Morning Juice, Rivalry Week Part 2

Welcome back to the Morning Juice. This week, we’ll be doing 5 games, 10 bets. Combined record is 45-19-1, which is 69%… nice. Let’s get started.

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#5 Tennessee @ Auburn

If this game had happened weeks ago, this could be interesting. But Auburn has slipped off and they are just not fun anymore. Still, both teams have a lot to play for. Tennessee wins a share of the SEC regular season if they can win here, and Auburn can improve their resumé for the tournament. This will be a good game regardless. Bruce Pearl wants to beat Tennessee so bad, so expect Auburn to play off of his energy in the beginning. Auburn averages 79.9 points per game while allowing 68.1. Tennessee averages 82.4 points per game while allowing 67.1 points per game. This will be a slugfest and I expect it to be close. With Tennessee on the verge of winning a share of the SEC for the second time in a row (something they’ve never done in program history), they’ll play with some swagger and get it going late. I say Tennessee wins a close one thanks to Grant Williams. Tennessee 81-76. I would take Tennessee -1.5 and the over 148.

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Florida @ #6 Kentucky

After a rough stretch for Kentucky without Reid Travis, they look to close the book on the 2018-2019 regular season with a win over Florida. Folks, this game will not be close. Kentucky has played some close games recently and I love that due to the fact it gets us better prepared for March and it allows us to play important minutes without Travis. This team is now, more than ever, prepared for March and they’ll make a deep tournament run. With that said, I expect Reid to play some tomorrow. It’s senior day for the Cats and Reid will most likely be honored beforehand. If Reid is ready, I’d expect Cal to play him 10 minutes at most, just to recognize him and warm him up back to a game atmosphere. Florida is not a good team. They average 68.7 points per game while allowing 63.7. They beat a great LSU team at LSU, but that was a fluke. Kentucky is averaging 77.2 points per game and allowing a mere 65. I think PJ has a huge game. It will be his last home game in the Kentucky uniform, so I hope he makes it count. I expect PJ and Keldon to have big games and the Cats win 63-54. But, I’d take Florida +10 and the over 128.

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Louisville @ #2 Virginia

This Cardinal team has fallen down a steep cliff. What started as an unbelievable season for them, it’s turned mediocre. Now I’m not bashing Louisville or Chris Mack, honestly I thought they wouldn’t even make it this far. But they are a solid squad with one of the best offensive big men in the entire NCAA with Nwora. With this game being at Virginia, I find it incredibly hard for Louisville to stand a chance. They score 74.9 points per game while allowing 67.6. Their opponent, Virginia, scores 72.1 points per game while allowing only 54.1. Virginia wins this game easily, 72-60. I’d take Louisville +13 and the over 126.

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#4 Duke @ #3 North Carolina

We finally have the rematch, but this time the roles are switches. When these two met in February, Duke was going to blow them out. That’s all everyone talked about… but Carolina won that game 88-72. I know what you’re saying, and yes Zion was out, but I think it more so speaks to the volume of how well North Carolina has adapted this season and Roy has them in a position to make a run in the tournament. With Zion still out, it’s hard to find a way that Duke wins this game, especially on the road. For Duke to win this game, they need more offense than last time. RJ and Cam combined for 60 of Duke’s 72 points last game. That simply cannot happen if they want to win. They can combine for 60, but then their score should at least be in the 80s/90s. For Carolina, attack the rim. Luke Maye is going to have a monster senior day against his rival. With Zion out, they’ll attack the rim just like last time and I think they’ll run away with it in the end. I do expect this to be closer than the last game, but I’ll take UNC 82-77. So take UNC -4.5 and the under 167.

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#7 Michigan @ #9 Michigan State

It’s Big 10 Basketball, so you know the drill here… take the under. Michigan State won the last matchup 77-70 in Ann Arbor, so I don’t expect too much to change. Michigan State has ended their sort of stumble they fell through, so this has an opportunity to be a really good basketball game, only if there is offense. MSU averages 79.9 and only allows 66 points per game, while Michigan is scoring 70.7 while allowing 58.3. This has the potential to be very boring, especially if it falls into a defensive game which is what I think will happen. I think Michigan wins this game, mainly because Michigan State is severely overrated and Tom Izzo is on the hot seat. I’ll take Michigan +4 and the under 135. They win this one 66-62.

