Month: December 2015

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

5-5 this week. We don’t need to talk about yesterday.

CBB

We got hot early.

Illinois wasn’t going so well, but we jumped on +12.5 with around 7 minutes to go and that minimized the damage.

VIRGINIA-Oakland under 151

Way too many people are on this over. Oakland likes to play fast and they’re one of the most efficient teams offensively, but Virginia can slow anyone down and make them grind. I don’t think Oakland is gonna be able to find enough ways to score in the half court to push this one over.

NORTH CAROLINA (-15) over Clemson

The Heels have the best offense in the country based on efficiency. Clemson likes to slow the game down and that’s just not gonna work today. They’ve also played four games away from their home building and these are the results: 17 point loss to UMass, 18 point win over Rutgers, 6 point loss to Minnesota, and 23 point loss to Georgia.

IPFW (-4.5) over Oral Roberts

The Mastodons are 4-0 at home and they shoot the three really well. They are coming off a big win on the road over Western Michigan. Three of their four losses are to top 40 teams. This is the fifth straight road game for ORU. They lost each of the first four by at least 15 and that includes Missouri State and New Mexico State.

SAN DIEGO STATE-Wyoming under 123

Get ready for a rock fight. Both of these teams rank in the 300s in terms of tempo. SDSU has a top 10 defense, but they’re incapable of knocking down shots. The totals between these two teams last year were 108 and 112.

NBA

SPURS-Suns under 197

The last five times these two have played has resulted in an under. The Suns have gone under in 7 of their last 10. The Spurs have gone under in four of their last five. Phoenix likes to run, but the Spurs are just so good defensively and they’ve held the Suns to an average of 87 PPG the last five times they’ve met.

 

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Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

4-1 yesterday. Our only loss was Villanova, who was up 39-11 at half, but gave up 29 points over the last ten minutes of the game to only win by 20. Oh well.

CBB

FLORIDA (-5) over Florida State

The Seminoles are a talented young team, but their schedule so far has been Charmin soft. They’ve only played one true road game, but to their credit they took an experienced Iowa team into overtime. Florida has been great at home, winning every game by at least 20 and that includes a pretty good Richmond team. The Gators have played a much tougher schedule and I expect them to take care of their in-state rivals in their building.

GEORGIA (-18) over Robert Morris

Ever since the Bulldogs had an 11-day break from games, they’ve played their two best games of the year, beating Georgia Tech by 14 and Clemson by 23. Bob Morris is 0-8 on the road and only one of those games is against a top-100 team.

WILLIAM & MARY (-6.5) over Central Michigan

The Tribe are 5-0 at home. They’ve beaten Old Dominion, NC State on the road by 17, and they only lost by three at Dayton. Central Michigan has lost every game they’ve played away from their home building and are one of the worst defensive teams in the country.

TEXAS (-2) over Connecticut

This feels like stealin’ money to me. The Longhorns have been getting better. They got off to a slow start, but that’s to be expected with a new coach. Texas hasn’t been great ATS, but I kind of like the fact that they’ve been grinding out victories and all they have to do is win by a bucket here. UConn rates out as a slightly better team, but they haven’t played a true road game and they’re 1-3 on neutral floors.

NBA

NUGGETS-Cavaliers under 195

The Cavs are going to swallow up the Nuggets on the defensive end and they aren’t an explosive offensive team themselves. Kyrie Irving is sitting this one out, so that statement rings even more true. It’s Cleveland’s fourth game in five nights and they’ve hit five straight unders. Mudiay, Gallo, and Nurkic are still out for the Nuggets.

Big Ten Basketball Rankings: Week 1

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I couldn’t be more excited for opening week of Big Ten play. There are three teams that have a legitimate shot to win the league and two more with an outside chance. In an ideal world, there could be up to nine teams from the league that will make the bracket on Selection Sunday. Is it likely? No, and it’s probably more likely that the number is six. But it is possible and the great thing about this time of year is the intrigue of all the competition that’s about to take place over the next two and a half months. Hell, even Bryant McIntosh and his Northwestern team is projected to get an at-large bid at the moment.

The most exciting news? The power rankings are back! On top of that, they’ll be here every week from now on. I’m not sure the tiers will be formatted the same every week for variety’s sake and the fact that a team might become a contender, but it’ll likely be more based on their schedule and less to do with how good they are (looking at you, Indiana). We’ll see. Let’s start with our top players of the past week and the top games of opening week.

Stars of the Past Week:

A.J. Hammons, Purdue – 21 points, 10 rebounds, 7 blocks in win over Vandy

Kendrick Nunn, Illinois – 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals in win over Mizzou

Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern – 33 points and 8 assists in win over Loyola (MD)

Bryn Forbes, Michigan State – 32 points in OT win over Oakland

Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State – averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds in two wins

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Michigan State at Iowa – Tuesday, 9:00 pm EST, BTN

Purdue at Wisconsin – Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST, BTN

Iowa at Purdue – Saturday, 6:00 pm EST, BTN

Maryland at Northwestern – Saturday, 8:00 pm EST, BTN

Illinois at Ohio State – Sunday, 5:00 pm EST, BTN

Tier 1: Contenders

1. Michigan State (Previous: 1; KenPom: 5; Sagarin: 1)

The Spartans are a tough case to handle at this point and going forward with Denzel Valentine being injured. They struggled to take care of Oakland, who’s a good team, but they travel to take on Iowa on Tuesday and that will be an even tougher game. If they lose, I’m not sure you can drop them too far in the power rankings because it would be without their best player. If they win every game without him, it will make things so much easier.

The interesting thing about Valentine’s injury is that it ultimately may make MSU a better team in the long run. Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris stepped up big time in that Oakland win, with 32 and 27 points, respectively. Harris has been the guy everyone has been waiting on and if he gets more comfortable in the system with these extra minutes and shots over these next couple of weeks, it could make the Spartans a stronger team in the long run.

This week: Iowa and Minnesota on the road

2. Purdue (Previous: 2; KenPom: 4; Sagarin: 6)

The good news for Purdue: A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan have really started to come on for the Boilermakers. The bad news: their shooters have continued to shoot, but have not continued to make. Purdue is still the best team in the country defensively, but in their games against Butler and Vanderbilt, they went on some long stretches where they struggled to score. Their offense rates out as the sixth best in the league right now and anyone that has a zone will run as much of it as possible against them, forcing them to take perimeter shots and keeping the ball out of Hammons, Swanigan and Isaac Haas’s hands.

