Weekend Picks: Jan. 27 2018: Big Matchup and Big12/SEC Challenge

Football betting season will take a break this week as the masses will turn their attention to college basketball.  This weekend is full of great matchups highlighted by the Big12/Sec Challenge and a showdown of top 4 ACC teams.  We have picked out a few games that should be special this weekend. Enjoy!

Fighting Trae Young’s @ Alabama

In a battle of freshman studs.  Trae Young will lead the 12th ranked Sooners into Tuscaloosa on Saturday for a matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Oklahoma’s super rookie is averaging mind-numbing figures of 30.5 points and 9.7 assists per game –both best in the nation. After showing signs of mortality, Young had an lead and efficient offensive effort Tuesday against the Kansas Jayhawks scoring 26point on 7/9  shooting. That said, the Sooners can’t just ride too hard on the shoulders of Young, who needs the likes of Christian James (11.9 points) and Brady Manek (11.1 points) to play a bigger role.

The Sooners are not up against Alabama football team’s stop unit, but the Crimson Tide basketball team’s defense is not something Trae Young and company should underestimate.  Alabama has the length and athleticisim to disrupt Young and force him to be perimeter oriented. The Crimson Tide are protected by a fantastic interior defense, as evidenced by their 6.3 blocks per game — good for fifth nationally. Like most SEC teams the Crimson Tide have been hard to figure out gaining wins over Texas A&M, Auburn and South Carolina but losing to bottom dwelling Ole Miss by double digits.

While the teams are both intriguing the best reason to watch will be the matchup of potential lottery picks Trae Young  and Colin Sexton.  Sexton quietly has been making his own mark on the college basketball scene.

I think Alabama come shuts down Young and pulls off the upset victory.  But I have been wrong about Oklahoma before.

 James Caldwell: Alabama      Matt Boeding: Oklahoma

Kentucky at West Virginia

The battle of the struggling hall of fame coaches takes place Saturday when John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats travel to  Morgantown to face off with Bob Huggins #7West Virginia Moutaineers .Unless you have been under a rock you may have heard that the Kentucky Wildcats have fallen out of the top 25 rankings for the first time since 2014.   What has flown under the radar is that West Virginia has now lost 3 of 4 in the ultra competitive Big12, showing little to no effort Tuesday night against TCU.

Kentucky ranks 55th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. They’re a team that is no longer considered part of the national title conversation, which is troubling (and an outlier) when it comes to UK basketball. Calipari put together a team of positionless players that are having trouble figuring out their roles.  They will have to figure out who they are in a game that can factor into positioning in March.  Kentucky will have to find a toughness physically and mentally to pull off this upset.  Kentucky has more talent, West Virgnia has more experience.

James Caldwell: Kentucky   Matt Boeding: West Virginia

Virginia vs Duke

The matchup of the weekend takes place at Cameron Indoor on Saturday when the #2 Virginia Cavaliers meet #4 Duke Blue Devils.  Two top ranked teams battle for ACC supremecy, the immovable object meets the unstoppable force.

The Cavaliers have the best defense in the nation with opposing teams bleeding for just 52.4 points per game. Teams seem to shoot at a moving basket when they are up against Virginia, which limits opponents to only 36.6 field goal shooting percentage. Duke is going to be a tough assignment for the Cavs, but its not like Virginia has not dealt with a top-tier offensive team and came out successful. Virginia has already taken down North Carolina and NC State, both rank in the top four in ACC offensively.

As much we like to talk about how scary good the Cavaliers’ defense is, the truth is, it has not prevented Duke from beating the Cavaliers over the past few seasons. In fact, Duke has won eight of its last 10 dates with Virginia and it’s vaunted pack line defense, though they covered the spread in only three of those meetings. Duke Blue Devils come in riding a three game win streak in which they have woken up for long range.  Gary Trent Jr, Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval have seemed to find their stroke from deep, Trent most notably hitting an astounding 19 threes over the last four games.  Virginia is going to be forced to deal with the NBA froncourt of Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter.  If Virginia can limit the offensive rebounding of the Blue Devils they can effectively control the tempo.

Duke’s home court advantage will play a role in this one as the young Devils seemed to feed off the energy.  It would take a gargantuan effort for Virginia to limit Bagley, let alone Grayson Allen and the other Blue Devils’ gifted scorers.

James Caldwell: Duke   Matt Boeding: Duke

 

 

 

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