I love a good team total play. If you’re a regular reader, you know that team totals are one of my favorite bets to make. That’s because it makes the total only about one matchup. Plus, if I can get the game flow right, it can take one of the possibilities of losing out of the equation. There aren’t many worse feelings than watching a team send the game over when you have the under because some walk-on got an open look and drilled a shot, rather than watching a starter dribble out the clock.
By contrast, teams don’t quit playing defense. When Rutgers holds a 15-point lead at home, for example, it’s still going to keep playing tight defense no matter who is in the game. A team total play can prove much more impervious to garbage time, which makes a big difference.
And that’s why out of my total plays, four of them happen to be team total plays. It’ll be impossible to top yesterday’s showing, but we’ll try for another 5-0 day. Here are my best plays for February 14.
NEBRASKA TTU 59, -110
My favorite total play of 2022-23 resurfaces. I’ve said it all season: Piscataway is where offense goes to die. Rutgers continues to squeeze the life out of everyone at the RAC, and Nebraska’s not a great offensive team anyway. The Cornhuskers have scored 56 or less in five of eight road games, and that came against lesser defenses than Rutgers. Going into Piscataway when the Scarlet Knights need a win is a bad recipe for offense, especially for a team like Nebraska.
KANSAS TTU 70, -110
Offense doesn’t have much more success in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has kept all but one opponent from hitting 70 at home this season, and these are both defensive teams. They played a 69-67 grinder in Lawrence, and Kansas has shown a tendency to play tight, low-scoring games away from Allen Fieldhouse. The one worry I have here is that this game could be close enough to warrant overtime, which would sink this total. But if the game ends in 40 minutes, Kansas shouldn’t make it to 70.
MISSOURI-AUBURN OVER 150.5, -110
These defenses should get overly aggressive. Missouri and Auburn both rank in the top 25 in creating points off steals. Missouri actually leads the nation in that category, which means points in transition and plenty of fouls. Both of those things lead to overs, and Missouri’s got a tendency to hit the gas. The Columbia-based Tigers played out one putrid showing at Mississippi State, but otherwise, they’ve hit 78 or more in five straight games. As long as the host Tigers do their part, we should see some points here.
NOTRE DAME TTU 65, -110
This total seems awfully high for a Notre Dame squad that comes to Cameron with little to play for. Duke’s been a home-court hero all year long, and the Blue Devils dominate at home with defense. Duke gives up an average of 59.6 points per game at home, and they’ve held eight opponents under this number. Notre Dame’s not a great offensive team, and the Irish don’t have much to play for. Bubble teams Pittsburgh and Wake Forest had every motivation to battle the Blue Devils; Notre Dame doesn’t. That should lead to a low-scoring night for the Irish.
LSU TTU 67, -110
When Georgia holds their opponent to 67 points or less, the Bulldogs are 11-0. When they don’t, they’re 4-10. They shouldn’t have much trouble keeping LSU under that number, given that the Bayou Bengals have gone 0-6 on the road and failed to get above 66 in four of their past five road games. Actually, it hasn’t mattered much where the game is played. LSU has scored under this number in nine of its 12 games in the SEC. They don’t shoot the ball well, and that should play right into Georgia’s hands.