Stay Up Late Tonight Because College Hoops Is Giving Us A Top-5 Matchup And Nova's Twist Is Going To Haunt UCLA

ClBad collapse by South Dakota early cost us our 3rd winning a day in a row. We escaped with a 2-2 day though thanks to two dogs giving us outright wins. Like I said before. Every single day there's a game I'll have a blog out for picks. If there's a better way for you to read it, let me know. I'm open to adjusting as we go. But this will be looking at matchups more than just saying plays. Let's get into tonight.

As always - all the lines come from the Barstool Sportsbook. Download the app here.

2021-22 Season Record: 10-6

The game of the night. Two teams that I thought were overrated coming into the year. Now, clearly both are good, I just think both teams are more top-10 than top-5. That said, I love that we're getting this game. I HATE we're getting it at 11:30 on a Friday night. We're not going to dwell on it though. Positive Vibes Only. Speaking of that. The line opened at 2 and was up to as high as 4.5 at one point. I don't want to overreact to Nova, but what they did against Mt. St. Mary's is worth talking about. Not the fact they killed them. But seeing Brandon Slater on top of the press is a MASSIVE difference to their defense. That's Nova's biggest weakness. They do struggle defensively. Now with Slater up top that provides a different look. You don't have to worry about Gillespie or Moore chasing around up top. Offensively they have a little Josh Hart/Arch feeling just on a smaller level. What I mean by that is Josh Hart was the leading scorer. He was the go-to guy in a way. But Arch is what made that team go. This year Justin Moore is likely going to be the leading scorer. Gillespie is what makes that team go. I don't think the Cody Riley loss is massive. But 4 points seems a bit high. 

Pick: Nova +4

I believe Peter Kiss is still out for Bryant. That's fine. Charles Pride is a hell of a player. Jared Grasso is a hell of a coach. URI LIVED at getting to the line in its first game. I'm not worried about that against Bryant who was 78th in the country last year in terms of defensive FTA/FGA. They were also weirdly AWESOME at defending shots last year. 37th in the country in defensive field goal percentage. Combine that with how Bryant plays - uptempo, looking to shoot threes - and you get a team that's a good mid-major. Throw in the one-sided rivalry here of Bryant wanting to prove a point against the state school and you get a dog I like.

Pick: Bryant +10.5

Clemson did not look good against Presbyterian to open the season. I just can't buy this team. They lost too much, even if they are playing at Littlejohn. I know Wofford lost Storm Murphy. I don't want to downplay that. But they still run that offense of sending guards and wings off screens. They still look to shoot threes. Presbyterian got 24 threes up against Clemson. They only made 3 of them. If Wofford gets 24 threes up, they're likely making 7 if not more. Wofford's 5 out type offense is just so unique that it makes tough to defend.

Pick: Wofford +7

Northeastern is lost without Tyson Walker. They were lost last year with him on the bench and they are lost this year with him at Michigan State. I don't trust that Northeastern can slow the game down and make it a halfcourt game, where they do have a bit of advantage with Georgia State not having Eilel Neosome. Just looking at the first game of the year, Northeastern had 16 turnovers. That's a problem considering Georgia State is dominant at PnR defense and can force turnovers full court. I don't trust Northeastern to hit shots. I don't trust them to attack Georgia State's defense. 

Pick: Georgia State -7

Ryan Odom is taking his Utah State team back to his area. Richmond looked awful in the first game of the year but that's where I'm playing this. This is a prime bounce back spot for a Richmond team filled with seniors. They have Jacob Gilyard who is one of the best on ball defenders in the country. He just creates havoc. Offensively they can pound the post with Grant Golden because Utah State's bigs in Justin Bean and Brandon Horvath both are more space and pace type players. They aren't made to defend the post. UC Davis was able to beat Utah State by defense. They forced turnovers and forced them into tough shots. Well, Jacob Gilyard might be the best in the country at forcing turnovers.

Pick: Richmond -5.5

Niagara has three things in the favor in this game. 1) It doesn't sound like Kyle Young is playing. 2) They are a damn good defensive team that has some size and versatility. 3) They play so slow that possessions might be limited. That's what I want to see from a heavy dog. They are coming off a 3 point loss at Xavier while Ohio State won at the buzzer against Akron. I am worried about a letdown/bounce back spot. BUT, 19.5 is a lot here. That's especially true if Young doesn't play and Sueing is still banged up. 

Pick: Niagara +19.5