Okay last night’s college basketball slate wasn’t great. Can’t hang my hat on a 2-5 showing. There were some bad losses that we suffered in those games. Now all we have to look forward to his going up. But here at ATM we have the Rocky mentality, when we get knocked, we pick our ass off the canvas and start punching some more. So without further to do the picks for the slate.
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Vermont at Maryland
Spread: Maryland -10.5
Maryland has looked unimpressive in their first two games failing to cover against George Washington and Quinnipiac. While Vermont just beat Northern Iowa without Ryan Davis. Isaiah Powell stepped into Davis’ role and executed it to perfection. He posted 17/5/2 with a block and a steal and he stretched the floor by going 3-for-9 from deep. His performance attests to Vermont’s depth.
Vermont returned four of five starters from last season and eight players overall. The Catamounts are the eighth-most experienced team in the country (2.74 years). Vermont shot 40.34% from three as a team last year, and Maryland ranked 233rd in the country in defensive three point percentage. Too many points in a game that will be played at a snails pace. Give me Vermont.
The pick Vermont +10.5
Dartmouth at Georgetown
Spread: Georgetown (-16)
We got the bottom feeder of the IVY playing the bottom feeder of the Big East. Patrick Ewing may have saved his job by winning the Big East Tournament last year. Then there's Dartmouth, which allowed 1.14 points per possession against a bad Boston College game the other night.
More importantly we have an interesting trend developing: Ivy overs have been hitting at a ridiculous pace. IVY league games have hit 7-1 to the over. There is just a big adjustment in adjusting to defensive rotations when your team has not played basketball for a full season. Georgetown lost Qudus Wahab to transfer, and he is replaced by freshmen RYAN MUTOMBO. Mutuombo the sone of Dikembe, is not the shot blocker is Dad was. In fact, he is much more offensively gifted and it will take some time for him to round into defensive form.
Georgetown puts a huge number in the home opener and we see this game go over.
The pick: over 136
New Mexico at Colorado
Spread: Colorado (-14.5)
I wish I would have sunk my teeth into this line when it was 17 yesterday. The sharp college bettors love New Mexico this season. They will be undervalued since they have been a dumpster fire under Paul Weir the last few seasons. New coach Richard Pitino has brought in some talent, Jaelan House from ASU, Jamal Mashburn from Minnesota, and forward Gethro Muscadin from Kansas. New Mexico scored 99 points in their opener against FAU.
They will play a Colorado team that is going to have a down year after making the tournament last season. They only return two starters from a year ago and will start two freshmen in their lineup. Evan Battey is back, but the rest of their lineup has to figure things out. Montana State took Colorado to overtime in the opener and they struggled in their defensive rotations. New Mexico should be able to keep this one close.
The pick: New Mexico +14.5
Ohio at Cleveland State
Spread: Ohio (-1.5)
We've got two NCAA tournament teams from last season duking it out. Ohio beat Cleveland State 101-46 in the non-conference last season. I’ll give the Bobcats an edge again in this one. The combination of Mark Sears and Xavier transfer Jason Carter may be one of the best in the country for any mid-major, even if we're not sure if Ohio wing Dwight Wilson will play. I’m not sure that matters. The Bobcats are team you should ride early.
Cleveland State returns four of five of their starters from last season. It will be interesting to see how Torrey Patton matches up with Ohio’s length. Cleveland State has tons of depth and any of their guys can beat you on a given night. Regardless I’ll take the Bobcats laying a short number.
The pick: Ohio -1.5
Georgia at Cincinnati
Spread: Cincinnati (-11)
Georgia will remain in a rebuild mode under head coach Tom Crean. Its entire rotation consists of transfers or freshmen, so cohesiveness is going to be an issue, at least early in the season. Georgia is anchored by a trio of transfers, Aaron Cook (Gonzaga) Noah Baumamn (USC) and Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Virginia). The Bulldogs offensive trio struggled shooting from three against FIU (3-15) and as a team, they had a little bit of a scare against the Panthers.
On the other side, the Bearcats have had tons of roster turnover with Wes Miller taking over. He brought three guys in from UNC Greensboro and returns Davd DeJulius at point. While there a lot of unknowns, we know Tom Crean is going to push to pace with Georgia. The Bulldogs ranked 13th nationally in pace per play. Wes Miller will have the Bearcats playing at a faster rate than they were last season. With increased pace, we are going to side with over 135 and bet there is positive offensive regression for both teams.
