December 5th, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

What a great night in the Big 12. I tweeted this out earlier today.

Yesterday, I wrote about how December can be an odd time for college basketball. There’s random games on random nights, often against low-quality competition. That is not the case tonight. We’ve got four GREAT games tonight. I’m going to dive into all four in greater detail below, but first, let’s take a look at how I did against the spread last night.

Rough. A real rough night. I went 1-5 on the night and 0-2 in the Big 12. I’m now at .500 for Big 12 picks ATS and under .500 for the season overall. I gotta say, the late three by Northern Illinois against Iowa State to cut it from 17 to 14 in garbage time is why no one should gamble ever (click image to open in new tab). Continue reading

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December 4th, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

We’re officially in December, which is an odd time for college basketball. We will have the occasional good non-conference matchup, like we did this past Saturday with Wichita State/Baylor and Syracuse/Kansas. On Tuesday night, we’ll get to see Virginia travel to West Virginia. But it also feels like the schedule slows down following the Thanksgiving/Feast Week craziness. There’s about to be more time in between games due to finals and Christmas breaks, and we’ll see a lot of home game tune-ups against lesser opponents before conference play starts. Even though the Big Ten’s reason for playing games in December this season is incredibly stupid (their conference tournament is being played a week earlier so it can be played in New York City), it is fun to see some intense conference matchups early in the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if other conferences did a week of conference games in December within the next five years. It did give the Big Ten some attention and notoriety this past weekend. It’s unfortunate that December feels like a valley in the college basketball calendar, but we’ll make due with what we have.

Tonight, we’ve got three Big 12 games. None are great; they all would classify as those home game tune-ups that I described above. The most competitive game will be Iowa State hosting Northern Illinois; the Cyclones are favored by 15 points.

Before we dive into tonight further, here are my picks from yesterday. I’m currently hovering around .500 still on the season (click image to open in new tab). Continue reading

November 22nd, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

It’s a very light night in the Big 12, as the only matchup is Texas Tech facing Wofford at home in a pre-Thanksgiving matchup. The real action starts tomorrow and Friday, with multiple Big 12 teams commencing play in their holiday tournaments. Before we look ahead to tonight, let’s look back at last night.

Here were my picks from yesterday (click image to expand in new tab). Watch out world, because I’m almost back to .500 on the season. I’m hot! A 3-2 in non-Big 12 games pushed me to 24-24 in those games this season. I’m 12-13 ATS in Big 12 games for a 36-37 overall record.

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Baylor continued their great week and followed up their win over Wisconsin with a comeback victory over Creighton on Tuesday night. Baylor overcame a lot; they were down 40-28 with 18:00 left and faced 15.9% win probability per Kenpom. Their PG Manu Lecomte didn’t play great, going only 2-8 from the field, scoring only 9 points as he turned the ball over 3 times. The defense of Creighton’s Khyri Thomas really bothered him. How did Baylor pull it out? A lot of credit should go to King McClure.

McClure played his best game as a Baylor Bear, scoring a career-high 19 points. Scoring his career-high isn’t what made it his best game; it’s how he did it. McClure has been a spot-up shooter his entire career. Last season, 40.5% of his possessions came in spot-up situations, per Synergy Sports. He only had 15 possessions all of last season as a pick and roll ball handler. Against Creighton alone, he had 8 possessions as a pick and roll ball handler. McClure establishing himself as more than just a spot-up shooter could provide huge dividends for Baylor.

Oklahoma State recorded a necessary win against Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon in the consolation game of the Legends Classic. Pittsburgh is terrible, perhaps the worst team in a Power 5 conference, so that was a win Oklahoma State NEEDED to win if they want to keep any hope alive of making the NCAA Tournament. Losing to Pitt would be a bad sign. It was great to see Jeffrey Carroll back in action looking like Jeffrey Carroll. In his season debut against Texas A&M, Carroll scored only 4 points on 2-12 shooting from the field. Against Pitt, Carroll scored 29 points, going 10-17 from the field, 2-5 on 3-pointers, and 7-7 from the FT line. The guy is a terrific scorer, and I’m hopeful we’ll see many more nights like that from him once we hit Big 12 play. Oklahoma State will need that from him to be competitive.

I won’t mention the Kansas game much here (I didn’t plan on giving it a blurb at all), but dear god. The Jayhawks scored 1.54 PPP last night and went 19-36 from 3-point range. It was the highest PPP a Bill Self coached Kansas team has ever had. This offense with all those shooters and floor spacing is something else, man.

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November 21st, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

It’s Tuesday of Feast Week, and there are three Big 12 teams in action today. The highlight is Baylor playing Creighton in the final of the Hall of Fame Classic. Before diving into today’s game, let’s take a look back at yesterday’s ones.

Yesterday was my best prognostication day of the year, as I finished 4-1 in Big 12 games and 3-2 in non-Big 12 action. I’m approaching .500 in ATS picks on the season, so let’s see if I can keep it going tonight (click image to expand).

Capture - nov 20 review

Baylor had a good win last night against Wisconsin, winning 70-65. The margin ended up being much closer than it should have been, as the Bears were up 53-34 with 11 minutes left in the 2nd half. The offense stalled out at that point, and Wisconsin made a comeback. It was still a very good performance by Baylor, though. Jo-Lual Acuil was a serious presence, scoring 19 points and recording 10 rebounds. He was a consistent factor on defense at the base of that zone, altering shots and deflecting passes. His first half was simply terrific, as he scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in that first half. I’m going to break down his performance further in this week’s upcoming Power Rankings post.

Oklahoma State faced their first real test of the season on Monday vs. Texas A&M, and to say they struggled would be an understatement. The Cowboys lost 72-55 and scored only 0.78 PPP (points per possession) on 20-67 shooting from the field. Their eFG% was only 32.1%, by far their lowest of the season. They shot 3-24 from 3, and Jeffrey Carroll was 2-12 from the field in his first game of the season. It couldn’t have gone much worse for him in his debut. Despite the struggles on offense, the Cowboys still are showing some greater resistance on defense this season than they did at many points last season. Even in a blowout loss, they held Texas A&M to 1.01 PPP and forced turnovers on 26.8% of Texas A&M possessions. A&M was just too much to handle on the interior with their massive frontline, as the team shot 58% on 2-pointers.

In other action, Kansas State, TCU, and West Virginia all recorded easy wins against sub-200 competition at home. All three teams play in holiday tournaments this upcoming weekend, and we should learn more about each of them then.

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November 20th, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

Feast Week is here! After this upcoming week, we’ll have gotten to see every Big 12 team play a legitimate opponent rather than the standard cupcakes you schedule at home in November. We’ve already seen Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and West Virginia face some quality competition, but that still leaves six teams who we haven’t seen face high-major or quality mid-major foes (and West Virginia will play in the Advocare Invitational this week for some more tests). This is a great week for seeing how teams will look and perform once we reach conference play.

Here’s my results from yesterday and current overall record against the spread. I’m 7-11 in Big 12 games and 18-20 in non-Big 12 games (click image to expand).

Capture - nov19 review

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