By Ryan Coleman
With the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and the other passengers on the helicopter, my motivation for writing this article has significantly dropped. Their deaths obviously shook the sporting world to its core and I hope we can cherish those we love, and the ones who have impacted our lives. Life is only precious because it comes to an end and unfortunately, it ends too soon for some. I’m sure you have heard this already but let me remind you: hug someone you love, then do it again tomorrow, the next day, week, month, year and for the rest of your life because one day, they might not be there to hug anymore. Anyways, here are my best bets for Tuesday’s games.
Disclaimer: I write this article the night before and it gets published the morning of the games. If the lines change before gametime, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ryancoleman_98.
Purdue at Rutgers
7:00 pm central, Big Ten Network
Line: Rutgers -3.0
The Pick: Rutgers -3.0
These are two teams with average offenses but excellent defenses. The problem Purdue faces is that while they have a top-ten perimeter defense, Rutgers doesn’t particularly shoot threes and depends a lot more on inside shots. Rutgers’ size matches up well with Purdue’s size and both teams boast a fair amount of depth. Obviously Rutgers has the advantage of playing at home, where they may never lose again, and Purdue is on the road, where almost all they do is lose. The Scarlet Knights have been able to stay home since last week after a road loss to Iowa and Indiana to New Jersey is no small hike. I am hoping that Rutgers can get out to a large enough lead where their dismal free throw shooting won’t risk the cover but I am still pretty confident in this play.
Florida State at Virginia
6:00 pm central, ESPN
The Pick: Florida State PK
Oof, this is a tough one. Florida State may be the fifth ranked team in the nation, but they seemed to have scraped by in nearly each of their last three games, with an average margin of victory average of three points, including a four point win over Virginia. But don’t forget, they are on a ten-game winning streak including a drubbing of Louisville on the road. What benefits Florida State is their ability to force turnovers and Virginia’s lack of ability to control the ball. The Cavaliers have been in some close games of late, but they seem to lack that ability to close out games against talented opponents. Otherwise, Virginia has lost four of their last six games with none of them being particularly pretty. I expect this to be a classic 54-52 game of molasses, but for the Seminoles to pull it off.
Mississippi St. at Florida
6:00 pm central, ESPN2
Line: Florida -6.0
The Pick: Mississippi St. +6.0
I guess I really don’t like this Florida team, huh. After two straight losses, I would expect them to come out with a new form of passion in their eyes to get on track but hey, Mississippi St. is probably thinking the same exact thing after a tough loss to Oklahoma. Also, Miss. St. lines up pretty well with the Gators. The Bulldogs are remarkable at offensive rebounding ranking second in the nation. They may not be all that efficient at scoring from inside but they rebound 40% of their misses so that doesn’t really matter. When you throw that ingredient into the pot, add some “Florida fouls a lot” along with some “even when the Gators get rebounds they don’t particularly run in transition,” you got a Mississippi State cover stew. Mhm mhh mhh…tasty.
Syracuse at Clemson
6:00 pm central
Line: Clemson -2.0
The Pick: Syracuse +2.0
The first thing I look at when considering a team’s abilities against Syracuse is how they shoot from beyond the arc. Clemson is not a good shooting team even though they depend a lot on the three. The reason I like ‘Cuse here is because they seem to have figured out their identity and they are playing like it, winning their last five games, including two on the road. The Tigers looked like they might be a team to reckon with after beating UNC and Duke back-to-back but then they lost two of their next three with their home win over Wake Forest a struggle. I have no idea what to expect here but I am banking on the momentum Syracuse has here to continue in this game.
Auburn at Mississippi
8:00 pm central, ESPNU
Line: Auburn -5.0
The Pick: Auburn -5.0 (Play of the Day)
Auburn lines up incredibly well with Ole Miss. The Running Rebel’s defensive claim to fame is their three-point defense. Well, Auburn doesn’t really shoot threes and excels inside, where Missississippi’s defense struggles. Auburn’s ability to drive and get to the line is how they score a lot of their points, and Ole Miss is not discipline at all when it comes to fouling. Auburn should be a scoring machine this game and Ole Miss doesn’t have much depth if they fall into foul trouble. I expect the Tigers to cruise here.
- Rhode Island (-5.0) at George Mason: Rhode Island -5.0
- Fresno State at Air Force (-2.5): Air Force -2.5
- Richmond at VCU (-9.0): Richmond +9.0
- Butler at Georgetown (+1.0): Butler +1.0
- Pittsburgh at Duke (-16.5): Duke -16.5
- Villanova (-3.0) at St. Johns: St. Johns +3.0
- Georgia at Missouri (-4.0): Georgia +4.0
- Michigan (-5.0) at Nebraska: Michigan -5.0
Last time: 11-6
Last week: 21-15-1
Plays of the Day: 6-1-1
Season Total: 139-103-4*
While I don’t publish all of my plays, you can follow each of my picks on the Action Sports Network by following me @RcCola3.