The Louisville Bats Derby Uniforms Are INSANE

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest event in Louisville every year. Aside from our tap water, it is our most prized possession. Stars from all over the world gather in their floppy hats and thousand dollar outfits to watch a 2-minute horse race.

Louisville takes the event beyond seriously. We kick off festivities around 2-3 weeks before the race with nonstop events all through downtown. There are firework shows, fighter plane air shows, steamboat races, and even the AAA Baseball team, Louisville Bats, are getting involved with this amazing Kentucky Derby Mint Julep themed jersey.

Louisville Bats

Absolute fire. The number 45 on the back is for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, but I like to think it is for Louisville’s golden boy, Donovan Mitchell.

The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. They are best known for costing up to $1,000 while being incredibly simple to make. Just 3 parts Woodford Reserve Bourbon to 1 part simple syrup and a couple sprigs of mint. They are so expensive because of the limited edition keepsake glass they come in and all of the money goes to charity.

Five Teams That Could Win it All

For the past month or so, I have been giving gambling advice for college basketball and that will continue tomorrow, but today I want to dive into my top 5. One of the perks of gambling is it forces you to watch a ton of basketball which I have done. These do not go by the rankings, but these are the top 5 teams to fear in March, with number 1 being the predicted winner. Let’s get started.

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The North Carolina Tar Heels

Currently sitting at 24-5, the Tar Heels lead the ACC along with Virginia. They score 87.1 points per game and could get hot down the stretch. Carolina has the perfect mix with their team. They have seniors (Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye) who lead the team in most categories, they have a star freshman, Coby White, who leads the team in assists, and lastly they have a Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines. North Carolina is a team that has been there, done that and they have clicked at the right time. I see North Carolina surging in March. They could be the team cutting down the nets, if and only if, their bigs get better. They have the shooting, the have the experience, so what they are missing is big play. Luke Maye is awesome. He averages a double double and knows how to hit big shots (Kentucky 2017 Elite 8). However, there have been games this year were the bigs just aren’t effective. Against Kentucky is a prime example where Maye played decent, but the physical play from Washington and Travis put Maye in a blender. If they want to cut down the nets, they need better play from Maye and Brooks. I think they can lock it up down the stretch and could cut the nets.

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The Virginia Cavaliers

Currently sitting at 26-2 and ranked #2 with both losses coming against Duke, this Virginia team is poised to make a tournament run. For their program, they need it after last years embarrassing loss to #16 seed, the University of Maryland Baltimore College. Virginia is no different this year than they have been in previous years. They key on defense and struggle offensively from three point range which got them killed against UMBC. Behind Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter, their guard play is much improved; and between the two, they are sitting at 45% from three point range. As a team they are shooting around 40%, much improved for Virginia. But, in order for them to do well in March they need more consistency. Virginia can score 80 points one game and then 45 the next, winning both. But, in the tournament they’ll need consistency from their offense if they want to make it to the final weekend.

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs

The current #1 team in the nation sits at 29-2 with their biggest win coming against Duke during the Maui Invitational. Gonzaga is a team that is here every year due to their easy schedule and weak conference. In fact, their biggest conference game was this past weekend at St. Mary’s which they won by 15. They have two losses on the season and it will inevitably rise to 3 in the second weekend of the tournament. They score 89.8 points per game, which makes them the highest scoring team in the NCAA. What scares me for the Zags is the fact that they will have to play real teams. They do not play Tennessee Tech anymore, instead they play teams like Tennessee and North Carolina and they actually are facing real competition. Gonzaga has to make it past the sweet 16 to prove they are legit. But they need to turn their 3-point shooting around which is their only weakness. They’ll get beat early on if they can’t knock down 3’s, but I think they can get hot and reach that final weekend. This will help legitimize their program by cutting the net.