This week: at Wisconsin and home against Iowa

3. Maryland (Previous: 3; KenPom: 15; Sagarin: 14)

It’s been about three weeks since the Terps have played anybody of note, so there hasn’t been much to report on with this team. Heading in to the year, Maryland was the favorite to win the conference. Why are they third now? The biggest reason is just the lack of competition that they’ve played. They’ve only played one team in the top 25 of ratings and only two in the top 50. Meanwhile, MSU has played three in the top 25 and Purdue has played four. Maryland’s only top 25 game was on the road against UNC and they competed well in a close loss.

This team still has five guys averaging double digits and they’re still a very real threat to win the league. However, I think going in to the year the Terps struck a lot of fear in opposing fans, but they haven’t shown to be absolute world beaters.

This week: home against Penn State and at Northwestern

Tier 2: Tourney Locks

4. Iowa (Previous: 4; KenPom: 17; Sagarin: 21)

The Hawkeyes played the most competition of anybody in the league during non-conference play and went 2-3 against top 50 teams. They’ve clearly got one great player in Uthoff and a deep, experienced supporting cast of solid players. I don’t think they have enough overall talent to win the league, but they’ll still win a lot of games.

The other thing working against them is their schedule, having to play Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, and Indiana twice. Fortunately for them, they get a break with Valentine being out on opening night.

This week: Michigan State at home and Purdue on the road

5. Indiana (Previous: 7; KenPom: 24; Sagarin: 20)

The Hoosiers played a rather soft schedule in non-conference and as I’ve mentioned before, that continues into conference play. They only play every team in the Contender category once. That may move them up in to that same category later on in the season, but I just don’t think this team is good enough defensively to win a championship.

Last year, they had a similar non-conference season going 10-3, but that was actually against stiffer competition. They ended up going 9-9 in Big Ten play and flamed out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Wichita State. There can’t be another 9-9 conference season this you for IU, because with this schedule it might be cause for a real nervous Selection Sunday.

This week: Rutgers and Nebraska on the road

Tier 3: Bubble Teams

6. Michigan (Previous: 5; KenPom: 34; Sagarin: 35)

Michigan is Indiana-lite. They’re a guard-dominated team that can be explosive offensively, they shoot a lot of threes, and they struggle to defend. The Hoosiers shoot a better percentage from distance, but Michigan is more dependent, ranking eighth in the country with 41.5% of their points coming from the three-point shot. They play a pretty slow pace and don’t get a lot of offensive rebounds, so it really puts a lot of pressure on them to shoot well.

Good thing for them is that they have four guys in their rotation 40% or better from the outside. But all of that outside shooting doesn’t lead to a lot of free throw shots and that can be a problem when they get into a classic, messy Big Ten game. Caris LeVert is the only Wolverine who’s attempted over 25 free throws. Michigan is without a real signature victory through the first couple of months and they might need one if they want to go dancing.

This week: at Illinois and home against Penn State

7. Northwestern (Previous: 8; KenPom: 48; Sagarin: 42)

It’s gotta be brutal being a Wildcat fan. They just can’t catch a break, man. After losing Vic Law for the year with a torn labrum right before the season started, Alex Olah is now out indefinitely with a foot injury just as conference play is about to start.

The positive news is that Olah has a quality backup in Joey van Zegeren, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech that was averaging 9.8 PPG and 5.3 RPG last year before getting kicked off the team. But it’s also forcing Chris Collins to take the redshirt off of Dererk Pardon, who hadn’t gotten any experience before their last game.

The Cats are still 12-1 and, yes, they played a soft schedule, but their only loss was a fairly close one to UNC and they got two road wins at Virginia Tech and DePaul. You can tell from their ratings listed (they also are 42nd in ESPN’s BPI) that they were having a legitimate NCAA Tournament season. The Olah injury isn’t going to be a good thing, but let’s say he only misses three more weeks. Northwestern would still likely be favored in five of their six games over that time. Their NCAA dreams aren’t dead yet and the fact they only play Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana, and Michigan once works in their favor as well. THIS COULD STILL BE THE YEAR.

This week: at Nebraska and home against Maryland

Tier 4: NIT

8. Ohio State (Previous: 11; KenPom: 52; Sagarin: 60)

Everyone will obviously point out Ohio State’s win over Kentucky as their biggest of the year so far, but I was almost equally impressed by following that win up three days later with a 20-point win over Mercer. It was a mature showing from a young group. I put Ohio State in the NIT group, as opposed to the Bubble group, simply because they’re 8-5. However, even though UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech seem like bad losses because of their names, both of those teams are likely to end up in the top 100 at the end of the year.

If the Buckeyes can manage ten wins in conference play and win a game or two in the conference tournament, they’ll be right in the mix on Selection Sunday. If OSU is going to pull that off, they’re gonna have to clean up their turnovers and shoot better from the free throw line. There’s no reason for JaQuan Lyle shooting 57.9% and Jae’Sean Tate shooting 50.0% from the line. They have to be better if they want to be a factor in March.

This week: Minnesota and Illinois at home

9. Wisconsin (Previous: 9; KenPom: 56; Sagarin: 56)

In their first game without Bo Ryan as head coach the Badgers jumped out to a 30-point lead in the second half over Green Bay, only to watch it almost completely slip away, winning by five.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at length about Wisconsin needing Nigel Hayes to be more efficient offensively. Against Green Bay, Hayes was 7-8 from the field and 9-9 from the free throw line. That’ll do. Ethan Happ led the team in field goal attempts and I think that’s a good sign for this team. Happ needs to get more shots to take some of the burden off of Hayes and Koenig.

With that said, Vitto Brown also got the same amount of attempts and that is NOT a great thing. When Wisconsin struggles in a game, you can pretty much be sure that Brown took a lot of shots and he made less than half of them. I’m not totally sure what to expect from the Badgers as conference play starts, but every sign points to them struggling against a tough schedule.

This week: Purdue and Rutgers at home

Tier 5: CBI

10. Illinois (Previous: 12; KenPom: 113; Sagarin: 85)

As I said last week, I’m a big fan of Malcolm Hill and I hope he gets the attention he deserves this year on a team not likely to get much attention in the national spotlight. This week, I need to give a shout out to Kendrick Nunn. After missing the first five games of the year, he’s averaging 18.5 PPG and 5.3 RPG. He put up 19 and 11 in the Illini’s rivalry showdown with Missouri. Yeah, Missouri is a terrible team on the boards, but 11 rebounds for a 6-3 guard is impressive. The Illini will compete all season because Hill and Nunn are as good as any 1-2 combo in the league, but unfortunately it likely won’t be enough with their injury-ravaged supporting cast.

This week: Michigan at home and Ohio State on the road

11. Nebraska (Previous: 6; KenPom: 135; Sagarin: 113)

I said it last week, I’ll say it again: White and Shields are really good players, but they don’t have enough around them to really make any noise. This program showed so much promise a couple of years ago when they finished Big Ten play on an 8-1 streak in the last nine games. Last year they were sitting at 13-9, 5-5 in the conference, before losing their last nine games.

