The Robert Morris Colonials head to the Detroit Titans Friday night in a Horizon League matchup featuring two of the weakest defenses in all of college basketball. Detroit and Robert Morris both rank worse than 280th in defensive efficiency in the nation. Robert Morris in particular has given up at least 79 points in seven of their last eight games. The Titans have scored over 80 points in three of their last four.
Robert Morris can’t guard the perimeter, they give up threes at 38% per game on the season. The Titans are a great outside shooting team, as a team they shoot 38% from deep. Detroit guard Antoine Davis leads the offensive attack, averaging 22 ppg, he has scored 23 points in five straight games.. Along with Davis Detroit features guards Noah Waterman and Bul Kuol, both are double digit scorers. Detroit doesn’t move quickly but they are all about efficiency on the offensive end.
The Colonials give up 77 ppg on the season. Their offense has begun to catch up with their defense scoring 81 and 88 in their last two games. Guard AJ Bramah leads the offensive attack averaging 21 ppg and 10 rpg, they only feature one other double digit scorer but the offensive works well around Bramah and their recent offensive output makes them a real problem for the Titans defense.
The Colonials and the Titans are both terrible on the defensive end. They both can shoot the ball well from deep and it should be an easy flow for both offenses. Detroit is a 9.5 point favorite that should be able to cover the spread, their offense should be able to get to 80 and Robert Morris is red hot on the offensive end. This number is too low for how bad these defenses are.
Play of the day: Over 143.5
The West Coast Conference is on full display Thursday night. The matchup between the BYU Cougars and the Pacific Tigers will be the undercard for the Gonzaga/St. Mary’s matchup. The undercard always has great value and I think this game is a perfect example of it. The Cougars are 15-5 overall on the season with losses to Gonzaga (2), USC, Boise State and Pepperdine. All but Pepperdine are likely NCAA tournament teams and all losses have something in common, the opposing team’s prolific athletic talent took away the strengths of the Cougars. That will not be the case in this matchup.
Pacific plays at one of the slower paces in the nation ranking 288th overall. Their pace has hidden a lot of their flaws on the defensive end. They are efficient according to the analytics ranking 98th overall in defensive efficiency but they still give up 71 ppg. They really have trouble defending beyond the arc giving up 35% shooting. While this BYU team is the shot-chucking team of the last few seasons they still can hit the three when given the chance making 35% of them on the season. Pacific relies on leading scorers Daniss Jenkins and Jeremiah Bailey, both average 12 ppg, other than that they don’t have any consistency on the offensive end. The Tigers got huge performances from their bench in the first matchup from Jabril Price-Noel and Justin Moore, who gave them 34 points in a OT loss. They can’t assume that they will get that kind of production again.
BYU guards the interior very well only allowing 44% shooting from inside the three point line this season. The Tigers are a horrible outside shooting team, they have to force turnovers and drive to get baskets and an offense reliant on that will have problems with the length BYU brings to the table. The Cougars have a group of offensive threats most notably guard Alex Barcullo who averages 15 ppg. They have two post threats that are ferocious on the glass in Caleb Lohner and Purdue transfer Matt Harms,. The interior will be completely controlled by BYU, they average 78 ppg and should have no problem scoring in this matchup.
The Cougars are not scared of playing on the road. They are 4-1 ATS on the road this season and they are in need of a win. While there are no stats that back up the desperation for a win, I like to go with teams on the bubble playing teams with little to play for. Pacific is a tough team led by a former NBA player and will keep this close in the first half, ultimately the better offense will pull away.
Play of the day: BYU Cougars -5.5
The MAC doesn’t get the credit it deserves for being one of the most entertaining conferences in college basketball. There are a lot of high paced teams that can be very unpredictable. The Kent State Golden Flashes are one of those teams that are a lot of fun to watch. They are also a very profitable team going 10-5-1 ATS this season.
