Who is ready to commence their frivolous gambling habits? I'll be here all season doing my best to handicap the night's biggest games, and also shed light on a potential egregious line laid by Vegas.
Ohio State (-4.5) over Florida State- Outside of Duke and Connecticut, one would be hard pressed to name a team with a more impressive start than the Ohio State Buckeyes. After a 19-point drubbing in Columbus last week, Morehead St. coach Donnie Tyndall rendered the Buckeyes, "better than Kentucky was at this time last year." Hm...high praise! Jared Sullinger has been a dominant force in the paint, and he's complemented by budding star David Lighty and sharp shooter Jon Diebler. Florida State's best weapon, 6'9'' forward Chris Singleton is averaging close to a double-double on the season, but was ineffective in the Seminoles loss to Florida on Sunday night. Look for Ohio State to hound Singleton for 40 minutes and score a decisive victory on the road.
North Carolina (+6) over Illinois- Maybe a surprising pick to many due to North Carolina's rocky start, but while all the talking heads are handing out "best conference in the nation" trophies to the Big Ten, a middle of the pack ACC team in Virginia throttled #13 Minnesota in Gopherland last night. Somewhere Dennis Green is asking, "Is the Big Ten what we THOUGHT they were?" We'll get a better idea tonight when two of the biggest frontlines in college hoops square off. The Illini's big advantage is clearly at guard with senior Demetri McCamey (3.9 A/TO) whose turnover problems seem to be in the past. Roy Williams has his Tar Heels improving each game and he WILL have them prepared for this tough road test. Expect UNC to push Illinois to the brink, with McCamey taking the big shots at the end.
Northwestern (-6) over Georgia Tech- Northwestern put together a ten-game non conference schedule with nine guaranteed wins, meaning that tonight's battle with visiting Georgia Tech is uber-important for their NCAA tournament chances. This is Bill Carmody's best Wildcat team in years. They have great size, multiple scorers in Shurna and Crawford, and are nearly impossible to take down at home (17-4 last year). The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been horrendous from the field shooting just 39 percent, but they went wire to wire with Syracuse last week in Atlantic City. If they have an advantage on the Wildcats, it's athleticism. That won't be enough, as Northwestern will defend home court.