Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 12/30/15

  • December 30, 2015

I meant to write about this last week sometime, but never got to it. Better late than never.

Sports Illustrated recently came out with its annual Sportsperson of the Year Award, which went to Serena Williams. No argument there, she’s beyond amazing. So was Bryce Harper, who naturally was the MLB Player of the Year, the Warriors won their category, Tom Brady got the goods in the NFL, etc.

All in all, mostly good choices by SI. But there was one notable exception, and this one was a doozy. College Basketball Player of the Year, Grayson Allen?

I’m still shaking my head in utter bewilderment at this selection. Don’t get me wrong, Allen is a terrific player and he has been playing at an All-American level so far this season for Duke. Allen was also huge in the national championship victory last spring against Wisconsin. But Allen isn’t even in what should have been the conversation for Player of the Year.

Allen’s freshman campaign saw him score in double figures a grand total of five times. He logged the eighth most minutes, not in all of college basketball, but just on his team. Rasheed Sulaimon, who got kicked off the team in late December, played more minutes than Allen.

This is not in any way, shape or form a knock on Grayson Allen. He established himself as a guy with a terrific future and he absolutely came up clutch in the title game victory. But to name him as the College Basketball Player of the Year is beyond unblankingbelievable.

At least I knew the motivation when ESPN laughably gave Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Award. They wanted ratings, and Jenner was a guaranteed smash hit as far as that goes. They put numbers ahead of integrity, and the criticism directed their way in this case was legitimate. But the choice was, in a jaded sort of way, understandable from that perspective.

But the Allen piece was a four paragraph capsule buried on page 100. Next to an even shorter article on NBA Player of the Year, Stephen Curry. Go figure. In other words, if you blinked, you missed it completely. I didn’t blink. And I’m still at a loss for how they came up with this choice.

Here’s a suggestion, SI. When you do this again next December, you might want to have someone who actually follows college basketball over the course of the entire season make the selection. You might at least come close to getting it right.

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A bit of red ink on Tuesday thanks to the dreaded underdog in overtime loser, this time with the Miami Heat. I’ve said this way too many times, but for me there’s nothing worse than dogs in OT, as all I can do is lose I bet I already won.

One bowl play, at least two college baskets and an I don’t know as of now as far as the NBA and NHL are concerned. To get all my plays, along with my guarantees, shoot me an email at cokin@cox.net for all the info.

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Good game between Central Michigan and William & Mary, and the Chippewas plus the points produced a free play winner. Let’s try another college contest tonight, with the chalk the choice this time.

749 ARKANSAS  @  750 DAYTON

Take: DAYTON -7.5 or -8

I listed two lines here, I generally use the Southpoint line for this space as they’re open for business at the book when I write this piece. They’re at -7.5, but almost everyone else shows -8. I’ll grade the pick at -8 here, but I played it at -7.5.

Dayton might well be the most underrated per capita sports city in the country. That’s not some crazy assessment. This is one helluva sports town. The Dayton Dragons are a Class A minor league baseball franchise that has now sold out an incredible 1,121 consecutive games, and they play in what by minor league standards is a good sized ballpark. That’s absolutely phenomenal.

The college hoop Flyers are a great draw as well. They ranked 24th nationally last season in attendance, and they’ve been in the top 30 for 18 straight years.

That ties in with tonight’s game, as while many college teams are waiting for the students to get back from holiday vacation break to fill up the seats, one can assume UD Arena will be its usual house of pain for the visiting team tonight.

Arkansas is that visiting team, and when it comes to laying eggs on the road, the Razorbacks have few peers. They have been a horrible road team for quite some time and it appears to be business as usual for Arkansas so far this season. They’ve played four games away from home, three of those on neutral courts, and they’ve lost them all.

As for Dayton, their lengthy home court winning streak concluded a couple weeks ago when they were upset by Chattanooga. That wasn’t as huge an upset as some might think, as the Mocs can play, and it was also on the heels of Dayton’s impressive win at Vanderbilt. But this is definitely a tough as nails home court.

The Flyers have just one other loss and that was a no doubt about it bludgeoning at the hands of Xavier. But for the most part, Dayton is getting the job done and they’re rightfully favored this evening.

There are some things that could go wrong here. The Flyers have been sloppy with the ball at times this season, and that high turnover rate is at least a concern against what can be a ball hawking Arkansas defense. The Razorbacks have also been deadly from beyond the arc this season. But that’s not really their game and getting inside looks likely won’t be easy against a stiff Dayton defense.

This should come down to tempo. Arkansas wants to play fast, and they’re pretty good when they get that pace to their liking. I think that’s unlikely at Dayton and when the Razorbacks get taken out of their comfort zone, they aren’t particularly good. And that’s as much as anything why this team has continued to scuffle when they journey to enemy territory. I’m on Dayton minus the points tonight.