GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 HARDWOOD Picks: 91-75 ats…55%
NBA 62-56 - NCAA 22-15 - Teasers 7-4 - Church League 69-0
W. KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS (+5) vs FIGHTING ILLINI
For all the talk the Hilltoppers are not the darling they were last year with a new coach and without Courtney Lee, the kids from Kentucky have won seven-straight, 11 of their last 12, and sport a brilliant young headmaster with an exciting, yet disciplined style. Especially with the Illini's best backcourt defender & playmaker out, look for WKU's veteran backcourt to control the tempo (A.J. Slaughter: 16 ppg, 4 apg, 3 rpg - Orlando Mendez-Valdez: 14 ppg, 4 apg, 4 rpg, 41-3pt), while getting in the paint, dishing to their aggressive undersized forwards, and getting the Illinois bigs in foul trouble. Throw-in that Bruce Weber's squad has lost three of their last four and...
THE HILLTOPPERS BY 2-6 PTS
#9 BUTLER BULLDOGS @ #8 LSU TIGERS (-2)
Don't fall for it Homeboys...Vegas is pushing Butler like they're the new Gonzaga. And I can't remember the last time the Mushroom Lovers (aka The Zags) sported a somewhat new coach, four out of their top five scores as underclassmen (2 frosh & 2 soph), and only one impressive win all season...Xavier on the road.
On the Tigers side, besides the fact you don't have to worry about a pre-game speech from Les Miles, they're freakishly athletic, long, have plenty of experience, and sported a 10-game win-streak in SEC play this season. I could go through match-ups but I need a splash of Tequila in my Shiraz...LSU WINS BY 6-12 POINTS
As for my only afternoon upset...
#10 MINNY TUBBY SMITHS (+4.5) @ #7 TEXAS SHORT BENCH
The Gophers crew is a legit 10 deep and their brilliant headmaster is looking more relaxed than ever not dealing with the pressure of Ashley Judd & the KU alumni. As for Texas, they're just not that good and only roll if A.J. Abrams catches fire...and considering Tubby has a plethora of bodies to throw at him, I'm guessing at least one of those cats can stop a shorty that can't dribble from knocking down a few three-pointers. At least that's what I think...GOPHERS WIN OUTRIGHT
...I still luv Mark Few and will always support David Silver! As for later tonight, I love Asians and GONZAGA (-13) to roll with ease in Portland. I think they're playing Bowling Green...oh wait, Akron maybe..it doesn't matter, just bring on the Tar Heels!