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The Duke Blue Devils

Currently sitting on a 25-4 record, this Duke team has everything it could ever need… when Zion comes back. I think it is more of a when rather than an if, so when Zion comes back, this team is changed. Duke will be fine. They gain nothing from him playing right now, much like Kentucky with Reid Travis, so Coach K should continue to sit Zion until the ACC tournament starts. Once he returns, good luck everyone else. RJ has come into his own and can play with or without Zion, so you know no matter what he’ll knock down 20. Reddish is playing with more confidence in himself and will continue to knock down shots. For Duke, Zion coming back will be everything they need. He opens the floor and allows RJ and Cam to find more open spots. However, Zion is not Duke’s most important player… Tre Jones is. If Duke wants to win the title, Tre needs to be healthier than ever. The game he was out, they lost handily to Syracuse. They looked like lost puppies. I think Tre is their key player and if he plays well mixed with Zion returning… watch out…

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The Kentucky Wildcats

Folks, the Cats are back. Currently sitting at 24-5, the Wildcats are in the driver’s seat. For Kentucky, everything is clicking at the right time. Ashton has begun to play better, as well as Nick Richards. They are the best rebounding team and have one of the best defenses in the nation. For Kentucky, they need to get Reid Travis back. Much like Zion for Duke, Reid changes every game that he is involved in. He is the bully underneath that allows PJ to run along the wing and make some threes. When Reid comes back in the next few games, Kentucky’s identity and their swagger will return. The key for Kentucky is consistency. Herro needs to knock down his open shots, same with Baker. Ashton needs to be the driver and play smart. His offense has been slacking recently as well as his defensive aggression. The X-Factor is PJ Washington. If PJ can play every game like that 6 game stretch (that ended Tuesday), this team will win it all. Kentucky can beat any team in the nation. They need to play their game. And if, IF, they are consistent from 3 and PJ is knocking them down, they will cut the nets down in April after getting their revenge on Duke.

Tyler Herro Saves Kentucky from Night of Upsets

In a night of upsets including three top 25 teams going down to lower ranked opponents, Tyler Herro saved Kentucky from being the fourth. From being down by 11 at half to a 4 point win, Herro almost singlehandedly won Big Blue Nation tonight’s game.

UK Athletics

First upset was Ohio State obliterating Iowa in a 20 point blowout. Iowa Head Coach, Fran McCaffery, took the loss surprisingly well calling the referees “cheating motherf*****s” after the loss. Not sure how much the refs could have helped in a 20 point beatdown. OSU: 90- Iowa: 70

Next upset of the night came with Duke losing to Virginia Tech and America winning. Losing two of their last three all without Zion Williamson is surely leading to a hospital visit for Coach K. Va Tech: 77- Duke: 72

The night ended Indiana beating Wisconsin. This Indiana win was CONTENTIOUS. Probably 11 missed calls during the first and second overtime. Either way, Wisconsin beat themselves by letting Romeo Langford go right. IU: 75- WISC: 73

Sandwiched between those last two games was Kentucky vs. Arkansas. Of course, Arkansas jumped out to an early lead thanks to circus shots and an absolutely nobody getting hot from 3. Classic. On top of that, Kentucky could not stop turning the ball over. 28 points and 11 turnovers in the first half. Yes, that is also a James Harden statline.

Second half, Tyler Herro went full “wheelchair Paul Pierce”. No, he didn’t actually get in a wheelchair, no one is that dramatic, but he did sprain his right ankle before the end of the first half. The kid could not miss. He is getting all the Rex Chapman comparisons tonight and for very good reason.

On a limp ankle, Herro had one of the best scoring games a Calipari freshman has ever had with 29 points. He shot 9/10 from the field including 5/6 from three. Calipari even had him play 36 of the 40 minutes. Every time it looked like Arkansas was going to run away with it, Herro would hit them with a hezzy-hey or drain a contested three. Just something to show that he wasn’t afraid of them. He even told Arkansas players, “I’m a bucket” while getting buckets right before making the game winning free throws.

