February 20, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By: Zachary Warren
This weekend doesn’t quite have the same feel as previous weekends. There are some good games but no headliners to cement the weekend as a must watch. Conference races are starting to take shape as well as the NCAA tournament field. Another impressive week last week brings the season record up to 86-34 (71.7%). Time for the picks.
Cleveland St. @ Green Bay; 7:00 on ESPN2
Too much defense by Green Bay in this one. Playing at home is also a big advantage but the large difference in defensive efficiency is the biggest factor in this one.
Green Bay 64, Cleveland St. 58
Pittsburgh @ Syracuse; 12:00 on Full Court
Syracuse comes off an upset over Louisville on Wednesday. These two teams almost always play a good game and since this is Syracuse’s NCAA tournament I see them playing with a lot of emotion to pull this one out at home.
Syracuse 69, Pittsburgh 64
Seton Hall @ St. John’s; 12:00 on Fox Sports 1
St. John’s pulled off a stunner last weekend against Xavier to hand them their first loss of the year at home. They will be at home this week and are playing a much lesser team in Seton Hall. Offense and defense both favor St. John’s so I’ll lean that way as well.
St. John’s 73, Seton Hall 66
Minnesota @ Wisconsin; 12:00 on ESPN
Wisconsin is very good this year, especially at home. They don’t turn the ball over (1st in fewest turnovers), have the best offense in the country and have the best player on the court in Frank Kaminsky. That is a lot for the Gophers to try to overcome so I like the Badgers in this one.
Wisconsin 76, Minnesota 61
UMass @ VCU; 12:00 on ESPN2
VCU played well in beating George Washington on the road last weekend. Their defense can cause a lot of havoc and I expect that to continue this week. Not enough offense or defense for UMass to spring the upset.
VCU 75, UMass 64
Kansas St. @ Baylor; 1:00 on ESPNU
The whole Big 12 is a crazy mess. One week teams seem to emerge and then the next week those teams fall on their face. I like Baylor to win this one rather easily as they have the better offense by a mile and slightly better defense.
Baylor 67, Kansas St. 56
Florida @ LSU; 1:00 on CBS
Florida has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the country this year. They have a losing record in the terrible SEC yet somehow might be able to play themselves back into the tournament. I don’t see that happening this week at LSU as the Tigers have the better offense by a wide margin and are playing at home.
LSU 67, Florida 63
Iowa St @ Texas; 2:00 on ESPN2
This was a tough one to predict for me. Texas hasn’t been as good as they were at the beginning of the year and Iowa St. is so up-and-down (most teams that rely on shooting are) as well. Playing at home and having the better defense is enough for me to back the Longhorns.
Texas 75, Iowa St. 71
Miami (FL) @ Louisville; 2:00 on ESPN
I have officially stopped driving the Louisville bandwagon. They just don’t have enough depth to go deep in the tournament this year. Wayne Blackshear is one of the most disappointing players in the country as he seems to disappear in the big games. I like Louisville to win but not very confident in this team anymore.
Louisville 67, Miami (FL) 59
West Virginia @ Oklahoma St.; 2:00 on ESPNews
Another good Big 12 game early on Saturday. These teams match up very well but the Cowboys are slightly better on offense, defense and are playing at home. Close game but slight lean towards OSU.
Oklahoma St. 69, West Virginia 65
Toledo @ Western Michigan; 2:00
Toledo is the better team but playing on the road late in conference season is tough. All signs point towards Toledo so I’ll take them in a very close one that could swing either way.
Toledo 74, Western Michigan 73
Butler @ Xavier; 2:00
This is turning into a very nice rivalry now that both teams are in the Big East. Xavier plays better at home and I like their combo of offense/defense slightly more. Xavier in a very close one.
Xavier 69, Butler 67
TCU @ Kansas; 4:00 on ESPN2
Kansas is too good for this one to be close, right? You never know with the Big 12 but there is just too much talent for the Jayhawks at home. I’ll still let you on the bus to join the Kansas bandwagon but you better hurry before it gets too full.
Kansas 70, TCU 59
Clemson @ Duke; 4:00 on ESPN
What an amazing comeback for Duke on Wednesday against rival North Carolina. That should not hide their real issue of defense. This won’t be a huge factor in this game but pay attention to it later in the season.
Duke 72, Clemson 58
George Washington @ Richmond; 4:00 on CBS Sports Network
Better offense, defense and home team. That seems to add up to a pretty easy victory but I like GW’s chances of keeping this relatively close for a while.
