Welcome on back to another day. Yesterday was ... fine. 2-2 thanks to Minnesota struggling there with Pitt for a little and Duke straight up losing. I'm not complaining about that one though. We have a beautiful, beautiful Wednesday. This is what college hoops is all about. Games that matter now, matter come March for seeding and Tournament stuff. Also I'll be doing a Twitter Spaces (similar to Chief with Blackhawks) a couple times during the week. First one tonight around halftime of the UNC/Michigan game because no one wants to watch halftime anyways.
Just a reminder. Sharp Cheese is the way you'll know you're going to read a picks blog for college basketball every single day. We're also going to incorporate it into social media perhaps posting on Instagram and going live on IG/Twitter Spaces. Twitter Spaces will absolutely happen 1-2 times a week, most likely on weekdays after big games. Just come on and talk whatever the hell you want about college basketball. The blog will mostly read the same. Breaking down games and making picks. I'm thinking maybe adding a Q&A part into the blog. Now most of the time I feel the same way about games, that said if there's a game I really love and attacking a few different ways you may see a Sharp Cheddar alert next to it. Sprinkle on the ML? Well, get out the shredded mozz. You get it. That said, always willing to listen to any adjustments you might have.
As always - all the lines come from the Barstool Sportsbook. Download the app here.
2021-22 Season Record: 54-54-1
One of the two and most intriguing games of the night. Michigan State survived Loyola and UConn to get to the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. It also really saved people from talking about what the hell is wrong with Michigan State. Well, what's wrong is they still turn the ball over way too much. That's problem number 1. Problem number 2 is Izzo is still trying to tinker with the lineup and figure out what's working. It leads to runs of poor play. Think you have to roll with some mix of Walker/Hoggard/Christie/Brown/Hall/Bingham based on matchup. That's your top-6. As for this specific game, it's not a great matchup for Michigan State. Louisville gets Chris Mack back from a suspension. They also run that Packline defense with no middle concepts. That means Michigan State is going to have to find a way to play through its guards to attack. Louisville is really limiting shots at the rim thanks to Jaylin Williams and he's a great matchup defensively on Bingham. Louisville wants to push tempo this year and they can catch Michigan State there with turnovers + MSU crashing the glass.
Pick: Louisville +4.5
Can we talk about Michigan for a second here? They are … not great! I still think they figure it out but it's reliant on Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate figuring out the college game and becoming comfortable offensively. Juwan Howard knows how to coach. The dude is unbelievable, but they are trying to fix and figure out this team. What made them good last year was surrounding Dickinson with a bunch of shooting. They don't have that this year. They are shooting 29% from three as a team. On the flip side, this is sort of an ideal game for them because how bad UNC is defensively. Michigan is excellent at using Dickinson in the short roll out of a PnR and UNC struggles with PnR defense. If Bacot is out of the game, Dickinson has a huge advantage in the post against Dawson Garcia/Manek. I wouldn't be surprised to see Howard try to stagger some minutes so Dickinson can exploit that and hope defensively they hold up with Garcia/Manek able to spread Dickinson out. UNC is going to speed the game up and it'll be interesting to see if Howard gets Michigan to run with them. It feels like Michigan should figure out a bit of offense here.
Pick: Over 151.5
I don't trust this Maryland team one bit. They haven't looked good because they don't have a good fit. Ayala was supposed to be the guy but what made him good - look at the UConn game in the Tournament - was forcing guys out to guard him and having no rim protection, because of a more 5-out offense. This year you put Wahab in the paint and Russell isn't a threat to shoot. You can pack the paint defensively against them and it's paying off. Maryland is shooting 28% from three. The fear here though is what we saw at Barclay's last week. Memphis/Xavier really took VT out of their comfort zone by pressuring the hell out of Storm Murphy and that's where Fatts thrives. But if VT gets in the halfcourt, Maryland's defense isn't good enough to handle Mike Young's sets.
Pick: Virginia Tech +1.5
Somehow Florida is still flying under the radar despite being a top-15 team. They have one of the best roster makeups in the country with how versatile they are defensively. They have a bunch of big wings that can switch and Castleton moves well enough to handle it all. That's where they are going to take advantage of Oklahoma here tonight. I like Porter Moser. I like Oklahoma. But the offense isn't there yet. They are just 78th in the country and really relying on Tanner Groves to score in the paint and Jordan Goldwire to get to the rim off the bounce. That's not how you beat Florida.
Pick: Florida +.5
This is Texas Tech's first road game and first top-225 matchup. Providence is going to be without Jared Bynum which is significant just because of how Bynum is good at getting the offense initiated. But they still have Nate Watson and a ton of wings. I can live with that. Watson is key here to stay on the floor because Texas Tech has been murdering weaker teams on the glass. They rank No. 1 in offensive rebounding percentage. We know Mark Adams is there and is running the no-middle defense. That's not going anywhere. But I'm going to roll with a home team that has been tested so far. We've seen some teams like Tech stumble in this spot.
Pick: Providence +2.5