Check my NCAA & NBA ATS picks, as well as, a BIG TEN upset!
#11 KANSAS ST. WILDCATS @ USC TROJANS (-3.5)
The battle between the most dominate college freshman Michael Beasley (27 ppg, 12 rpg, 54-fg%, 39-3pt%) & O.J. Mayo (21 ppg, 5 rpg, 41-3pt%) should be one of the most exciting 1st round games of tourney. While both teams are remarkably young up-n-down the roster and have some explosives scorers to complaint their stars, I believe the difference-makers tonight will be the coaches. For all the jokes around Chi-Town and the majority of NBA circles about Tim Floyd, not many coaches have had the immediate success at every college program like the former Cyclone Headmaster. More importantly come tourney time, Tim Floyd has been a master at eliminating an opponent’s go-to scorer over his career. While he’s never faced someone with Beasley’s complete arsenal, I expect Floyd to limit his touches and force Bill Walker’s shaky jump-shot to beat them. As for Wildcats shady-slickster…a mean 1st year headmaster Frank Martin, I think he’s in over his head and will struggle to adjust to the many wrinkles the Trojans throw at his youngsters. Not to mention...
Not to mention, OJ Mayo has been extremely efficient at handling the ball of late and become a much more dominate presence at the defense end, while 36-year old 6-8 Fr. Davon Jefferson (12 ppg, 6 rpg, 57-fg%, 50-3pt%), 6-9 So. Taj Gibson (11 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 bpg, 59 fg-%), and 6-5 So. Dwight Lewis (11 ppg, 46-fg%) have become unbelievably adept at playing off of O.J. and knocking down high-% shots. To finish things off, the Trojans have won 6 of their last 8 in one of the toughest conferences in college, while the Wildcats stumble into the dance having lost 5 of 7…Who doesn’t luv Trojans…besides most professional athletes…USC by 7-11 points
BOSTON CELTICS (+3) @ DALLAS MAVERICKS
After winning the 1st two legs of Texas Three-Step, I have feeling KG and Paulie will not be satisfied without a sweep. As for the Mavs, while they’ve looked better with Kidd in the line-up against most teams in the East, they’ve lost to every significant power in the West…including a Gasol’less/Bynum’less Lakers squad at home Tuesday. Especially with Garnett matching-up perfectly against the Diggler, the defensive-minded, long-armed PG Rajon Rondo on Kidd, and the James Posey/Tony Allen combo chasing J-Howard, I expect the Celts to be screaming at Mavs’ fans by the end of the 3rd quarter…Celts by 2-6 points
As for my BIG TEN upset (nevermind about Temple beating Michigan St.), I'm predicting either Purdue or Wisconsin go down like Paris on an oil tycoon!
#11 BAYLOR BEARS OVA #6 PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
The Bears might have the deadliest group of undersized scoring guards in the country. With five guards (the tallest topping out at a short 6-4) averaging more than 20 mpg, between 9-15 ppg, and all capable of catching fire from long range, I expect the young Boilermakers to struggle early with the plodding styles of the Big Ten fresh in their blood. Sprinkle in a little 6-9 240 lbs Jr. Kevin Rogers (12 ppg, 9 rpg) and rotation of athletic bigs even taller if needed, and I see Baylor as a perfect match for the perimeter-oriented Purdue squad. Did I mention they have a Fr. 6th-man G named LaceDarious Dunn (14 ppg, 4 rpg, 45-fg%, 42-3pt%)…my grandma always said, when in doubt, bet on LaceDarius! While Purdue was by far the most exciting team to watch in the Big Ten, teams that have had success against Baylor have been able to pound them inside…and that is not what you’d call 6-8 Fr. F Robbie Hummel’s o Coach Painter’s forte.
#14 CAL-ST. FULLERTON TITANS OVA #3 WISCONSIN BADGERS
Every year it seems Bo Ryan gets his hard-nosed ballers to exceed expectations, compete for a Big Ten Title, and make some noise past the 1st weekend of the Big Dance. And this year, its been even more impressive as he’s lacked the big-time scorer/playmaker (aka Devin Harris, Alando Tucker) when things gets close. For all the luv thrown towards the 6-11 Polar Bear Brian Butch (13 ppg, 7 rpg), his fg and 3pt%’s have dropped off this year, while their top-scorer in the backcourt So. Trevon Hughes (11 ppg) is shooting 39% from the field and 32% from behind the arc. As for the Titans, led by Washington St. transfer Jr. G Josh Akognon (20 ppg, 45-fg%, 39-3pt%), two Sr’s that play twice their size in 6-4 Frank Robinson (16 ppg, 7 rpg, 45-fg%) and 6-5 Scott Cutley (15 ppg, 8 rpg, 52-fg%), and a 6th man named M*F*in Marcus Crenshaw (9 ppg, 42 3pt%), I see Cal-St. Fullerton giving the offensively-challenged Wisc. Badgers a fight they won’t forget.