Archive | December, 2014

12/31 Wednesday

31 Dec

All thoughts will be posted on twitter today @jorcubsdan

Happy New Year’s Eve

Abbreviated thoughts posted on twitter so far…

St. John’s -2

ETSU +10.5

Penn St +19.5 

Illinois State -10

Missouri State +3

Georgetown +5.5

12/30 Tuesday evening thoughts

30 Dec

Davidson @ Virginia

Highly efficient offense vs a highly efficient defense, but the kicker here is that UVA’s offense is playing at a high level as well, and Davidson’s defense struggled against the only top 100 adjusted efficiency offensives they’ve played (1.15 ppp at home to Charlotte and 1.23ppp in Charlotte to UNC). Obviously scoring is a major issue against UVA, and Davidson doesn’t have the lightning quick PG off the dribble or big guards who can work their way into the middle of the court against the pack line, but they have the McKillop motion offense working in their favor. With the exception of Ekwu and Barham, everyone who sees significant minutes can shoot the 3, and Kalinoski, Aldridge, and Michelson all have great height outside. Davidson put up a respectable .93 ppp for facing UVA’s defense in the meeting last year, but that was also early in the year and Bennett was still tinkering around with minutes and rotations at that point, plus Davidson had a legit paint presence in Brooks. Brooks didn’t have a good game in that meeting last year, but he was a presence nonetheless. In short, Davidson’s offense is reliant on the 3, and the nature of the pack line itself can lend itself to 3s being shot against it, but since it’s by design, those shots are always highly contested and not the spot you want them to be in. The motion offense might be able to create enough space to get some clean looks, but then I don’t trust the Davidson defense enough, even if the offense is working.

Prediction: Davidson +16.5

Iona @ UMass

To beat UMass you have to limit them in transition opportunities and keep them out of the lane and off the FT line. Iona can probably hope to do one of these things tonight. Iona loves to shoot the 3 obviously, but you don’t beat UMass with the 3 ball. You have to be able to work it inside consistently and pound them around the rim. Tough for UMass to come all the way back home after the OT loss in Provo, but Iona for however great they are offensively, isn’t necessarily set up to beat them. Sure, they can run with UMass, but that’s not the proven way to beat them. Try to get Laury going, throw a zone at UMass in the halfcourt, then see if you can open it up a bit with Casimir and English. Interesting game that should be a good one, unless Iona’s 263rd rated transition defense completely lets them down.

William & Mary @ UNC

I think William & Mary can slow this one down enough to stay with a few possessions at the end. They’ve played one game with pace in the 70s all year (71 vs WIU), while UNC has played just 3 that weren’t (1-2 against Florida, UK, Iowa, obviously better competition). William & Mary’s modified Princeton combined with their ability to get back in transition (rarely go for offensive rebounds), should slow this down enough to keep them competitive.

Prediction: William & Mary +16.5

Oral Roberts @ Detroit

Have to wonder who, if anyone, cares enough about this game to win. Both are starting conference play later this week, but I can’t imagine ORU is too thrilled with a holiday trip to Detroit right now. Detroit is off some much needed week long rest after a crazy travel schedule, and the zone should be enough to make ORU care even less about attacking the rim (although Detroit does tend to foul out of the zone with alarming regularity, and the FT line is essentially the only way ORU scores).

Prediction: Detroit -4

UNC Wilmington @ Ohio

Bobcats coming back from Hawaii, but should be able to handle UNCW’s guard pressure, plus the Seahawks look like a team that needs an extended break. Been playing at a high pace with no bench.

Have to go blurbs from here on out…

I think Charlotte has a bit of a chance tonight if Thorne and Clayton can stay out of foul trouble to back end the zone. If not, Georgia Tech will bully them inside. Prediction: Charlotte +5.5 

Florida’s interior defense is rounding into usual form with the addition of Murphy and Francis at practice as well. Going to be a massive struggle for FSU to score, because you eventually have to be able to hit some shots from outside given Florida’s propensity to help on almost all penetration by bringing a big up, and like I said, the interior is rounding into form. Prediction: Florida -6.5 

Charleston’s a good shooting team, but could have some issues against Miami’s extended zone, and Baru isn’t enough of an offensive threat inside. Of course I said that same thing about EKU.

