Iowa State Cyclones vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
College Basketball Pick: Iowa State +1.5 (February 20th 2017)
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The Cyclones are worth a look here at basically a pick’em against the Red Raiders. Texas Tech is 15-2 at home, covered the spread in 5 straight games and gave Iowa State all they could handle in Ames earlier this season. It certainly seems like the books are begging for you to jump on the home team in this one. What a lot of people will overlook is the Red Raiders are coming off a double-overtime loss to West Virginia on Saturday. Not only is that a difficult loss to bounce back from emotionally, it will be even more challenging rebounding with just 1-day of rest. They had 3 starters log over 40 minutes, two more played 30+ and two more at 20+. For a team that only uses a 7-man rotation, I think their attempt at revenge will be spoiled by an Iowa State team that is playing some of the best basketball of the season right now. Give me the Cyclones +1.5!
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Utah Utes vs. Oregon State Beavers
College Basketball Pick: Utah -12.5 points (February 19th 2017)
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The 17-9 Utah Utes are 8-6 in Pac 12 play and are in the running for a top-four finish in conference play, which would give them a first-round by in the upcoming Pac 12 tourney. They travel to Corvallis Sunday evening to face an Oregon State team which opened the season by going 4-9 in non-conference play but remains winless in Pac 12 games so far, at 0-14.
Oregon State’s season ended for all practical purposes when 6-8 forward Tres Tinkle (20.2-8.3), the coach’s son, broke his wrist after six games. Guards Thompson (16.1 & 4.4) and McLaughlin (11.2) plus the 6-10 Eubanks (14.8 & 8.4) are quality players but the Beavers just don’t have enough talent to break through in Pac 12 contests.
Utah may have to play without its best player as well, the 6-9 Kuzma (15.7 & 10.2). He missed Thursday’s 79-61 loss at No.7 Oregon after spraining an ankle in practice the previous day, Kuzma has a Pac-12-high15 double-doubles on the season but his availability is expected to be a game-time decision. The 6-8 Collette (14.4-4.9) is a nice frontcourt partner for Kuzma plus Utah has a deep group of perimeter players in guards Bonam (12.7), Daniels (10.5-4.8), Barefield (9.4), Zamora (7.5) and Van Dyke (5.1). What I like most about this team is its efficiency, as Utah makes 50.6 percent of its shots, ranking 4th in the nation.
The Utes were no match for the Ducks on Thursday but this game and a visit to Colorado next Thursday (Utah’s lone game next week), are almost “musts” if the Utes want that first-round Pac 12 tourney bye. Lay the points.
DePaul vs. Butler
College Basketball Pick: DePaul +18.5 points (February 19th 2017)
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The set-up: The DePaul Blue Demons are coming to the end of yet another disappointing season, as they visit No. 24 Butler on Sunday, just 8-18 overall, including a woeful 1-12 in Big East play. The Bulldogs are 20-6 on the season, including 9-5 in Big East games.
DePaul: The Blue Demons come into this contest having lost nine in a row, as well as 14 of their last 15. DePaul is a team which struggles to score (69.3 PPG ranks 273rd) plus defends poorly (74.3 PPG allowed ranks 230th). That’s an ‘ugly daily double’ and pretty much sums up its season. Guards Cain (15.8 & 4.4) and Garrett (14.8 & 3.2 APG) are solid but there’s not much else other than the 6-7 McCallum (10.0 & 6.7).
Butler: The Bulldogs are hoping for an easy win here, as they’ve lost three of their last five. Butler shot 57.6 percent and matched its season high with 13 three-pointers in Wednesday’s 110-86 win over St. John’s. Butler continues bring its best player off the bench, as forward Kelan Martin leads the team in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (5.6). Fellow 6-7 forward Andrew Chrabascz (11.9 & 4.7) is the only other Bulldog who averages double digits in points but five Bulldogs chip in between 6.7 and 9.9 PPG.
The pick: OK, DePaul is 0-7 SU on the road this season and limps in on not only on a nine-game losing streak, but will be playing its fourth consecutive ranked opponent, after losing the first three by a combined 59 points! That said, the line here is approaching three ‘TDs’ and let’s not forget that in the first meeting between these schools this year, Butler needed overtime to escape with a 70-69 victory. Take the points!