It feels like all momentum has been drained from the program. After the year Walter Pitchford decided playing a month in the D-League was a better option than finishing his college career and Tarin Smith, a promising young player, decided to transfer. Glynn Watson and Ed Morrow were big gets in recruiting, but they’ve shown this year that they’re not quite ready to be big-time contributors in this league.

Tim Miles taking Nebraska to their first NCAA bid in 16 years is enough to buy him at least a couple of more years, but right now his team is just treading water at best.

This week: Northwestern and Indiana at home

Tier 6: They Stink

12. Penn State (Previous: 13; KenPom: 131; Sagarin: 96)

I was thinking maybe Penn State had a good non-conference season for their standards and that it might be a sign of improvement. They went 9-4 and they fared pretty well against the better teams on their schedule. I checked back to last year and they went 12-1(!!!) They went 4-14 in conference play. Guess not.

This week: at Maryland and Michigan

13. Minnesota (Previous: 10; KenPom: 149; Sagarin: 165)

The Gophers capped off non-conference play with a nice home loss to Milwaukee. They will not be involved in any must-watch games this year.

This week: at Ohio State and home against Michigan State

Tier 7: Seriously, Why Is Rutgers In The League?

14. Rutgers (Previous: 14; KenPom: 250; Sagarin: 233)

Youngstown State has a 22-point loss to Toledo, a 29-point loss to Purdue, and a 49-point loss to Michigan…and they rank one spot higher than Rutgers in KenPom’s rankings.

This week: they’ll lose at home against Indiana and at Wisconsin

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

CBB

VILLANOVA (-25) over Penn

Nova has played four teams ranked in the 200s in KenPom’s rankings. They’ve won those games by 37, 35, 29, and 30. Penn ranks 267 currently. They haven’t played anyone near the level of Villanova, but their road performances feature a 37 point loss to Washington, a 19 point loss to George Mason, and additional losses to Lafayette and Drexel.

EASTERN MICHIGAN (-2.5) over Detroit

EMU is 5-0 at home, although the best team they’ve played is Vermont. Detroit is 0-4 on the road. EMU rates about 27 spots higher than Detroit, so it’s a pretty even matchup and I always like the home team only giving a couple of points in that situation.

CALIFORNIA (-9.5) over Davidson

Davidson has only played two other top-50 teams all year and they lost by 33 to UNC and 35 to Pittsburgh. They’re traveling all the way across the country a couple of days after Christmas to play a Cal team that just took Virginia to overtime on the road.

NBA

MAGIC (-4) over Pelicans

We’re just gonna continue to ride the Magic. They’re 21-9 ATS and the Pelicans are 6-11 ATS on the road. Orlando is a much better defensive team and New Orleans scoring drops 5 PPG when they hit the road.

SUNS (+9.5) over Cavaliers

The Cavs spent their holiday weekend losing to the Warriors and getting absolutely blown out by the Trail Blazers. Then, photos popped up on Twitter that LeBron and company were out late last night dancing in the Phoenix nightclubs. I don’t typically wager based on that type of activity, but they don’t seem totally focused on this west coast trip and the Suns will run them up and down.

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

11-5 on the week

CBB

PITTSBURGH (-20) over Western Carolina

Of their nine wins, Pitt has won six of them by 20+ points. They’re facing a Western Carolina team that’s 0-7 on the road. They’ve played three top-100 teams in those seven games and lost by 25, 23, and 33. They’re a pretty poor rebounding team because they’re one of the smallest teams in the country and they’re gonna have to deal with a Panther team that is 24th in offensive rebounding percentage.

Illinois (-5) over Missouri

Neither program is where they should be, but Missouri is awful. They can’t beat bad teams soundly at home and they haven’t been competitive with anyone in the Power 5, with the exception of a five point loss to Northwestern. Illinois has at least been competitive against good teams. Injuries in the frontcourt haven’t helped them, but Mizzou isn’t going to hurt them inside. Malcolm Hill will by far be the best player on the floor and I expect him to carry the Illini to the cover.

Milwaukee (+4.5) over MINNESOTA

Minnesota is 2-7 ATS this year and has home losses to South Dakota and South Dakota State. They only rate three spots higher than Milwaukee. The Panthers have fared well on the road this year, already beating Wisconsin and Santa Clara and only losing to Notre Dame by 8.

NBA

MAGIC (+1) over Rockets

Houston is starting to get it together, but Orlando is still 20-8 ATS this year and 8-2 ATS in their last ten. They still rate a lot higher than the Rockets do and it seems like kind of a slap in the face that they’d be catching a point at home.

PACERS (-6.5) over Kings

Indiana is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games at home. Sacramento can score, but they’re one of the worst teams defensively in the league. They’re just 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in their last six road games. The Pacers’ top five defense will slow down the Kings and allow the cover.

Pistons (+6) over HAWKS

Detroit has been playing pretty well lately, going 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in their past six. They’ve been one of the better teams ATS all year at 17-11-1. They’ve only been given this many points three teams all year and one of them was the first game of the year at Atlanta. Dogs by 7 and the won by 12. The Hawks are a good team, but they’re one of the rare teams that has very similar scoring numbers on offense and defense whether they’re playing at home or on the road. They also have similar home and away records and are only 7-9 ATS at home. Home court doesn’t play much of a factor for this team.

Spurs (-11) over TIMBERWOLVES

The Wolves are 2-11-1 ATS at home and are even more rare than the Hawks in that they are pretty much worse at everything on their home floor. Andrew Wiggins is the obviously the go-to guy for Minnesota, but he averages about five points a game less against the Spurs than he does the rest of the league.

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

6-0 start to the week. It was absolutely deserved after the torture of last week. There is a SHIT TON of CBB games today and some of them have already happened, but I may add a couple late games after this is originally posted as I sift through more of the games.

CBB

GEORGIA (-2.5) over Clemson

Clemson is 7-4, but they’ve lost every game that is higher than 229 in KenPom’s ratings. This will be their second road game. The first one resulted in a six point loss to a pretty bad Minnesota team. The Bulldogs are definitely not world beaters, but their three losses so far this year are by a total of 11 points and none of them would be considered bad losses.

Xavier (-7) over WAKE FOREST

Road, home, neutral, good team, bad team, okay team…it doesn’t really matter. Either way, Xavier has been beating them by double digits all year. They’ve got a +18 point differential. Wake Forest has some good wins, but they haven’t shown the ability to bury bad teams, which speaks to their overall talent level.

DAYTON (-16) over Miami (OH)

The Redhawks aren’t a good team and they’re REALLY not good on the road. They’ve played three games on the road and by far the most impressive was a 9 point loss to Xavier on opening night, but since then they lost to IUPUI by 14 and Tennessee Tech by 13. Dayton is having another good year.