Weird spot on the schedule for George Washington, but they have the best eFG% transition defense in the country, and the extended guard pressure out of several different defensive looks really takes away the 3. So no transition and no 3s. How does VMI score? GW wins easily if they care enough to play 40 minutes after coming home from the Diamond Head victory.

LaSalle isn’t turning teams over a ton, but that hardly matters given Penn’s TO issues vs anybody, and the Explorers still extend their guards way out to take away the 3. Can Hicks get the ball consistently to Louis and DNH? Tough to rely on that.

Simply put, you can’t trust UL Monroe at all vs a zone, particularly Georgia State’s. Still love Ongwae, but when teams limit his presence in the middle of the floor, ULM tends to struggle offensively. Georgia State had trouble with that in the first meeting last year, so a little hope?

I think you’ll see Kansas live at the FT line tonight, won’t find enough scoring from the interior/Jimmy Hall slashing to keep Kansas from being more aggressive pushing them off the 3 point line than they normally are.

Weird schedule for Cal Poly, and IPFW should be able to find enough spots vs matchup zone, even without Forbes to provide an interior presence.

Dayton a far better zone busting team than people realize, and I think you’ll see them win big, even shorthanded and even if Jarvis Summers plays for Ole Miss. Prediction: Dayton -6

Quick turnaround off 3OT loss vs big brother rival, and Mercer isn’t built to fare well vs a team that can use a high pressure zone, like Texas A&M. Aggies should clean up on offensive glass too. This one could get ugly. Prediction: TAMU -12

I’ve talked about how underrated Bocoum and Livingston are for Arkansas State in the past, and they should be able to dominate smaller, shorthanded USA inside. No bench for Arkansas St, but they’ve had a week off. Prediction: Arkansas St -2.5 

Who hits more 3s vs whose zone? That’s what Georgia Southern and UT Arlington could boil down to. Possibly no Bilbao for UTA, which represents most of their height.

UALR doesn’t turn the ball over, but that’s not how ULL gets in transition. Trojans are a poor rebounding team, and you’ll be able to see ULL dominate the glass and get out and run, 2nd in transition attempts in the country off a rebound, and UALR can’t beat them inside. Prediction: ULL PK

Texas State was able to get behind the Troy zone in San Marcos with Grant last year, and having Naylor back helps, but the offense has been dreadful on the road. Not sure how much you can take from second meeting last year in last game of the season with nothing on the line though. More of a watch and learn with Texas State tonight.

All I had time for tonight.

12/30 Tuesday afternoon thoughts

30 Dec

VA Tech @ West Virginia

Always tough to get a good read on the final nonconference games for teams, but I think WV should be fine here, assuming they can hit just a modicum of shots from outside against VA Tech’s packed in zone. WV has been far from a consistent shooting team, but I think they’ll find their stroke a bit today given the ample opportunities they’ll have. WV should also be able to dominate the glass and create even more possessions with their top rated defensive turnover rate. Should be noted that the fans in Morgantown haven’t forgotten about Buzz dancing either.

Illinois @ Michigan

The Illini obviously rely on a guard heavy attack, and when they aren’t hitting the 3 consistently, the offense becomes easy to slow down based on the reliance of ball screens/dribble penetration from Rice. They haven’t scored over 1ppp against any major conference team this year, but obviously Michigan has had their issues on both sides of the court. I’m more concerned with them offensively, as they have no interior presence, and they’re more reliant on the jump shot than Illinois. Both teams will be able to jack up 3s at will, so I suppose it’s just simply a matter of who hits more of them, as Illinois won’t exploit Michigan inside and vice versa.

Long Beach State @ Louisville

Still can’t trust Louisville shooting the ball consistently vs a zone, and Monson certainly isn’t afraid to go zone, plus this game is wedged in between Kentucky and the start of ACC play for the Cardinals. If the Beach aren’t too worn out from this insane road trip and can handle the high pressure zone (iffy at best), they could stick around, but it’s never usually fun to face Pitino after a loss, and he’s switching up the lineup a bit, so I don’t think anyone is looking past this one on the Cardinals’ sideline.