The Golden Flashes are led by forward Danny Pippen, averaging 20 ppg along with 9 rpg, both leading the team. Pippen leads an offense that is extremely efficient, they are a top 80 team in offensive efficiency . They also have an effective shooting percentage of 52.2%. The Golden Flashes crush teams on the inside controlling the boards ranking 15th in the nation in rebound per game. They are a dominant force on the interior and should control that aspect in their matchup with the Broncos
The Western Michigan Broncos had their two game win streak ended by Buffalo this weekend, getting smashed by the Bulls 86-54. The Broncos have not been able to handle the elite of the MAC conference. Buffalo, Akron, Ohio and Kent State have made easy work of the Broncos in every matchup. Their previous matchup with Kent State ended in a 26-point thrashing at the hands of the Golden Flashes. Kent State guard Mike Nuga led the way in their last matchup scoring 26 points. Nuga has been out with an injury but while he has been out Pippen has stepped up to the plate.
Kent State is 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. They should continue that dominance on Tuesday night against a Western Michigan team that will have no answer to Danny Pippen. Kent State has a massive advantage in every category. Even if Mike Nuga misses this game the Golden Flashes are in a different class then the Broncos. Take Kent State by double digits.
Play of the day: Kent State Golden Flashes -9.5
The Cardinals shocked the baseball world when they made a huge trade this season. I am of course talking about trading Dexter Fowler to the Los Angeles Angels. Fowler’s tenure in St. Louis was not a complete disaster. His first season and his last season were serviceable. The Cardinals moving on from Fowler leaves a hole in the outfield that will likely be filled with a young bat. The Cardinals will fill from within. There is a guy that will have to step up and it’s not the player that most would think.
With Marcell Ozuna signing with the Braves and Andrew Benintendi being traded to the Royals there are no impact bats on the market that are going to be able to step in and make a difference behind Goldschmidt and Arenado. The Cardinals are looking to step into the future with a projected outfield consisting of Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neil and Dylan Carlson. Each of the aforementioned outfielders are not above the age of 26 and none have proven to be an efficient major league player for a full 162 game schedule.
The Cardinals outfield youth will be a challenge to a team that is looking to contend immediately. St. Louis will likely have to look to its organizational depth to protect their team. While 2020 free agent signee Austin Dean impressed in spring training and when given opportunities in-season he is not the long term answer to the Cardinals question. Justin Williams was picked up in the trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Rays in July of 2019. Williams has been a long time prospect in every system he has been a part of. The former second round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks finished his first season with the Cardinals impressively with a slash line of .340/.427/.553. When healthy Williams has shown serious power, blasting 14 homers with the Rays in double-A (2017) and seven homers in 31 games in triple-A Memphis (2019).
The Cardinals have moved on from left-handed bats Brad Miller, Matt Wieters (switch), Kolten Wong and of course Dexter Fowler. The acquisition of Nolan Arenado will likely lead to less at bats for Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals will need to have more threats from the left side of the plate and Williams will find his chance to make the difference for the organization in late game situations, pinch hitting for O’Neil and Bader.
The Eastern Kentucky Colonels started the OVC season on a tear. They started 7-0 in conference feasting on the lower tier of the conference. Their run included a 10-point victory over their opponent on Monday night the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.
Eastern Kentucky has been fast all season. They rank in the top ten in tempo, they force teams to move at their pace which causes havoc for opposing offenses. The Colonels force turnovers 24% of opposing offensive possessions. The ballhawking defense of Eastern Kentucky will be a huge problem for Tennesee Tech who turns the ball over at a 22.9% rate. Eastern Kentucky has multiple options to score with eight different players that average over seven points per game. Their leading scorer is Tre King, averaging 15.7 ppg, as a team they are averaging 82.7 ppg on the season. They are a high level offensive team that has a goal to dictate the pace of the game. Versus the lower level teams in their conference their has been no answer for the fast paced action.
Tennessee Tech was able to cover the 10.5-point spread in their first matchup of the season mainly due to their ability to hit the three. The Golden Eagles were 15/31 from behind the arc, shocking numbers from a team that only shoots 30% from deep during the season. The Golden Eagles snapped a six game losing streak in the OVC with a victory over Eastern Illinois but they are up against a much tougher offensive team on Monday night. They will need a similar effort from deep to compete with the high paced Colonels offensive attack.
Eastern Kentucky has fallen off a cliff since their hot start to the season but they are still a much better offensive team then Tennessee Tech. The Colonels are solid on the road with a 7-3 record ATS, they are facing a team that has given up an effective field goal percentage over 50% on the season. Having confidence in the Colonels is tough but they are a much better team, I actually took this game at -9, you can now get it at -7.5 and I would jump on that line.
