Sometimes, you can do all the research and come out with what looks like a solid play, and it just doesn’t work out. Case in point: Texas hadn’t won a single game when it allowed an opponent to top 70 points, so there was no way it was going to pull that off against Kansas. Duke looked national-title good against Carolina and Virginia has barely looked NIT quality, so of course the Blue Devils would race past the Cavaliers at home when they’ve never had problems with the pack-line defense against better Virginia teams than this one.
Yeah…about that…nope. Duke played another one of its disinterested games and played with fire, eventually getting burned when Virginia finally sank a 3, and Texas actually scored points for the first time in recent memory. Fortunately, some things — namely Montana continuing to dominate in Missoula, Montana State hammering Idaho State in a return to form and Pittsburgh remaining helpless outside of western Pennsylvania — remained true to form, so I was able to avoid a catastrophic day. Still, Monday wasn’t great.
We’ll try to get back on track today: here are my best plays for February 8.
CLEMSON TTO 73.5, -110
One thing we’ve consistently seen: North Carolina can’t play defense outside of Chapel Hill. Apparently, the Tar Heels can’t play defense in Chapel Hill either when the opponent is Duke, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Heels are giving up an average of 86 points per game in their past four road games, and considering Clemson hit 75 in its past two home games, the Tigers getting to 73.5 makes sense.
IOWA STATE TTU 63.5, -110
Iowa State probably can’t be as bad as the 41 points it put up against Texas, but the Cyclones have been a mess on offense. In their past six games, the Cyclones got over this number twice, with one coming in overtime and one being a home game against Missouri, which has been terrible away from Columbia. Going to Morgantown looks like a problem for Iowa State’s offense, and I think this game finds its way to the 50s.
MICHIGAN-PENN STATE U130, -110
Something has to give in this one, as Michigan has gone over in its past six games and Penn State has played under 132 points in five of its past six games. The Nittany Lions tend to play pretty good defense in University Park, and Michigan isn’t going to be opposed to a rock fight. The Wolverines don’t mind playing slow, and given how games usually drag at the Bryce Jordan Center when the opponent isn’t Iowa (and even that game was 132 points in regulation; the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes put up 44 points in overtime), I like the under here.
PURDUE TTO 76, -110
The Boilermakers have zero wins where they’ve scored fewer than 70 points, so they’re going to try to push the ball at home. That’s just fine with Illinois, which tends to put up a fair amount of points on its own. Taking the overall total makes sense as well, but I’m going with the trend here.
EVANSVILLE TTU 61, -110
I’m not sure why the Purple Aces are expected to get to 61 here. Evansville hasn’t hit 61 points even once in 2022, going under that number in nine straight games. Not only that, but Evansville has played 10 Missouri Valley games and has played under this number in all of them. Indiana State might play fast, but the Sycamores are decent on defense and the Purple Aces shoot pretty poorly.