The Kentucky Invitational continues to the semifinal round (once known as the SEC Tournament) and for those making NCAA basketball picks this is a far better matchup to see who marches to the finals.
After a three upsets in the second round, in the bottom part of the bracket in the quarterfinals, everything went according to form with No. 2 Arkansas and No. 3 Georgia winning.
The sportsbooks have made the higher seeded Razorbacks a two-point favorite against the betting over the Bulldogs. In their only previous contest this season, back on Jan.6th, the Hogs won in Georgia 79-75 and three-point underdogs.
Here is the breakdown for today’s tilt, considering the NCAA Basketball odds.
Arkansas wins and covers because….
They have shown they are the second-best team in the SEC. On the year the Razorbacks are 14-5 in conference games (9-10 ATS) and they have been building momentum by being winners of seven of nine, with one of the defeats in Lexington.
The two keys players to watch are sensational Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls. Portis was his dominant self yesterday in the victory over Tennessee with 26 points and 11 boards. If Arkansas is leading late, they would have a strong chance to close out Georgia since they are a pretty good free shooting team anyway at 72.3 percent and held off the Volunteers last evening by making 32 of 39 from the charity stripe.
Arkansas loses and fails to cover the spread because….
They can go frigid from the field. For a team which connects on an above average 45 percent and scores 79.1 points a game, they will frustrate college basketball handicappers and Hogs fans by going ice cold from the field and get panicky when the shots are off the mark. A recent perfect example of this trait was versus the Vols. Leading 55-35; Arkansas missed 12 of the final 15 attempts and did not make one bucket in the final 7:18 of the game, which allowed Tennessee to climb within four and they were bailed out at the line. With Georgia’s defense, anything close to such a void will spell defeat for the Razorbacks.
Georgia wins and covers the spread because….
Of their balanced attack which makes them a challenge to guard. The Bulldogs have five players who average in double figures. The leader is Marcus Thornton at 12.2 points per game. Nemanja Djurisic is a reliable scorer making 56 percent of his two-point attempts, with a nice mid-range game and ability to score off the bounce. Point guard J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines shot over 36 percent from behind the arc. However, the reason coach Mark Fox’s club is 18-10-2 ATS and 12-6-1 ATS in SEC action is because the defense holds opposing teams to 38.8 shooting. The Dawgs hold the Hogs to around 40% they are in the SEC Finals.
Georgia fails to cover the spread and possibly loses because….
They are unable to control the pace of the game. The Bulldogs like all teams will have good and bad shooting nights. But Fox like all coaches preaches about the consistency of defense. In spite of their sensational spread record, when Georgia concedes 72 or more points, they are 3-3-1 ATS, which leads to them being 15-7 against the spread in all others games. With total at 146, are the oddsmakers saying the Bulldogs could be in trouble this afternoon?
What to Expect
In the contest nine weeks ago, Arkansas shot 57.1 percent, made 11 of 13 free throws and had a +8 turnover margin and still only won by four. Georgia stayed in the game by making nine 3’s and having a rebound edge of +15.
If you are making college basketball picks, this is a really hard choice, but I will endorse the Razorbacks because their defense should allow them to win the turnover battle and they do a great job turning those into points and they are clutch at the line with the game on the line.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Arkansas -2 at BookMaker