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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|11-13-19||LSU v. VCU -3||Top||82-84||Loss||-105||8 h 31 m||Show|
My 10* Las Vegas Insider is on VCU at 6:00 ET.
No. 23 LSU (1-0) visits Richmond, Va to take on VCU on Wednesday, which opened No. 25 in the AP's preseason poll but dropped out in Monday's new poll, despite opening 2-0. LSU head coach Will Wade returns to the place where he won 51 games and made a pair of NCAA Tournaments in two seasons as the school's head coach. Wade was 51-20 at VCU from 2015-17 before taking the job in Baton Rouge,where he helped the 28-7 Tigers win their first SEC regular-season title since 2009 last season Lost in the Sweet 16). Mike Rhoads took over at VCU for Wade when he left for LSU and after the Rams won a disappointing 18 games in his first season, went 25-8 last season as VCU earned an NCAA bid for the NINTH time in the last 11 seasons.
Most likely remember that Wade was suspended by LSU last March due to allegations over illegal recruiting charges. He's back (for now), so let's talk basketball. Gone from last year's team are PG Waters (15.3 & 5.8 APG) plus frontcourt players the 6-9 Reid (13.6 & 7.2) and the 6-11 Bigby-Williams (7.9 & 6.7). Key players returning this this year are guards Javonte Smart (in the center of LY's recruiting scandal) and Skylar Mays. Smart had 21 points in Friday's 88-79 home win over Bowling Green, while Mays had 18 & 8. Sophomore forward Emmitt Williams had 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor, after averaging just 7.0 PPG last season. Fellow sophomore forward Davis had 13 points and seven rebounds, coming off averaging 5.3 & 4.0 last year. The team's most promising freshman is the 6-9 Trendon Watford, who debuted with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Rams return all four of their double-figure scorers from last season’s team, as the lone starter lost from the 2018-19 team was the 6-8 Mobley. He started 23 games and chipped in modest totals of 4.2 & 2.5 (no real loss). The core of this year's team will be senior guards Jenkins (14.0 & 4.5) and Evans (12.5), plus 6-7 junior Santos-Silva (12.0 & 12.5). However, don't dismiss senior guard Mike’L Simms just yet, as while he's gone just 2-of-9 from the floor in the first two games, he as just ONE turnover in 49 total minutes.
“VCU is a great place,” Will Wade told reporters. “As a coach you travel around a lot. That’s the longest I’ve been in one place. I was there four years as an assistant. I was there two years as the head coach. They’ve got tremendous fans. … It will be rowdy, but it should be fun.” My bet follows the saying, "You can't go home." VCU is well-balanced and well-coached and will be looking to get back into the top-25 by knocking off LSU in this one. This contest is VCU's lone real test before playing in Niceville, Fl (Emerald Coast Classic) Nov 29-30. Wade and his Tigers will fine "nothing fun" about this visit to the Siegal Center!
|11-12-19||Memphis v. Oregon -3.5||Top||74-82||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
My 10* Top-15 Showdown is on Oregon at 9:00 ET.
Penny Hardaway's first season as head coach of his alma mater (Memphis) resulted in a 22-win season. The Tigers lost all FIVE starters from that team but they've been replaced by what most considered the best recruiting class of the 2019-20 season. However, the situation is not without drama, as the 'jewel' of that class, 7-1 freshman James Wiseman, is the center of an NCAA investigation which ruled him ineligible. Attorneys for Wiseman have since sued the NCAA and while the legal process continue Wiseman, has averaged 22.5 & 10.0 in the Tigers' 2-0 start. Memphis is ranked 13th in the latest AP poll and tonight visits the Moda Center (home of the Trail Blazers) to take on 2-0 Oregon, which is ranked 14th. Oregon opened with a 14-point win over Fresno St and then shot 70 percent from the floor (including 13 of 19 from three-point range), in a 106-75 rout of Boise St.
