeting was a blowout in Tennessee's favor but I don't see how a terrifyingly rabid Vandy crowd is going to let that happen tonight. AJ Ogilvy and Shan Foster were both pretty awful in that first match-up but have turned things around of late. That being said, I still think Tennessee matches up with those two guys better than anyone in the SEC with The Smith Named Tyler on Foster and Chism on Ogilvy. The Vols are a very good team and deserving of the No. 1 ranking; but they are not the best team in the country. It's no secret that if you make open shots and take care of the ball, Tennessee is beatable. In an up-and-down game just like Saturday night, I think Vandy can make the shots Memphis didn't; it's the turnovers I'm worried about. So, when in doubt you have to look for a hidden factor to decide the game and I am going to the Erin Andrews Factor. Surely with EA not in attendance, Bruce Pearl's sexual frustration will completely disrupt his ability to coach, causing him to run a four corners offense to try and run out the clock and get home to the warm comfort of this:
The Pick: Vanderbilt
Last night's record: 3-0
JTom's overall record: 43-33-4
Big 12: 6-7-2
Big East: 13-5-1
Big Ten: 6-5
Missouri Valley: 1-0
West Coast: 5-1
Big West: 0-1
Craig's record: 15-17-2
Labels: The Picks