OLD DOMINION (-1.5) over Rhode Island

ODU is only 5-6, but all of their losses are away from their home arena and none of them have come to teams outside of KenPom’s top 100. They’ve buried teams all year at home, although none of them are as good as the Rams. I still like them to win this by at least a bucket.

WESTERN KENTUCKY (-3) over Detroit

Two pretty evenly matched teams, but not surprisingly the Hilltoppers are much better playing at home and Detroit hasn’t looked good away from their home floor.

IOWA (-20) over Tennessee Tech

Iowa has had a frustrating past couple of games with the huge blown lead that resulted in a loss to Iowa State and the narrow win over Drake on a neutral court with Jarrod Uthoff battling foul trouble all game. I expect their offense to explode and take out all that frustration on a Tech team that has a rather generous defense.

ARIZONA (-17) over Long Beach State

The 49ers always schedule a brutal non-conference slate every year and just about every year they compete at the beginning and maybe even win a couple games. But then they always fade and that’s happening again. Combine that with their biggest weakness are big teams that rebound well, this is not a good matchup versus an Arizona team that has quietly been rolling people.

Mercer (+11) over OHIO STATE

A young team that has struggled all year that just got a huge win going against a dangerous low-major team? Give me the dangerous low-major team. Buckeyes are gonna have to battle for this one.

Colorado (-6.5) over Penn State

Colorado is a pretty good team whose only loss was a close one against Iowa State. Penn State has really had to work to beat Louisiana-Monroe and Drexel in their past two games.

NBA

HEAT-Pistons over 194.5

Neither of these teams play with a lot of pace, but each of their scoring outputs on offense have seen an uptick in the last ten games and they’re giving up more as well.  Detroit has hit the over in five straight and Miami has hit the over in four of their last five.

Big Ten Basketball Roundup: Goodbye, Bo

Bo Ryan

I can’t help but feel partially responsible for the mid-season retirement of Wisconsin’s (former) head coach, Bo Ryan. Last week I wrote about how Wisconsin had died and I think maybe it was just too much for Bo to know that a random blogger who gambles obsessively and reviews 10 year old episodes of The Office had the foresight to know that his magical run was over.

I can’t let that be the last thing I say about Bo Ryan because I love that guy, I’m going to miss him, and Big Ten basketball won’t be the same without him. I felt robbed that I didn’t get to fully appreciate the end of an era because he just randomly dropped that he was retiring after a late Tuesday night, ho-hum 64-49 victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. According to him and AD Barry Alvarez, it had been the plan all along to have him step down after semester. Ryan has made it known he wanted his longtime assistant, Greg Gard, to take over – and he will, for now – and apparently Gard’s father’s health was the reason that they were unable to do it this past offseason. There’s a lot of behind the scenes things that took place that I’m sure we’ll never know about, but the one thing that stuck with me is that the players didn’t know it was going to happen. They had the news dropped on them the same night the rest of the world did and that’s the one issue I have with the whole thing.

But either way, I’m happy Bo got to go out on his own terms and it came off his most successful year as a Division-1 head coach. I say Division-1 because as great as he was at Wisconsin, Ryan won four national championships at the Division-3 level. None of that really matters to the common public and I would doubt most of them even knew that fact, but it speaks to how great he was as a coach at every level. What he did at Wisconsin was nothing short of incredible and best believe that every other Big Ten coach can breathe a little easier now that Bo has moved on. Coach Gard has the impossible task of following a legend and if he even achieves a quarter of what Ryan did, he’ll be considered the second best coach in Wisconsin history by a longshot.

Now, enough with the fluff. Let’s review the rest of the week for the Big Ten and make some jokes about Rutgers basketball.

Also, important to note: This is our last week of non-conference, which means are last week without rankings! (Oh, and the games really suck this week.)


 

Stars of the Past Week:

Malcolm Hill, Illinois – 34p-11r-5a-3b-2s in win over South Dakota

Caris LeVert, Michigan – triple-double in win over Northern Kentucky

Derrick Walton, Michigan – triple-double in win over Youngstown St.

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota – 12 points, 18 rebounds in win over Chicago St.

Nicholas Baer, Iowa – 13 pts, 7 rebs (CH), 6 blks (CH) in win over Drake

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Vanderbilt at Purdue – Tuesday, 8:00 pm EST, BTN

Illinois and Missouri – Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST, ESPN2

Michigan State and Oakland – Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST, ESPNU

Mercer at Ohio State – Tuesday, 9:00 pm EST, ESPNU

Green Bay at Wisconsin – Wednesday, 9:00 pm EST, BTN


 

ILLINOIS

The Illini took care of South Dakota at home on Saturday, which may not sound like much, but Minnesota couldn’t pull that off, so congrats to them. More good news was Malcolm Hill’s big performance. He’s been awesome this year, even with his teammates dropping like flies around him. Here’s to hoping he gets the recognition that he deserves at the end of the year even though it’s looking more and more likely like it may be a difficult conference season for his team. The latest teammate to find himself permanently on the bench is Leron Black, who’s out indefinitely with swelling in his surgically repaired knee.

This week: Missouri in St. Louis

INDIANA

The Hoosiers won their only game of the week over Notre Dame on Saturday and they did it in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 16 point second half deficit. Not only did they have the big comeback, but they did it getting only eight points from Yogi Ferrell. They held the Irish scoreless over the final three minutes – Notre Dame certainly helped that cause – but it speaks more to how Indiana has improved defensively. They still rate 11th defensively in the Big Ten, but it’s better than last, which is what they were last year. They’re still getting abused inside, but they’ll try to shoot their way out of it all year and will likely be successful more than not.

This week: Kennesaw State at home

IOWA

The Hawkeyes rode a career day from freshman Nicholas Baer to get a narrow win over a bad Drake team. This game was weird. There were only 24 fouls called in the entire game, the Hawkeyes had 14 blocks, and Mike Gesell had a crucial dunk to seal the game. Baer had six of those blocks (a career high), seven rebounds (a career high) and 13 points (one point away from a career high). Jarrod Uthoff only played 21 minutes due to foul trouble, which obviously had a negative impact on the Iowa offense. He did still manage to block five shots, which leads me to: did you know Uthoff is averaging three blocks a game? Anyway, it hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Iowa and they’ll need to get back to playing good basketball before they open up conference season with Michigan State and Purdue.

This week: Tennessee Tech at home

MARYLAND

The Terps battled a slow start to put away Princeton convincingly in the second half. Jake Layman had his best game of the year, naturally it didn’t come in a marquee game. That’s about it.