Wiseman leads the consensus top recruiting class in the country, which also includes guard Ellis (15.0), the 6-9 Achiuwa (12.0 & 7.5) and the 6-7 Jeffries (9.5 & 4.0). There's more, in freshman guards Quinones (7.0-3.5-4,.0) and Baugh (4.0 & 6.0 APG). Sophomore guards Alex Lomax and Tyler Harris, the only prominent holdovers from last season’s team, have combined to average 16.5 points in the wins over South Carolina State and the UIC.
Oregon's Bol Bol is gone plus a trioo0f 6-9 players, King, White and Wooten, who were major contributors in Oregon's Pac 12 tourney title and Sweet 16 runs, are also gone. However, PG Ptrichard (21.5-6.5-7.0) leads an excellent cast. He teams with fellow senior Mathis (19.5) plus JC transfer Duarte (11.5-6.0-3.5) in the backcourt. Up front, 6-7 freshman Patterson (8.5) joins 6-7 UNLV transfer Juiston (10.5-4.5-5.0) and 6-9 sophomore Okoro. Okoro missed Saturday’s game after posting 10 points and 10 rebounds in the opener. He was struck by a car and is listed day-to-day.
The Phil Knight Invitational (named for the Nike co-founder) is technically a neutral-court game, but it's less than two hours from Eugene, home of the Ducks. Dana Altman has led Kansas St, Creighton and Oregon to multiple NCAA tourneys and owns a HUGE coaching edge over the still untested Hardaway. In 'friendly surroundings,' I 'love' the Ducks at this price.
|11-12-19||Missouri v. Xavier -5.5||Top||58-63||Loss||-110||13 h 6 m||Show|
My 9* Revenge Game of the Month is on Xavier at 7:00 ET.
Missouri and Xavier have both opened 2-0, as the two teams meet Tuesday night in Cincinnati (Cintas Center). The Tigers are coming off a 15-17 season and in the preseason, were picked to finish 13th in the 14-school SEC. Xavier is coming off a 19-16 season, although the Musketeers were ranked 19th in the AP's preseason poll (despite a 2-0 start, Xavier was ranked 21st in the first regular season poll).
This marks Cuonzo Martin's third season at Missouri. He led theTigers to an NCAA appearance in his first but the Tigers had no such success last season. Missouri has opened 2-0 while holding opponents to 49.0 PPG but the team's opening win was over Incarnate Word. SEVEN of last year's top-nine scorers are back, led by 6-10 junior Jeremiah Tilmon. He's averaging 14.5 & 6.0 but the only other Missouri player in double digits is sophomore guard Xavier Pinson (11.5-3.0-5..5), who comes off the bench. Mark Smith, a 6-5 junior guard who missed the final seven games of last season with a foot injury, failed to score in an opening win over Incarnate Word but rebounded with 19 points in Friday's victory over Northern Kentucky (note: No. Ky won 26 games last year and made the "Big Dance"). Evansville transfer Dru Smith starts alongside of Mark Smith in the backcourt and is averaging 8.5 PPG.
Travis Steele was hired by Sean Miller at Xavier for the 2008-09 season. He was retained by Chris Mack after Miller accepted the Arizona head coaching position and has been a part of a Musketeers program that has been to eight NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight run in 2017. Steele was promoted to head coach when Mack took the Louisville job. Following Miller and Mack was NOT expected to be easy and it wasn't. However, Xavier rallied to win EIGHT of its final 11 regular season games and went to a postseason tourney (NIT) for the 13th time in 14 seasons. Xavier lost just ONE starter off last year's team, the 6-11 Hankins who averaged 10.6 & 5.3. The Musketeers feature a terrific forward duo, as 6-9 senior Jones is averaging 18.5 & 8.5 plus 6-7 junior Marshall is averaging 18.45-7.0-5.5. Some bad news is that returning guard Paul Scruggs (12.3 PPG last season), who had 12 points against Jacksonville before suffering a knee injury , did not play against Siena and appear s unlikely to play against Missouri (he was a preseason honorable mention all-Big East selection). However, 6-9 freshman Zach Freemantle and 6-8 Ohio U transfer Jason Carter, could play play big roles for Xavier this season. Freemantle is off to a promising start (9.0 & 5.5), while Carter (5.5 & 2.0), not so much.
