I took a big L on Turkey Day, following up my hot streak by going just 1-3 with my picks (13-7 on the year). But with the end of the long weekend I'm feeling refreshed, ambitious and healed from my wounds after my hand got a little too close to the electric carver. Hey, what are the holidays without a little blood?
Speaking of blood, there will be some tonight as two Top 25 teams take aim at each other while another defends its turf against a rising mid-major. Place your bets!
7:00pm ESPNU: Long Beach State @ No. 9 Louisville (-9.5)
For better or worse, you won't find a bigger Long Beach State fan than me. But while the 49ers get up to play the big games like their win at Pitt, they've been roughed up in two losses to San Diego State and Montana. Yes, they lost both by a combined 6 points, but Long Beach is expected to win games like those. Star guard Casper Ware missed two free throws in the final seconds of the one-point loss at Montana, which is not what you want to see from your best player. The Cardinals are severely banged up and will be without at least three key players, but in the meantime they've had no trouble with opponents, winning five games by an average of 20.6 points. The long and short is that the Cardinals are giving you a reason to bet with them, while the 49ers aren't.
7:00pm ESPN2: No. 12 Xavier (+4) @ No. 22 Vanderbilt
The Musketeers haven't beaten a ranked team on the road since 2003, but expect Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons to put an end to that streak tonight. Vanderbilt has sleep-walked through the season so far and made headlines by losing at home to Cleveland State. Xavier has held every opponent under 63 points so far and they'll be able to slow Vanderbilt enough for a victory.
7:00pm ESPN3: Akron (+10) @ West Virginia
Even at home, ten points is a big cushion for a team without any quality wins. Meanwhile, Akron has proven they can play on the road by beating Mississippi State. West Virginia best win is over Oral Roberts at home, but they showed vulnerability with a home loss to Kent State. They'll need a big game from forward Nikola Cvetinovic, but watch for Akron to bother the Mountaineers.
8:30pm: Georgia @ Colorado (-4)
It's been a dreadful year thus far - and will continue to be - for both programs. But while the Bulldogs are shooting a wince-inducing 37.9% from the field, the Buffaloes are coming off an overtime victory at the Air Force, so they've at least proven some mettle.
9:00pm ESPNU: Tennessee (-3.5) @ Oakland
The Vols are scoring better than 85 points per game and Oakland looked poor in two road losses to SEC teams already. Playing at home won't give the Golden Grizzlies the boost they need for a miracle.
Ryan ZumMallen writes about basketball and underwater basket-weaving in Long Beach, CA. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanzummallen.