11-4 on the season against the spread. No, I’m not a greasy cigar-smoking wise guy giving “free advice” in a Sin City lobby. I’m a guy who watches college basketball games from start to finish and maybe checks out the stats afterwards. I predict outcomes every Saturday. It’d be easy to say that Kentucky would beat UCLA, so I use the odds to challenge my knowledge.
I started exposing what I thought of as “suspect spreads” three Saturdays ago. I advised gamblers to take Green Bay, a nine point underdog, and they won the game outright against Miami. I posted a 4-1 record on that first week of predictions.
I was WAY off with my Florida State vs. Notre Dame guess. Note to self: I have to check out the Irish in earnest the next time they play a top 100 opponent. Florida State got walloped, but I still went 3-2 on this second week.
In my third and most recent week, I rocked out a 4-1 record. I was trying to carry momentum on a struggling Missouri program. However, they played Illinois tough. Still, folks around Kansas City and Missouri talk about first year coach Kim Anderson needing at least three years to get this program above water. Indiana and Butler was a tough call. In the end, I didn’t feel Butler had the athletes to defend the rim. I wasn’t surprised to see Troy Williams score a season-high 22 points. Kentucky beating UCLA by 15 was a gimme in my mind. Syracuse got a recent scare at home against LA Tech, so I felt they’d play Villanova tough. Syracuse should have won this game. The Orange played seven players, if you don’t count Chinoso Obokoh’s one minute played, which I don’t for this exercise. I find it concerning that Syracuse’s best athletes continually play games while balancing foul trouble. Chris McCullough finished the overtime game with five fouls. Rahkeem Christmas fouled out with moments left in regulation. Still, I envision Syracuse as a bubble team that gets into the tournament and of course scares any 6 or 7 seed due to that notorious zone and underclassmen with huge upside. For example, Kaleb Joseph hit some clutch shots in this contest. His confidence level is a narrative to watch closely, given the fact that he was recruited initially to backup Tyler Ennis.