This will be Xavier's first 'test' of the season, or is it? Martin did lead Missouri to the NCAAs in his first season, despite a 5-6 road record. However, the Tigers had gone an "hard-to-believe" 0-30 on the road in the previous three seasons and last year reverted to form by going 2-8 on the road. Why should Missouri win here, where Xavier has gone 88-16 (.846) since joining the Big East back at the start of the 2013-14 season. What's more, 'ringing in Xavier's ear' will be Missouri's 71-56 home win over the Musketeers last season. REVENGE works in a "big way": in this one!
|11-11-19||Yale v. San Francisco -5.5||Top||79-84||Loss||-109||12 h 38 m||Show|
My 10* Situational Stunner is on San Francisco at 9:00 ET. Yale's James Jones is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League. He's led the Bulldogs to three Ivy championships in the last five seasons, including two NCAA appearances. The 2015-16 season was special, as Yale won 23 games (the most since 1906-07) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 54 years where the Bulldogs upset Baylor to earn the first NCAA Tournament victory in Yale history. Last season wasn't bad either, as Jones guided Yale to Ivy League regular season and tournament titles and a 22-8 overall record. The Bulldogs knocked off Harvard in a thrilling Ivy League Tournament championship game and then nearly upset third-seeded LSU in the NCAA Tournament. Yale has opened 2-0 but gets a real test tonight, when the school visits the San Francisco Dons, who have also started 2-0. San Francisco saw head coach Tyler Smith, after three straight 20-win seasons, leave to take the Washington St job. However, his assistant coach, Todd Golden takes over. The Dons are thrilled with his promotion, as he played at St Marry's and has worked under Smith at Columbia and here at San Francisco, with a 'pit stop' under Bruce Pearl at Auburn, in between. Yale lost four starters (as well as its top-three scorers) of last year's team. Most notable, is the loss of Ivy League POY Miye Oni (17.1 & 6.3). However, Jones feels that the 6-10 Atkinson and guard Swain are almost returning starters, as each played in every game last season. He may be right about that, as Atkinson is averaging 19.0 & 4.5 and Swain 14.0 & 4.5. The team's lone returning starter, the 6-9 Bruner (10.4 & 8.3 LY), is averaging a double-double to open this season at 10.0 & 10.5 The Dons love Golden's pedigree but he will have to replace the heart and soul of last year's team, PG Ferrari (14.7 &5.5 APG). That said, the current team looks very solid and balanced. The Dons have started a trio of guards in Mineland (15.5 & 4.), Bouyea (13.0 & 6.0) and Ratinho (13.0), while Central Washington transfer Shabazz (11.0 & 6.5) looks like an excellent addition. The 7-0 Lull (12.0 & 8.0) and the 6-8 Kunen (7.5 & 7.0) start up front, with the 6-9 Raitanen (6.5 & 5.5) coming off the bench. This contest begins a tough stretch for Yale, which plays at Oklahoma St (11/17) and Penn St (11/23) a part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. San Francisco opens with SIX of its first seven at home and will take the court tonight on a nine-game November winning streak. The Dons went 7-0 in November of 2018 and have opened 2-0 here in 2019. The Dons beat two Ivy League schools in last November's 7-0 run (Harvard and Dartmouth) plus beat Princeton by 10 Saturday at Chase Center (Warriors new home) and will take a seven-game winning streak against Ivy League opponents into tonight's contest. "The Price is Right" and I'm taking the home team. Good luck...Larry
|11-08-19||Davidson +2 v. Auburn||Top||66-76||Loss||-110||8 h 34 m||Show|
My 10* Tourney Takedown is on Davidson at 6:00 ET.
