Ohio State blowout by Illinois, more trouble on the way?…..Illinois figured to be ready to play in college basketball against the Buckeyes off their rather stunning loss at Purdue in their previous game. This turned out to be true, but what about Ohio State? The Buckeyes closed as three-point road favorites, but were never in the game in Champaign. Granted, the Illini showed more fight and executed with greater precision, but one has to wonder where Thad Matta’s team will find other scoring resources beyond Deshaun Thomas. For the game Ohio State shot a horrific 33.3 percent, but if you take away Thomas contributions, the rest of the Buckeyes were 11-for-39 (28.2%).
Arizona, at least play like you are undefeated!…..The Wildcats might be ranked third in the country, but backing them in the opening weekend of Pac-12 play in Tucson was a costly. Despite a perfect 14-0 start, Arizona has lost three in a row against the spread, with two chilling home performances. Zona was the ‘mildcats’ as Colorado took it to them 35 minutes, until Arizona made a big comeback. Coach Sean Miller’s team, who was 12.5-point favorite, benefitted from gutless referees by calling a made Colorado 3-pointer at the buzzer no good, when it was clear to Sports-Watch the ball was released before the horn sounded. Arizona went on to win 92-83 in OT over the forlorn Buffalos, who were only 17 for 29 from the charity stripe.
One would figure this unbeaten team would have learned its lesson about competing and were 19-point chalk over Utah, yet won 60-57 over the Utes, shooting a dismal 36.2 percent. Maybe Arizona needs to lose as a wake-up call or to take the pressure off, whatever it is, the ‘Cats did not resemble the No.3 team in the nation this past weekend and might be on Play Against alert.
Turtle Power!!…..Since losing a closely contested game to Kentucky in its opener, Maryland has reeled off 13 consecutive wins and is more popular than the Teenage Mutant Turtles in the Old Line State. Are the Terrapins really a threat in the ACC? Nobody knows since they are 5-1-1 ATS, meaning half their games were not worthy of line makers providing a number. Even against such a feeble schedule, the Terps are trouncing the opposition by 17.6 PPG and are 10th in offensive efficiency in the country. Let’s see how Maryland plays in their next four outings (Florida State, @Miami, N.C. State and @UNC), then we should have a much better idea about Mark Turgeon’s squad.
Michigan the Real Deal…..With the Wolverines pulverizing Iowa 95-67 as 13.5-point home favorites, Michigan, might not only be the best team in the Big Ten, but in the country. We understand calling the No.2 team in the country is not going out on a limb, nonetheless, consider since Dec. 2, the closet game they have played was a 15-point drubbing of West Virginia. Michigan is 10-4 ATS, but has a treacherous schedule ahead. Starting next Sunday, the Maize and Blue play four of their next six contests on the road at Ohio State, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. Yikes!
Upon closer examination…..Bucknell almost shocked Missouri, falling 66-64 in Columbia. The Bison are legit and have a genuine NBA talent in 6-11 Mike Muscala, who had 25 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks and was oh so close to ending the Tigers 70-plus game home-court winning streak against nonconference competition. Though there was no official line on the game, checking with a couple of sharp bettors we know, Missouri would have only been a 10 or 11-point home favorite over Bucknell.