With every new year comes conference play, when scheduling, revenge and look-aheads can become significant in a teams drive to March Madness.
The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten will, of course, have some
terrific matchups this week, while the Pacific 10 has its marquee showdown on the first
weekend of the season.
Fresh off their win over Duke, the Stanford Cardinal take on Arizona State on Thursday before facing Arizona on Saturday.
This figures to be the toughest game on paper for the Cardinal, so look for the Cats to take this on their home floor in a tight one: Arizona 77, Stanford 76.
Also on Saturday:
MARYLAND 83, Georgia Tech 69 Yellow Jackets 3-0 as a true road dog, while Terrapins are 1-3 against the spread when laying doubles. This is actually their first home game against a board opponent.
LOUISIANA STATE 76, Alabama 69 Tide finally tasted defeat, ironically as their first time as a dog, also losing against the number for the fourth time in their last five tries. The Tigers have played just three board games, going 2-1 ATS, and covering doubles against New Orleans here.
IOWA STATE 75, Oklahoma 73 Cyclones 5-2 against the number, including 4-1 as a favorite and 2-1 as a home choice. The Sooners have covered five of their last seven on the board, all as favorites, but failed in their only true road opportunity, as a small choice at Ole Miss.
Tennessee 70, AUBURN 65 Inconsistent Vols had failed five-straight, including four-straight as a favorite, before impressive underdog victory over Syracuse. The Tigers are getting points for the first time, but are 2-1 against the number at home.
Purdue 62, NORTHWESTERN 56 Wildcats were able to knock off Southern Cal in a somewhat similar role last week for their fifth-straight cover. The Boilers covered their first road favorite role as an 8-point pick at Akron.
Villanova 76, VIRGINIA TECH 64 First try as a true road favorite for Wildcats, but theyve covered all three times away from home. The Hokies have played four straight non-board teams and are 0-2 against the number at home.
Arkansas 79, MISSISSIPPI STATE 75 Razorbacks 1-5 against the number, failing their first true road test last week in the overtime loss and failure to Oklahoma as a 6-point dog. The Bulldogs are 0-2 against the number at home, both in the role of favorite.
CINCINNATI 76, Charlotte 71 Bearcats 0-5 against the spread at home. The Niners have split their only games as a road dog, but road favorite win at El Paso was impressive.
KENTUCKY 88, Georgia 77 - The Bulldogs have failed three-straight, all as dogs, after seven-straight covers, while the Wildcats are 1-2 as a home favorite.
ILLINOIS 78, Ohio State 64 - Buckeyes have had an easy time of it, getting points just once, in their cover against Kansas. This is their first try as a true road dog. The Illini are 4-2 against the spread as a favorite.
Wisconsin 64, MINNESOTA 57 Badgers 1-3 against the number on the road, including 0-2 as a road choice. The Gophers are 3-1 as dogs, but only 1-2 on the home floor against the spread.
VIRGINIA 76, North Carolina State 65 Perfect Cavaliers 2-0 laying the points at home. The Wolf Pack covered in their only true road outing, a win at Old Dominion, but failed in their only attempt as a dog, in a 6-point loss to Georgia when getting 3.
NORTH CAROLINA 78, Wake Forest 77 Demon Deacons handed Temple a loss on its home floor. T also impressed in a pick em situation in the home rout of Kansas. Tar Heels are 1-2 against the number at home, but had covered three of their last four, including the convincing win at UCLA as a small choice.
Kansas 79, TEXAS TECH 61 Jayhawks just 1-2 when laying over 20. Raiders were 1-4 against the number, but covered in their only chance as a dog, getting 10 in a win over Lafayette.
DUKE 97, Florida State 63 Blue Devils are 3-0 when laying at least 26 points this season. The Seminoles had posted a 2-4 record when getting the points, including 1-1 getting much shorter doubles than this.
WISCONSIN 67, Indiana 60 The Badgers 2-2 as a home favorite, but covered their only opportunity as a single-digit favorite, dealing Xavier a 15-point loss. The Hoosiers failed two-straight after five-consecutive covers, and are 1-1 as a dog, but got the win in a similar role (+8) at Notre Dame.
ARIZONA 85, California 72 The Wildcats have failed
three-straight, but are 2-1 as a home double-digit favorite. The Bears are 2-4 against the
number, including 1-1 as a dog, but this is their largest role of the
Stanford 78, ARIZONA STATE 72 Cardinal 4-2 against the spread, but 2-2 as a favorite and covered their only true road effort at Long Beach, but this is the shortest price theyll lay so far. The Devils havent been challenged, but are 3-1 against the number, covering their only dog role in the opener against Tulsa.
MICHIGAN STATE 86, Penn State 68 Public steamed Bowling Green late last Wednesday as top-ranked Spartans fell to 2-4 against the number as a double-digit choice. The Lions won the ECAC Holiday event last weekend and are 2-1 against the number as a dog, including a cover when getting 12 at Kentucky in the early season.
CHARLOTTE 82, George Washinton 67 Colonials 2-1 as a dog, covering their largest number of the season (10 1/2) against Maryland. The 49ers come in 4-1 as a favorite, including 2-0 as the home chalk.
PURDUE 85, Michigan 65 Wolverines 0-3 against the number as dogs. The Boilers have covered four straight against board teams, all as favorites.
ILLINOIS 86, Minnesota 67 Gophers have covered three of their last four and are 3-1 against the spread as dogs, but this is their largest role of the season. Illini have failed two straight after covering seven straight on the board, including laying doubles three times.
Kentucky 75, LOUISVILLE 61 The Cardinals have proven little this season, going 1-6 against the number as a pick or dog. The Wildcats were 1-3 when laying points, but had come to life of late, getting the money in three of their last four lined contests.
SYRACUSE 71, Notre Dame 68 First time the Irish will be getting the points this season, as they had played three straight off the board after three straight failures. The Orange lost their first to Tennessee last time out and failed to cover in three straight lined outings after covering their first four on the board.