Austin Montgomery's College Hoops Betting Preview: Tennessee-Texas Tech, Villanova-Syracuse and more
We got another big day of college basketball. It’s the Jimmy V Classic, and this particular non-conference showcase makes me feel some type of way. The legacies that guys like Jimmy V left on the sport is what makes college basketball special. It’s a great sporting event that supports an even greater cause. So, it’s something we have to cover.
We got Texas Tech vs. Tennessee and Villanova vs Syracuse, both games should be great to watch. We have several mid-major matchups sprinkled around the slate. The analysis of the picks will be shorter than usual. So, let’s just get down to business.
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Jimmy V Classic
Texas Tech vs Tennessee
Spread: Tennessee (-4)
This is a matchup that empahizes athleticism against pure, ingrained toughness. Kenny Chandler has been great for Tennessee so far. Texas Tech's wall-off defense ranks 18th in adjusted defensive efficiency and they have a team full of big, long athletes that could give Chandler trouble. This Texas Tech team is gritty but they have some offense pop with Terrance Shannon and Kevin Obanor, who should be a huge factor in this game. The Volunteers struggled against UNC when the Tar Heels used their stretch four lineup with Brady Manek.
Obanor is a more athletic version of him.
Mark Adams get his first marquee win as the Red Raider’s coach.
The pick: Texas Tech +4
Furman at Winthrop
Spread: Furman (-2.5)
I don't see how Winthrop's defense is going to stop Mike Bothwell and the Furman offense. Winthrop ranks 295th in defensive EFG%, and Furman does a great job of getting quality shots. I know I'm breaking my rule of taking favorites on the road. The Paladin defense has had trouble stringing together stops, but their defensive woes have come against good competition. Give me Furman in a route.
Charlotte at Arkansas
Spread: Arkansas (-18.5)
We love Eric Musselman and Hogs Nation here at ATM media. But we think Charlotte can compete. They have the size to be competitive on the boards, they don't foul much, they rebound the basketball, and they have gotten unlucky with opponents shooting over 80 percent from the free-throw line.
Arkansas has a big matchup on the road against Oklahoma coming up Saturday. This is a good look ahead spot. Charlotte moves the ball slowly down the court, ranking 294th in pace. Possessions will be limited. Give me Charlotte to cover this big number.
The pick: Charlotte +18.5
Virginia at James Madison
Spread: Virginia (-5)
It's not very often the Cavaliers travel to the little brothers in the commonwealth. James Madison has great fan support, so that place should be rocking. This is more of a bet against Virginia here. There was a lot of sharp action towards JMU earlier in the day. We are following the line movement. James Madison ranks 35th in defensive turnover percentage, and they can get cheap points in transition. Virginia needed a buzzer-beater to win against Pitt. That's all I have to say.
The pick: James Madison +5
Belmont at Saint Louis
Spread: Saint Louis -2.5
For me, this is a power rating play. Belmont ranked significantly higher than Saint Louis, and I got 2.5 points. This is the Bruins last chance to secure a Quad 1 win. Saint Louis has been playing well despite the preseason injury of their star Javonte Perkins. Saint Louis loves to turn up the pressure and turn teams over. With one of the experienced backcourts in the sport, Belmont does an exceptional job avoiding turnovers. I like the Bruins in this spot here.
The pick: Belmont +2.5
Jimmy V Classic
Villanova vs Syracuse
Spread: Villanova -8.5
Nova is the worst matchup for the Syracuse 2-3 zone. They play four out with Dixon in the middle. They can play five out with their athletic wings. Nova has been on a roll, dominating Philly's contemporaries. Colin Gillespie doesn't turn over the ball. Villanova ranks seventh nationally in three-point percentage and fourth in offensive efficiency.
If it wasn't for two late collapses against UCLA and Purdue, we might be talking about Villanova being the best team in the country. The Wildcats are underrated in this spot.
Follow Austin Montgomery on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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