Last weekend was a rough slate and a rougher start for your pickers. I (Mike) am still looking for my first win (0-3-1) while Nate was a far more respectable 2-2-1 (with one beer bet in the books). This weekend is more of a B+ as opposed to last week’s C- in terms of game quality, but at least we’re trending in the right direction. On to it!
Louisville (11-3) @ #25 Clemson (13-1), 11 a.m., ACC Network
Line: Clemson -6
Reason to Watch: Other than to point at Lousiville and laugh? I’m not going to let that one go for years. Actually, checking out Clemson is a better reason. Their schedule hasn’t exactly been murderer’s row, but it hasn’t been a cakewalk, either. Louisville – as weird as they have been this year – should be a good barometer.
Mike: Count me as not sold about Clemson. I’m not in love with Louisville, either. Louisville hasn’t played a whole lot of close games (except, oddly, Albany). I say that to explain that when I bet on Louisville, I’m betting on them to win outright. Where’s that money line?
Nate: I’m with Mike on this one for exactly the same reason. This seems like a game Clemson always loses. Give me the Cards +6.
#12 North Carolina (12-3) @ #8 Virginia (13-1), Noon, ESPN
Line: UVA -5.5
Reason to Watch: Hard to beat this for an early Saturday game. The ACC should feature a bunch of fun matchups this season, but this one is always entertaining for the elite offense vs elite defense. UVA has been killing people lately. Will that continue against easily the best team they’ve played lately?
Mike: No. No it won’t, but I don’t have a particularly good feeling about this one. I’ll pass, but I am leaning toward the Heels.
Nate: Virginia’s defense is absolutely gnarly. This matchup in Charlottesville over the years has been all Virginia (last year a 53-43 slugfest). I just hate picking Virginia when they are favored by more than a basket against a good team. Pass.
#12 Seton Hall (13-2) @ Butler (12-4), 1:30 p.m., FS1
Line: Butler -2.5
Reason to Watch: Both of these teams have some weird results on their respective ledgers. Butler beat ‘Nova but needed two overtimes to beat Georgetown? Seton Hall lost to Rutgers? Weird. It’s not too likely that the result of this game will be weird, but it should be instructive. Love these early conference-season games.
Mike: I’ll lay the 2.5 for the home team, but I don’t have a strong sense about which of these two is better at this point. By the end of the year, I bet it’s Butler.
Nate: This seems like a big time sucker’s bet. Take Butler at home right? The Hall…for a beer.
Kansas State (11-3) @ #18 Texas Tech (13-1), 3 p.m.
Line: TTU -9.5
Reason to Watch: This is all theoretical because apparently you can’t watch it. As you might have guessed from the headline, this is going to be a little Big 12 heavy. I’m not sold on the Big 12 as a conference. I mean it’s better than the B1G, but that’s damning with faint praise. Kansas State might be decent (that 2 point loss to ASU looks pretty good right now). TTU might not be (wins over Northwestern and Nevada aren’t as good as they initially appeared). They’re both probably mediocre when it’s all said and done.
Mike: I’m taking K State and the 9.5 here. I don’t have a particularly good reason for this (*cough* letdown *cough*) pick, but from what little I have seen of TTU, I’m not a big fan. Yes, I saw that Kansas game. I think that was an aberration.
Nate: We all know I am a big action-reaction guy. Fighting (Raspy) Bruce Webers +9.5.
#7 Oklahoma (12-1) @ #6 West Virginia (13-1), 6:15 p.m., ESPN2
Line: WVU -3.5
Reason to Watch: This blog did not enjoy not having an Oklahoma guard to obsess over last year. It’s good to be back. Obviously, we enjoy the work of Mr. Young. Even more than UNC-UVA, this one is an offense/defense matchup. Oklahoma is averaging 95.8 PPG (!!!) and WVU is only allowing 64.9. This one should be the best game of the weekend.
Mike: WVU – 3.5. I think I’ll be rooting for Oklahoma most of this season, but WVU appears to be a more well-rounded team than does Oklahoma…at least for now. Give me that team at home, please.
Nate: Oklahoma has to come to earth at some point, right? This seems like the perfect time for it to happen with a long trip to Morgantown. But, you’re giving me Trae Young…and points? Sooners +3.5 for another beer.
#17 Kentucky (12-2) @ #23 Tennessee (9-4), 8 p.m., SEC Network
Line: Vols -3
Reason to Watch: Mainly to see what the hell Tennessee is. They followed up a strong early season with consecutive losses to Arkansas and Auburn. Neither of those losses is catastrophic, but they’re staring an 0-3 SEC start right in the kisser. Kentucky is Kentucky, albeit mildly inferior to recent vintages.
Mike: I’m pretty sure that Tennessee is going to 0-3 in this one, but something about that spread bothers me. Mainly that it’s not a pick. Kentucky seems like the better team from here and given Tennessee’s slide, I’m surprised to see them favored.
Nate: Auburn handled Tennessee pretty easily on Tuesday night, while Kentucky has struggled, but won, first two SEC games. I don’t feel great about it, but I’ll take Rocky Top -3.
#10 Kansas (11-3) @ #16 TCU (13-1), 8:15 p.m., ESPN2
Line: Jayhawks -1
Reason to Watch: Well Vegas certainly isn’t buying TCU’s 12-0 start. I can’t say I am either. Kansas looked like it was ramping up until whatever the hell happened on Wednesday happened. Both of these teams have something to prove in early January.
Mike: Give me the Jayhawks -1. As much as I would like to avoid betting on road favorites, Kansas looks like the far superior team in this one.
Nate: I’m not touching this one, but sure seems like a game that Kansas steals.
Nate: Cuse -6. I hate doing it, but ND 1) does not have Bonz or Farrell and 2) is not good in the Carrier Dome. Plus, not sure the young guards are going to be able to handle that zone.