Just one of those nights last night.
GEORGE MASON (-3) over UMass
UMass is a team of chuckers. They’ve attempted at least 20 three-pointers in every game this season and they’ve only made over 40% one time and that was against Kennesaw State. They’re only shooting 30% all year and GMU will be happy to let them fire away and grab the rebounds. GMU should be able to handle the Minutemen pressure fairly well and the way you make a pressure team pay is by making free throws. GMU shoots 74.5% as a team.
DUQUESNE (+10.5) over VCU
The Dukes are really young and got off to a rough start this season, but they had a great month of December. They went 5-1 with a win over Pittsburgh and they’re fresh off a road win at Fordham. About that Fordham game, the Rams are one of the few teams that turns teams over even more than VCU and the young Dukes did a great job against that pressure. Defensively, Duquesne should fair well against the Rams attacking the rim.
Auburn (+6) over VANDERBILT
It’s a scary proposition to trust Auburn, but I think the matchup suits them well. Vandy is turnover prone and heavily reliant on perimeter shooting, which are two things that don’t bode well against Auburn’s pressure, length, and athleticism. The Tigers are limiting teams to 29% from outside and that includes one game when Purdue lost their mind and went 17-26. The Tigers should generate offense with their defense. They’re very streaky with their shooting, but when they get going, they can really turn it on and the Dores don’t do a good job defending out there.
Oklahoma State (pick) over TEXAS
The Horns did well against WVU’s press last year, which is essentially the same thing they’ll be going against tonight. However, last year they had experienced guards that didn’t turn the ball over. They don’t have that benefit this year and they’re obviously mightily struggling as a team. Texas’ defense is very effective in the halfcourt when they can grind you, but I wouldn’t expect a lot of that tonight and when it comes time to just go make an individual play, there’s not many people better than Jawun Evans.
Oregon (-10) over WASHINGTON
The Huskies will have the best player on the floor, but the Ducks might have 2 through 6. You’re not going to stop Fultz, but the Ducks have multiple athletic guards/wings they can throw at him to slow him down. Not to mention Boucher and Bell to contest shots at the rim. And really, there’s no way the Huskies can guard Oregon and the Ducks appear to be getting back to last year’s form. Meanwhile UW just lost to Wazzu at home.
SMU (-11) over Temple
The Mustangs are really good at home and they’ve won eight straight regardless of where the game has been played. The Owls had a great Thanksgiving weekend when they beat Florida State and West Virginia in Brooklyn, but that appears to be fool’s gold. Their offense has hit the skids since and it could be a rough night in Dallas unless they get it going from outside. Offensively, SMU has a much better chance from outside against Temple and they’ll most likely destroy the Owls on the glass.
NEVADA (-2.5) over San Diego State
May be a changing of the guard type game here. SDSU has largely been the best team in the Mountain West for a while now, but Eric Musselman has things rolling in Reno. The last thing the Aztecs should want to do is get into a three-point shooting contest against the Pack in Reno, but that’s largely been their game this year, despite only hitting 33%. If UNR limits their turnovers and at least keeps the battle of the boards to a draw, they’ll have a great chance to win.
NIAGARA (+5) over Siena
It’s not going to be talked about a lot on a national stage because the MAAC is a low-major conference, but Siena is quietly one of the most disappointing teams in college basketball so far. The Saints had a ton coming back this year and were expected to contend for the conference title. Currently they’re 4-10 and 1-2 so far in the league. They’ve played nine true road games and they are 0-9. Niagara isn’t exactly tearing things up, but it’s hard to give Siena the benefit of the doubt in terms of them giving five points on the road.
Season: 36-34 (51.4%)