Every week we’ll be previewing the games we’ll be watching. Sometimes it’ll include the Dayton and Notre Dame games, sometimes it won’t. This week is one of the won’ts. Dayton plays an offensively gifted North Florida team that they absolutely have to beat and Notre Dame plays…nobody. They had a nice win over Illinois earlier this week, though.
Here we go!
*Late night Nate insertion after the 9 hour post-trial mid-day snooze – Just watched the Alabama loss (at 3 a.m.), which was absolutely a microcosm of Zach Auguste’s weaknesses in the last 6 minutes: pick and roll defense (two buckets), inability to alter shots at the rim (two buckets including the game winner) and three missed FTs (0-3: a front end and then 2 missed in the last minute). More will follow Tuesday in the recap/Stony Brook preview.
Those look awfully tasty.
#14 Syracuse (6-1) vs. Georgetown (3-3), Noon
Line: Georgetown -5.5
Reason to Watch: Syracuse had their “action/reaction” loss to Wisconsin at home after winning the Atlantis tournament. Are they as good as they looked in that tournament? Or are they just average like they were thought of originally by the pollsters? Georgetown certainly took a step to rekindle some old rivalries by scheduling Maryland, and now the Orange.
Mike: The big story is that Jim Boeheim won’t be on the sidelines for this game despite the fact that he probably shouldn’t be. Georgetown -5.5 is basically turning the world on it’s head. Give me Syracuse +5.5.
Nate: Cuse lost by 8 to Wisconsin, while the Hoyas beat the Badgers by 10. G’Town also lost to Radford. Who knows? Steering clear of this one.
UNM (5-1) @ #11 Purdue (7-0), 1 p.m., BTN
Line: Purdue -14
Reason to Watch: Is Purdue really this good? They just keep handing it to people by double digits, and have one of the best, deepest frontcourts in America. New Mexico beat a somewhat solid Loyola-Chicago team by 24 a few weeks back, and Cullen Neal (although if you watch, you’ll want to punt him in the balls repeatedly afterwards) is back after taking a year off with an ankle sprain.
Picks: BEER BET!!!
Mike: UNM is one of the better non-major teams in the nation. Purdue has looked like one of the best teams in the country so far. I’ll take the points here and hope that Purdue continues to be excellent. Purdue -14.
Nate: Everything about those last two sentences made me want to PUke. Everyone’s a Lobo tomorrow, including me. Plus, that’s a ton of points to give coming off Purdue’s big road win at Pitt. Lobos +14.
Bill & Mary (5-2) @ # 10 Virginia, 1 p.m., ???
Line: UVA -13.5
Reason to Watch: I (Nate) typically don’t watch Virginia games voluntarily unless they play the Irish or someone really good. Tony Bennett’s offense burns my eyes. However, this may be a litmus test for the Flyers to see if the dangerous Bill & Mary can hang with the Cavs.
Mike: UVA’s best guard might not even play this weekend and any team that can hang at UD Arena gets my attention. I love the points here even if I think UVA ultimately wins the game. Bill & Mary +13.5.
Nate: Perrantes is the best guard on the Cavs? Are you still smoking the local Nicaraguan pejote? I’ll take Brogdon…and plus, Perrantes’ replacement (Darius Thompson) isn’t too bad. This is a ton of points to give a quality team, however. While the smart money likely is on Bill & Mary, no play from me. I see this as a 66-53 game (which would be good for Mike).
#19 Arizona (6-1) @ #13 Gonzaga (5-1), 2:15 p.m., ESPN
Line: Gonzaga -7.5
Reason to Watch: This is pretty unquestionably the best game of the weekend. There’s a lot of quality college football available, but it’s nice to have a cadillac game among games on the big slate.
Mike: Arizona +7.5. I think Arizona wins this one outright.
Nate: I live by a certain code…APADW (Always Pick Against Duke West). Arizona +7.5
#23 Providence (7-1) @ URI (5-2), 6 p.m., ESPNU
Line: URI -2
Reason to Watch: Kris Dunn against the Atlantic 10 best is always worth the price of admission. At least until Matthews got hurt. Now, it’s just a decent matchup between one really good team and one team that might scare other teams (URI).
But seriously, watch Kris Dunn every chance you get.
Picks: BEER BET!!!
Mike: This is the easiest pick of the early games. I thought URI would have been a real team until Matthews got hurt but they keep playing well so…yeah. Providence +2.
Nate: Why on Earth is Providence getting points in this game? I don’t care if it is at URI…the state is the size of my left thigh. Vegas knows something, and I think it has a little something to do with Providence coming off three games on the West Coast. Hell, I’ll take the Rams -2.
#18 Texas A&M (7-1) @ Arizona State (5-2), 9:30 p.m., ESPN2
Line: Texas A&M -3
Reason to Watch: A&M added another reason to be thankful on Thanksgiving when it knocked off Duke West. They have a ton of talent, a big-time scorer in Danuel House, and Jalen Jones getting his game back after an early season suspension. ASU has a couple decent wins (Belmont, NC State) to go with a couple head-scratching losses (Sacramento St. and Marquette).
Mike: There’s a good reason to watch A&M. This isn’t it. Arizona State blows but A&M is a very deep team with no real dominant player. It’ll be an interesting game just to see how A&M handles working in their depth against a “real” team.
Nate: A&M is definitely the better team, but I could see this trip to Tempe ending badly for them. Staying away.
Evansville (6-1) @ Murray State (5-3), 7:30 p.m., MMGN (Mid-Major Goodness Network)
Line: Evansville -3
Reason to Watch: A rising mid-major against one of the darlings of the last few years. Though you likely won’t find this game anywhere but the internet, I want to see if Evansville is for real. Vegas thinks so, as the Aces are a field goal favorite on the road. Murray State has also lost by double digits already to Georgia, Weber State and Houston.
Mike: The Aces are definitely for real but I’m not sure I want to take them as a road favorite against a team I’m not familiar with. Staying away from this one.
Nate: Gut feeling that the Aces are for real. Evansville -3.
Davidson (5-0) @ #9 UNC (6-1), 5 p.m., ESPNU
Line: UNC -14.5
Reason to Watch: So you’ve seen Steph Curry, right? Jack Gibbs is a stud. Both these teams love to run and put points on the board in a hurry. Marcus Paige is back, and as shown in this week’s win over Maryland, makes UNC look like the best team in the country.
Mike: This team has been the greatest source of unexpected NBA joy of any program for a few years now. Steph Curry has become a deserving MVP and this team’s offense has been a joy to watch for years now. I also like the over.
Nate: Don’t really know the spread in this one, so I’m not picking it. But I’ll watch it and certainly take the over 171 points.
#16 Vanderbilt (5-1) @ #25 Baylor (6-1), 7 p.m., ESPNU
Line: Baylor -2
Reason to Watch: Two very underrated teams playing in December is always fun to watch. Plus, who really wants to watch Cris Collinsworth and two overrated teams in the Colts and Steelers.
Mike: This game is a feature between two teams that nobody takes seriously. You should. This will be the most legitimate contest this week in college basketball.
Nate: Completely agree with Mike…both these teams are potential 4/5 seeds that can make the Sweet 16 and scare the living bejesus out of a #1 seed. I like Rico and the Bears to get on track after playing four cupcakes since their loss to Oregon. Baylor -2