Tuesday’s Tips: UF’s Frazier out again, WVU’s Staten ‘doubtful’
Published on Tuesday, 3/3/15, at 10:29 a.m. Eastern.
–The main event tonight will go down at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, where Georgia will take on unbeaten and top-ranked Kentucky at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. As of this morning, most books had UK installed as a 10-point favorite. When these teams met at Rupp Arena on Feb. 3, John Calipari’s team captured a 69-58 win but never threatened to cover the number as an 18.5-point home favorite. I watched the entire game and really felt like Georgia played like shit. UGA committed 16 turnovers compared to only 10 assists, and most of the giveaways were of the sloppy and unforced variety. How did Mark Fox’s team stay in the game? For starters, the Bulldogs beat the country’s sixth-best rebounding team by a 36-24 margin on the boards. Despite playing without its leading scorer and rebounder in Marcus Thornton, Georgia twice had the ball down by just five with less than three minutes remaining. UGA has thrived as an underdog this season, producing an 8-2-2 spread record with six outright victories. UK is 3-4-1 ATS in its seven SEC road assignments this year.
–Florida isn’t expected to have leading scorer Michael Frazier II for the seventh straight game tonight at home vs. Texas A&M. Frazier has been out since sustaining a high-ankle sprain on Feb. 7 in a home loss to Kentucky. On the bright side for UF, it was bolstered by the return of Dorian Finney-Smith in a 66-49 home win over Tennessee on Saturday. Finney-Smith had missed three straight games due to a suspension, but he came off the bench to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds against the Volunteers. UF had lost six of its previous seven before beating UT. The Gators are five-point home favorites tonight vs. Texas A&M. They lost by one, but covered as two-point ‘dogs, in College Station on Feb. 14.
–In order to get six invites to the NCAA Tournament, the SEC wants Georgia, Texas A&M and Ole Miss to win tonight. The Rebels are two-point ‘dogs at Alabama. Already minus second-leading scorer Ricky Tarrant for the rest of the season, now the Tide must deal with the season-ending loss of Shannon Hale, who was averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game before a foot injury put him on the sidelines.
–Alabama coach Anthony Grant seems to surely be a goner barring an improbable run in the SEC Tournament. My guess is we could see Grant back on Billy Donovan’s staff at Florida next year.
–Auburn’s Antoine Mason will miss tonight’s game at Missouri as he continues to mourn the loss of his father, New York Knicks great Anthony Mason, who passed away way too early at the age of 48 on Saturday. RIP, Mase. AU is a five-point ‘dog.
–West Va. will most likely be without star guard Juwan Staten for tonight’s game at Kansas. Staten missed Saturday’s loss at Baylor with a knee injury and is ‘doubtful’ tonight. The senior point guard averages team-highs in scoring (14.5 points per game) and assists (4.6 APG). Also, Gary Browne is ‘doubtful’ with a leg injury. Browne averages 7.0 PPG.
–According to reports out of Memphis, it sounds like star Austin Nichols is done for the season with an ankle injury. Nichols has been one of the few bright spots in a down year for the Tigers. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per game.
–Oklahoma as a 5.5 or six-point ‘dog last night at Iowa St. was as bad it gets in the Bad Beat Dept. The Sooners led by 20 with less than 16 minutes remaining but ended up losing by seven. A buzzer-beating 3-point attempt for the cover was off the mark. OU made just six of its last 11 free throws, while Iowa St. drained 11 of its last 12 at the charity stripe. I had OU at +200 on the money line as well, in addition to Baylor +150 on the money line. The Bears led nearly the entire game until foolish turnovers in the final two minutes allowed Texas to force overtime and eventually win by two. I did also have Baylor +4 but those money-line beats last night were painful. Syracuse +6 didn’t look like a heartbreaker in a double-digit defeat but when you’re a home ‘dog and allow the opponent to score only two points in the first 14 minutes of the game, well, you’re certainly liking your chances in the early going. In other words, rough Monday for this guy after two nice weeks. At least it was Monday…
To some non college hoops news/info…
–Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel breaks down what was a very long Monday for Aaron Hernandez at his murder trial in Fall River, Massachusetts.
–Houston’s James Harden is ‘out’ due to a suspension (for kicking LeBron in the Man Region on Sunday) tonight at Atlanta. The Hawks were favored by 9 or 9.5 this morning.
–At the UFC 184 post-fight presser Saturday, Dana White said that GSP doesn’t want to fight right now.
–The rumors about Tiger Woods and steroids/PEDs have been around forever. With a former golfer making some strong statements on sports radio last week, look for this story to start gaining steam.
–Although Rob Gronkowski denies he’s dating Marisa Hunter, it doesn’t mean BE Sports won’t provide the masses with a picture of Hunter. See below and enjoy…