This was the game Kentucky needed from Herro in the absence of Reid Travis. Also, big time game from Sophomore Nick Richards (S/o KSR) who looks like he finally figured out that he is 7’0″ tall.

Morning Juice, Part 4

Welcome back to Morning Juice where I am now a combined 13-10-1. I did a special edition on Tuesday, I went 2-4. Everyone has a bad day, so hand up. But, bad days lead to an amazing day so let’s keep it going.

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#24 Maryland @ #6 Michigan

We’ll start again up in Ann Arbor where Maryland comes in having just knocked off a ranked Purdue team at home. Michigan has been playing poorly as of late, while Maryland has been striving. These two have not played yet this year but I think it will be an unreal game. Maryland averages around 73 points a game while giving up 64 points. Michigan scores around 70, while giving up 57. I think Maryland will be trapped into playing Michigan’s style and it will be a defensive struggle. For Maryland, Anthony Cowan Jr. and Bruno Fernando are the two most important pieces. If they can get going early, I like their chances. But I think Michigan’s Charles Matthews will lead them to another victory here. I’ll take Michigan 67-58. So I would take Michigan -6 and the under 130.

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#23 Iowa State @ #18 Kansas State

This will be another under the radar game. The last time these two played, Kansas State won in the final seconds at Iowa State. That game was absolutely insane. If the under is set at anything in the 140s, take the under. The last time they played was 68-67 and the under hit. I would take the under during this game because it is set at 134. As for the game, Barry Brown Jr will have to go off if Kansas State wants to win. However (Stephen A voice), I really like Iowa State in this game. I went back and forth on this game all week, but I’ll settle with Iowa State +2.5 and the under 134.

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NC State @ #2 Duke

Prayers up that this game is a lot like the 2013 one shown above, where NC State stunned the Blue Devils 84-76 when NC State was #20 and Duke was #1. Duke is coming off a huge come from behind win against Louisville on the road, so I would expect a slow start from them. The main question is whether or not NC State will take advantage of that slow start or not. My guess, they won’t. I think Zion will have a career game here and might get a triple double. I think Duke rolls, easily 84-61. Take NC State +17 though.

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#1 Tennessee @ #5 Kentucky

Last Tuesday, Kentucky’s win streak came to an end due to an unfortunate call at the end of the game. The Wildcats need to bounce back in the biggest of ways as #1 heads into town. This game will come down to PJ and Keldon. Tennessee will use Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield like they never have before and if PJ doesn’t show up, it’s over. As for Keldon, Keldon needs to go off. We need the old Keldon that we all knew and loved to come back and have the game of his SEC career. Keldon needs to get going early and go right at Schofield or Williams. The quicker Kentucky gets them out of the game, the better. If Keldon and PJ play their best game, it will come down to one player….Nick Richards. Richards is going to have some key moments in this game. Against LSU, he did absolutely nothing but in this game he needs to show up and do his usual 8 rebounds. If Richards is playing like he should, this will give PJ some much needed rest. As for the game, Hagans needs to be aggressive. He has slipped recently, but I think he comes up big. Tennessee beat Kentucky at Rupp last season, so I do not think it happens again. The spread is Kentucky -2.5 but I would just sprinkle the Kentucky moneyline. But, Kentucky wins 74-70.

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We do Saturday Morning Juice every week so follow us on Twitter @soft7sports so you never miss it! Follow us and like the Morning Juice tweet and we will send you a Soft 7 Sports laptop sticker at no cost.

Morning Juice, Tuesday Edition

Welcome back to your favorite gambling aid, Morning Juice. I know it’s not Saturday, but there are four great games, easy winners too. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity. To recap, 5-1 at first then 3-3, and last week i was 3-2-1 which brings us to 11-6-1, so let’s get started.