Play of the day: Eastern Kentucky Colonels -7.5
The Jacksonville Dolphins are losers of 7 straight games. They have lost the last five games by an average of 13.4 ppg. Jacksonville is a dumpster fire on offense, averaging just 66 ppg and average a turnover in 20% of their offensive possessions. The Dolphins offense doesn’t get much from deep, shooting just 31% from three. Jacksonville’s only offense comes from forward Dontarius James averaging 17 ppg. Even with the offense of James the Jacksonville Dolphin are ranked 337th in the nation in offensive efficiency.
The Lipscomb Bison looked like they were turning things around in early January getting two straight victories over Bellarmine. They followed that up with a 4-3 record, sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bison have a dynamic backcourt tandom in KJ Johnson and leading scorer Romeao Ferguson. Ferguson and Johnson both shoot over 44% from three, as a team the Bison shoot 37% from behind the arc. They are archored in the middle by Ahsan Asadullah, averagin 13 ppg, 7 rpg and a team leading 3 apg.
Lipscomb’s defense is not stellar, but it doesn’t take a great defensive unit to keep Jacksonville in check. The Dolphins don’t do anything well. They don’t shoot well from three and are one of the worst teams in the nation at the free throw line. Lipscomb’s offense isn’t elite other than their long range shooting but they do rank 105th in effective field goal shooting which is enough to put pressure on a Dolphins team that is unable to put the ball in the basket. The Bison are the better team and all tehy have to do is stop Dontarius James to be successful. Easy cover for Lipscomb.
Play of the day: Lipscomb Bison -5
Colorado has the leadership of one of the best guards in the country McKinley Wright. Wright has been amazing this season averagin 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He has a great backcourt mate in D’Shawn Schwartz who is shooting 40% from three on the season. As a team Colorado is shooting 38% on the season which is tied for the best mark in the Pac12. The Buffaloes have a solid interior presence with Evan Battey, who had a stellar performance against Stanford in their first meeting scoring 13 points and adding 12 boards. Colorado’s defense has had its issues defending the three, luckily for them they are facing the worst three point shooting team in the Pac12.
Since the loss of Daejon Davis the Stanford Cardinal have had an issue turning the ball over. They are the worst in the Pac12 giving the ball away nearly 20% of the time. Freshman Zaire Williams has come back to the team in a limited role as he recovers from an injury. The young forward was great against Colorado in their first game, putting up 17 points in 33 minutes. Without him the Stanford offense has struggled, losing 5 points per 100 possessions with him out. Oscar Da Silva and Jaden Delaire have both stepped up in the absence of Williams, to find the offense they will have to lean on their frontcourt and play the slow game.
Colorado is an efficient offense with a point guard advantage. The Cardinal without Daejon Davis have not been the same offense. They don’t have the guards to handle the pressure of an elite level defense. Bryce Wills return will help the offense avoid the turnover bug, but they still have a lot of issues if he can’t play a full allotment of minutes. The Buffaloes will take care of business on defense and their offense is efficient enough to put up points.
Play of the day: Colorado Buffaloes Pick
A Big10 matchup with two teams going in the opposite directions will meet on Wednesday night when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Scarlet Knights have won four straight games and now find themselves back in the top 25. Rutgers is a strong defensive team, ranking 17th in Kenpom in defensive efficiency. The return of big man Cliff Omoruyi has added to the depth in the middle, along with starter Myles Johnson they should be able to make trouble for Iowa star Luka Garza. On the offensive end Rutgers has a litany of talent that makes them unpredictable at times. Ron Harper Jr. leads the team in scoring averaging 16 ppg. He is one of four that average double digits along with Montez Mathis, Jacob Young and Gio Baker. They really spread out the scoring and it showed in their first matchup with the Hawkeyes with five players scoring 13 points or moreAs a team the Rutgers offense averages 68 ppg but they are extremely efficient in getting those points. They are a top 50 team in offensive efficiency.
Iowa has not lived up to the preseason potential. The offense is still elite, ranking 3rd in the nation in scoring, averaging 87 ppg. Iowa did a lot of that damage against some of the lesser competition in college basketball. They have had an issue with some of the more athletic teams in college basketball. Indiana gave them trouble on the defensive end, doubling down on Garza as much as they could and forcing it out of his hands. The potential return of CJ Fredrick could help with the outlet passes that can lead to points. Iowa will find points but their problems on defense are impossible to ignore. They are currently giving up 74 points per game on the season ranking 279th in the nation.
