Primetime Picks November 15 + College Tip Off Marathon

1–0 for the week after correctly picking Houston to beat Philadelphia. I’m really interested to see just how far James Harden can take this team. I think they can outperform last season and get the 6–7 seed, but beyond that I really have no idea.

Tonight, two games on NBA TV:

Toronto at Cleveland: Cleveland

Last week, I missed picking Atlanta over Cleveland, and the circumstances here are eerily similar. Toronto (a good team) is playing at Cleveland (a better team), and the game is on a Tuesday night. There are plenty of reasons to like Toronto. DeMar DeRozan is playing out of his mind, and the Raptors are a legitimately fun team to watch. But, as we saw in the playoffs last season, it’s difficult for them to beat Cleveland on the road. Because of that, I’ll go with the Cavs here.

Chicago at Portland: Portland

The Bulls are coming back down to earth, and (even though the two teams’ records are almost identical) Portland is a much more talented squad. I’d probably pick Portland even if this game were in Chicago, so it being in Rip City makes it even easier. Portland is another team without an immediately identifiable ceiling. They could probably get as high as the fourth seed, but it’s difficult to see them getting past the Warriors in the second round. Tonight, all they need to do is beat the Bulls.

College Thoughts:

I like the idea of ESPN’s tip off marathon. It’s a fun concept, and it helps get people interested in college basketball in November. The matchups I’m most excited to watch come in the middle of the day (which should be interesting to reconcile with my other life demands), and I don’t love that. But the idea as a whole, and promoting this sport? I’m all in.

Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Kansas are easily the headliners here. But there are plenty of other good games if you dig around a little.