My week 1 picks went well. I went 5-2 and almost pulled off a 6-1 record. I’ll take it! Saturday is here and there being a lot of top-25 action so let’s jump right into it.
Texas A&M (13-10) at (17) Florida (19-5) Line: Florida -14
If you have been in my basement for some beers lately you’ve heard me barking Florida. They have dominated every game they won this year by an average of 19 points. That includes a 22-point win over Kentucky. Texas A&M plays teams tough! They lost by single digits to USC, UCLA, Arizona and WVU. I think this is a win for Florida, but they fail to cover.
Tom’s Pick: Texas A&M +14
Kansas St (16-8) at (13) West Virginia (19-5) Line: WVU -10
Kansas St is desperately trying to turn things around this week. They are 1-4 in their last 5 starts. Unfortunately, they are playing on the road against a tough West Virginia team. WVU plays a full-court man defense that startles teams and forces a hefty number of turnovers. This is another game that i think the favorite wins the game but fails to cover. Kansas St is 6-1 against the spread as the underdog.
Tom’s Pick: Kansas St +10
(15) Kentucky (19-5) at Alabama (14-9) Line: Kentucky -7
Alabama is coming off a dramatic 4-OT win against another tough SEC foe, South Carolina. Unfortunately, I think that hinders their play today. The kids are spent. Kentucky needs to get on a streak prior to the tournament if they hope to make a run. The Wildcats only have 7 games left so it’s almost now or never. I think Kentucky makes some free-throws this week and wins by double digits.
Tom’s Pick: Kentucky -7
Clemson (13-10) at (18) Duke (19-5) Line: Duke -11
I think the Blue Devils are back. I picked against them the other night against UNC, but it was my toughest pick. Duke has all the talent in the world, but has had a tough time putting it together. I think their win over UNC Thursday night highlighted their ability if they play as a team. Clemson is coming off a buzzer-beater loss to Syracuse earlier this week. They might come out hungry, but are running into a buzz saw.
Tom’s Pick: Duke -11
Miami (16-7) at (4) Louisville (19-5) Line: Louisville -10
Louisville has had its struggle this year against other ranked opponents, but has dominated non-ranked opponents. I think that trend continues when they welcome a young Miami team. The Hurricanes will determine the outcome of this one. They will need to bring their A-game if they plan to make this a game.
Tom’s Pick: Louisville -10
TCU (17-7) at (6) Baylor (21-3) Line: Baylor -9
This Baylor team is always a topic of conversation in the basement. I say Baylor is one of the most overrated teams in the NCAA. (disclaimer: I bet on them and won in their last game) I am not sold on what they have to offer. They tend to be very sloppy at times. TCU was on the losing end of their 1st matchup with the Bears. (62-53) I think the Horned Frogs do enough cover.
Tom’s Pick: TCU +9
(3) Kansas (21-3) at Texas Tech (16-8) Line: Kansas -4
Frank Mason is going to take this game by the reins and lead Kansas past Texas Tech. Kansas has some depth issues with this team, but the players they have are all solid. I don’t think Texas Tech has much to offer in this game. I think it’s a repeat of their first matchup where the Jayhawks won by 17.
Tom’s Pick: Kansas -4
(23) Creighton (20-4) at DePaul (8-16) Line: Creighton -9.5
This is a battle of two team that haven’t played well in their last 5. (Creighton 2-3 & DePaul 0-5) Unfortunately, DePaul suffered an 83-66 loss to Creighton during that same stretch. Creighton needs this win to make that push for March success. DePaul will need to find some extra scoring in this game to keep pace with a Creighton team that averages over 84 points per game. I don’t think they do it today.
Tom’s Pick: Creighton -9.5
(2) Villanova (23-2) at (24) Xavier (18-6) Line: Nova-3.5
I am going to be quick with this one. If Nova is making their shots today, they win by double-digits. If not, they barely cover. Either way they get this one done.
Tom’s Pick: Nova -3.5
(22) Butler (19-5) at Providence (14-11) Line: Butler -3
Butler has been a team of two halves. They get beat up in the 1st and make a run in the second. This is the time of the year teams make those big adjustments to get ready for the madness. I think coach Holtmann continues to make necessary changes to better the Bulldogs. Providence will need to build a big lead in the 1st half if they want to pull off the victory.
Tom’s Pick: Butler -3
Ohio State (15-10) at (21) Maryland Line: Maryland -8
Less than two weeks ago, the Terps beat the Buckeyes by 6. With what I think are two evenly matched teams, this one will be decided by the play of Melo Trimble. If Trimble plays well, Terps win. If Trimble plays mediocre, Ohio State covers.
Tom’s Pick: Ohio State +8
(14) Florida State (21-4) at Notre Dame (18-7) Line: Irish -1.5
This Seminoles squad is another favorite of mine. Cavi and I are #NotreDame guys, but Florida State is deep and skilled. Issac and Bacon will take this game over. In what should be a game that combines for over 150 total points, Florida State will get things done in crunch time.
Tom’s Pick: Florida State +1.5
(19) South Carolina (19-5) at Mississippi State (14-9) Line: SC -5
The Gamecocks are coming off that 4-OT loss this week so they should be a little tired. At the same time, they will be looking to rebound from that loss. I think Mississippi State hangs tough for most of the game, but misses some crucial shot down the end.
Tom’s Pick: South Carolina -5
(1) Gonzaga (25-0) at (20) Saint Mary’s (22-2) Line: Gonzaga -4
This is the only matchup of two ranked teams. I wish there were more so I didn’t have to break down as many games. Gonzaga is currently the best team in the country. They are 14-6-1 against the spread this year. They already beat St. Mary’ earlier this year by 23 (79-56) . I know St. Mary’s plays at home this time, but I don’t think they can pull off this upset. I think Gonzaga wins by double digit.
Tom’s Pick: Gonzaga -4
California (18-6) at (9) Arizona (22-3) Line: Arizona – 8.5
Cal is only 2 games back of Arizona in the PAC-12. In what should be a low scoring game, 8 is a lot to cover. Arizona hasn’t played great basketball in their last 2 games while the Golden Bears have been on a little winning streak. I think Arizona wins, but fails to cover.
Tom’s Pick: California +8.5
(5) Oregon (21-4) at USC (21-4) Line: Oregon -3
Oregon has been on a solid run. I know they game up a double-digit lead in their last game to UCLA, but I don’t think that deters them this game vs the Trojans. This will be a solid back and forth. I think that Oregon continues its 13-game winning streak over USC.
Tom’s Pick: Oregon -3