July 13, 2024

Cameron Crazies Honor Dean and NCAA Free Pick

2 min read
NCAAM Free Pick

Memories and a montage evoking memories of Dean Smith even in the heart of enemy territory.  The coaches joined their arms with players and assistants to give that moment of silence at mid court.  The inspired teams took the court and did not let a soul down.  Back and forth and at the end, they needed extra time before Duke closed it out by a bucket in overtime.  The first time in eleven years saw this historic rivalry go beyond the forty.  ATB will recap this hallmark game of 2015 and provide a free pick in college hoops this evening.

Banner Win Blown

Even when you have great teams down by nine with less than three minutes to go, an NCAA tournament team is supposed to close them out.  Carolina failed and with it a chance at a season defining win.  Yes it took an extra ordinary effort from Tyus Jones to send it to extra time but these collapses do not look well in front of the eyes of the committee.  All of this with Duke having Okafor hobbling on one leg due to an injured ankle.  He gamed it up with a double double to help in the effort. This was not the first time that North Carolina had a top tier team by a ton.  Louisville was almost down twenty and stormed all the way back.  History books will have Duke Carolina listed as 92 to 90 OT but it was so much less for a Carolina team in a non-quality loss.

Stodgy on Both Sides

Utah (20-4)  is known for their stellar defense but is on the road facing an opponent almost as efficient in denial.  Oregon State (16-9) plays quality team defense but is almost a double digit.  The Beavers only feature seven scholarship players but are undefeated at home this year.  They already have the Arizona win under their belt and need this one to avoid being relegated to the NIT.  Gary Payton II lead an effort to stifle UCLA down to a paltry 55 points in a win against the Bruins.  OSU plays light years above what you see from them on the road.

So where does this leave our Free Pick?  A seven has grown to + 8 1/2 for the home team.  This is where the coverage by the Beavers is the difference maker.  Style points are no longer necessary for the Utes as most know they are legit.  It all comes down to getting those wins.  A blowout is not going to improve them one iota in front of seeding panels.  Look for Utah to win but by a slight margin.  The ATB Free Pick of the Day is Oregon State + 8 1/2 in this one.  Good fortune and we will see you tomorrow morning at ATB.


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