–FSU proved how legit it is by beating Notre Dame on a night when the Fighting Irish buried 15-of-21 shots from 3-point land. The Seminoles won an 83-80 decision to hand Notre Dame its first ACC loss, but Mike Brey’s team covered the number as a 5.5-point road underdog.
–I had the Irish and the Indiana St.-Missouri St. ‘over’ for winners last night to go 2-0. That improved my college hoops record to 41-27 (60%, +11.8 UNITS) for the season. Here’s what I have for tonight.
–With last night’s ‘over’ in its 73-68 home loss to Missouri St., Indiana St. has now seen the ‘over’ go an incredible 10-0-1 in its last 11 games.
–South Carolina improved to 12-0 on the season when Sindarius Thornwell is in uniform by recovering from a seven-point halftime deficit to beat Florida, 57-53, as a two-point home favorite. The Gamecocks are 5-0 in SEC play, while UF took its first defeat in league action. The Gators were an atrocious 0-for-17 from downtown and reverted to the form that cost them back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids the last two seasons by shooting at an abysmal 53.6 percent clip from the charity stripe. I’m not sure if UF fans should be irate about those numbers, or thrilled that the team could shoot so poorly and still nearly win in Columbia.
–Florida fell from No. 3 in the RPI Rankings to No. 6 with the loss at South Carolina. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are up to No. 22 in the RPI.
–Maryland has won outright in all five games it has been an underdog this season. The Terrapins, who are also 3-0 both SU and ATS on the road this year, are 2.5-point ‘dogs tonight at Iowa. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
–SMU (15-4 straight up, 9-4-1 against the spread) is unbeaten in 11 home games with a 5-1 spread record. The Mustangs are 11-point home ‘chalk’ tonight vs. UConn. The Huskies have covered the spread in three consecutive games. This AAC matchup will be on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
–Richmond takes a five-game winning streak into Dayton tonight. The Spiders, who are 4-0-1 ATS during their current surge, have won outright in three straight games when listed as underdogs. In their only previous game as double-digit ‘dogs, they beat Davidson 82-80 while catching 11 points. Meanwhile, Dayton has won six of its last seven games while going 5-2 versus the number. The Flyers are 2-0 ATS as double-digit ‘chalk’ this year, 4-0 ATS when favored by 9.5 points or more. This A-10 showdown will tip at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
–UNC-Wilmington takes a 17-2 record into tonight’s game at College of Charleston as a short road favorite. The Seahawks, who were once regular guests at the NCAA Tournament when Tallahassee product Brett Blizzard was popping 3-pointers from anywhere inside the gym, returned to the Big Dance last year for the first time in a decade. Their losses this year? They came at Middle Tennessee, which sent Michigan St. packing from the Round of 64 last year, and at Clemson. Kevin Keatts is doing helluva job with this team, one that returned four starters and is likely bound to hear its name on Selection Sunday for a second straight season.
–Indiana won at Penn St. last night on James Blackmon’s buzzer beater, but the victory was bittersweet because star sophomore forward O.G. Anunoby went down with a non-contact knee injury. Anunoby, who is probably IU’s best defender, entered last night’s action averaging 11.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
–Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard went the length of the floor to hit the game-winning shot in overtime at West Va. last night. Woodard, who finished with 20 points, sparked the Sooners to victory as 17-point road underdogs. OU hooked up its money-line backers with a 12/1 payout (paid $1,200 on $100 wagers). Lon Kruger’s team committed just 12 turnovers against a WVU team that leads the nation in forcing turnovers.
–Ga. Tech lost a 62-61 decision at Va. Tech as an 11.5-point underdog last night. The Yellow Jackets are now 5-2 ATS with four outright wins when listed as underdogs of 9.5 points or more.
–The suspension that has had Arizona’s Allonzo Trier sidelined for the Wildcats’ first 18 games was revealed to be for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, according to statements released by both UA and Trier last night. The NCAA has cleared Trier to play after an appeal, but he can’t take the court until the drug is completely out of his system. Trier averaged 14.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. Sean Miller’s team will take a 16-2 SU record into road games against the L.A. schools this weekend.
–After missing the Tribe’s last game with a back injury, William & Mary guard Daniel Dixon (16.1 PPG) has been upgraded to ‘probable’ for tonight’s home game vs. James Madison.
–Oregon St.’s Tres Tinkle (wrist) is ‘out’ again for tonight’s home game vs. Stanford. Trinkle, who hasn’t played since late November, is averaging 20.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game for the Beavers. Stanford might be without forward Reid Travis, who is ‘questionable’ with a shoulder injury. Travis is averaging 16.6 points and 8.9 RPG.