OHIO (-16) over Milwaukee
Big line, but it’s a bad matchup for a young Milwaukee team that’s still trying to learn quickly under a rookie head coach. LaVall Jordan would be that coach, a John Beilein disciple. Not shockingly, this team plays a very similar style to what you’ve seen from Wolverine teams over the past decade, only with less skill and less discipline, as is to be expected for such a young team at a lower level.
They do one thing really well at the moment and that’s shoot from the outside. They generate a ton of offense from out there, but that’s gonna be tough against a Bobcat defense that doesn’t give you many open looks out there.
Defensively, the Panthers have a lot of problems. They don’t have any semblance of rim protection and they’re not much better on the perimeter. Ohio is 15th in the country in 3P%, they’re even better at home, and they put it up often. Not to mention Antonio Campbell is a force down low and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he went for 25+.
I’d expect the veteran-laden Bobcat team to pick apart the inexperienced Panthers.
SAINT MARY’S (-21) over Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers are coming off a nice win over Indiana State, but the Sycamores have been consistently inconsistent under Greg Lansing for years – despite people seeming to like him so much – and the Trees were just coming off a big win over Butler. That game was decided by three-point shooting. ISU went 2-24, WKU went 8-14.
That’s not gonna happen against the Gaels. Teams that consistently defend tend to be the ones who can stay with SMC and WKU hasn’t quite proven that yet. The Gaels are potent offensively in the halfcourt, Jock Landale has been great down low, and they don’t beat themselves.
The Toppers had a nice game, but they’re still the team that got boat raced by Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, and Washington.
Grand Canyon (+10) over ARIZONA – 1H
It would help a lot if Josh Braun was playing for the Antelopes, but unfortunately he’s not. However, GC still has Dewayne Russell, who has been a diminutive monster this season, including a 42-piece against Louisville. They tend to play much better when the pace is actually slower and Zona’s not one to really push the tempo.
The Cats have been good this year, but nothing that’s unbeatable. Their best win is still Michigan State on opening night and we’ve all seen that the Spartans aren’t exactly a finished product. They looked good against Missouri, but that’s not really saying all that much. Zona’s biggest advantage in this game is obviously their size and that’s part of the reason I’m going with the first half line. Undersized teams can usually play for a half, but eventually they get worn down and/or foul out in the second half. Also, it’s the middle of finals week for Zona and this game is sandwiched between that road trip to Mizzou and a game against Texas A&M this weekend in Houston. For a team that starts three freshmen, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out a little lethargic. The Antelopes are far from a doormat that’s just going to give points away.
Season: 4-4 (50.0%)