The pick over 135
Boise State at UC Irvine
Spread: Boise State (-2.5)
When watching the Anteaters you know are getting a team that will be tough as nails and stout defensively. Toughness reverberates throughout the UCI program. Russell Turner returns his entire starting lineup from last season. They dropped one on the road against a tough New Mexico State team to start the season and now they will be welcoming in a very athletic Boise State team to Orange County.
Boise State loses Derrick Alston but return former highly lauded prospects Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot, who will both take centerstage after enjoying subtle breakout campaigns last season. Marcus Shaver also returns to command the point. With NCAA tournament expectations, Boise State has fallen short the last few seasons. My concern with Boise State is their lack of shooting outside of Shaver.
The Broncos shot 4-20 from three in their opener. UC Irvine ranked 14th nationally in two point defense last season. Irvine will be motivated to play a top Mountain West foe in their own arena. Their inside and gritty toughness may bother Boise here. Give UC Irvine to get the slight upset.
The pick: UC Irvine (+2.5)
UTEP at New Mexico State
Spread: New Mexico State (-7)
The Aggies impressed in their first home game in over a year beating UC Irvine 62-51. It was quite the defensive performance where they limited the Anteaters to 0.78 points per possession. UTEP opened up the Joe Golding era with a 85-57 home win over Division II opponent Western New Mexico.
UTEP returns their three top producers from last year Souley Boum, Jamal Bieniemy, and Keonte Kennedy are all back after starting every game last season, and each guy should be capable of slotting into Golding’s scheme. In Golding's scheme he loves to pressure the ball, use lengthy wings to disrupt passing lanes and force turnovers.
Thankfully New Mexico State has multiple ball handlers in Jabari Rice and Teddy Allen. In reality, points may be hard to come by in this one. While I’m tempted to just to take the low total, I’ll ride with NMSU to cover the seven. UTEP is still adjusting to Joe Golding aggressive system, and NMSU has legit scorers who can get buckets in bunches. The Pan AM will be rocking for this rivalry matchup and I expect NMSU to take care of business.
The pick: New Mexico State (-7)
Texas at Gonzaga
Spread: Gonzaga (-7.5)
The game of the night, Chris Beard and No. 5 Texas travel to the Kenel to take on Gonzaga. This is a game that’s worth staying up to watch trust me. It’s a new era for Texas basketball. Shaka Smart went off to Marquette. The Longhorns stole Chris Beard from Texas Tech. Beard brings in the best transfer portal class we have seen, maybe ever. The top transfer guard Marcus Carr comes in from Minnesota, Devin Askew comes in from Kentucky, former top 100 forward Tre Mitchell enters from UMASS, Timmy Allen comes in after averaging 17 at Utah, and Christian Bishop comes in from Creighton. On top of the transfers, Chris Beard brings back Andrew Jones, Coutrney Ramey, and Jase Febres from last years squad. In other words, the Longhorns are stacked.
But you know who else is pretty good, Gonzaga. They bring back All-American Drew Timme and add the top freshmen in America in 7’1 Chet Holmgren. They lose Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi. But the Zags reloaded adding freshmen Hunter Sallis and transfer Rasir Bolton from Iowa State. Andrew Nemhard also returns at point. While guard play made Gonzaga unstoppable last season, all the damage is going to be done in the front court this season. Nobody had an answer for Drew Timme last season after he averaged 19 points a game on 65 percent shooting. Also, how are teams going to guard Chet Holmgren? The 7-foot-1 forward can shoot the three, kill you in the mid-range, and simply dunk over you. While Texas will try to be physical underneath, Chet still going to be able to score. Texas doesn’t have a rim protector to stop either one of these guys, especially with Dylan Disu out.
How is Texas going to compete, they will probably implement what Baylor did and spread the Zags out. Texas can put out a five-out lineup that allows their players to play in space. Texas has superior guard play with Marcus Carr, Coutrney Ramey, and Andrew Jones. Tre Mitchell will be matchup problem inside as well. Gonzaga did allow Dixie State to shoot 36 percent from three in their opener. I think that will be Texas’s method of attack, with their guards attacking downhill and then have them kick out to capable shooters.
In the name of fun, we are going to tout the over in what is going to be an exciting game. Texas averaged a ridivculous 1.48 points per possession against Houston Baptist. They will probably have to shoot for 1.3 range to upset the Zags on the road. Gonzaga will push the pace and be able to score in the front court at will. So instead of taking the side, we will pick this game to go over 151.5. Happy college basketball season everyone, this is an early season matchup you will want to enjoy.
The pick: Over 151.5
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