Cincinnati @ NC State

You can’t glean too much from last year’s matchup, as both offenses were so reliant on players who no longer play for these programs. Can you trust NC State vs tough, ball pressure man to man defenses? Barber and Lacey aren’t necessarily turnover prone (except against WV, yikes), but against those type of defenses I mention, the offense as a whole has ground to a halt. So the question becomes whether or not the incredibly inefficient Cincy offense can score enough to win.

Prediction: Cincinnati +4.5

Maryland @ Michigan State

Michigan State gets Dawson back, and will get to face Maryland’s guard extended zone that allows a lot of three point attempts, but often highly contested. Interested to see Maryland vs a team that get behind the zone and beat them with height. Michigan State isn’t really that team at all, but they should see more than enough looks from outside to win this one at home.

12/27 Saturday thoughts

27 Dec

Sorry, no time for analysis today, but some abbreviated thoughts…

Indiana +3.5

UNC Wilmington +20

Gonzaga -5

Pacific +4

Wright St +17.5

New Mexico St +2.5

Portland +6

12/25 Thursday thoughts

25 Dec

Loyola Marymount vs DePaul

These are both bad basketball teams. DePaul’s defensive effort vs Ohio was flat out embarrassing, but nevertheless, LMU’s major turnover issues could be the difference. Dunlap has shown a propensity to mix up zones, and DePaul is apparently content to let their bigs shoot 3s all day. I was impressed by LMU’s length and athleticism against Nebraska though. They dominated the offensive glass, and they actually have some surprising depth. Both could be a huge factor, as DePaul has no depth and is an awful rebounding team. Evan Payne looked fatigued near the end of the Nebraska game, and appeared to be cramping up. If he’s not 100%, LMU’s offense will struggle…more so.

Prediction: LMU +2

Ohio vs Nebraska

Bean Willis hit 7 threes vs DePaul, and Ohio as a whole busted out of their shooting slump, but like I said earlier, playing DePaul almost automatically busts you out of a slump. Interesting story line here, as Tim Miles and Saul Phillips are very familiar with each other from their years together at NDSU. The Nebraska offense is just dreadful. They don’t have anyone who can shoot the ball besides Pitchford. Miles is pretty much forced to give him more minutes at this point, but he trades defense for offense in that situation, and knowing his M.O., he cringes at that notion. Lack of depth for Nebraska is an issue today, and I trust Ohio’s offense far more right now than Nebraska’s.

Prediction: Ohio +5.5 

Colorado @ Hawaii

The offense was the issue in Colorado’s loss to GW, but I have a feeling they’ll feed Scott early and often vs Hawaii’s weak interior. Hawaii’s athletic slashers are going to have a hard time vs Colorado’s zone, and the Buffs have the potential to dominate the defensive glass, which often leads to easy wins for Tad Boyle’s squad.

Prediction: Colorado -3.5

George Washington vs Wichita State

Incredibly interesting game, as we’ll get another chance to see how good/bad Wichita’s interior defense is. GW’s guards aren’t prone to being bullied by extended pressure, which Wichita employs liberally, and we’ll see how they handle a team who can attack them. and work the ball inside. Offensively, you can’t beat GW with guards. It just won’t happen. You have to have a mobile big, particularly when Lonergan throws out the 1-3-1, and the Shockers don’t have that this year. I think you’ll see a big win for GW, but the Shockers have proven to be on the side of luck several times this year already.

Prediction: GW +6 

12/23 Tuesday day game thoughts

23 Dec

Eastern Illinois @ Cleveland State

Cleveland State’s offense looks so much more fluid when they make a concerted effort to get the ball to Anton Grady in the paint, and that’s exactly what they did against USF in the second half in their OT win Saturday. EIU is coming off back to back solid wins over NIU and at Indiana State (who is dreadful this year, but still a nice road win over an MVC team), but I think Cleveland State’s guard pressure disrupts talented enough but turnover prone Lil T Johnson enough to create extra possessions for the Vikings in what should otherwise be a game played at a snail’s speed.