Auburn made an incredible run to last year's Final 4, before losing 63-62 to eventual champ Virginia. The Tigers lost a 'ton' off that team, most notably guards Brown (15.9) and Harper (15.3) plus the 6-8 Okeke (12.0 & 6.8). However, the Tigers will start four seniors in 2019-20. In contrast, Davidson comes off a 24-10 season and returns all five starters. The two schools square off in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis at 6:00 ET with Auburn coming off a nine-point home win over Ga Southern on Nov 5 and Davidson playing its season-opener.
The Wildcats return their entire starting lineup from last season, led by Atlantic 10 Player of the Year , PG Jon Axel Gudmundsson (16.9-7.3-4.8). He's joined on the perimeter by Kellan Grady, an all-conference pick who averaged a team-high 17.3 PPG last season and Luke Frampton (10.3 PPG last season). Starting up front are the 6-6 Pritchett (6.9 & 3.6) and the 6-10 (Drogkovic (11.1 & 6.0). Sure Auburn lost five contributors from last season, the Tigers opened this season starting FOUR seniors plus freshman Isaac Okoro, who head coach Bruce Pearl called the best defensive guard he's ever signed. Okoro scored 12 points and added five points in Tuesday's win. He joined those four seniors in the starting lineup. SF Doughtly led with 20 points, while frontcourt mates center Wiley (13 & 9) and PF Purify (13) also scored in double digits. Starting PG McCormick had nine points and four assists.
Auburn snuck into the bottom of AP's preseason poll at No. 24, while Davidson was unranked. However, many think (including myself), that the Wildcats could easily be a top-25 team this season. For those "in the know," it should NOT go unnoticed that the Blue Ribbon CBB Yearbook ranked Davidson 17th! Auburn struggled against Ga Southern on Tuesday, most notably turning the ball over 21 times (averaged just 11.7 TOs per game last season). Bob McKillop starts his 31st season as Davidson's head coach and he's had quite a run (578-350 overall, with nine NCAA teams). His best-known team was the 2007-08 edition, when Steph Curry led the Wildcats into the Elite 8. Not ready to say this year's team can match that one but the Wildcats are the A-10's best team and I expect they will be NCAA-bound. Expect the Wildcats to earn a "quality win" right out of the gate.
|11-06-19||Cincinnati v. Ohio State -6||Top||56-64||Win||100||12 h 23 m||Show|
My 10* Game of the Week is on Ohio St at 8:30 ET. Ohio St and Cincinnati met in last year's season opener with the Buckeyes winning 64-56 at Cincinnati. It was the first regular-season meeting in 98 years, as the school's renewed a dormant in-state rivalry. The two school's open their respective 2019-20 seasons again on Wednesday night, this time in Columbus. The Bearcats are off a 28-7 season, while making their NINTH straight NCAA appearance. However, head coach Mick Cronin has "taken his talents" to Westwood (UCLA), after a terrific 13-year run at Cincinnati. Taking over will be John Brannen, who comes from No. Kentucky, where he won 20-plus games in each of the last three seasons, earning the Norse NCAA bids in 2017 and 2019. Ohio St's Chris Holtmann took over at Butler for Brad Stevens and three NCAA bids later, got the job in Columbus. His first season was a 25-win one but last year, while the Buckeyes did get an NCAA bid, they lost in the first round to finish just 20-15. Senior guard Jarron Cumberland, was the 2019 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, averaging 18.8-4.4-3.6 assists. He was the ONLY Cincy player to score in double digits. Guards Jenifer and Broome (8.6 & 8.3 PPG) have graduated and the 6-11 Brooks (8.1 & 6.3) transferred to Miami. Returning starters joining Cumberland are senior 6-8 forward Tre Scott (9.3 & 6.9) and junior guard Keith Williams (9.9 & 3.2). However, the Bearcats do have an influx of roster additions including 7-1 transfer Chris Vogt, who followed Brannen from Northern Kentucky plus two highly regarded freshman guards, Zach Harvey and Mika Adams-Woods.Throw in Jarron Cumberland's cousin Jaevin, a graduate transfer from Oakland (17.2 PPG) and the Bearcats will again be a top-contender in the AAC. The centerpiece of Ohio St's team this season will be will