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Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.
- ILL -13.5 hosting NEB – won by 12
- LOU ML – were up double digits in the second half and lost
- WVU -5.5 @ UT – lost by 10
- MIA -6 @ CLE – lost in OT by 6
All in all, not the start to the week that we wanted. Really would’ve loved if that 0-2 in the NCAA was a 2-0. We’re back below 50% now, but I have faith that we can climb out of the 1 pick hole tonight. Let’s do this.
Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):
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NCAAB 219-220-7 (0-2):
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Iowa @ Michigan State
- Spread: Michigan State -8.5
- O/U: 151.5
Strength on strength match-up. Iowa has the best offense in the Big10, and Michigan State has the best defense.
Iowa’s offense has been very good on the road during conference play, ranking in the top 3 in efficiency, offensive rebounding, and 2P%. They have been dead last in the Big10 in 3P% on the road in conference. Conversely, Michigan State’s defense hasn’t been very good at home during Big10 play. The only thing they have been elite at is making shots inside the arc.
Iowa’s defense has been very bad on the road during conference play. They are dead last in efficiency, opponent effective FG%, opponent 2P%, and opponent 3P%. They are second to last in defensive rebounding. Michigan State’s defense has been quite the opposite. They are top-3 in the Big10 at everything except forcing turnovers, not fouling, and defensive rebounding.
Michigan State is going to win this game, but I think Iowa will be able to keep it to single digits.
The Pick: Iowa +8.5 (now +8.5)
Kentucky @ Texas A&M
- Spread: Kentucky -6.5
- O/U: 129
TAMU excels in three key areas that, if things go well, should help them mightily against a Cats team that will probably be looking ahead to welcoming Auburn to Rupp on Saturday:
- Getting to the FT line. They are 9th in the nation at FT rate, and Kentucky is known to foul. Getting Nick Richards and co in foul trouble will really help the Aggies.
- Not fouling. Kentucky is incredible from the FT line, but TAMU should be able to limit the number of FTs that the Cats shoot. The Aggies are #37 nationally in opponent FT rate, and they have allowed opponents to shoot fewer than 15/game this season. They have made more FTs than their opponents have attempted this season.
- Forcing turnovers. The Aggies rank 27th in the country in opponent TO% at 22.7%. In conference home games, they have been even better, turning over their opponents 26.3% of the time. This could especially be huge for the Aggies since Ashton Hagans, Kentucky’s primary ball carrier, has averaged 4 turnovers/game over his last 9 games.
This will be TAMU’s second Quad 1 home game during SEC play. The first was an OT loss to LSU on Jan 14. That is not a very big sample size. Since a Quad 1 home game is a game played against #1-30 in the current NET rankings, and LSU is currently #29, I expanded my parameters to include Quad 2 home games. TAMU has played 4 top 75 team in the NET during conference play. That still isn’t a great sample size, but it is better than 1. In those games, TAMU is 1-3. They have allowed an average of just over 80 pts/game and scored 75 pts/game. Their average margin of victory is -5.75.
This will be Kentucky’s 8th Quad 3 or better road game in SEC play. They are 5-2 in those games. They are averaging 75.57 pts/game and allowing 70.71 pts/game for an average margin of victory of 4.86 points.
Why does this matter? Let’s look inside the numbers of how TAMU and Kentucky have played in those games. Quad 1/2 home games for TAMU, and Quad 3 or better road games for UK, both in SEC play. These are their rankings in the SEC for the described games, i.e. TAMU is 4th in the SEC in offense in Quad 1/2 home games during conference play, and Kentucky is 2nd in the SEC in offense in Quad 3 or better road games during conference play.
- Total Offense: Only 3 SEC teams have been better offensively than TAMU: Mizzou, Mississippi State, and Auburn. Only LSU has been better offensively than Kentucky.
- Total Defense: No SEC team has been worse on defense than TAMU. Kentucky has been 6th in the SEC in defense.
- Turnovers: No team has been better at forcing turnovers than the Aggies, and only Auburn has been better at not turning the ball over. Kentucky ranks 5th in offensive TO% and 12th in defensive TO% which means they won’t turn you over, but they have been susceptible to turning the ball over at times.
- Free Throws: TAMU is 4th in offensive FT rate behind Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Mizzou, and they are first in defensive FT rate. They do not foul. Kentucky is 3rd in offensive FT rate, and 10th in defensive FT rate. They get to the line quite a bit, and they will foul you, too.
- Rebounding: TAMU is 7th in offensive rebound % and dead last in defensive rebound %. Kentucky is 7th in offensive rebound % and only Arkansas has a worse defensive rebound %. Neither of these teams are particularly good at rebounding.