UMass @ BYU

I’m sure UMass would love to exact some revenge after last year’s loss to BYU, but they haven’t played a game in the Mountain or Pacific time zones in 11 years, and they come in reeling, having lost 4 of 5 and not really being competitive on the road outside of Massachusetts. The good news is that they’ll be able to play at their comfort pace, and BYU is off a big win over Stanford and starts WCC play with a massive home game against Gonzaga on Saturday. If BYU comes out lethargic, and maybe Haws’ ankle is a little tight, then UMass can stay in this game. They should be able to attack BYU’s bigger, slower guards off the dribble from Davis, Hinds, and Gordon, and BYU is foul prone. Rose switching to a zone at times seems likely to limit penetration and hide Haws and limit touches to Esho and Lalanne, plus UMass as usual, simply doesn’t shoot the three. UMass doesn’t have much depth either, but I think they can give BYU a game here, especially since the extended guard pressure has proven to bother BYU in previous games this year, as Stanford used it to nearly a steal a win while being outplayed the entire game. I’ve been on the wrong side of games that end in 40 point blowouts lately (Harvard, Wofford) and this has the potential to be another one, but I think UMass hangs in there.

Prediction: UMass +10.5 

Ohio vs DePaul

Phillips was pretty upset after the beating they took from GW yesterday, and rightfully so. Ohio is lazy on defense, particularly off dribble penetration, and Savage was able to basically waltz up to the rim. The same is essentially true offensively as well. Ohio shot 3 FTs yesterday. Granted, GW doesn’t foul a lot, but shooting 3 FTs in a 40 minute basketball is more a reflection of the offense than the defense they faced. Phillips came into this tournament talking about how his team had turned the corner potentially, and were primed to knock off a GW or a Colorado. That seems increasingly unlikely now, but I have a feeling the Bobcats take out their disappointment on DePaul. I think you’ll see a much more aggressive Ohio team that will find buckets inside after handling DePaul’s guard pressure. I am a little concerned about Ohio’s stamina on back to back games though, particularly from the Taylors. Stevie tweaked his bad ankle vs GW yesterday and Ryan is just coming back from mono, and they don’t exactly have a deep bench. DePaul was DePaul yesterday. Lots of turnovers allowed Colorado to get out in transition, the bigs continued to drift out towards the 3 vs the Buffs’ zone, and Garrett was the only one interested in attacking. Who really knows with DePaul on a game by game basis. Tons of talent and height, but the utilization of both is far from efficient.

Detroit @ Arizona State

ASU off the 3OT home loss to Lehigh, and that’s spurred Sendek to make some lineup changes. Savon Goodman, who was one of the few highlights for ASU in that loss, will start, as will Roosevelt Scott. That means Gerry Blakes will slide over to PG. This is a much more athletic lineup, particularly defensively, and I think Goodman is capable of shutting down Howard, which is like cutting off the head of the snake when it comes to Detroit’s offense. It’s been a fairly brutal travel schedule for the Titans after the devastating collapse at home vs Wichita St. They went to Orlando, then up to Kingston, now out to Tempe. Side note: Brandan Kearney makes his return to Tempe in Detroit uniform today as well.

LaSalle @  Hofstra

Biggest home game of the year for Hofstra, and especially for Joe Mihalich, who graduated from LaSalle and spent nearly 20 years there as an assistant for Speedy Morris. But, there are some serious scheme factors working against the Pride today. 1) LaSalle once again is really limiting opponents from the behind the arc, it’s a Giannini trademark and 2) LaSalle is one of the better transition defenses in the country, and they really limit transition opportunities. If you know Joe Mihalich, his teams prolifically and and proficiently shoot the 3 and get out in transition. Now the issue for LaSalle is the offense. Price is the only perimeter option, and Wright and Zack haven’t exactly been efficient big men. Their perimeter has also taken a hit depth and defense wise with DJ Peterson out. He’s ? today with a bad ankle. Defensively I think LaSalle will limit what Hofstra wants to do. The question is can Wright and Zack expose Hofstra inside? The Pride’s frontcourt has been something of a disaster area because of injuries. 6’10 FR Andre Walker missed last game, and Rokas Gustys, who was expected to be an immediate contributor, is still out with an ankle injury as well. Both are ? today (not sure what’s up with Walker). They at least have Moussa Kone back, but he looked to be not in game shape vs Columbia. If LaSalle can slow this game down and work the ball inside, they should have an advantage. Mihalich will certainly counter with a zone vs LaSalle’s poor shooters, so Price has to be able to hit a modicum of shots outside. Second straight game Hofstra has had to face an incredibly stingy perimeter defense, which really bothered Green and Tanksley outside vs Columbia. Interesting game.

