Do you start your Tuesday by watching Quinnipiac vs. LaSalle? Are you planning your daily workout around LSU vs. UMass? Today’s tip off marathon features a grand finale. Kentucky plays Michigan St. followed by Kansas and Duke. What’s even better is that these schools have committed a few years to rotate facing one another. The new tradition is called the “First Four.” Here are my picks for tonight’s featured games. I am taking Duke giving 3 1/2, Michigan State giving 2 1/2, and Florida getting 11 points from Wisconsin (I thought that was a misprint on http://www.vegasinsider.com).
You know how the Tournament Selection Committee picks bubble teams based on how they play against one another? Well, a lot of those matchup actually happen in November. Tis the season for out-of-conference tournaments. Teams that excel can really boost their resume before the punishment of conference play come January and February. Here are some great games on TV in November to keep an eye on. They could double as bubble-busters before you fill out your bracket this March.
|Tuesday, November 12th
*Florida at Wisconsin
Kansas @ DUKE
Thursday, November 21st – Florida St. @ VCU on ESPN U
*Don’t sleep on this Wisconsin Florida matchup. Wisconsin debuted a convincing win against an athletic St. John’s team. Florida welcomes one of the best high school recruits at a much-needed position. Check out new point guard Kasey Hill.
This game features two of the most intimidating defenses in recent years. Florida State’s fearsome defense led by coach Leonard Hamilton has taken a hiatus from the NCAA tourney. I am looking for a bounce-back year after Hamilton has reshuffled the deck with some younger players. I’m looking forward to seeing how VCU’s full court havoc defense stacks up to Florida State’s more traditional half-court ball pressure. I predict VCU is too tough and covers the spread.
|Monday, November 25th – Marquette at Arizona State
Monday, November 25th – Minnesota vs. Syracuse on ESPN2
|Marquette loses Vander Blue while Arizona State gets a year of maturity with speedster point guard Jahii Carson. I think Marquette will cover this spread, but this would be a huge resume boost for the Sun Devils if they can beat an Elite 8 team from last year.
I’m curious to see what Syracuse’s backcourt will look like this year after losing both Carter Williams and Triche. Enter Andre Hollins. The Minnesota Gophers shed a lot of baggage from last year’s team. It will be interesting to see if both Hollins players declare this as their team with a statement win against the Orange. My prediction is that they won’t, not this early at least. Take Cuse against the spread.