This week: Marshall at home

MICHIGAN

Michigan put beatdowns on Youngstown State and Northern Kentucky this week. Against bad teams, the Wolverines look as good as anyone. However, their marquee win so far is over Texas, which definitely is starting to look better after the Horns beat North Carolina, but Texas is still likely to be a bubble team at the end of the year. Michigan missed opportunities against Xavier, UConn, and SMU and they missed them all by a lot. I would still say the Wolverines are more likely to make the tournament than not, but they’re going to need a couple of wins over the top teams in the conference to dictate their own fate.

This week: Bryant at home

MICHIGAN STATE

The Spartans blew out Northeastern on the road, but that’s not the biggest news of the weekend for the number one team in the country. Leading everything man, Denzel Valentine, had surgery on his knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. However, Tom Izzo seems to think it’s rather minor, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal long-term. On the flip side, MSU does have to go on the road to Iowa during that time span and not having Valentine could be the difference between a win and a loss, which could also affect whether the Spartans win the conference title. Luckily for them, they have the most favorable schedule of any of the contenders.

This week: Oakland in Auburn Hills

MINNESOTA

The Gophers avoided another embarrassing loss – which is good! – by taking care of a dreadful Chicago State team at home. I don’t have much to say about Minny, but I do want to give a special shout out to Jordan Murphy. Murphy’s seen a recent uptick in time on the floor and the freshman has averaged 14.4 points and 12.6 rebounds over the past five games. When you’re cheering for a bad team, it’s always nice to have young players doing well that you can hang your hat on. The Gopher fans have a couple in Murphy and Nate Mason. We’ll see if Richard Pitino gets to coach them as upperclassmen.

This week: Milwaukee at home

NEBRASKA

Oh, Nebraska. I’ve believed in you all year. I brushed off the blowout loss to Creighton, but I can’t blow off this one. An 11 point home loss to Samford. That’s a dagger. They’re likely to be 8-5 heading into conference, needing 10-12 more wins to make it to the dance. That just seems like too much to ask. It’s becoming clear that the Huskers have two really good players in White and Shields, but they just don’t have enough around them. Tai Webster has improved a lot and Glynn Watson will surely be a really good player in this league as he gets older, but that can’t be the extent of your scoring talent in this league. The Huskers will be a bear on nights when White and Shields are both on, but otherwise it’s looking like a tough haul going forward.

This week: Prairie View A&M at home

NORTHWESTERN

The Wildcats had to go to overtime, but they got the road win they needed over crosstown rival, DePaul. They followed it up by crushing Sacred Heart at home tonight, scoring 103 points in the process. The Cats play slow, but they are a very efficient offensive team and they have a variety of guys who can score. I might be more excited to watch them in Big Ten play than anyone. THIS COULD BE THE YEAR.

(The rest of) this week: Loyola (MD) at home

OHIO STATE

For my money, the Buckeyes are the best 6-5 team in the country. While I don’t think Kentucky is one of Calipari’s better teams, they’re still very talented and OSU beating them at a neutral site is a REALLY big deal for this team’s confidence. They played eight guys and all eight made significant contributions. They also beat Northern Illinois this past week and right after, freshman Austin Grandstaff transferred. Grandstaff was a big recruit, but he was really struggling, especially on defense, and sometimes it can help bring a team together if a guy who’s unhappy leaves the situation. I’m excited to watch this team the rest of the year, as well.

This week: Mercer and South Carolina State at home

PENN STATE

The Nittany Lions rallied behind Payton Banks’s career high 20 points to overcome a 17 point second half deficit to beat Drexel. Afterwards, Banks said that Drexel was “a great team”. Drexel is 1-8 and has lost to High Point, UNC Asheville, San Diego, and ALASKA ANCHORAGE. The fact a Penn State player thinks Drexel is “great” tells you all you need to know about how conference season is gonna go for them.

This week: Colorado in Las Vegas

PURDUE

The Boilermakers were the only Big Ten team to lose this Saturday, of the ten that played. It was definitely the worst game they’ve played this year, but they still only lost to Butler by six. Purdue is now 0-5 in the Indiana Crossroads Classic, which isn’t a great look by any means. Everyone who has doubted Purdue’s guard play beamed proudly because none of them were effective offensively. Thing is, though, Purdue was just as good, if not better, than Butler in every phase of the game except for turnovers. Purdue: 18, Butler: 8. Caleb Swanigan was hardly the reason they lost – he had 25 points and 11 rebounds – but he can’t turn the ball over seven times playing in the post.

This week: Vanderbilt at home

RUTGERS

The Scarlet Knights were 10 point underdogs at home to Monmouth. THEY COVERED! Still lost, though.

This week: Fairleigh Dickinson at home

WISCONSIN

Obviously, the big news with the Badgers this week was Bo Ryan’s departure. It will be interesting to see how that affects them going forward.

This week: Green Bay at home

 

 

 

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

CBB

Southern Illinois (-1) over SAINT LOUIS

Saint Louis is 1-4 SU in their last five home games and they’ve haven’t covered a spread at home all year. They rate really poorly in three categories: adjusted offensive efficiency, turnover percentage, and offensive rebounding percentage. SIU is middle of the road defensively, but they’re 12th in the nation in turning over their opponent and rate 93rd (out of 351) in allowing offensive rebounds. That’s not a good combination for the Billikens. Salukis have four wins away from their home court this year.

CREIGHTON (-20) over North Texas

North Texas is terrible at a lot of things, especially defense. Creighton can really light it up. They’ve won five games by 20+ and four of them were against better teams than what the Mean Green is bringing to the table.

NBA

WIZARDS (-2.5) over Kings
DeMarcus Cousins under 23.5 points and under 11.5 rebounds

Kings are 0-5 on their second game of a back-to-back. They go as Cousins go and he struggles (relatively) on back-to-backs. When he gets at least a day of rest, he averages right around  19.5 and 11.0 for his career. With no rest? 17.9 and 9.5. In addition, his fifth-worst points and rebounds averages come against the Wizards, compared to the rest of the other 28 teams, at 17.4 and 9.8. I like all three of the plays, but would definitely sink more into the Wizards over Cousins’s numbers. Books tend to add more juice on individual numbers.

Magic (+3) over KNICKS

Magic are 3-1 ATS on back-to-backs this year. If metrics do anything for you, the Magic rank seven spots higher than the Knicks. They’re better in every major traditional statistical category, other than free throw percentage. They’re 10-3 ATS on the road this year. I see this one as  more of a pick ’em, so I’ll take the team catching points here.

 

Bowl Rankings: Betability

Welcome to your bowl mania gambling special! I spent entirely too much time trying to dissect a bunch of meaningless games that often come down to which team actually wants to be playing football anymore that year. Won’t stop me from laying action on every game, though.

I’m not gonna ramble for too long because this thing will already be entirely too long to be entertaining, so let’s get to the point.

