YOU KNOW WHAT GREG GAMBLE LUVS?
#5 MICHIGAN ST SPARTANS vs #1 MEMPHIS TIGERS (-4.5)
I know I hated on the Big Ten in Round One and they proceeded to roll through like a Heather Graham on skates, but I watched too much of their ball this season and can’t see how they match-up with the depth of the big-boys. While Tigers can be sloppy and look like they took charity-stripe lessons from Chris Dudley, their unbelievably fast, have a huge backcourt, and an athletic frontline (Dozier, Dorsey, & Taggert) that should have a field day against the slow-footed combo of Suton/Naymick. Even if 8th-year Sr. Drew Neitzel catches fire, I can’t see how he’s able to stop anybody at the other end to make that much of a difference. While nobody plays harder or works the glass like the Spartans, Raymar Morgan & baldy don’t have much scoring help and will not be able to keep pace with the scoring output of Calipari’s boys. I actually think the Tigers 2nd-half meltdown against Mississippi St.
I actually think the Tigers 2nd-half meltdown against Mississippi St. was a lesson in sleepwalking through the tourney and will have more of a killer-instinct once they get rolling tonight. BTW, did I mention MST’s leading-scorer Mr. Morgan has a gimpy knee?...Memphis by 8-12 points
NEW JERSEY NETS (+4.5) @ INDIANA PACERS
Having won two-straight, the Nets only sit a half game behind the Hawks for the final playoff spot and are starting to play with a passion that was missing earlier in the year. RJ & Vinsanity seem out to prove they can make the playoffs without J-Kidd, while Devin Harris is starting to find a rhythm with his new squad. The Nets actually just beat the Pacers on Hump Day by 7 and Harris absolutely destroyed the PG-less squad (22 pts & 15 assists vs the Flip Murray/Travis Diener combo). Even with the game in Indy, can’t see how the Nets let this one slip away against the defensively-challenged, really white squad. I wish it wasn’t true, but having bunch of un-athletic white-dudes is not what you call NBA magic anymore…Sorry Larry…Nets by 3-7 points
NEW YORK KNICKS @ TORONTO RAPTORS (-13.5)
After struggling with do-everything Chris Bosh out and slow to find a rhythm upon his return, the Raptors finally seemed to right-the-ship against the Pistons Wednesday in a 7-point win. I look for them to make a nice run over the next few weeks as the build some momentum for the playoffs…and what better way to keep things rolling than a visit from Isiah and his band of garbage. Gotham is an absolute mess as rumors have started to swirl that the players do not want Zeke back, while James Dolan seems to think his next GM should consider keeping the fool on the sideline. After losing 12 of 13, the Knicks needed OT to beat a NBDL-laden Heat squad Wed. Night and probably have no desire to head to Canada for tilt against the disciplined Raptors. No joke, I’d be shocked if Toronto wasn’t up 20 by halftime…Raptors by 22-26 points
PHOENIX SUNS (-2.5) @ PHILLY 76ERS
While the 76ers have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, I still think many teams have taken them lightly and haven’t been able to match their intensity. But tonight, they face a desperate Suns squad looking to stop a two-game losing streak as they nervously slip in the standings. Of course I was critical of the Shaq trade when it happened, but watching The Diesel move around like he found the fountain-of-youth…I’ve definitely changed my tone on Stevie Kerr’s move. More impressive than Shaq’s actually numbers has been how he’s enabled Amare to become the most dominate big in the Association (last 7 games: 31 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 bpg). And against the undersized Sixers frontcourt (Sammy D, Reggie Evans, & Thad Young), I expect his numbers to look even better tonight. Trust me Homeboys…Suns roll easily…PHX by 8-12 points