Prediction: LaSalle +4.5 

Colorado vs George Washington

I think this is a bad matchup for GW. Colorado has tremendous height/athleticism combo at nearly every position. Usually Garino has a distinct size advantage over whoever he’s guarding on the perimeter. Not true today. GW can combat Colorado on the defensive glass, which is key, but I think the issue is going to be scoring for the Colonials. GW isn’t a team built to face a lengthy, athletic zone, which is what Colorado throws out there. Penetration will be extremely limited, and GW doesn’t have the jump shooters to beat it over the top. Colorado also has an advantage depth wise on back to back games, as GW has a limited bench and the Buffs have Collier and Miller healthy for this tournament.

Prediction: Colorado +1.5 

Tuesday evening bullet points…

CSUN’s bevy of ineligible players reportedly passed their fall semester finals, but I’m not sure if they’re cleared to play at Louisville. The shorthanded Matadors could certainly use them, particularly Kevin Johnson, but I can’t find definitive word on their status. Harrell is of course suspended for this one, and CSUN employs a zone because of their lack of depth/height/talent/etc, and Louisville of course isn’t a strong jump shooting team. Couple that with the fact that this game is sandwiched in between the highly charged WKU game and the massive showdown with Kentucky, and you might see CSUN stick around for a little bit. The Matadors don’t generally turn the ball over, and if someone can hit a few jump shots (huge if), the burden to score every single point can be eased for Maxwell and Hicks.

Villanova is another heavy favorite in a potentially somnambulent spot. They’re off the thrilling comeback over Syracuse, and have a long break after this one before Big East play starts with Butler. Additionally, they’re likely without Hilliard tonight. NJIT has proven to rise to the occasion vs major conference teams, and the three pronged backcourt attack of Lynn, Willis, and Howard can score in bunches. They’re very susceptible to guard pressure though, and have little interior presence.

Stanford’s amoeba zone can be effective against Texas, who I think is still susceptible against a good zone with enough height inside to combat them on the glass as well. The Cardinal are certainly capable of both of these things, but Texas’ bruising style eventually tends to wear teams down. The issue is that Stanford can’t score from outside, and they won’t be able to score inside against Texas’ overwhelming interior defense. Stanford busted out some high pressure zone traps against BYU to get back in the game Saturday night. Texas’ backcourt can be turned over without Taylor. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dawkins use it more often tonight because the offense is going to have trouble scoring conventionally.

Been impressed with Arkansas State since Bocoum has seen an increase in minutes. It gives them a legit interior presence on both ends, and Niagara has zero height to combat him, and the Purple Eagles aren’t a good outside shooting team to burn Brady when he goes zone. Prediction: Arkansas State -2

With Bisping, Long, and Cole out, Siena is down to 8 scholarship guys. The Long and Bisping injuries are big because it really affects Patsos’ flex offense and limits depth for a team that likes to pressure and push the pace. Cornell is reliant on the 3 and turnover prone.

Normally sure handed Barber and Lacey were destroyed by WV’s press and traps, combining for 10 TOs and the Pack as a team had an appalling 33% TO rate. They don’t get a reprieve against the pressing Bulldogs, who are desperate for a big resume win. La Tech has no height and the interior defense is practically non existent, but the near constant pressure always allows them to be in games at the end (see Syracuse). NC State should be able to completely control the glass though.