Richmond 63, George Washington 57
UNLV @ New Mexico; 6:00 on CBS Sports Network
I flipped on this before making my final decision. Road games are hard to win but UNLV should be able to put up enough points to pull out a close victory on the road.
UNLV 63, New Mexico 60
Cal @ Stanford; 6:30 on PAC 12 Network
Considerably better offense for the Cardinal at home should be enough in this rivalry better known for its football games. If Stanford could improve its offense they could be a sleeper team for a deeper run in the NCAA tournament.
Stanford 72, Cal 61
Louisiana Tech @ Old Dominion; 7:00
Better offense and defense is enough to overcome playing on the road in a tough environment. The numbers say ODU should win this but I’ll buck them in this one as I like La Tech to pull this one out.
Louisiana Tech 64, Old Dominion 62
Auburn @ Kentucky; 7:00 on ESPN
I have two words, and only two words for this game: HOW MUCH?
Kentucky 80, Auburn 55
Tennessee @ Ole Miss; 7:30 on ESPNU
Tennessee gave it their all this week against Kentucky and came up, predictably, short against the bets team in the country. Traveling to Ole Miss is no easy task at the Rebels are trying to maintain their stay in the NCAA tournament field.
Ole Miss 72, Tennessee 62
Georgia @ Alabama; 8:00 on ESPN2
Complete toss up. Georgia is slightly better but playing on the road, once again, is tough in conference play. Both teams need this victory for their tournament resume but I’ll take the home Crimson Tide in this one.
Alabama 64, Georgia 61
UCLA @ Arizona; 9:00 on ESPN
Arizona is starting to put it together just in time for the tournament. UCLA just doesn’t match up well in this one. Too much athleticism, offense, defense and home court environment in this one for the Wildcats.
Arizona 78, UCLA 64
Gonzaga @ St. Mary’s; 10:00 on ESPN2
I hope this game turns into a great one so we can see how Gonzaga responds by being pushed away from home. The crowd will be ridiculous for this one but the Zags are just too good on offense to go along with a huge advantage on defense.
Gonzaga 71, St. Mary’s 64
Ohio St. @ Michigan; 1:00 on CBS
D’Angelo Russell let me down against Michigan St. last weekend in a crushing loss in the closing minutes. This one won’t be quite as difficult for the Buckeyes as they hold an advantage in almost every meaningful category.
Ohio St. 66, Michigan 61
Utah @ Oregon; 3:00 on Fox Sports 1
Utah plays an ugly brand of basketball but it is quite effective. Delon Wright is one of the best players in the country that not a lot of people know about. Way better offense/defense combo leads to a somewhat easy road victory for the Utes.
Utah 70, Oregon 63
Iowa @ Nebraska; 3:00
Dreadful is the only way to describe Nebraska’s offense. I cannot get behind a team that bad even if they are playing at home. Nebraska is really good on defense but impossible to trust an offense that bad so I’ll take the Hawkeyes in this one.
Iowa 60, Nebraska 58
Evansville @ Wichita St.; 4:00 on ESPNU
Look out for Wichita St. again this year. While they got all the attention the last few years this team might be better than the team that went to the Final Four two years ago. You don’t get to hear about them much because of their conference but let this be a reminder to watch out for them in the tournament.
Wichita St. 73, Evansville 58
Tulane @ UConn; 4:00 on CBS Sports Network
I don’t like UConn’s chances of having a chance to repeat as champions this year. This game should not be an issue but it is a must win if they want a chance to make the tournament. Home team with better offense and defense makes this an easy choice.
UConn 65, Tulane 55
Florida St. @ Virginia; 6:30 on ESPNU
Virginia has looked off at time since Justin Anderson went down with a hand injury. It should not make much difference in this one as they should beat the Seminoles by a wide margin. Look for the Cavs offense to get back on track to get themselves back into the best team in the country discussion.
Virginia 66, Florida St. 49
Michigan St. @ Illinois; 7:30 on Big Ten Network
One of the better games of the weekend concludes the picks for the week. Illinois needs this one badly for their tournament hopes but the Spartans are playing better of late and peaking at the right time. It won’t be easy but I like MSU just enough to leave with a road victory.
Michigan St. 65, Illinois 64
- Last week: 23-7 (76.7%)
- Year-to-date: 86-34 (71.7%)