Finished up the college football season above .500 with a respectable 59-48-1 record.
Really tough to bet college basketball early in the season – so much is unknown and teams don’t really find their identities until after Christmas and when conference season kicks into high gear.
On big weekends like this, I will post picks in an article, but stay tuned to The Otter Room’s twitter page (@otterroom) for one-off picks during the week.
#19 Florida (-14) vs. Vanderbilt
After losing to South Carolina Wednesday, Florida will be in bounce-back mode at home and that is when the Gators are at their best. UF is one of the most underrated teams in the country and Vanderbilt has not adjusted well to the post-Kevin Stallings era.
Boston College (+17.5) vs. #9 North Carolina
It always seems that UNC gets bored at times during the regular season. The Tar Heels get up for the big games, but coast against teams they should be handily. BC nearly upset UNC in Chestnut Hill a season ago, and will give the Tar Heels fits before UNC pulls away with the W inside the number.
#2 Kansas (-17) vs. Texas
After a tournament appearance and loads of optimism during Shaka Smart’s first season, the Longhorns have fallen off dramatically this year. Texas is by far the worst team in the Big XII and don’t stand a chance of staying within 20 of KU at Allen Fieldhouse.
Oklahoma (-1) vs. Iowa State
The Sooners have struggled through most of the season because they were without Jordan Woodard. With Woodard, OU is an immensely better – their win over #7 West Virginia earlier this week as exhibit A. The Sooners are still under .500 and I think Iowa State is a better squad, but that line is telling me to take OU.
#10 Florida State (-3.5) vs. #12 Louisville
In a matchup of a pair of teams that mirror each other, the Seminoles-Cardinals game is the premier contest of Saturday’s slate. Louisville is the sixth consecutive ranked team FSU will face and the ‘Noles have a 4-1 mark through that brutal stretch. Unlike Louisville, FSU can score and the absence of Quentin Snider for the Cardinals will be the difference.
Delaware vs. Towson (-5.5)
Former Notre Dame assistant Martin Ingelsby has done a good job in his first season in Newark. Both teams have to combat fatigue as both squads earned victories Thursday night. The Tigers have a short trip to Newark and their experience will win out.
DePaul vs. #13 Butler (11.5)
Not too many teams have a better resume than Butler at this point of the season. Their conference slate may hurt their strength of schedule in the long run, but they can compete with anyone in the country. While somewhat improved, DePaul is still DePaul and doesn’t stand a chance of keeping it close with the Bulldogs.
#3 UCLA (-6.5) vs. #14 Arizona
UCLA has the best offense in the country and the Bruins have passed nearly every test they have faced. Arizona is UCLA’s lone competition in the PAC 12, but the Wildcats cannot match the Bruins firepower. Fun fact, Lonzo Ball has made just one shot this season that was not a lay-up or three-point shot.
Tulane vs. #25 Cincinnati (-16.5)
The Bearcats will battle down the stretch with SMU to see who’s the best team in the AAC. Tulane is on the other side of the spectrum. The Green Wave have struggled under a new coach and have only tallied four wins on the year.
Minnesota (+3) vs. #17 Wisconsin
The Gophers are the third best team in the Big Ten and their homecourt, The Barn, is one of the toughest places to play in the country. Expect the energy from the home crowd to lift Minnesota past Wisconsin for the upset.
TCU (+3) vs. #6 Baylor
In his first season at his alma mater, Jamie Dixon has the Horned Frogs en route to one of the best seasons in program history. TCU is 14-4 and Dixon is salivating at the opportunity to knock off a top-ten program in his newly renovated arena to put the program on the map.
#18 Duke (-9) vs. Miami
Duke has gone through an absurd amount of scrutiny thus far this season, but the Blue Devils are still as talented as any team in the country. Miami has been able to knock off Duke at Cameron in the past, but not Saturday. The Hurricanes are in rebuilding mode a bit and just gave up 96 points in a 17-point defeat to Wake Forest earlier this week. If Wake is almost able to crack 100 vs. Miami, Duke may hit 120 if the Hurricanes put forth another weak defensive performance.