- Shooting: TAMU is 4th in effective FG%, 3rd behind Alabama and UGA in 2P%, and 5th in 3P% at 36%. Kentucky is 2nd in effective FG% behind LSU, 8th in 2P%, and first in 3P% at 44.7% (which I don’t think is sustainable).
- Defending Shooters: TAMU is dead last in opponent effective FG%, 12th in opponent 2P% (only ahead of South Carolina and Mizzou), and last in opponent 3P% at 44.2%. Kentucky is 1st in opponent effective FG%, 1st in opponent 2P%, and 6th in opponent 3P% at 30.9%.
Summary: Both teams have been very good offensively in these situations. TAMU relies heavily on turnovers defensively, but they have been very good at forcing them. Kentucky shoots the lights out on offense but will turn the ball over.
We have seen Kentucky come out of the gates slow in a few conference games against bad teams this season (see Ole Miss, Vanderbilt…twice), but then they blow the other team out in the second half. With their minds possibly on the huge game on Saturday, I think something similar could happen tonight. Maybe even some early foul trouble.
It is also worth noting that at the time of writing this, 96% of money has come in on the OVER in this game causing oddsmakers to bump it up from 127.5 to 129.
The Pick: TAMU +3 1H & Over 129 (opened 127.5)
Ole Miss @ Auburn
- Spread: Auburn -9
- O/U: 141
Auburn has not been winning by 5 at halftime since Jan 25th against Iowa State. They haven’t led by 5 at the half in a conference game since Jan 22nd against South Carolina. They’ve only done it twice in SEC play, the South Carolina game and against UGA on Jan 11th.
In the 8 games since the Iowa State game, Auburn’s average margin at halftime is -6.5 points. In 14 conference games, their average halftime margin is -3.42 points.
Auburn without Isaac Okoro is not good enough to beat Ole Miss by 9. I don’t care where the game is played. They had to come back from down 20+ to beat Ole Miss in the Pavilion earlier this season.
Also, both teams can score. A lot.
The Pick: Ole Miss +4.5 1H & Ole Miss +9 (now +8.5) & Over 141 (now 142)
Alabama @ Mississippi State
- Spread: Miss St -4
- O/U: 157.5
Bama has had 65% of their games go over this season, and Miss St has had 70% of theirs go over.
Alabama hasn’t had a road game go under 160 since Jan 22nd.
Mississippi State hasn’t had a home game go under since Mizzou scored 45 points against them on Jan 14th. It’s their only home conference game to go under.
The Pick: Over 159 (now 157.5)
NBA 71-67 (2-1):
Thunder -7.5 @ Bulls
We are going to continue to fade tanking teams at home. Also, OKC is 38-18 ATS and 21-5 ATS on the road while the Bulls are just 12-17-1 ATS at home. Plus, Otto Porter, Denzel Valentine, and Wendell Carter Jr are all out for the Bulls.
Bucks -1.5 @ Raptors
Bucks have not lost the second game of a back-to-back this season and are 6-1 ATS. They are 31-4 SU and 22-13 ATS (62.9%) in conference and 21-4 SU and 15-10 ATS (60%) as a road favorite. They’ve been steamrolling through the NBA this season.
Pelicans +7.5 @ Lakers
Pelicans have been so, so much better with Zion, and I think there is a huge revenge factor in this game for the Pelicans. There is the obvious of getting back at Anthony Davis for not wanting to play for the team, but there is also all the former Lakers who I think will try to stick it to LeBron for shipping them all off.
Anthony Davis is probable, but it’s hard for me to think he won’t play. The Pelicans are remarkably healthy right now.
Sprinkles 38-61 (0-1):
Ole Miss 1H ML @ Auburn
Alabama ML @ Miss St
This would be a massive win for Alabama’s tournament resume, and when a team can get as hot as Alabama can from 3-Point range, it’s almost always worth a sprinkle. (Plus Alabama is still covering at their insane rate on the season).
NC State ML @ UNC
If NC State wins this game, they will have beaten both Duke and UNC this season. Plus, they lost UNC at home, so is a little revenge in order? It’s worth a sprinkle.
OU ML hosting Texas Tech
Beating Tech would give OU a huge win for their tournament resume, much like Alabama. Plus, they are playing at home, and Tech has had their offensive struggles this season.
MikePick2 14-20 (0-0):
- UK ML @ TAMU
- SMU ML hosting Memphis
- Iowa +8.5
- TAMU +3 1H
- UK/TAMU O129
- Ole Miss +4.5 1H
- Ole Miss +9
- Ole Miss/Auburn O141
- Alabama/Miss St O159
- OKC -7.5
- MIL -1.5
- NOP +7.5
- Ole Miss 1H ML
- Alabama ML
- NC State ML
- OU ML
- MP2: UK ML & SMU ML