CBB Picks: 1/21

3-0 on Thursday. I don’t want to ruin the good momentum with a bad Saturday. Early games have been atrocious for me on Saturday, so I’m just gonna stay away from them entirely and hope it pays off.

Arizona (+6) over UCLA

I’ve written plenty on why I like Arizona so I don’t need to say much more here. They’re the more well-rounded team and they’ve got the better coach. They’ll get out on UCLA’s shooters as well as anybody has this season. (Hadn’t been on Twitter/watched TV since the announcement Trier was back. It makes me uncomfortable, but it’s different from a guy coming back from injury because he’s been practicing all year. On a side note, Jay Williams picking Trier to score the most points in CBB today and also picking UCLA to win the game is quite the take.)

Northeastern (+2.5) over HOFSTRA

I love the Huskies coming off a bad loss at Delaware. They can pick however they want to score on the worst defense in the CAA. Hofstra’s still been pretty good offensively, but they’ve lost six straight. They’ve fallen in love with three-point shooting, but the increased volume has only hurt their percentages. Jump shooting hasn’t been the way to break down Northeastern.

Michigan State (+5) over INDIANA

Wrote about this game extensively yesterday. Ultimately, I just don’t know how IU defends Ward and Bridges with their front court absences. The Spartans have responded well after losses. I still think Indiana might win on the backs of Blackmon and Johnson and Assembly Hall, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to run away and hide.

SOUTHERN MISS (+11) over Rice

Southern Miss to the bookmakers:

https://i2.wp.com/s2.quickmeme.com/img/03/03ddcf5a30feba4e5ada33064fb371707a32229230c359771b890ff32f27f153.jpg

(It was probably the nine-game losing streak)

MARSHALL (-9) over Western Kentucky

Feels like a “get right” game for Marshall. They’re coming off two road losses, but they had the week off to practice and they now get a home game against WKU’s defense, which has been the worst in the C-USA.

PACIFIC (+8.5) over BYU

There’s a world of difference between BYU at home and BYU on the road. In addition, they’re coming off another blowout win. Every time they’ve done that this year, they’ve followed it up with a mediocre/bad performance. Pacific should have Jack Williams back, which is big because he’s probably their best shooter and one of their best rebounders.

ILLINOIS STATE (-10) over Drake – 1H

Lost/came close to losing a couple of these big spread games due to second half letdowns after breaking out big in the first half, so I’ll just with the first 20 minutes here with ISU. With all their shooters, they should get plenty of looks against a porous Drake defense. The Bulldogs have improved greatly, but their offense hasn’t carried over when they go on the road yet.

DUKE (-9) over Miami (FL)

It’s hard to be totally comfortable with Duke yet, but there are a few things not X and O related that make me think it’s gonna be a blowout. For one, Miami is playing their third game on the road in eight days. I’m also not sure the Canes are any good. They’re 1-5 in games considered to be at an “A” level by KenPom and that one win was at Pittsburgh, the best team they’ve beat all year. Duke’s also coming off two road losses against really good teams. They had the week off and all that practice time seems essential for a team that has so many ridiculously talented parts that haven’t had the proper time to gel. Jefferson probably isn’t playing, but that’s less of a big deal against Miami’s front line than it was against FSU or Louisville’s. And finally, it’s a night game at Cameron after they hosted College GameDay.

UC Irvine (-3.5) over CS NORTHRIDGE

Luke Nelson’s status is still unknown at this point, so only 1u on this one for the Eaters. Even still, he only played 11 minutes in the last game before heading out with an injury and UCI rolled without him.  He’s important, but his presence isn’t the sole reason for UCI’s resurgence. They’ve improved in a lot of ways.

Season: 78-74-1 (51.3%)

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