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#12 Purdue @ #24 Maryland

We’ll start in Maryland where the once relevant Terrapins try to regain relevance against a surging Purdue squad. This has the opportunity to be an amazing game, but it’s a shame it won’t be watched by most. When these two last played, it was 62-60 and Purdue won off of a last second block by Nojel Eastern. My first bet in this special edition is the under in this game. The last time they played, they totaled 122 and the current over/under is set at 141, so take the under. For Purdue, Carson Edwards needs to go off. He is their leading scorer and needs to get his for Purdue to have a chance. Nojel needs to be consistent, which I think he’ll do again. For Maryland, Anthony Cowan Jr needs to be confident and find his shot. Lately, it has taken him awhile to warm up (much like Tyler Herro) but when he does, he’s lights out. That will be how Maryland wins this one, 63-54. Take Maryland moneyline and the under 141.

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#11 Michigan State @ 20 Wisconsin

Ugh, Big Ten basketball is so boring. Wisconsin had a big chance against Michigan and lost it this weekend, so this game means something to them. I really don’t care about this game other than Ethan Happ and I want Tom Izzo to suffer. Like Wic so beautifully put last week, go check it out But, bet Wisconsin. They will win this game and bounce back 66-59. Take Wisconsin moneyline.

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#19 LSU @ #5 Kentucky

10 straight wins from the boys in blue. This week, we get maybe the best week in Rupp for awhile. We get two top 20 matchups (1 is top 5) in one of the craziest atmosphere in college hoops. LSU is 9-1 in the SEC and so are the Cats. This game is huge for Kentucky. They need PJ to be a bully. He needs to get his double double and the same goes for Reid. The bigs are huge in this game because LSU could shoot lights out or miss all the time and you need rebounds! LSU needs to come to play. They need Reid and Waters to come in and play explosive. Waters needs to bully PJ or Reid and drag them into foul trouble, otherwise they won’t have a shot. If they can get Richards to play significant minutes, LSU stands a chance. Keldon and Herro need to get going early, too. Keldon has played very sluggish in the SEC and he needs that to turn around if he wants to get drafted. I think Kentucky wins this game, big. I will take the over 149 and the Cats -9. This game will set up a huge, HUGE, SEC game Saturday against Tennessee. Spoiler there: Cats win by 3….Kentucky 87-65.

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#2 Duke @ #16 Louisville

If Louisville would have won on Saturday, I’d care more. I’ll still watch this matchup, mainly because I find the Zion/Nwora matchup interesting. Zion is a freak, no doubt about it, but Nwora is a weird athletic type and I get a feeling it could be fun. Regardless, this game will go as far as RJ and Tyus take them. Zion will get his, RJ is more iffy. For Louisville, get Zion out in the first half. Attack him. If you attack him, get him out for 10+ minutes, get a lead, then you may have a chance. Also, Duke has been starting slow recently, minus Virginia, but if they do that against Louisville, watch for the upset. If anyone could do it, it’s Chris Mack. I do not think it happens. I think Kentucky was a preview for how this Duke Louisville matchup goes. Kentucky won handily in Yum! and I expect Duke to do the same. I’ll take Duke -6.5.

Brad Calipari Dripping in Swag

Brad Calipari, son of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari, disappointingly decided to redshirt for his junior season. That doesn’t keep him from sitting with the team for every game though. While we do not get to experience the excitement of Brad shooting an ill-advised 3 with 20 seconds left while Kentucky is up by 60, we do get a whole new experience we never knew we were missing. We all get to see how Brad Calipari dresses himself outside the basketball court.

Whether he is wearing an oversized plaid hoodie or a turtleneck with a gold chain, his outfits do not disappoint. This one was a crowd favorite at Rupp Arena:

Looking ready for a night at the Roxbury.

I am in no way hating on Brad’s clothes. Brad has even taken to Twitter to let everyone know he does not care what anyone thinks. I am glad Cal lets his players wear whatever they want regardless of who they are. It’s also kinda hard to hate when I know Brad’s outfit probably costs more than what I pay for rent in a year.

photo creds: Kentucky Sports Radio

Kentucky fans have been getting particularly triggered about what Brad is wearing, but seriously who cares? Personally, I like that he wears whatever he wants. People act like his outfits are detrimental to the team. You know which one of Brad’s outfits would be the most detrimental? A UK jersey. If nothing else, just be happy he has something covering up that “Earned Not Given” tattoo on his chest.