be 6-9 junior center Kaleb Wesson, a preseason All-Big Ten pick who shed some weight and could offer more mobility this season (he averaged 14.6 & 6.9 LY). Wesson led the Buckeyes with 23 points and seven rebounds in Ohio State's 95-52 exhibition victory over Division II Cedarville on Oct 30 plus Holtmann saw 5-star freshman recruit PJ Carlton score 15 points. Carlton is a PG but so is FSU transfer CJ Walker (he started for FSU's Elite 8 team in 2017). Ohio St will have a deep backcourt with Carlton and Walker plus returning guards Woods (8.1), Muhammad (7.6) and Washington (7.0). The 6-8 Young (6.0 & 4.4) joins Wesson up front, along with freshman Gaffney (6-9) and Diallo (6-10). Cincinnati's trip to Ohio State marks the teams' first game in Columbus since 1921 and the Bearcats' first opener on the road since 2001 at Oklahoma.What's more, Cincy takes the court with a new head coach for the first time in 14 years! As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes begin a challenging non-conference schedule that includes No. 10 Villanova at home, No. 11 North Carolina on the road, No. 2 Kentucky (now likely No. 1 after the MSU win!) in Las Vegas and West Virginia in Cleveland. However, Ohio St was 12-1 with its non-conference schedule last season, before struggling in the Big Ten. Cincinnati was a 28-win team last season, yet couldn't beat a lesser Ohio St team than it will face here, losing 64-56 at home. The Bearcats first visit to Columbus since 1921, "doesn't end well!" Good luck...Larry
|11-05-19||Michigan State v. Kentucky +3||Top||62-69||Win||100||12 h 8 m||Show|
My 9* No. 1 vs No. 2 Showdown in on Kentucky at 9:30 ET.
For only the second time in NCAA Division I history, the No. 1 and 2 teams will open their seasons against each other, as No. 1 Michigan State takes on No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday. The Spartans are coming off a run to the Final Four last season and were voted the AP's preseason No. 1 time for the first time in school history. Kentucky reached the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA Tournament and is ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, the NINTH straight top-five preseason ranking for the Wildcats (who says One-and-Done can't work?).
The leader of Tom Izzo's squad is senior PG Cassius Winston, who averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 assists in winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors a season ago. The 6-8 Xavier Tillman emerged in the second half of the season in 2018-19, finishing with averages of 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. MSU also expected SG Joshua Langford (15.0 PPG before getting hurt last season) to be back but his ankle is now expected to keep him out until mid-January. Gone are the 6-9 Ward (12.9 & 6.1), tje 6-7 Goins (7.9 & 8.9) and SG McQuaid (9.8).
Winston is getting lots of "pub" (Blue Ribbon named him Player of the Year) but Kentucky also has an outstanding returning PG in Ashton Hagans, who is the team leader in points, assists and steals among returnees. There is a lot of buzz for Hagans' backcourt partner, freshman Tyrese Maxey, a McDonald's All-American who was named to the All-SEC preseason second team before he's stepped on the court. However, like MSU, Kentucky lost guards Herro (14.o) and Johnson (13.5) plus forwards Washington (15.2 & 7.2) and Travis (11.2 & 7.2).
The key for me here is that Calipari has become the 'master' of the One-and-Done era and as he has in the past, quickly sees his team mesh. The starting-five will consist of two freshmen and two sophomores, plus graduate transfer Nate Sestina from Bucknell. He figures to be a welcome addition, as he will provide some needed experience. The 6-9 forward averaged 15.8 points and a Patriot League-best 8.5 rebounds a season ago,. I think MSU is a bit overrated. The Spartans lost a lot (see above), will NOT get Langford back as expected (until 2020) and additionally, 6-6 forward Kyle Ahrens (4.7 & 2.5) is nursing a high ankle sprain. I'm calling for a Kentucky "W" and will take the points. Don't call it an upset.
|11-05-19||Kansas -2 v. Duke||Top||66-68||Loss||-107||10 h 31 m||Show|
My NCAAB 10* Season Tip-Off is on Kansas at 7:00 ET.
