What a week of college basketball it has been since I have last had a chance to write. There was some close top 25 matchups, some really electric plays that will be replayed over and over again, and some surprising downfalls for teams that were expected to do so well. Let’s take a look at some of the headlines and news that have struck my eye this week, as well as some games to watch and bet on.
Providence Friars: Frying the Competition: One of the most surprising teams so far this season has been Providence. Many had them projected to be a dark horse team, but they have turned from dark horse to frontrunners to win the Big East. The Friars have started off the season on a heater, going 13-1 and 10-4 ATS. The Friars have a very balanced offensive attack with a different leading scorerer nearly every week. The team will show their true colors, as they are playing two middle to lower end of the pack Big East teams this week, followed up by a matchup at Creighton, the second best team in the Big East as of today. If the Friars continue to roll, have them as a dark horse to go far in March.
Michigan Basketball: Rocky Start Many fans and analysts, including myself, projected Michigan as the team to beat in college basketball this year. If the start of their season is any indication on how the rest of the season will go for the Wolverines, they may be lucky to even get above an 8 seed in the tournament. The Wolverines are 7-5 on the year (5-7 ATS, 5-7 O/U) and have just not looked in sync. The loss to Seton Hall really set the team backwards and it is showing. Hunter Dickerson is giving the team everything he has following his return to the team, leading the team in points per game (15.3), rebounds (9.1), and blocks (1.1). After their road stint against Rutgers tonight, the Wolverines will be facing off against #10 Michigan State and #3 Purdue, both at home. This next week will determine how the rest of the season will go for the Wolverines.
E.J. Liddell Takes Naismith Frontrunner Odds: In a very dominant Big 10 conference, Ohio State is sitting at the top of the conference, sporting a 9-2 record, 3-0 in conference. Ohio State made national attention, as they gave Duke their only loss of the season, defeating the Blue Devils 71-66. A massive key to the Buckeyes success has been their 6’7” Junior Forward E.J. Liddell. Liddell is putting up unbelievable stats this year, averaging 19.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and shooting 51.8% from the field and 33,3% from 3. Oddshark now has Liddell as the odds-on favorite to win the Naismith Trophy at (+400), narrowly edging out Drew Timme of Gonzaga and Paolo Banchero of Duke. If you haven’t had a chance to watch a Buckeye basketball game, you are missing out on watching one of the most talented players in the country.
Game to Watch: January 4
#16 Kentucky @ #21 LSU (LSU -1.5, O/U 140): These two teams have started out the season really well with Kentucky sporting a 11-2 record, and LSU sporting a 12-1 record. Both teams have tier 1 scoring offenses, with Kentucky averaging 83.9 points per game and LSU averaging 77.7 points per game. The primary focus for both of these teams are going to limit points allowed in the paint. It will be extremely tough for the Tigers to contain Kentucky Forward, Oscar Tshiebwe, who has averaging 15.8 points and 15.2 points per game. He is making a case for SEC player of the year. In regards for plays for this game, there were two primary factors that came to my pick. First, LSU’s defense is one of the best defenses in the country, only allowing 55.3 points per game. They are giving teams problems any time they step foot on the court. The second factor is LSU is 10-3 at covering the spread this season and 8-0 ATS at home. I think they will be able to hold Tshiebwe in check and will win this game. Kyle’s Pick: LSU -1.5
There are a lot of great games on this week, so expect some more CBB blogs coming this week with my plays. Let’s make some money and cash some bets CBB fans!