On the day all the lines came out, I went through the lines of every game and wrote down my first reaction without getting into the research at all. I either picked a side of the spread or total and ranked them based on confidence. I then spent the past few days or so doing the exact same thing with the adjusted lines and spent much more time doing my typical research for games, once again ranking them based on confidence. Finally, I looked over the percentages of public plays and chose the most played side (based on percentage, NOT number of plays) in each game (spread or total) to put together a public confidence ranking. This one is based mainly on curiosity to see how the heavy public sides play and whether fading the public would’ve been a good strategy for this bowl season.

When it’s all said and done, I’ll go tally them all up and see which strategy would have been the best. Obviously, the exercise has a heavy bias toward my brain, but it’s an elite brain if you ask me.

Three last things:
1. The championship game was not included because I have no idea who’s actually going to be in it.

2. I got rid of the Texas A&M-Louisville game because A&M had their top two quarterbacks transfer while I was beginning to organize this whole thing and the line has swung eight points since that news dropped.

3. Confidence points are listed in parentheses.


Arizona – New Mexico

Final – Zona -9.5 (3)
Initial – NM +11.5 (23)
Public – Over 65 (13)

I hate absolutely everything about this game. It’s 11 a.m. local time for both of these teams. New Mexico is playing at home. Arizona is sporadic. Ultimately took the Cats because the Lobos are so poor in the passing game on both sides of the ball.

BYU – Utah

Final – Utah -2.5 (22)
Initial – Utah -3 (24)
Public – Under 50.5 (12)

The Utes have won four straight in this rivalry series and covered eight of the last ten. The early season Heisman darkhorse, Devontae Booker, is still out for Utah, but Joe Williams has been a more than adequate replacement.

Ohio – Appalachian State

Final – App St. -7.5 (30)
Initial – Ohio +9.5 (3)
Public – Under 55 (4)

I think I just needed a couple of weeks to get over App St. fumbling away the cover in the last week. The Mountaineers are sixth in the country in rushing and the Ohio defense is 99th in rushing yards per attempt. Hopefully it’s a long day for the Bobcats.

Arkansas State – Louisiana Tech

Final – LT -2 (12)
Initial – Over 67 (9)
Public – Over 68.5 (27)

Arkansas State loves to run the ball, but Louisiana Tech is 16th in the country stopping the run. Bulldogs are also 9-0 SU in their last nine against the Sun Belt conference.

San Jose State – Georgia State

Final – Ga St. +3 (18)
Initial – Over 58 (28)
Public – Ga St. +3 (6)

This one is a fairly even matchup, but Georgia State has been a more explosive offensive team. They’re 6-0 ATS when they’re away from home. Bad news is this line keeps shrinking towards a pick ’em.

Western Kentucky – South Florida

Final – Over 66.5 (38)
Initial – Over 64 (39)
Public – Over 66.5 (28)

I’m not even gonna bother you with stats because this one has ELECTRICITY written all over it.

Akron – Utah State

Final – Akron +7 (4)
Initial – Akron +6.5 (1)
Public – Under 51 (38)

And then there’s this. I took Akron because they’ve won and covered their last four and Utah State has almost done the exact opposite.

Temple – Toledo

Final – Toledo +1.5 (2)
Initial – Temple -1 (37)
Public – Toledo -1 (15)

I have no feel for this game at all. Went with Toledo because they were catching points at the time and their offense has more potential to get loose in Boca Raton.

Boise State – Northern Illinois

Final – Boise -8 (21)
Initial – Under 59 (32)
Public – Boise -8 (7)

Boise is better in just about every facet of the game and NIU has had a tough run of injuries at quarterback. The Broncos scare me though because they recently lost a game they were favored to win by more than 30 points.

Georgia Southern – Bowling Green

Final – BG -7 (37)
Initial – BG -7.5 (17)
Public – Over 66 (32)

Southern loves to run the ball and their most recent test was an inferior Georgia State team that loves to throw it. They got blown out. Not a good sign when you’re going up against the best passing team in the country.

Middle Tennessee – Western Michigan

Final – MTSU +4 (29)
Initial – WMU -3 (10)
Public – WMU -3.5 (14)

WMU is bad defensively against the pass and the run and they haven’t covered a bowl game in their six attempts. MTSU has won and covered their past four games.

Cincinnati – San Diego State

Final – SDSU +1.5 (35)
Initial – SDSU +2.5 (8)
Public – SDSU +1.5 (30)

The reason for the spike in confidence is that QB1 Gunner Kiel is officially out for the Bearcats. SDSU’s starting QB is also out, but they’re a much more run-oriented team and Cinci has real problems stopping the run.

UConn – Marshall

Final – Marshall -4 (23)
Initial – Over 43 (7)
Public – Under 44.5 (11)

UConn is just so bad offensively. They’re 7-17 in their last 24 ATS.

Miami (FL) – Washington State

Final – Over 62 (15)
Initial – Over 61 (33)
Public – Wazzu -2.5 (23)

Both these defenses are pretty poor and the offenses both put up over 400 yards per game. I’m looking for things to get weird in El Paso.

Washington – Southern Mississippi

Final – USM +8.5 (25)
Initial – USM +8.5 (34)
Public – Under 56 (18)

Washington has a pretty good defense, but USM’s puts up over 40 points a game. If location means anything to you, this one is being played in Texas.

Indiana – Duke

Final – IU -2 (28)
Initial – Over 64 (29)
Public – Over 69.5 (34)

Duke’s All-American safety, Jeremy Cash, is out and if Duke has an AA, they have to be incredibly important. That’s especially bad when you’re playing an explosive offense like Indiana’s. Duke will most likely get its points – everyone does against IU – but they’ve been on a slide since the stripes took that Miami game from them.

Virginia Tech – Tulsa

Final – Over 62 (24)
Initial – Under 63 (4)
Public – Under 62 (19)

The public really likes the under and initially I did as well. Tulsa can score against anyone, though, including 38 against Oklahoma earlier in the year. Virginia Tech isn’t great offensively, but they’ve shown they can shred a weak defense (43 against Duke, 51 against Purdue). It’s Frank Beamer’s last game and I expect this one to get extra Beamer-y with a special teams touchdown or two.

Nebraska – UCLA

Final – Nebraska +7 (7)
Initial – Nebraska +6.5 (16)
Public – Over 61 (26)

Nebraska is 5-7, but the six losses they’ve had while Tommy Armstrong is under center have only combined for 21 total points. They’ve lost four games on essentially the last play of the game.

Navy – Pittsburgh

Final – Navy -3 (34)
Initial – Navy -5 (19)
Public – Under 52 (9)

Keenan Reynolds last game is a lock for the Midshipmen. The best way to beat Navy is to throw the ball (losses this year came to Notre Dame and Houston) and Pitt ranks 95th in passing YPG.

