Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
5:00 PM EST. Georgia Southern is 14-7 overall and 5-3 in conference while UT Arlington’s record is worse at 13-9 overall with a 4-5 record in the Sun Belt. All of that points to an appealing looking host that is only a two-point favorite (at the time of this writing). The Eagles of Georgia Southern are a decent team and a competitive one but the lights are on, as ESPN and its crew is setting up for this one and that is often a detriment to the home team that is not used to being in the spotlight. These are just kids and although Southern has some nice wins (they opened its year with a two-point win over Wake), they have not played a ranked team and they also have some disturbing wins as well. For instance, in its own barn, Southern beat last place Little Rock by just three and they have a three-point win on a neutral floor over UMKC (6-16 overall and 1-4 in the WAC) among others.
The Mavericks of UT Arlington are just so tough but their record does not reveal that. A close look, however, reveals a one-point loss at then #25 Alabama and a nine-point loss at then #9 Creighton. UT Arlington already had a 14-point win at BYU in its back pocket when the Mavericks lost that aforementioned heartbreaker to Alabama (77-76) in Tuscaloosa. Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson said he wouldn’t care if he never again sees Kevin Hervey (who hit four of five 3’s against Bama) or Erick Neal (4-of-6 beyond the arc). Scott Cross has a rotation that can and has on several occasions lit it up from the outside. It’s not like the Mavericks are just a hot-shooting flash in the pan either. The one starter who has yet to attempt a triple in his career, 7-foot senior Johnny Hamilton, only happens to be drawing six fouls per 40 minutes, shooting 77 percent at the line and converting 72 percent of his 2s. The Mavericks have the size and the shooting chops to make life difficult for anyone and that includes a major-conference favorite in the round of 64 if they get in. Much more battle tested and talented, we’ll gladly take our chances with the dog straight up against this beatable host.
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#593 UT Arlington +117 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.34)