Each Conferences Sleeper Team

Big Ten- Maryland Terrapins

I may be more of a believer in Maryland then most, but this team seems to have something.  Bruno Fernando is an elite big that could develop into an NBA superstar if put in the right situation. Fernando is an elite player that will be drawing double teams in big games. 

Guards Anthony Cowan, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala will have open opportunities to get wide open shots from deep.  Ayala in particular will be huge shooting 47% from three on the season.  Wiggins and Cowan bring an 80% free throw shooting rate which can be a huge asset down the stretch in a close game.  Look at the UConn team that featured Shabazz Napier a few years ago, when they had a lead in the fourth quarter the game was essentially over.

The battle tested Terrapins currently hold an RPI of 27 and SOS of 27.  Two big matchups with Michigan will show the world what the potential of this team really is.

Big 12- Baylor Bears

If you have bet against the Baylor Bears this year you have probably found yourself cursing at the TV as they pull of another underdog upset. A team left for dead after their embarrassing opening night loss to Texas Southern has emerged as a potential contender in the Big 12.  It’s all pretty much pointless as we know Kansas is going to win the conference, but the Bears can be a problem for teams come March.

The Bears have quality wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Alabama have put Baylor back on the map after their brutal start.  Senior leadership of Makai Mason and King McClure will be huge in during March Madness.  Baylor shoots at a staggering 45% from the field while also being road warriors. Baylor is 4-1 straight up over its last five road games. This team is experienced and efficient.  A long run could be in store for the Bears.

ACC – Syracuse Orange

The perennial bubble team Syracuse should find themselves comfortably in the dance come tournament time, despite their poor showing at home against Florida State last night. The Orange are never a team to bet against, just ask the Duke Blue Devils.  This team has a SOS of 25 with quality non-conference wins over Ohio State and an emerging Georgetown team.

Frank Howard is the difference maker for Syracuse.  Howard is currently shooting above 40% on the season while be the floor general for a team that has to keep the ball moving for a chance to score.  3-point shooting with obviously be a factor as the Orange are about as bad as they come in that attribute shooting just 32% on the season.

Despite their shooting struggle Syracuse brings an elite defense and great experience on the floor.  They will be a team that no one wants to face in March.

SEC- Auburn Tigers

Most have forgotten that the Auburn Tigers were a top ten team at the start of 2019. Losses to NC State, Duke, Kentucky, at South Carolina and at Mississippi State took them out of the rankings but outside of the loss at South Carolina none of those horrible defeats.  Currently projected as a potential seven seed would put them in a great place come tournament time.

Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are as good as it gets backcourt tandom.  They should be getting back Center Austin Wiley for the stretch run as well.  Wiley a player that can anchor the defense averaging nearly two blocks per game in just sixteen minutes played per game. 

This team is too reliant on the 3-point shooting, if they are dropping they could be impossible to beat.  Their depth and running style will be a matchup that can where down opponents that have to play multiple games over a short time period.

Pac 12- Washington Huskies

There was really no other option.  They are ok in a PAC12 that is brutal.  They could win a game or lose in the first round.  Only other option was maybe UCLA. 

NCAA Picks ATS 1.25.19

Illinois Fighting Illini at Maryland Terrapins -9

Illinois can force a lot of turnovers.  Problem is their defense has no other real positives, opposing teams that can hold onto the ball shoot 47% from the field and 36% from behind the arc. They are going to look to push the pace on Saturday to stop the strength of the Maryland frontcourt

Maryland has the size downlow with NBA prospect Bruno Fernando, Illinois has no one on their roster that will be able to handle him. The Illini do have two 7’0 centers on the fringes of their rotation, but in the top seven, Giorgi Bezhanishvili is the only one who could be considered a “big man”, he will be no match for the bruising Fernando on Saturday. As long as point guard Anthony Cowan can continue his solid big ten play the Terrapins should roll to victory at home tomorrow.

The numbers back up Maryland as they are 5-0 ATS last five after a loss. Grab this game before the number goes up for Maryland.

Vanderbilt Commodores at Oklahoma Sooners -10

Oklahoma has been great ATS after a win.  The Sooners are 11-1-1 over their last 13 after a victory. They will get a Vanderbilt team that has been reeling since the loss of Darius Garland. Losers of six straight games, squandering a chance to have a historic win against #1 Tennessee. The Vanderbilt team won’t be able to work off what could have been a very big and needed emotional boost.  

Sooners are 7-1 at home this season with their lone loss coming to Kansas State. Oklahoma rides the momentum from their win over Oklahoma State to get the triumph here.

Marquette Golden Eagles -2 at Xavier Musketeers

The Marquette Golden Eagles have won six straight games, finding themselves just one half game behind the Villanova Wildcats for first place in the Big East. Star Marcus Howard has been the catalyst all season along with Sam Hauser. Hauser in particular has emerged as the #2 scoring option averaging 15 ppg this season.  The key to the game though will be sophomore Theo John. The emergence of the 6-foot-9 sophomore center has given the Golden Eagles a jolt defensively that has made them a better team. Marquette is holding opponents to 68.9 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting, noticeable improvements on last season’s numbers of 78.5 and 47.9, respectively.

The Xavier Musketeers have not had the season they hoped for after last year’s Sweet Sixteen team. Xavier absorbed a 70-52 beating in Milwaukee on Jan. 6, shooting just 31.5 percent while making 1 of 14 from 3-point range. Revenge will be on the mind of the Musketeers who are 0-3 currently against top 25 teams this season.  Naji Marshall one of the top scorers for Xavier all season is questionable with a shoulder injury.  His absence will change this line before the morning.  Either way Marquette is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 road games as the favorite.

Dictating the pace of this game will be important.  Xavier will want a grind it out inside game while Marquette is going to look to go up pace and find room for Howard to work. I like Marquette to win and cover.

Other Picks:

LSU -4.5

Bama +3.5

SLU -2.5

Under Texas/ Georgia

Under Texas AM/ Kansas State

Over Marshall/Southern Miss