Things are not going well right now, so I’m gonna try to change things up a bit. I feel like I’ve been too reliant on numbers and percentages and have gotten away from the instincts a little bit. For example, I passed on Florida State and West Virginia last night because the numbers didn’t necessarily support my gut feeling and I left two winners on the table. So I’m gonna be a little more liberal with my game selection and see what happens. Can’t possibly make it much worse.
Houston (-9) over EAST CAROLINA
ECU can’t score and they haven’t kept up with one half-way decent offense. Houston has its struggles. They need a third scorer, but they’re still 33rd in offensive efficiency. They’ll force ECU to make shots from the perimeter, which they can’t do, and the turnover and rebounding battles are big in the Cougars favor.
Loyola Chicago (+15.5) over WICHITA STATE
The best way to take advantage of the Shockers defense is to shoot from the outside. They haven’t played very many good shooting teams. The best three are Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Michigan State. The two games against the Cowboys and Spartans were the two worst games Wichita has had defensively. Obviously, those two are a lot more talented than the Ramblers, but Loyola is also the best shooting team. They’ve got five guys (four who shoot regularly) who are shooting over 40% from three. I’m not saying they’ll win, but they’ve got enough to stick with Wichita, provided they don’t get hammered on the glass too bad.
Minnesota (+4) over MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans somehow pulled out the last one after the Gophers were up 15 at one point. Bridges is back for this one, but he looks lost in the offense right now. Minnesota has the guys to guard him too. It also took a career effort from Alvin Ellis to win that game.
I just think the Gophers are the better team. Their only other loss was at Florida State, who showed how good they are last night against Duke. They’ve already won at Purdue and Northwestern. I’d also expect that they’ll do some different things when they guard Nick Ward tonight.
LOUISVILLE (-11) over Pittsburgh
The Cards have the length to make life difficult on Young and Artis for the Panthers, which was true in both of their meetings last year. On the other end, Donovan Mitchell has been hot lately and Quentin Snider should be able to get things started with dribble penetration against a shaky Panther defense.
Illinois State (-4) over SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
The Redbirds will challenge Wichita for the MVC title and they’re off to a great start so far in league play. The Salukis are 3-1 themselves, but I don’t think this is the matchup for them. It could end up just being a shooting contest and ISU is much more equipped to win that battle.
DRAKE (+1) over Indiana State
Drake’s really improved since Jeff Rutter took over and changed their style of play. It took them a while to get their feet underneath them, but they finally got a nice slump-buster win over MVSU and since then have beaten Loyola and Evansville at home. The Trees are desperate after an 0-4 start in conference play and losing 6 of 7, but I don’t see them winning this one unless they get hot from outside. I think they’ll have to wait until Saturday when they get Bradley at home to get their first MVC win.
Season: 52-53-1 (49.5%)