Minnesota – Central Michigan

Final – CMU +6 (8)
Initial – CMU +6 (12)
Public – Under 49.5 (33)

Minnesota’s offense stinks and they’ve haven’t beaten a MAC team by more than six points in their last five tries. They beat a 3-9 Kent State team this year by a 10-7 score. Detroit is the capital city of the MAC and the Chippewas will represent.

California – Air Force

Final – Cal -7 (20)
Initial – Cal -6.5 (15)
Public – Over 66.5 (25)

I’ve decided I’m just going to take passing teams to beat running teams. That’s just a thing I’m doing now. Plus, Jared Goff really needs to play well more than anybody in this game because it could be the difference between him being a top-10 pick or not.

Baylor – North Carolina

Final – UNC +3 (11)
Initial – UNC +3.5 (30)
Public – Over 69.5 (36)

I was much more confident about UNC until I realized they lost by 19 to RUTGERS in the Quick Lane Bowl last year. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your pick. The public loves the over, but Jarrett Stidham isn’t going to play for Baylor and it’s unclear whether Chris Johnson is capable of leading an offense to score many points.

Nevada – Colorado State

Final – Under 56 (1)
Initial – CSU -3.5 (2)
Public – CSU -3 (17)

Pick made exclusively because I assume this game is going to be as awful as I imagine it to be.

Texas Tech – LSU

Final – LSU -7 (36)
Initial – Under 74 (27)
Public – LSU -7 (10)

Texas Tech obviously scores a lot of points, but it wasn’t as effective when they played the best defense in the Big 12, Oklahoma, and scored 27 points. The Tigers sport a top 25 defense. The Red Raiders are the third worst in the country against the run and LSU has Leonard Fournette. He legitimately might run for 400 yards like Texas did against Tech.

Memphis – Auburn

Final – Memphis +2.5 (27)
Initial – Memphis +2.5 (14)
Public – Under 63 (24)

Auburn still stinks. They rank in the 90s in both total offense and defense. They got four wins against soft non-conference opponents and their two SEC wins came against Kentucky and Texas A&M when they didn’t have their starting QB. They’re 2-9-1 ATS. Meanwhile, Memphis already beat Ole Miss (10th in Sagarin ratings) by 13. It’s a big game for Memphis QB Paxton Lynch.

North Carolina State – Mississippi State

Final – MSU -5.5 (39)
Initial – MSU -7 (20)
Public – MSU -5 (21)

My favorite pick of the bowl slate. It mainly has to do with the Wolfpack being total frauds. They went 0-5 against bowl teams and they lost four of those games by double digits. The only thing that made me slightly hesitant about this game is the fact that it’s being played in Charlotte.

USC – Wisconsin

Final – USC -3 (33)
Initial – USC -3 (22)
Public – USC -3 (29)

Wisconsin has a great defense, but they played the weakest schedule in the Big Ten. They were 2-3 against bowl teams and their wins were on a last second field goal to beat Nebraska and a 10 point win over Minnesota. Meanwhile, USC has played the third toughest schedule in the nation and their ratings suggest a much better team than their 8-5 record.

Houston – Florida State

Final – Under 55.5 (19)
Initial – Houston +7 (11)
Public – Houston +7.5 (2)

Each defense is better than the opposing team’s offense and they both like to run the ball, which should minimize possessions in the game. The Cougars have gone under in five of their last six and the Seminoles have done the same in 8 of their last 11.

Oklahoma – Clemson

Final – Over 64.5 (6)
Initial – Over 65 (31)
Public – Over 64 (20)

Both of these teams have been a frequent over play, but the reason for the loss of confidence is the fact that both of their defenses are pretty good. I thought about switching to Oklahoma covering, but I couldn’t shake the fact that Clemson beat Oklahoma 40-6 in a bowl game last year. Baker Mayfield obviously is a huge upgrade over Trevor Knight, but it still gave me too many scaries.

Michigan State – Alabama

Final – MSU +9.5 (31)
Initial – MSU +8.5 (38)
Public – MSU +9.5 (16)

It’s scary as hell to bet against Alabama, especially with this much confidence. But Michigan State always seems to thrive in an underdog situation. They’re 4-0 SU in their last four bowl games and they were underdogs in each game. Now, they started that streak after losing five years ago to Alabama by 42 points. Sparty was more of a well-coached team back then, though, and less of a talented one. This one still doesn’t match the talent level of the Tide, but they’re A LOT closer. They just held Ohio State to 132 total yards a few weeks ago. Yes, Alabama’s front seven is ridiculous and they give up less than 100 yards on the ground, but they were basically at the same level a year ago heading into the playoff and Ohio State racked up over 500 yards of offense. I’m not saying MSU is going to match that, but they can certainly do enough to keep this a one score game.

Northwestern – Tennessee

Final – Under 47.5 (32)
Initial – NW +9 (13)
Public – NW +8.5 (22)

Northwestern really sucks at scoring points, but they’re AWESOME at not giving up points.

Michigan – Florida

Final – Michigan -4 (9)
Initial – Michigan -4 (21)
Public – Under 40.5 (31)

I think you’re certifiably insane to bet on Florida to cover any spread right now. Michigan has been shaky in the last half of the season, though.

Stanford – Iowa

Final – Iowa +7 (5)
Initial – Iowa +6.5 (25)
Public – Stanford -6.5 (5)

Everyone wants to keep doubting Iowa, but they proved they belong against Michigan State. I feel like we’ll know the outcome of this one by the end of the first quarter. If Iowa slows down McCaffrey, they’ve got a shot to win the game outright.

Oklahoma State – Ole Miss

Final – Over 67.5 (13)
Initial – Over 68.5 (35)
Public – Over 67.5 (3)

Both teams average over 40 points a game and this one’s in a dome. Let it rain.

Notre Dame – Ohio State

Final – OSU -6.5 (14)
Initial – OSU -5 (6)
Public – Over 55 (39)

If you look at injury reports for the bowl games, most teams have one or two guys at the most. Notre Dame has a “See More” option because this team has been so banged up. Urban Meyer is awesome in bowl games and Brian Kelly is not. The Buckeyes seemed like they were moving in slow motion all year, but they still have a 21 point margin of victory and they’re second in the nation by only allowing 14 points a game.

Georgia – Penn State

Final – Under 42.5 (10)
Initial – UGA -7 (26)
Public – UGA -6.5 (1)

I’m just envisioning a 14-3 game or something.

Arkansas – Kansas State

Final – Arkansas -11.5 (26)
Initial – Kansas St. +13 (5)
Public – Arkansas -11.5 (8)

K-State ranks in the 100s in total offense and defense. Arkansas is going to run and throw all over them.

