Something's gotta give, right?
Take a close look at this week's Sweat Barometer rankings that I work up with Sal from madduxsports.com and you'll see the Texas Longhorns ranked 12th, just a smidge ahead of the Texas A&M Aggies. Just so happens that both teams stand next to each other in the latest Top 25 polls, too, at Nos. 10 and 11, respectively -- and both teams are undefeated in the very young Big 12 season. At least until Wednesday night, when the rivals meet in Austin (9 ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com).
It's no small thing that A&M is challenging an elite Texas program for state supremacy. Especially since Mark Turgeon's boys are doing it with no-names and glue guys while Rick Barnes picks up All-Americans like he's at a McDonald's drive-thru. Statistically, the Longhorns are a bit more impressive. They are ninth in the kenpom.com pythag rankings, while the Aggie's are 22nd. And in the all important 3-point field goal percentage allowed category -- which wiseguys love as a gauge for whom to bet -- Texas is seventh in the country; A&M is ranked 21st.
I won't lie: I usually root for teams like A&M. They appeal to my blue-collar Chicago roots (no matter that I grew up privileged in a posh suburb where they shot John Hughes movies -- all Chicagoans are, like Da Coach said, Grabowskis). And I'm excited to see the Aggies' first real test on the road. Winning at Oklahoma, which has a Sweat number of -4.95, doesn't count. Neither do impressive neutral court victories over Temple and Arkansas (in which they covered both games). At Austin will be a honest-to-goodness test of how tough the Aggies really are, and an even better test of whether or not we can count on them as moneymakers for the rest of the season.
Streak Breakdown: P is not for Precise
You would think you could trust a 15-3 team that is also 9-4 against the spread. But that wasn't the case for Purdue last week. On Thursday, the Boilermakers fell to Minnesota and on Saturday they lost a tough nonconference game to West Virginia. Granted, both were on the road, but both times more than 80 percent of Streakers got burned.
The next team the public loved ... Providence. They are 11-8 and only 7-8 against the spread, but Streakers picked the Friars to beat South Florida on the road and to cover a 10-point spread as a home dog to West Virginia. More than 90 percent of Streakers felt the pain of these two losses.
There was one unexpected team that helped out Streakers: one of our Barometer bottom-feeders, Mississippi State. It covered a 12-point spread on the road at rival Ole Miss last Thursday to help out 91 percent of Streakers.
Good luck this week and keep streakin'. -- Jason Gilbert
Here's a look at how the Sweat Barometer rankings shake out (through games played Tuesday):