Tulsa vs. East Carolina
Free Pick: Tulsa -9.5 (February 27th 2010 – Steve Merril)
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Tulsa is in a funk right now; the Golden Hurricane have lost four straight games and five of their last six overall. However, all five of those losses have come against very good teams in UTEP (twice), Memphis, Marshall, and Duke. There’s no shame in losing to any one of those teams, so the recent bad run by Tulsa isn’t as bad as it seems.
Tonight, Tulsa takes a huge step down in class as they travel to East Carolina and take on a team that is simply playing out the string. The Pirates are a dismal 9-18 on the season, and considering they are facing a desperate Tulsa team in dire need of a win, they can expect to be on the losing end once again. East Carolina has been repeatedly waxed by good teams this season. In fact, of their 18 losses, 12 of them have come by double digits.
Despite Tulsa laying over East Carolina in terms of talent, we cannot make them a Best Bet tonight for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, they are a fragile team right now. Tulsa was the preseason conference favorite, and since they’ve underperformed, there’s concern that their psyche is shattered. They could very well name the score here, but if they are not fully focused and fail to bring their ‘A’ game, they’ll be hard-pressed to win by double digits. Secondly, Tulsa is just 4-7 on the road this year with all four wins coming by 7 points or less. Those two reasons are enough to downgrade Tulsa to Free Play status even though they are the superior team in this game.
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