Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:25 AM EST.
A-10 Conference - FINALS - Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
1:00 PM EST. Rhode Island is going to the dance regardless of whether or not they win here. There are a lot of bubble teams watching today and praying that the Rams beat Davidson because if Davidson wins, they would earn an automatic bid and thus take up a valuable spot in the field. If Rhode Island wins, it opens a window for a bubble team to get in, as Davidson would no longer qualify so once again for the Wildcats, it’s win or go home but that’s not the basis for this choice. We’re not supporters of the overused and useless “must win” angle. We’re supporters of value and situations and although Rhode Island has made it to this A-10 Conference Final, yesterday’s rally from a large deficit had to take a lot out of this favorite.
Both teams are obviously playing back-to-back-to-back here but Rhode Island had to rally from 11 down in the second half against St. Joe’s yesterday and also had to put up 90 points to win by three. After dropping three of their last five regular-season games, the Rams manufactured tight victories over VCU and Saint Joseph's to reach their second consecutive Atlantic 10 title game. If St, Joe’s and VCU gave the Rams fits, a superior Wildcats’ squad figures to finish the deal. URI is tough, they’re good and they can shoot lights out but they do not have their backs to the wall and the “spoiler role” does not come into play either, as that role is left for teams’ that are going home. The Rams real journey starts on Thursday.
The Wildcats are an outstanding shooting team. Whether they’re taking 2’s, 3’s or charity shots, the ball is going to drop because that’s what they do. When looking for an upset or a bracket busting team, that team must have the qualities of a bracket-busting team and the Wildcats have it in spades in that they feature pure shooters that are impossible to stop when they heat up. Pure shooters embrace playing on consecutive days. Davidson had a very good shooting day in the opener of this tourney against the Billikens and barely broke a sweat in a 78-60 victory. They were even better yesterday in sinking 16 treys in a 12-point win over St. Bonaventure, who is another tourney team. The Wildcats had the Bonnies on their tails the entire game but would not give up the lead and eventually pulled away at the end. The Wildcats now have a great chance to punch their ticket to the dance and the small take-back here suggests the oddsmakers love them to do just that. Davidson is the last potential bid thief standing and we’re going to pencil them in.1:00 PM EST. There are not a lot of games on the NCAAB board today so we’re looking for the biggest overreactions from Saturday’s card to fade today. In that regard, the Kentucky Wildcats need no introductions and will attract a boatload of attention today. Don’t get us wrong, as the Wildcats are a dangerous team that could do some serious damage at the main event but they could also get knocked out in the first round because that’s the type of team they are. What stands out most, however, is that Kentucky was small 4-point choice yesterday over Alabama and destroyed the Crimson Tide in an easy gate to wire blowout. That was a highly viewed, early game yesterday that absolutely influences today’s price. The Wildcats may indeed be dangerous but the’re also a young and erratic team that had both impressive winning streaks and ugly losing streaks while the Vols are none of the above.
Kentucky put up 86 points yesterday in its 86-63 win over ‘Bama. They have now scored 86 or more in three of it last five games but will now play one of the best defenses in the country here. Tennessee ranks 3rd in defensive efficiency and when a team plays great defense, it always gives them a chance to win regardless of what the offense does. You see, if Kentucky doesn’t hit a high percentage of their shots, they instantly become vulnerable while the Vols are dangerous regardless of whether they hit a high percentage of shots or not. Perhaps most importantly is that very quietly, the Vols offense is starting to peak at precisely the right moment. The Vols offense was sharp yesterday and sharp in the final few games too. This is a team that can win 62-55 or 85-80 if need be. As the main event nears, keep this dangerous seed (the Vols) in mind when filling in your brackets and strongly consider betting them today, as they are being sold short here against a team they can and should beat. The blue-blood Wildcats are being overbet today by a public that watched them destroy the Tide yesterday and we’re the beneficiaries of that market overreaction.
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Davidson +115 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.30)