We are a day late, but the mid-week college basketball column is back in action. We are coming off a 3-2 day last week to get our record back to .500 on the year. We are pretty hot going 11-4 in our last 15. Yesterday we saw a marquee game in the SEC where Auburn was able to get a big road win at Bama. Today we got a marquee matchup in the Big East with an early 6:30 Eastern tip off. We have a couple good matchups in the ACC and the Mountain West that we will definitely break down.
Expect more basketball content coming from AT Media. Zach will continue is top 25 rankings and this college basketball articles are going to come more frequently. As always make sure to take advantage of the new DK promos coming along every week. Without further ado here, the picks:
Villanova at Xavier
Spread: Xavier (-1.5)
This line has been hammered by the sharps in favor of the home team. I think it’s smart to ride that way. Villanova beat Xavier at home in what is a much win spot. Xavier had a double-digit lead in the first half in that matchup. But Xavier was held to less than a point per possession in the second half, giving Villanova a crease to storm back. The Wildcats have been vulnerable away from home. Xavier has one of the best home court advantages in the country. The story of this game is going to be much different. Xavier is a perfect 9-0 and a 7-2 ATS at the Cintas Center. Xavier will have the advantage in the front court with Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge. Villanova’s tallest player is Eric Dixon who stands at just 6-foot-8. I think the Xavier home crowd will rattle Nova’s sharpshooters. Give me the Musketeers in a revenge spot at home.
The pick: Xavier ML (-120)
Minnesota at Michigan State
Spread: Michigan State (-11.5)
An underrated matchup in the Big Ten. Ben Johnson’s Gophers squad has been the surprise of the conference. They are 10-3, but just 1-3 in conference. They will get a big test against a Michigan State team that is really rounding into form. The Spartans are shaping to be a top 15 team and real threat to claim the Big Ten conference crown. They really matchup up with the Gophers specifically on the defensive end. Their guard length gave Jamison Battle some trouble last time out. Michigan State will rule the battle on the boards. The Gophers can be competitive with their three-point defense that leads the conference with a 26.9% defensive shooting percentage behind the arc. They are going to have to dig deep on that end because they are going to struggle to score against a Spartan defense that ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency. The number is correct on the spread, but we will take the under in what will be a defensive game.
The pick: Under 138.5
Utah State at Colorado State
Spread: Colorado State (-5.5)
A matchup between two teams that started their conference season on the wrong foot. Utah State got upset against Air Force to begin conference play and they had to go to overtime to beat New Mexico, while Colorado State suffered a 20-point beatdown at the hands of San Diego State.
In this one, the matchup between David Roddy and Justin Bean will be fun to watch. Rylan Jones got banged up against UNM, but he will play. CSU shot 3-20 from three against SDSU. When they aren’t making their threes, the offense simply doesn’t flow - Colorado State lives and dies by the three ball.
As far as tonight is concerned, I feel like this is a must win game for the Aggies. Over 91 percent of the bets are on Colorado State. They are an extremely public play here. Nobody is really giving credit to how good Utah State is. Utah State’s defense dares teams to settle for shots outside the arc, so that’s a little bit of a worry here. Despite that they still rank in the Top 100 in defensive efficiency. I think they will win the rebounding battle. For me this is a one possession game that can go either way. I’ll fade the public and take Utah State with the points.
The pick: Utah State (+5.5)
Virginia Tech at Virginia
Spread: Virginia (-1)
A classic battle between two in state foes. Virginia Tech should have the matchup edge in this one. The Cavaliers have been inconsistent at home going 5-3 on the season. The Hookies rank 14th nationally in three-point percentage. They should be able to shoot over the Virginia defense. They also rank in the Top 10 in three-point defense. Virginia struggles to score at time and outside of Kihei Clark, nobody on Virginia can really shoot.
Usually, I'm not a fan of taking the road team in a rivalry game. However, we did see Virginia Tech give Duke a first half challenge in Durham. They are tested in these spots. Good chance for Virginia Tech to get a solid road win.
The pick: Virginia Tech +1.5
Boise State at Nevada
Spread: Nevada (-1.5)
We cap the column with a Mountain West nightcap. Both teams are coming off lengthy Covid pauses. Nevada beat Boise State at home in a similar spot last season. Nevada has won five out of their last six and I think they may be undervalued in this spot, especially with key Bronco Devonaire Doutrive no longer with the Boise State program. They lose a lot of what he brings defensively. The Grant Sherfield and Devin Cambridge combo is going to be too much to handle at home. I think Nevada picks up their first top 100 win. Give me the Pack at home.
The pick: Nevada -1.5
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