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College Basketball Vegas Odds and Picks: December 31st


Happy New Year's Eve! We're bringing 2011 to a close with a massive slate of fascinating games. I went 3-2 in my picks yesterday, moving me to 46-44 on the season. Let's review.

What I Got Right:

No. 21 Murray State (-9) @ Eastern Illinois, 73-40
W 7:00pm: Ole Miss @ Dayton (-4.5), 50-62
W 8:00pm: Oakland @ South Dakota State (-6.5), 64-76

What I Got Wrong:

West Virginia (+1) @ Seton Hall, 48-67
Who saw this coming? West Virginia didn't score over the final 6:32 in a neutered performance just as they were finding a groove. Seton Hall won the battle of rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and turnovers, not to mention every shooting category.
No. 8 Missouri (-8) @ Old Dominion, 75-68
Missed the spread by one measly point. Missouri's lack of road games is looking like a legitimate concern after rallying late to solidify the win.

For today's games, I've previewed and predicted four of the top billings for you below. In the middle of writing this piece, my five-year old iMac scared the bejeesus out of me by crashing and refusing to reboot. Great, I thought, so this is the end and I won't even get to post my SFBE previews. You, reader, are always my first concern.

Miraculously, my tech powers prevailed and I unplugged my 20-inch pride and joy, and then plugged it back in again and here we are. So you get four previews and predictions and then a list of the rest of the biggest games of the day below (with Vegas favorites included in parentheses). Have a very safe celebration tonight, party hard with someone you love or someone you would like to love, and SFBE will see you in 2012.

Let's get to it!

12:00pm CBS: No. 4 Louisville (+9.5) @ No. 3 Kentucky

Doesn't that spread look like a slap in the face to a Top 5 team? If you think Louisville is going to fall by ten points after a hard-fought loss to Georgetown, you've got another thing coming. Neither team wants a second loss, so a double-digit deficit is highly unlikely in my mind.

6:00pm ESPN2: No. 2 Ohio State (-5) @ No. 15 Indiana

Indiana has proven they've got the skill to be for real, but their luck ran out against the tough defense of Michigan State and the relentless Buckeye attack overwhelms them today, too.

12:00pm ESPN3: St. John's (+14) @ No. 9 UCONN

With interim UCONN head coach George Blaney making mistakes that nearly cost the Huskies a victory and Red Storm freshman Moe Harkless pouring in a record-setting Big East debut earlier in the week, look for St. John's to give UCONN a good run.

2:00pm ESPNU: Yale (+21) @ No. 10 Florida

Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses - Yale by one-point to Wake Forest and Florida by two points to Rutgers - and I envision an inspired performance from the Ivy Leaguers even in the face of red-hot Patrick Young and the Gators.

And here are the others to watch:

1:00pm: Iowa @ No. 11 Wisconsin (-18)
2:00pm ESPN2: Providence @ No. 12 Georgetown (-14)
3:00pm: Utah State @ No. 14 Mississippi State (-10)
3:00pm: No. 17 Michigan State (-7) @ Nebraska
6:00pm ESPNU: No. 19 Creighton @ Wichita State (-6.5)
8:00pm: No. 20 UNLV (-11.5) @ Hawaii
4:00pm: Saint Joseph's @ No. 23 Harvard (-6)
2:00pm LHN: Rice @ Texas (-14)
2:00pm ESPN3: Milwaukee @ Butler (-3)
3:05pm: Drake @ Missouri State (-9.5)
3:30pm ESPN3: South Alabama @ Mid Tennessee (-12)
4:00pm: UCLA @ California (-7)
4:00pm ESPN2: Illinois @ Purdue (-7)
5:30pm: Arizona State @ Arizona (-12.5)
6:00pm: Saint Louis @ New Mexico (-6.5)
6:00pm: Oregon State @ Washington State (-2)
6:00pm: Saint Mary's (-12.5) @ Pepperdine
8:00pm: Gonzaga @ Xavier (-2.5)
10:00pm ESPN2: Oregon @ Washington (-8)

Peace out, 2011!

Ryan ZumMallen writes about basketball and Straight West Coastin' in Long Beach, CA. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanzummallen.