NCAA Hoops Picks:
Morehead State Eagles (+21) @ Kentucky Wildcats: I know Kentucky got their new coach and a bunch of prized recruits, but this Morehead State team is resilient. They return 4 starters form a year ago, and while they lost a key player in Senior, Leon Buchanan, they have some solid players that have played well against big time competition. Better yet, this team fights, they lost 2 games by more than 20 points last season. The first was just an off night in the 2nd game of the season against Vanderbilt, the 2nd was to Louisville. In the NCAA tournament last season, the Eagles lost by 20 to that same Louisville team. I expect it to take the Wildcats a few games to mesh, and while I fully expect them to win, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one is much closer than 20.
Wright State Raiders @ Washington Huskies (-14): I just think UW’s overall size and athleticism is too much for the Raiders. It might stay close for a while, but with the way UW gambles and runs the floor, a five point lead could turn into twenty in just a few minutes. Wright State does return 4 starters from last year’s team that finished the season much better than they started. UW loses Justin Dentmon and Jon Brockman, two key cogs in the Huskies success a year ago, but Dentmon’s services will be replaced by fantastic freshman Abdul Gaddy, and Brockman’s absence will only allow the Huskies to run the floor more against lesser teams. UW is long enough to rebound at all positions. I haven’t even talked about Isiah Thomas yet – the sophomore was awesome in his first season with the Huskies, and I only expect him to be better this time around.
Atlanta Hawks (+9) @ Boston Celtics: The first game in ESPN’s double header seems like a great bet. The Hawks are one of the better teams in the East, they play good defense, and this game has definitely turned into a rivalry after a tough playoff match-up. This game is often a close one, finishing 6 points or closer in 5 of the last 8 contests. The road team has won 8 of the last 10, Atlanta has won 3 of the last 5 in Boston. Both teams are coming off a free day. Should be a good one.
L.A. Lakers @ Denver Nuggets (-3): Gotta like Denver tonight, they haven’t played very well lately, but get the benefit of coming off a long road trip early in the season, and getting to play at home. Whew, what a load off. L.A. didn’t have a real tough game against Phoenix last night, but they still played, and they still are missing their second best player. The Lakers have a chance, of course, they have Mr. Bryant, but I like the Nuggets’ chances. This is the late game on ESPN Friday Night Basketball.