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YTD: 58-46-4 (yikes, Saturday was bad)
Under 137 Vandy/Loyola
Some things: This week still kinda sucks in terms of games (until Saturday)with the start of finals and Christmas break. Howevah, today's schedule is sneaky better. It's one of the problems with college hoops where they don't get to take advantage with football on a break and load up some awesome games. That said, we'll still be betting when we find games we like and put into a blog. These lines come from PointsBet, around noon, when I'm working on the blog. If there's any drastic news that changes something I'll update the blog or post something on my Twitter (barstoolreags).
Going to trust Xavier in a bounceback spot here. They lost their last game at Wake Forest, Travis Steele called out the entire team for not having a leader or an alpha and then questioned the NET rankings. This has all the makings of an upperclassmen team listening to its head coach and putting on a show at home. WCU's weakness is its defense - ranking sub-250, which is great news for Xavier. The one thing X will do is defend for all 40 minutes, but we've seen them get stagnant on offense. WCU is one of the worst teams in the country at defending inside the arc, where Xavier wants to shoot.
Pick: Xavier -15
This game is actually being played in Phoenix - alert Big Cat in case he wants to bet this. So this is actually a mid-afternoon tip out there. Loyola wants to play through Cameron Krutwig in the post, which is smart because he's damn good and will be on the How the Hell Are They Still in College Team next year. The one thing with this is it takes time to get the ball in the post, especially against a Vanderbilt defense runs you off the 3pt line and tries to force turnovers. Vandy's offense under Stackhouse is fine, but it's not playing fast. We'll throw in the location as a weird thing and trust an under here.
PIck: Under 137
Both teams coming off of bad losses for different reasons. Tennessee losing at home to its rival after looking like they were ready to blow Memphis out. Cincinnati losing at home to Colgate because Jarron Cumberland launched a halfcourt shot with 5 seconds to go and then fouled on the rebound. This Cincinnati team doesn't have an identity right now. Cumberland is not on the same page as new head coach John Brannen as it's been publicly talked about, plus battling a hip injury. Tennessee takes away points in the arc (4th in the country in 2pt percentage defensively) and UC can't shoot the ball. I'll trust the better team, even on the road.
Pick: Tennessee -1.5
Is Northwestern good? No. But you know what is good? Big 10 home court this year. They just keep winning outright and you're giving me 12 points for a MSU team that's all sorts of banged up - no Rocket Watts it appears for this game. Just give me limited possessions and let NW control tempo here.
Pick: Northwestern +12
Time for the most square pick in the history of square picks. Gonzaga is the best team in the country right now in my eyes. UNC-Chapel Hill is mimicking a mid-major without Cole Anthony and former mid-majors needing to step up. Is this a possible letdown spot for Gonzaga after the win at Arizona? Absolutely. Does the line feel too low considering UNC struggles to get to 65 points? Absolutely. Is it square as hell? Absolutely. But Gonzaga also knows they need to win this game. After this the only current top-100 teams they play are BYU and St. Mary's in the conference. A win here gets you pretty damn close to a No. 1 seed out West assuming nothing crazy happens during WCC play. Game is going to be fast paced, which favors Gonzaga. Again, Gonzaga's defense is predicated on taking away shots at the rim - which can eliminate Armando Bacot or Garrison Brooks. UNC struggles like hell to shoot the ball. Square as hell but screw it.
Pick: Gonzaga -12.5
Kentucky heads to Vegas for two games - this is the first, the second being against top-5 Ohio State. Look ahead spot? Absolutely here. Kentucky has played all home games since losing to Evansville and while they've looked better there are still questions, especially if Tyrese Maxey can be consistent and just what to make of the frontcourt with EJ Montgomery/Keion Brooks being consistent at the 4. Also, Utah's biggest strength defensively is on the interior, where Kentucky wants to attack on the drive or use Nick Richards and his jump hook. They are also a top-50 defensive rebounding team in the country. Think they can keep it close enough the entire game. Plus, we get Walton on the call so people will be freaking out, which is just the best.
Pick: Utah +11