Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 2/21/16
Hey, it’s a winner where it counts. UNLV earned a split in their season series with Nevada in what can only be described as improbable fashion.
Just in case you missed it. the Rebels appeared dead, down three with just a couple seconds remaining in regulation. But a running three-pointer at the horn by Patrick Macaw somehow found the intended target, and UNLV then proceeded to blow out the Wolf Pack in the overtime.
I have a couple of observations to share. First off, as is usually the case, the Rebels put on quite the show as far as the individual highlight reel goes. But therein lies much of the problem for this team. They’re what I call a SportCentric team. That is, the focus, even if unintentional, is to make those spectacular plays that end up on ESPN SportsCenter.
That’s great from an entertainment standpoint, but not so good as far as it concerns team concepts. UNLV gets by at times because they have some guys who are supremely talented athletes. But they’re a poor collection when it comes to the fundamentals, and that absolutely applies to the defensive portion of the equation.
Credit to the Rebels for finding a way to avoid the sweep in a game they appeared to have lost. More credit to the guys for playing hard throughout, in spite of being shorthanded due to injury issues.
Next up is a trip to Boise State, where the Rebels will have to take on a Broncos team that they whipped pretty handily last month. It’s also a Boise State squad that has to be smarting after an epic melt that resulted in a loss at New Mexico. The number could keep me away perhaps, but I’ll likely be looking to fade the Rebels on Tuesday night.
I had my largest card of the season on Saturday, and I did quite well with the clean decisions. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I basically got skunked on the close calls, which has been an ongoing theme all season. Two one-point losses, two pushes where the other team scored last, yet another OT loss, and I managed to lose a game that I was covering by 26 points at halftime.
I wish I could come up with a rational reason I’ve fared so miserably in end game scenarios all season. I don’t have one. Anyone who bets sports is going to have his or her share of close games on the number. The whole idea is to go 50/50 on those and if the work is good, the overall record will be as well, as the record on clean decisions should be okay.
I track all my plays, and I actually haven’t had a terrible season on the clean decisions. But on the close calls? It’s beyond unbelievable, and this is not just a short run, but an entire season of end game disasters.
All I can do is continue to grind as far as the homework goes and hope the Luck Bitch takes a week or two off. She’s more than overdue for a vacation. In hell, preferably.
Fun week on the free plays. Winner with Kansas on Monday. Since that time, dog that loses in OT on Tuesday, a bad call on Colorado State on Wednesday. UTEP goes up 13-0 at the open on Thursday, against a really bad opponent and you know how that almost always seems to go. Overtime loser on the ice Friday where my team blows a third period lead and than completes the daily double by also losing the lead in the shootout. Coin flip loser with Clemson on Saturday. Here’s a CAA dog for the Sunday comp, and if it’s close on the number heading to the finish line, hide any sharp objects.
827 NORTHEASTERN @ 828 HOFSTRA
Take: 827 NORTHEASTERN +7
If you’re wondering what has suddenly gotten into Northeastern, it’s a simple enough answer. Quincy Ford is back in the lineup after missing four games, all of which were Huskies losses.
Ford has now been back for four games and Northeastern has gone 3-1. Ford was okay in a loss to UNC-Wilmington. He didn’t do much more than get his feet wet in an ugly win over Towson. He was a little better in the next outing as the Huskies got past Drexel. But on Thursday night, the real Quincy Ford was on full display. He logged 52 minutes in the triple OT thriller at James Madison, and pumped home 36 points in leading Northeastern to a wild win.
Speaking of triple OT, the first hookup this season between the Huskies and Hofstra went 55 minutes as well. The Pride ended up on top in that classic. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a rerun of sorts today.
There’s a decent long term revenge angle in play here. Road dogs that lose the first meeting at home by one, two or in overtime are a solid blind play in the rematch. Well, at least they have been until this season. The current campaign’s ledger for teams fitting this theory is now 12-15 vs. the line. There’s still a strong enough rationale in play here to suggest this angle will remain productive long term, but so far, not so so goos this season, and really bad lately.
As for the matchup, I think it’s another dynamite CAA duel. There are a number of teams in this conference that are really close, and now that Ford is back on the floor, I put Northeastern in that group.
From a historical perspective, this is a very underdog-oriented series and for whatever reason, Hofstra is a really lousy spread team at home. That’s a nice add-on, but my main take here is that I consider Northeastern a bit undervalued now that their star is good to go. The spread seems generous to me, and I’ll be taking the points with the Huskies.