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College Basketball Picks With Analysis

2/8/11

 

As we head down the stretch in college hoops the lines tend to get tighter. Today for example, when taking a look at our college basketball score predictions, you'll notice many of the scores fall right on, or very close to the number. Makes sense as both bettors and oddsmakers now have a better handle on all of the teams and they no longer have the almighty football to worry about.

One game that is a bit off from our numbers tonight it Xavier at Georgia. The game opened Georgia -4.5 which is where it still is Tuesday morning as we write this. This game may as well be billed as a bracket buster as both of these teams clearly on the bubble with not much  room for error the rest of the way. Both sit at 16-6 but Xavier has the much better shot at winning their conference than Georgia does.

Our score prediction model has Georgia in a narrow 1 point win tonight, 70-69 and we agree with that prediction. We think it's a good spot for Xavier. Georgia had trouble disposing of the worst team in the SEC Saturday, Auburn, as it took overtime to do it. They'll need to play drastically better tonight to compete with Xavier and their version of the twin towers, 7-0 Kenny Frease and 6-8 Jamel McLean.

Grab the points early as we can't imaginer +4.5 being around all day. We like this Xavier team and think they notch a huge non conference win tonight to bolster their tournament hopes. We can't pass up the points here. Xavier +4.5

In other action tonight, the Ivy League race heats up as Penn and Princeton, a great Ivy rivalry, play the first of their two games tonight. Princeton is a fantastic 16-4 on the year and likely on their way to the Big Dance while Penn is just 9-9 overall. But season to date records mean nothing. It's the Ivy League title on the line and in that race, Princeton weighs in at 4-0 in league play while Penn is right on their heels at 3-1. That makes tonight's game huge. Penn can't afford to fall two games behind Princeton. Our numbers say Princeton by 8 which is right on the number, but we'd lean towards Penn here. We expect a huge effort for the Quakers and expect this one to come down to the wire.

This is also the type of game you might want to look at over the total. In a big game like this, where losing isn't an option, the fouls by the losing team start early, often pushing these games over the total, particularly the 2nd half total. Keep an eye on it. Lean towards Penn +7.5

The other game of interest tonight pitts Tennessee against #18 Kentucky. Kentucky is the only other ranked team in the SEC, behind #17 and East division leader Florida. Yet Kentucky sits in the middle of the SEC East pack at 4-4 and tied with South Carolina and Vandy. They sit behind Georgia, Tennessee and as mentioned, Florida. Ouch.

For our money, Kentucky is clearly the cream of the crop in the SEC. Which increases the magnitude of this game tonight. A loss is just not part of the equation for Kentucky tonight. The Vols are in the midst of NCAA troubles and get their coach back after an 8 game suspension. The current line is Kentucky by 9. Our numbers day Kentucky by 11, which is not enough of a cushion for us to step out and make a play laying the big number here, but we'd call it a strong opinion nonetheless on Kentucky -9 tonight as we think this has "statement" game written all over it. If Tennessee money pushes this line even lower, we'd start to get very interested in he Kentucky side tonight.

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