College Basketball Betting: Weekly Cheat Sheet
by Trevor Whenham - 02/13/2009
Louisville Forgets To Show Up
Even with a one-sided loss to UConn last week, it looked like Louisville had found their stride and was ready for a deep tournament run. But then they went to Notre Dame. The Irish had lost seven games in a row, including one to Louisville to start the streak. The last three losses had been particularly convincing, and the Irish looked confused and unfocused. So of course, because college basketball can be truly bizarre at times, Notre Dame laid a serious beating on Louisville. The Irish won by 33 points. Luke Harangody exploded for 32 points and 17 rebounds, while no Louisville player managed more than 11 points. The loss was concerning for me because I like Louisville's chances of going deep in the tournament. I'm not convinced that it changes much, though. It proves that the Big East is a confused, muddled mess, but then we knew that already. Whoever wins that conference tournament is going to be very tough to beat in March. Beyond that, nothing insurmountable happened for Louisville, and the Irish need to show this kind of effort more than once before we resurrect them into the land of the living.
A Blow For The Huskies
UConn has looked like they are on cruise control for a while now, but they hit an inevitable speed bump this week. Junior guard Jerome Dyson suffered a tear in his knee on Wednesday night against Syracuse. The extent of the damage won't be known until surgery and reassessment next week, but it's hard to believe that he'll be back and at his best soon. Dyson is averaging more than 13 points a game - second best on the team behind Jeff Adrien - and has led the team in scoring five times this year. The Huskies will be better off than a lot of teams would given their depth and their sharing of the offensive load. Still, this will be a good test to see if the Huskies are ready for what lies before them.
Duke v. UNC, Round One
The battle for ACC supremacy and, in some eyes, NCAA Tournament favoritism, got under way this week at Duke. As has become the norm recently, North Carolina emerged with the victory. Incredibly, Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green become only the third and fourth players in history to go 4-0 in games they have played at Cameron Indoor Stadium as starters. Tim Duncan is also on the list, so it's some exclusive company they join. The game itself went about how it was supposed to - Duke put up a good effort, but they didn't have the depth to match up to North Carolina's, and they lacked the size to stand and punch with the Tar Heels. It's obviously too early to count the Blue Devils out, but the Tar Heels asserted a clear edge.
Hummel Still Hobbled
Purdue hasn't had a disastrous season by any means, but they haven't met the lofty expectations set for them, either. Part of the problem is the health of Robbie Hummel, the sophomore forward who was the Big Ten's Preseason Player of the Year. Hummel has missed the last three games with a fractured vertebrae, and has been playing hurt since he sustained the injury on Nov. 28 against Oklahoma. Hummel hasn't been in a full practice since Dec. 20. Purdue just doesn't have the depth to make up for the loss of Hummel. Thankfully, coach Matt Painter is finally taking steps to make sure that Hummel will be ready for the tournament. The team is essentially a tournament lock, so Painter will hold Hummel out of the lineup until he is ready to play consistently. Popping in and out of play is as disruptive as not having him, so a couple weeks with no expectations of play should get him ready for when the games matter again.
- I'm ready to write off Wake Forest. I wasn't a believer from the start, and their loss of four of the last six has confirmed my feelings. They obviously have a couple of very big wins on their record, but they can't seem to get motivated for mid-level competition lately. That's a very bad omen for the first rounds of the tournament, and it is more than reason enough for me to look elsewhere.
-Speaking of teams I have given up on, there is also Marquette. They have lost two in a row after previously going undefeated in conference play, and they are in for a very rough ride down the stretch.
- Arizona State flexed their muscles this week. Again. They beat UCLA at home to sweep the season series against the Bruins. That hasn't happened much in recent years. It's a sign in part that UCLA isn't nearly as good as they have been, but you can't take away too much credit from the Sun Devils. The win should pretty much seal up a tournament bid, and I look forward to seeing what they can do once they get there.
-My obscure team of the week is Weber State. They are from Ogden, Utah, and you might recognize them as the power of the Big Sky Conference. They have big tournament wins over No. 3 Michigan State in 1995 and No. 3 North Carolina in 1999. They have a 4-0 record lifetime against North Carolina. I'm sure that no other school can claim that. It's not history that gets them mentioned this week, though. They have covered eight of their last 10 games, and they have a very soft conference schedule remaining. This has been a very good team to bet on in the last month or so, and it looks like it should continue.