Duke reached the 30-win mark for the 15th time in 39 years under Coach K in 2018-19 but despite being led by three top-10 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Blue Devils fell short of a national championship, falling to Michigan State in the Elite Eight. Kansas know more than a little about failing to meet expectations last season, as the Jayhawks did not win the Big 12 for the first time in 15 years, then bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32 against Auburn. Kansas enters this contest No. 3 in the AP's preseason poll and Duke checks in at No. 4. Duke owns a 7-5 series advantage over Kansas but the Jayhawks have won the last THREE meetings, including an Elite Eight overtime thriller at the end of the 2017-18 season. However, only two players from each side that played in that game remain on the roster of their respective teams (turnover is the rule in college hoops these days).Kansas had its season disrupturd early on last year, as center Udoka Azubuike was limited to nine games in 2018-19 due to a torn ligament in his right hand,. However, he's back healthy (averaged 13.0 & 7.0 in his last full season) and it should not go unnoticed that he was voted Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by the league's coaches. Devon Dotson (12.3 PPG) was also a preseason all-conference first-team selection, after withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration this summer. Key new additions are Iowa graduate transfer Isaiah Moss (9.2 PPG and 42.1% from three-point range last season) plus when Michigan head coach John Beilein left for the NBA this summer, Self was able to land the highly-touted Jalen Wilson. The 6-8 freshman will help ease the loss of the 6-9 Dedric Lawson (19.4 & 10.3). PG Tre Jones (9.4 & 5.3 APG) was the only one of the four, five-star recruits from last season's recruiting class to delay his NBA dream (Zion, RJ and Cam all left. Jones is expected to be the only non-freshman starter on this year's team. Vernon Carey Jr. was ranked as the sixth-best recruit in the nation and gives the Blue Devils an interior presence at 6-10 and 275 pounds. that only Zion Williamson was typically able to provide a season ago. The 6-9 Matthew Hurt was Duke's other five-star from the most recent recruiting class, after averaging 36.8 points, 12.4 rebounds and five assists as a senior en route to being named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball. Checking the history books, Duke is the only one of the four programs (Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State are the others) with a winning record in this event at 5-3. However, it has lost both times it has faced Kansas (2013, 2016). As for Kansas, it has won its Champions Classic game in each of the past THREE seasons. Azubuike's return is a BIG deal, as the Jayhawks have won 47 of 56 career games. as for the Blue Devils, Duke used 11 players in the opening eight minutes of its second exhibition game, so will will have to see if Coach K has settled on which combinations to use. It could take some time. Kansas is the play! Good luck...Larry
|04-08-19||Texas Tech v. Virginia OVER 118||Top||77-85||Win||100||14 h 20 m||Show|
My CBB 10* Game of the Month is on Tex Tech/Va Over at 9:20 ET.
Texas Tech (31-6) meets Virginia (34-3) in the NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, as each school looks to win its first-ever title.. Virginia has limited opponents to a national-best 55.5 PPG on 38.4 percent shooting (5th), while Texas Tech allows 58.8 PPG (3rd) on 36.8 percent shooting (1st). I could go into a detailed analysis of thsisgame but I prefer to make it "short and sweet!"
Virginia's 18 regular season ACC games finished with 120 points or more (opening total of this game was 119) in 12 of 18 contests. In UVa's seven postseason games (two ACC tourney games and five NCAA tourney ones), FIVE of the seven have exceeded 120 or more. As for Texas Tech, 17 of its 18 Big 12 games finished with 120 or more points. The Red Raiders were bounced in their first Big 12 tourney contest (79-74 by West Va) and in five NCAA games, the final has finished with 120 or more, three times.
I'm just going say "O-V-E-R" and let the chips fall where the may.