Nothing’s worse than having Portland cover in regulation only to lose in OT…that’s like the feeling you get when you’re ready to sip a cold beer and next thing you know you’re hacking-up chew-spit! Oh well, I’m still waiting for my mid-season hot-streak to rally the troops and tonight there seems to be a gem sitting there for us. While everybody has more love for my NBA than my NCAA…that UNC/ Duke contest seems like easy pick’ens tonight. I’ve got 3 college and 3 pro on the docket, and while it’s still cold as hell in Chi-Town, a nice pile of money will make me feel like I’m back in Tijuana looking for a nice girl to watch Rivalry Week with!
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (-4) @ DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Home court meant nothing last year as both squads beat each other on the road. The biggest difference this year is that Duke is without the “Landlord” Shelden Williams and should struggle mightily down-low with McRoberts (who would rather hang on the perimeter) and the 6-6 McClure banging with Hansbrough and the 7-3 wingspan of Brandon Wright. In addition, Duke’s guards (So. Greg Paulus & Fr. Jon Scheyer) do not have the speed to keep up with the Tar Heels lightning quick 5 guard rotation. UNC shocked me by losing to the Wolfpack on Saturday, but I’m guessing Roy’s got them focused to dominate in Durham against a Duke team that’s surprisingly missing the swagger they always seem to have…UNC by 8-14 points
BOSTON COLLEGE G. EAGLES (-3.5) @ MIAMI HURRICANES
The Golden Eagles seem to have finally recovered from losing shot-blocking center Sean Williams over 3 weeks ago and looked remarkable against #18 Virginia Tech winning by over 20 at home. 6-11 Jr. Tyrelle Blair has surprised everybody replacing Williams and averaging 4.3 blocks over his last 3 contests in only 25 minutes per game, while Jared Dudley continues to be a legit player of the year candidate (20 ppg 9 rpg 58 fg% 50 3pt%). As for the Hurricanes, they’re riding a 6-game losing streak and lost by 19 at BC 3 weeks ago…Golden Eagles by 8-14 points
WRIGHT STATE RAIDERS (-2) @ ILLINOIS-CHICAGO FLAMES
The Raiders are only a game behind Horizon leaders #9 Butler, have won 8 out 9 including their last 3 on the road against 3rd , 4th , & 5th ranked conference opponents by an average of 10 per contest, and will be playing against the second to last place Flames who have lost 6 in-a-row. The Flames have had a hard time since their head coach left the team early in the season for medical reasons and have struggled to find a regular rotation with all the young ballers trying to fit in…Wright St by 6-12 points.
ORLANDO MAGIC @ TORONTO RAPTORS (-5.5)
The Magic are in an absolute free-fall and are struggling to find some veteran leadership with Grant Hill out of the line-up. In addition, they lost a tough battle to the Bucks last night and I’m guessing the Florida boyz are not looking forward to another freezing road-trip to Canada. As for the Raptors, they’re playing some awesome ball and are getting solid contributions from almost everybody on the roster. Chris Bosh is trying to prove the Raptors are for real, so look for them to try to embarrass the under-manned Magic squad tonight…Raptors by 9-15 points.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (-4) @ WASHINGTON WIZARDS
The Spurs have been off since last Thursday and are in the mist of 2 game losing streak. I have feeling they’re going to look magical tonight against the defensively challenged Wizards, and will look to dominate down-low with Mr. Duncan as the frontcourt in D.C. was weak even when Antawn Jamison was in the line-up…Spurs by 6-12 points
NEW JERSEY NETS @ ATLANTA HAWKS (pick)
The Nets are looking older by the day, have lost 4 in-a-row including the last two in OT, and have resorted to chucking 3s to try to stay in games. As for the Hawks, they’ve quietly played their way into the playoff picture, thanks to finally getting healthy and an athletic roster that beat these same Nets in OT a couple nights ago in New Jersey…Hawks by 4-10 points
G. GAMBLE’S HOOP TOTALS- NBA 71-52 ATS ; NCAA 33-29 ATS