We're back after a couple days off. Needed to take care of a kid, no excuses though. We had a nice 3-1 day on Friday and a small plate today. Not much to say, let's get into it.
Just a reminder. Sharp Cheese is the way you'll know you're going to read a picks blog for college basketball every single day. We're also going to incorporate it into social media perhaps posting on Instagram and going live on IG/Twitter Spaces. Twitter Spaces will absolutely happen 1-2 times a week, most likely on weekdays after big games. Just come on and talk whatever the hell you want about college basketball. The blog will mostly read the same. Breaking down games and making picks. I'm thinking maybe adding a Q&A part into the blog. Now most of the time I feel the same way about games, that said if there's a game I really love and attacking a few different ways you may see a Sharp Cheddar alert next to it. Sprinkle on the ML? Well, get out the shredded mozz. You get it. That said, always willing to listen to any adjustments you might have.
As always - all the lines come from the Barstool Sportsbook. Download the app here.
2021-22 Season Record: 51-50-1
I like Illinois. Carl is a dear friend. Always had a soft spot for the Illini and that Dee Brown/Deron Williams/Luther Head team is an all-timer. Hell, I loved the team last year. But this year? This year has been a disaster. The loss to Marquette, the loss to Cincinnati. Sure there's a long way to go, that doesn't draw people in on headlines, duh. I also get that the loss to Marquette happened without Kofi, who was serving one of the dumbest suspensions ever. Now you look at tonight and…
Yikes. Not great, even with Andre Curbelo regressing. I still like the kid and think he'll be fine, but the consensus was he was going to turn into an All-American this year. Shit, people had Illinois top-10 to start the year. They clearly aren't there yet. As good as Kofi is and he's damn good, there are still plenty of flaws. Teams are going to throw doubles in the post and dare him to pass out or finish over people. He's going to finish, no doubt about it, but he's going to work to get his 20. They are going to be fine long term, but not tonight. Notre Dame is too good of a shooting team to be off to this slow of a start. Paul Atkinson - a transfer from Yale - has been a damn good player and lets them run that 4-out, 1-in offense. There's also no way teams keep shooting 45% from three against Notre Dame. That has to balance out at some point.
Pick: Notre Dame +4
This line has moved massively from Iowa opening as the favorite. We're going to go a different direction here though. Yes, Iowa hasn't played anyone. Yes, Virginia looks awful on offense and that packline defense should give Fran a ton of troubles. Yes, you're not going to speed up Virginia. Yes, I'm taking the over here. Iowa's Keegan Murray is one of the breakout players of the year. He's a bit of a mismatch this game since I'm not sure who Virginia can put on him. Iowa can still shoot the ball and you need to hit some tough jumpers over the packline. I'm banking on them making enough. At the same time I'm banking on Jayden Gardner being a bit of a mismatch for Virginia. He's a unique player at 6'6" and can really finish inside.
Pick: Over 130
We're going back to Riverside here after hitting them at Arizona State (outright winner). They are one of the best defenses in the country and for reason. They take away threes and the rim. They force you to shoot midrange jumpers. Saint Mary's has seen plenty of decent talent so far this season and have experience to run that offense they love to. But after getting to the Maui Invitational they turn around for a Riverside team. Can they stay up and not have a letdown? Also both teams run a SLOW offense. There should be plenty of time off the clock to stay within that number.
Pick: Riverside +9.5