TCU – Oregon

Final – Oregon Pick em (17)
Initial – Oregon Pick em (36)
Public – Over 78 (37)

Oregon has been a different team when Vernon Adams plays and he’s suiting up for the Alamo Bowl. Same goes for TCU with Josh Doctson and he’s questionable at best. The reason I lowered by confidence so much is it’s hard to totally trust Oregon with their defense and how many points they give up. That’s why the public loves the over so much. I still say Doctson is the key, though. Since he went down, TCU hasn’t scored more than 29.

West Virginia – Arizona State

Final – ASU Pick em (16)
Initial – ASU Pick em (18)
Public – Under 65 (35)

This one’s being played in Phoenix and Todd Graham has a 5-2 record in bowl games. Dana Holgorsen won his first one with Rich Rod’s players, but they’ve been sloppy the past couple of years in the postseason.

 

Final Picks

39. Mississippi St. -5.5
38. WKU-USF over 66.537. Bowling Green -7
36. LSU -7
35. SDSU +1.5
34. Navy -3
33. USC -3
32. NW-Tenn under 47.5
31. Michigan St. +9.5
30. App St. -7.5
29. MTSU +4
28. IU -2
27. Memphis +2.5
26. Arkansas -12.5
25. Southern Miss +8.5
24. Tulsa-VT over 62
23. Marshall -4
22. Utah -2.5
21. Boise St. -8
20. Cal -7
19. Houston-FSU under 55.5
18. Georgia St. +3
17. Oregon Pick em
16. Arizona St. Pick em
15. Miami-Wazzu over 62
14. Ohio St. -6.5
13. Ole Miss-OkSt. over 67.5
12. LaTech -2
11. UNC +3
10. UGA-PSU under 42.5
9. Michigan -4
8. CMU +6
7. Nebraska +7
6. Clemson-OU over 64.5
5. Iowa +7
4. Akron +7
3. Arizona -9.5
2. Toledo +1.5
1. Nevada-CSU under 56

First Glance Picks

39. WKU-USF over 64
38. Michigan St. +8.5
37. Temple -1
36. Oregon Pick em
35. Ole Miss-OkSt. over 68.5
34. Southern Miss +8.5
33. Miami-Wazzu over 61
32. Boise-NIU under 59
31. Clemson-OU over 65
30. UNC +3.5
29. IU-Duke over 64
28. SJSU-GSU over 58
27. LSU-TT under 74
26. Georgia -7
25. Iowa +6.5
24. Utah -3
23. New Mexico +11.5
22. USC -3
21. Michigan -4
20. Mississippi St. -7
19. Navy -5
18. Arizona St. Pick em
17. BG -7.5
16. Nebraska +6.5
15. Cal -6.5
14. Memphis +2.5
13. Northwestern +9
12. CMU +6
11. Houston +7
10. Ohio +9.5
9. ArkSt.-LaTech over 67
8. SDSU +2.5
7. Marshall-UConn over 436. Ohio St. -5
5. Kansas St. +13
4. VT-Tulsa under 63
3. Ohio +9.5
2. Colorado St. -3.5
1. Akron +6.5

Public Picks

39. ND-OSU over 55
38. Akron-USU under 51
37. TCU-Oregon over 78
36. Baylor-UNC over 69.5
35. WV-AzSt. under 65
34. IU-Duke over 69.5
33. Minn-CMU under 49.5
32. BG-GSU over 66
31. Michigan-Florida under 40.5
30. SDSU +1.5
29. USC -3
28. WKU-USF over 66.5
27. ArkSt.-LT over 68.5
26. Nebraska-UCLA over 61
25. Cal-AF over 66.5
24. Memphis-Auburn under 63
23. Wazzu -2.5
22. NW +8.5
21. Mississippi St. -5
20. OU-Clemson over 64
19. VT-Tulsa under 62
18. Washington-USM under 56
17. Colorado St. -3
16. Michigan St. +9.5
15. Toledo -1
14. Western Michigan -3.5
13. AZ-NM over 65
12. BYU-Utah under 50.5
11. UConn-Marshall under 44.5
10. LSU -7
9. Navy-Pitt under 52
8. Arkansas -11.5
7. Boise -8
6. Georgia St. +4
5. Stanford -6.5
4. Ohio-AppSt. under 55
3. OkSt.-Ole Miss over 67
2. Houston +7.5
1. UGA -6.5

 

Picks of the Day: CBB and NBA

A 5-3-1 day yesterday pushed us back to .500 (9-9-2) on a week that’s been marred by some unfortunate endings to games. I detailed the brutal nature of Tuesday night’s games already, but last night wasn’t much easier. We suffered a half point loss by UNC when they were up by 19 at half, but could only push it five more in the second half. NIU going 0-6 from the field and 1-2 from the free throw line down the stretch to allow a push wasn’t any easier. We could just as easily be 13-6-1 this week, but every break has gone the wrong way. Such is life.

CBB

Belmont (+1) over MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

This game is a real contrast in styles. Belmont likes to push the ball and is a much better team offensively than defensively. Middle Tennessee is the exact opposite. The Bruins are top five in the country in effective field goal percentage and shoot the best clip in the country on two point shots. MTSU isn’t a terrible team offensively and they actually shoot it pretty well from deep, but I think the deciding factor when a game is expected to be close is often free throw shooting. The Blue Raiders are awful at that, coming in at 332nd out of 351 in the country with their 60.1 percentage from the stripe.

West Virginia (-20.5) over Marshall

Dan D’Antoni, brother of Mike, unsurprisingly loves for his teams to play quickly, coming in at sixth in the country in terms of tempo. The Mountaineers do the same, coming in at 26th. The problem for Marshall: they’re pretty bad offensively and defensively. West Virginia is probably one of the most underrated teams in the country right now and they have a penchant for blowing out inferior teams. A fast game + a wide gap in ability = blowout city.

NBA

HORNETS-Raptors under 196

Both teams are better defensively than offensively. Their average pace of play wouldn’t indicate that this one is going to be a track meet, especially Tornoto’s. Additionally, personnel is a factor here. Nicolas Batum is likely out with the flu tonight and he averages 16 a game for the Hornets. DeMarre Carroll is going to miss his sixth straight game for the Raptors and they’ve peaked at 102 points in the five games he missed and that came against the Lakers.

CAVALIERS (-2.5) over Thunder

Both of these teams are pretty dominant at home and their both .500 teams when they hit the road. The Thunder are 0-3 this year when they hit the road against playoff-caliber teams from the Eastern Conference. The main reason OKC isn’t quite as good on the road is the fact they give up four more points per game when they’re traveling. One other small tidbit: OKC is 2-3 this year in their second game of a back-to-back.