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YTD: 40-30-3 (I'll never forget 2019 Feast Week)
Under 145 Syracuse/Iowa
Florida State +2.5
Illinois State +13.5
Michigan State -6.5
Over 155 San Francisco/Arizona State
Some things: We're officially done with the tournaments and I sure miss them already. We really need more day time hoops. So here we are and thankfully we have some unreal games this week to keep us entertained before the schedule weakens with finals happening. The lines comes from our friends at PointsBet (taking these at 11am as I work on this). These will be posted a few times a week as the schedule permits and there's games I want to gamble on and enough of them. If there's any drastic news that changes something I'll update the blog or post something on my Twitter (barstoolreags). Let's hoop and get rich.
Just like everyone expected a week ago here we go with a top-5 matchup at the Yum Center. So here's one thing to keep in mind - first I do love this Michigan team and think Juwan Howard is a damn good coach and hire. The last 3 programs to pull off a run in Atlantis/Maui like Michigan did all lost their next game on the road. Those teams were Notre Dame (Maui) back in 2017, Syracuse (Atlantis) in 2015 and Villanova (Atlantis) in 2013. Notre Dame/Syracuse both lose ACC/Big 10 Challenge games too. Now, as for this game exactly the biggest question will be can Michigan create enough with Simpson on ball screens to suck in the pack line defense that Mack likes to run? What's made Michigan so good offensively is surrounding Simpson with shooters (Wagner, Brooks, Livers, Dejulius) and a pick and pop big guy in Teske. That allows Simpson to create havoc and he's a hell of a passer. That said, Mack's pack line defense is predicated on hedging the ball screen hard, something you don't really want to do against Simpson. Does he adjust that? I'm going to take Louisville at home with Mack having time to prepare for this game (something he's great at) and Michigan having the schedule of 3 games in the Bahamas and a quick turnaround to Louisville.
Pick: Louisville -5.5
Yeah, I know it's on the road but Butler is enticing here. They are undefeated, coming off a 1-point win vs Stanford thanks to Kamar Baldwin at the buzzer (essentially). That's where it starts for me. Baldwin vs Breein Tyree for Ole Miss. Baldwin being a senior doesn't' scare me about having to go on the road to a bit of an underrated place to play in Ole Miss. The real advantage for Butler though? The wings. I just like the group led by Jordan Tucker a bit more. Also I trust Butler's defense more.
Pick: Butler +1.5
You want to talk about a team that desperately needs a win? Syracuse just went 0-2 in Brooklyn, something that's rare for them. Now they draw an Iowa team in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge that wants to speed the game up and is a decent 3pt shooting team. However, the 2-3 zone can challenge Iowa because of how high Cuse plays it. They need someone to attack the middle and I'm not sure how well Garza does that assuming McCaffrey wants to keep Wisekamp, Frederick, Bohannon, etc all on the outside and run a 4-out look. I also still don't trust this Syracuse offense one bit.
Pick: Under 145
It looks like a trap. It feels like a trap. I'm falling for it. Florida State is a top-15, maybe top-25 team in the country. I firmly believe that. They are also coming off of two pretty impressive wins over Purdue and Tennessee down in Florida. You know what Indiana wants to do offensively? Run clock, get the ball inside and use Justin Smith and Trayce Jackson-Davis. You know what Florida State is really good at doing? Creating havoc defensively, getting you out of your comfort zone and challenging quite literally everything. Typical FSU fashion they are the tallest team in the country, they have a ton of depth and they are going to challenge everything at the rim.
Pick: Florida State +2.5
For some reason I keep finding myself betting on Illinois State. Probably because I think they are a tad bit better than the 200th team in the country and the fact that they always seem to get between 13-16 points per game in what should be a slow tempo when they play. Throw in the fact that TCU wants to shoot a ton of threes and that's literally the one thing Illinois State defends well I'm going to do it again. I hate it, but here we are.
Pick: Illinois State +13.5
The other big game of the night and woo, buddy are both teams desperate for a win here. Remember, Duke won't be with Cassius Stanley, who is pretty damn important to what they want to do. You know what Duke also struggles with? Defending the ball screen - just go watch that Stephen F. Austin game again. You know what Michigan State wants to do? Put Cassius Winston in a million ball screens - go watch the Kentucky game again. I don't think Duke has the guys that can switch and rotate like Kentucky did against that ball screen offense, mostly because Nick Richards was a pleasant surprise at moving his feet on that and then the rotations were there. I'll take the home team here.
Pick: Michigan State -6.5
Simply put San Francisco has gone over in every game. Arizona State wants to fly up and down the court. Give me Moreyball in San Francisco and Hurley's team running all around. We'll take it until we lose.
Pick: Over 155