Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Road to the Final Four (Week 3)

Back this week with some college basketball games. I've had some pretty good success in college basketball so far (5-0) so I'll make every attempt to ruin that good streak by picking some more games today. Plus the Monday Night Football game doesn't interest me at all - so it'll give me something else to look forward to today. Check for some basketball picks after the jump...

Monday, November 21st
Drexel (-8) vs. Winthrop - 1pm, (U.S. Virigin Islands Paradise Jame 7th place game) - W
I haven't wagered/bet on the Dragons since last Tuesday's opener against Rider. They've lost both games - there's got to be a correlation there. The Dragons have looked pretty terrible on the offensive end so far in the Virigin Islands. They've averaged 45 points/game in their two games after scoring 80 points in the opener. I know that Drexel focuses most of its attention on the defensive end, but they need to get out to a fast start. With Chris Fouch, last year's leading scoring still out, Damion Lee who has shown flashes will need to carry the load. I expect the Dragons to keep this to another low scoring battle - but I think they'll muster up the energy to take home the 7th place award. I'll take the Dragons in this one.

No. 17 Michigan vs. No. 10 Memphis (-6.5) - 3pm, ESPN2 - W
Aloha! In the tipoff to the Maui Invitational we get two top 25 ranked teams. Michigan has gotten off to a 3-0 start for the third straight year. They've lost their 4th game the past three seasons. Memphis comes into this game at 1-0 with an impressive performance against a tough Belmont team. We haven't really seen much of Memphis, but if their 97 points in the opener are indicative of what this team can do - we should be in for a treat. I think Michigan will play Memphis tough - I'll be hoping that the Wolverines can get their 4th win to start the season for the first time since 2006. Take the Wolverines plus the points. 

Tennessee vs. No. 6 Duke (-12) - 5:30 ET, ESPN2 - L
The Volunteers and Blue Devils have gotten off to good starts on the offensive end. Tennessee averages 88.5 ppg in their first two games while the Blue Devils have poured in 82.2 ppg in their first four contests. Expect a lot of points. When it comes down to who wins this game - we simply don't know enough about this Tennessee team as they've scored victories over doormats N.C Greensboro and LA Monroe. No disrespect. This will be their first true test of the season. Unfortunately they face Duke and Coach K who have won this tourney four times (1991, 1997, 2001, 2007) and have posted a 13-0 record. Going by the tradition of winning in years ending with a 1 or a 7 - it looks to be the Blue Devils year again in 2011. I'll take Duke to win big over the Volunteers. 

Georgetown vs. No. 12 Kansas (-5.5), Midnight ET - ESPN2 - L
I haven't seen this Hoyas team suit up since their infamous brawl in China. They've gotten off to a 2-0 start this season but they haven't exactly faced stiff competition. Kansas meanwhile dropped a game to the Kentucky Wildcats last week at MSG. I don't really have a good grasp on the Georgetown team - but a buddy of mine blogs for a Hoyas site and they do about as good a job as anyone team-based blog out there:
I know this will be a big game for Georgetown early on - I just don't think they'll be able to hang with the Jayhawks. I'll take Kansas and lay the points in the final game of the night.

Tuesday, November 22nd
Duke (-7) vs. Michigan, 7PM - ESPN2 - P
In the top half of the Maui Invitational Duke and Michigan get together in what should be a good matchup of two disciplined teams that like to control the tempo. Duke will look to get up the floor quickly and push the ball with the three guard lineup. Meanwhile Michigan plays a slower game and relies heavily on Tim Hardaway, Jr. to create for the Wolverines out of the half court set. I like the way Michigan slowed down Memphis (who just won a Klassik 2OT against Tennessee) - but I don't think the Wolverines will be able to keep Duke's perimeter players under control. The Blue Devils are too deep and shoot the ball too well from the arc for this to be close. I like Duke minus the points to continue their hot streak in Hawaii.

Wednesday, November 23rd
Kansas vs. Duke (-4.5), 10PM - ESPN (Maui Invitational Finals) - W
I have backed Duke all the way throughout this tournament and so far I haven't reaped any rewards - they started with a loss against the spread vs. the Volunteers - then pushed against the Wolverines in the Semis. That means they're due for a win against Kansas right? Sure, why not. I'll be back to the Dukies for the third straight night against a Kansas team that made easy work of UCLA to reach the finals. The Blue Devils come in as one of the hottest teams in college basketball winning all 6 of their contests to date. I expect the Blue Devils to stay perfect on the season and perfect in Maui where they are now 14-0 all time en route to their 5th Maui Invitational championship. I'll take Duke and lay the points. 

This Week: 3-2-1
Last Week: 4-0
Season Record: 8-2-1

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