Iowa is the superior team on offense, but they have an issue with turnovers and consistency. Garza put up 25 in their first matchup shooting 9 for 11. Rutgers played that game without Cliff Omoruyi, his addition will create more havoc for Garza. Keegan Murray stepped up in their last matchup, he is the only player on Iowa that can match the athleticism of Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights will keep this game close. Seven points in this matchup is too much for two teams that are going in opposite directions.
Play of the day: Rutgers Scarlet Knights +7
The St. John’s Red Storm are the talk of the Big East. Winners of six straight, including victories over UConn, Villanova, Marquette and most recently Providence. They have also been the talk of the betting community, covering the spread in eight straight games. The Red Storm are a hurricane, moving fast and causing devastation on the offensive end. They are the 12th fastest team in the nation according to Kenpom and they are very efficient, ranking 41st in the nation in offensive efficiency. Their offensive is highlighted by super freshman guard Posh Alexander, he leads the team in assists with 4.4 a game. He has also picked up his scoring output over the last five games, averaging 17.4 ppg. Alexander’s runningmate and the team’s leading scoring Julain Champagnie (18.6 ppg), is a matchup nightmare for any team in the Big East. Champagnie is 6’8” and shoots 43% from three.
The Butler Bulldogs have had a rough season. They lost guard Aaron Thompson early in the season, which set them back to start the season. Even with Thompson the Butler offense seems lost. As a team they only average 63 ppg (331st in the nation). The Bulldogs ended a three game losing streak on Saturday when they took down Depaul at home. Butler cannot find consistent points from anywhere, they are horrible in the paint and even worse from the free throw line. Jaire Bolden leads Butler in scoring with 12.1 ppg, he is coming off of his worst game of the season, scoring just 3 points in their win over Depaul. In order to keep up with the fast paced Red Storm, Bolden will have to be better.
The Bulldogs at home in the past would have been an easy cover spot, but this team is having problems on the offensive end that is hard to ignore. For Butler to win they will have to slow the pace of the game. They also have to defend the three, something they have not done well all season. Butler gives up 37% shooting from deep, that is a strength for St. Johns who shoots the ball at 36% (71st in the nation). These two teams met once this year with St. John’s taking the victory at home 69-57. The Bulldogs were able to play their pace in that game but turned the ball over 16 times. The game plan for St. Johns will be simple, move fast and force Butler to score. If you grab a lead early on the Bulldogs they do not have the firepower to come back. Take the Red Storm.
Play of the day: St. John’s ML
Big Ten basketball is about as unpredictable as any conference on any night. On Monday night we get a matchup between the rising Ohio State Buckeyes and the upset minded Maryland Terrapins.
The Terps are literally a box of chocolates, never knowing what you are going to get. They feature wins over Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all are great individual wins in a season where they are just 10-9 overall. Maryland has a lot of talent, they are led by Junior guard Eric Ayala who is coming off of his best game of the year putting up 23 points in their loss to Penn State Friday night. The Terps were not impressive in their their loss Penn State, they only put up 50 points in a matchup with a weaker defensive unit in the Nittany Lions. They will have to find more points if they want keep up with one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are on a roll. The Buckeyes have established themselves as the top of the food chain in the loaded Big Ten winning 7 of 8 and sitting just behind Illinois and Michigan for the top overall record in the conference. The Buckeyes have a dynamic connection between EJ Liddell and Duane Washington, either one has the ability to take over a game at any moment. The offense has been on a tear scoring at least 74 points per game in four straight, if they are able to reach 70 that could be well out of the range for the Terps as they live up to their namesake with one of the slowest paces in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are able to run their offense through EJ Liddell in the post. Maryland won’t have a big that can hang with him, they will be forced to pack the defense in, allowing the Ohio State motion offense to work around the athletic Maryland wings. Ohio State has been efficient on offense ranking top five in the country in offensive efficiency. Maryland’s experience and athletes will keep this one tight but Ohio State is awesome from the free throw line and should lock this one down in the end.
Play of the day: Ohio State -3.5