I like this Sacred Heart team a lot. Cane Broome is one of my favorite FR in the country, and he and Kelley attack the rim nonstop. Gaetano is an underrated SR point guard as well. The problem is Rutgers will likely be fired up from a bad loss to another NEC team, and they’ll sit back in a zone and make Sacred Heart shoot the ball, that is if Eddie Jordan watched any of the Ohio State tape. They’re also not a good rebounding team, so exploiting a Rutgers weakness seems unlikely.

Interested to see Dayton transition to a strictly perimeter team with the loss of all their height. I think they’re certainly capable of it, but a tough test against paint oriented Georgia Tech. Brian Gregory returns to Dayton as well. Archie and the Flyers put up 1.12ppp against them in Atlanta last year.

Love the athleticism of this Hawaii team. They can attack the basket with four different wings, but the man to man defense of Wichita State is of course aggressive and physical, and Hawaii has to go zone most of the time without a true big man (they have Jankovic eligible, but he’s not a rim protector), and the Shockers can make zones look silly with VanVleet and Baker’s ability to break people down.

Dunlap’s zones didn’t work vs Wichita, but I think they’ll have some success against Nebraska.

Not a lot of rest for South Dakota State after 3 games in a row and a 4th against a massive Utah team, all 4,000+ ft above sea level.

Basically have to zone Texas Tech, who’s off an 0-21 from 3 night vs Loyola. Houston off a late OT loss to shorthanded Boise State, and the Cougars are shorthanded themselves with a thin bench to begin with. Houston is maybe the most frustrating team to watch in the country. Stiggers takes so many infuriatingly bad 3s, while Knowles and Pollard are basically left to clean up the misses. Offense has to be filtered through those two.

Wyoming facing Montana State for the second time in 9 days, and potentially without Grabau and Hankerson. Montana State so reliant on the 3, and Dison is battling bursitis in his knee and isn’t 100%, and that makes them hard to rely on game by game. MSU played well, relatively speaking, and should be able to hang around, especially if Hankerson and Grabau can’t go.

Arizona will turn UNLV into a jump shooting team, and thus I sense a throttling.

Lot of potential injury question marks for Boise State with Drmic, Marks, Duncan, and Wacker all ?. Loyola coach Porter Moser’s mother passed away last night as well, so the Ramblers’ minds are understandably not 100% focused on a basketball game right now.

12/22 Monday evening thoughts

22 Dec

The Citadel @ Michigan State

I would fear to go against Izzo in the wake of the shocking Texas Southern defeat, and that’s what The Citadel has in front of them. I actually think The Citadel is a better team with Sledge running the point than Marshall Harris, who has been hurt and is ? for tonight, but the Spartans’ perimeter defense should be able to extend out enough, even without Dawson, to disrupt Moore and Wright. PJ Horgan represents the Bulldogs’ only interior threat. Unlikely they’ll be able to exploit the Spartans inside, which is an area of concern if you’re a Michigan State fan.

Kansas @ Temple

I was surprised by how much run Jesse Morgan got in his Temple debut, but Dunphy knew he could make an impact immediately, and he did, hitting 4 threes and making Temple look much more efficient on offense. As long as Cummings avoids shooting the ball from outside, and Enechionyia can stay out of early foul trouble, Temple should be able to hang around in this one. Enichionyia somehow picked up 4 fouls in just 8 minutes vs an awful Delaware team. Temple’s usually stout interior defense needs him to stay on the floor because his athleticism and length is key vs Kansas’ athletic bigs.

Prediction: Temple +8

UT Martin @ Butler

Butler is very solid on the offensive glass, and should be able to limit UTM’s defensive rebound based transition offense. This is also the 4th game of the week with lots of travel for the Skyhawks, who rank 327th in bench minutes and are without Myles Taylor, possibly for the season.

Prediction: Butler -14.5 

IPFW @ Illinois State

The Mastodons should be able to handle Illinois State’s different zone looks and find some perimeter shots, but injuries are the issue for both teams. Illinois State will be without Akoon-Purcell and most likely Hawkins again, while Steve Forbes is a gametime decision with an ankle issue. Tough for Coffman to push Forbes even if he wants to play with a week break to heal looming. If Forbes is out, it’s imperative that Lynch stay out of foul trouble. When he had to sit vs Murray State, it limited the defensive versatility Muller likes and made them go to the 4 guard lineup they used for most of last year.

