I went 10-7 with my last picks, moving me to 66-65-1 on the season. Tonight we've got a grip of Top 25 teams in conference action, and a mid-major contest that I'm all too excited about. It's a good time to be a college basketball fan, so let's not waste words and get right to it! All time Eastern.
8:00pm ESPN3: No. 4 Baylor (+3) @ No. 18 Kansas State
Missouri is a very strong team, but they have their weaknesses (height and an awful SOS). Rodney MacGruder and Kansas State exploited them to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season on Saturday, but that doesn't happen tonight - Baylor beat West Virginia in OT, while K-State fell to West Virginia in 2OT and needed OT to beat Northern Florida last month (no, they didn't vanquish that flaw with the Missouri win). Perry Jones III and the Bears are deeper and better all around, and the Wildcats can't play giant killer every time.
7:00pm: Iowa @ No. 7 Michigan State (-14.5)
Have you ever done one of these cleanse diets? (If yes, thanks for reading! I love that shade of rouge on you.) My wife just started one, and basically you starve yourself and are allowed a few pinches of smoothie and a bowl of spinach per day. It's called the Berry Cleanse, but it doesn't matter if you're doing that or the Butter Cleanse or the High Fructose Corn Syrup Cleanse. They should just call cleanses what they are: temporary anorexia. The worst part was she put out a bowl of chocolate-covered cherries for some guests, so naturally I grab like seventeen of them at once and she couldn't believe that I would eat them in front of her while she's on the cleanse. This whole cleanse fad is a major inconvenience, for men.
7:00pm ESPN2: No. 15 Louisville (-7.5) @ Providence
After Saturday's 2OT loss to Notre Dame, all the word out of Louisville is that the Cardinals need to play tougher, and they're going to come out and play tough and that they're a tough team now. Grrrr. And such. I'm not about all that fake chatter. However, if that's how we're judging this game, then Providence honoring former coach Pitino at halftime for the Final Four run he led them on in 1987 - !!! - is the definition of soft. You can't celebrate a 24-year old achievement when you're 0-4 in conference and still expect us to take you seriously. The Friars are shook ones.
Plenty more picks after the jump...
9:00pm ESPN3: Northern Iowa (+6.5) @ No. 21 Creighton
My game of the night. Such contrasting styles and team dynamics, wrapped up in a nice little bundle of two of the country's best mid-majors trying to make themselves into the next Butler. The funny thing is, either one could both pull off a big March run if they heat up. We know about Doug McDermott after his 44-point outburst, and, I mean, dat offense. But Northern Iowa has played a tougher schedule, has a solid defense and can fill the hoop, too. I've been riding the Panther party all season and I'm staying on board.
9:00pm ESPN3: Miami @ No. 3 North Carolina (-15.5)
There's nothing less reliable than the "Get Receipt" button on the gas pump. That thing is always 50/50, at best. Although when I asked this question on Twitter, a friend sent the answer "Kwame Brown's hands," and I have to admit that is a top contender for the Least Reliable Championship.
9:00pm ESPN: No. 5 Ohio State @ Illinois (+9.5)
The Buckeyes are so, so good right now. But the Illini play up to their competition, and I think they keep this one close at home.
7:00pm ESPN3: DePaul @ Seton Hall (-12)
I love that the Pirates are playing their best ball of the season while most others are hitting a wall. Herb Pope is balling, yes, but 6'6" soph guard Fuquan Edwin is emerging with 18.3 ppg over the last three. Congrats on signing Aquille Carr, too.
7:00pm ESPNU: Florida State @ Virginia Tech (-4.5)
The Hokies haven't been blown out of a game all season, while the Seminoles have dropped three of their last four by an average of 13.3 points. Now, they do have a great defense, but Tech junior guard Erick Green is putting up conference POY-worthy numbers and has a better supporting cast than Florida State will put out there.