Prediction: Illinois State -9.5

Colgate @ Syracuse

Quick turnaround for Syracuse after the devastating late collapse vs Villanova, and they have to play a solid Colgate team that can really shoot the 3. Tillotson, Sherman-Newsome, McMullen, and Jacobs can all shoot it, with Tillotson being one of the most underrated PGs in the country, and Jacobs being a stretch 5 who hasn’t been able to find the mark yet this season. Additionally, they have 5th year senior Pat Moore back for his third game this year, and he provides even more length and shooting on the perimeter. I thought Colgate would take a step back in terms of their shooting after losing Burantowksi, but the dropoff hasn’t been steep at all.

Prediction: Colgate +16.5 

Mercer @ Tennessee

This one is going to be pretty ugly, as both teams will be zoning each other, and neither team shoots the 3, but Tennessee’s high pressure zone against turnover prone Mercer and their prowess on the offensive glass should be enough to give them the extra possessions needed to win this game relatively easily.

Prediction: Tennessee -12

Eastern Kentucky @ FAU

Great spot here for FAU. Botley and Massey can handle the EKU pressure (both have excellent TO rates), and Michael Curry’s defense is placing a huge emphasis on taking away the 3, which is the bread and butter of EKU’s offense. FAU is first in terms of 3pt attempts allowed as well as points coming from behind the arc. They extend their guards and force you to beat them inside. Stutz is capable of doing that for EKU, but it’s not how EKU’s offense operates. The Colonels are also off a massive blowout road win at Coral Gables, and might not be ready for the perimeter pressure they’re about to see from FAU.

Prediction: FAU +5.5

VMI @ Virginia Tech

The Hokies go from playing the slowest team in the country to the fastest team in the span of two days. If the Hokies play on the perimeter defensively like they did vs The Citadel, they’ll be in trouble again. Tough to adjust from The Citadel to VMI on one day prep, especially for one of the youngest teams in the country.

Prediction: VMI +10.5 

ETSU @ VCU

Back to back game for ETSU’s short bench facing arguably the two highest pressure defenses in the country. Nevertheless, ETSU’s guard dominated lineup should be able to handle Havoc and find open 3s all night. The question is can their defense stop VCU. They don’t have any height with Giplaye out and they can’t match VCU’s athleticism on the wings.

Prediction: VCU -18.5 

William & Mary @ Old Dominion

The Tribe has won three in a row in this series, and ODU seems intent on settling some scores in these Virginia rivalries from when they were down under Taylor. ODU really limits the 3 and held Richmond to .97ppp earlier, so they’re familiar with defending against a Princeton style offense this year. Ross is a little banged up for ODU, but I think the Monarchs should be able to control the glass.

Prediction: ODU -7.5 

Super quick bullet points for some other interesting games:

LBSU’s zone could turn St. John’s into bad St. John’s, which is jump shooting St. John’s. Travel with LBSU’s crazy schedule is an issue though. Rysheed Jordan is also out with the flu tonight. Prediction: LBSU +9.5 

Wofford’s experienced backcourt should be able to handle WV’s traps, and they’re an excellent defensive rebounding team that can limit Sponge and Williams on the offensive glass. Prediction: Wofford +12.5  

UConn’s shooting woes won’t improve vs Columbia, one of the best perimeter defenses in the country, but can the Lions contain dribble penetration enough? And can they handle Brimah, who tends to dominate smaller opponents. Lo vs Boatright will be worth the price of admission. Prediction: Columbia +7.5

ABBREVIATED THOUGHTS (Sorry, ran out of time)

Loyola Chicago +7

Murray State -2

Cal +10 (Ty Wallace has a huge game vs Gasser)

Northern Colorado -5 (UNC has struggled stopping the 3, and UCD can really shoot it, but the Aggies playing back to back elevation games and banged up with Adenrele and Johnson both potentially out)

Northeastern +8.5 (rough travel schedule for SMC. Eatherton vs Waldow will be a battle)

Hawaii +5 

All I have time for right now, hopefully will get to some more either here or on twitter @jorcubsdan