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College Basketball Picks, Predictions and Best College Basketball Odds [Dec.29]

The NCAAB Show

TJ Rives:

Well, welcome back in for a Wednesday edition of the BetUS College Basketball Show. I am merely the somewhat competent, somewhat capable host to the program. We’ve got handicappers Jeff Nadu, the big man on campus, Ian Cameron also with us as well. Guys, happy Wednesday. We’re kind of in the in between of the Christmas holiday and the upcoming New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day holiday. Ian, I know you’re back for the first time since we saw you last week. Big man, good to have you back as we were with you yesterday on the show. Guys, how are we feeling?

Jeff Nadu:

Feeling good, feeling good. Another day, another dollar, ready to get after it.

TJ Rives:

Ian, I know about the same. Christmas was good. We went over a little bit of this yesterday on the show in your absence. We haven’t had you on Christmas. Everything good, ready to go?

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, it was good. We got to see some family, and more importantly, I got to take a break for a few days, because really for me, for someone that does NFL college football, NHL, NBA, college basketball, I mean, it’s a very, very strenuous, tough, hardworking four months stretch from September to December with very little downtime and a chance to exhale. So, to get that opportunity over Christmas weekend was very nice. But we’re back today, and we’re ready to get back to business.

TJ Rives:

No doubt about that. We had some interesting games on Tuesday. I know the big man is probably still bemoaning the fact that you narrowly by a whisker missed on that Texas Tech first half line.

Ian Cameron:

I joined the club. I’ve lost a million bets by two points this year. So, I know what it’s like.

TJ Rives:

I see you shaking your head on that one. But Jeff, you were on the Baylor Bears. You get over that team total which they did. They got over the century mark with Northwestern State for one of the wins yesterday and we have a ton more games to choose from, just real quick guys here to go over on this show. So, it’s good that the audience is with us here because there’s a bunch more to go over here today. Right?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, it’s a big card. I mean, it’s a lot better than it’s been. We’ve had, as you said, it’s kind of that period between not conference finishing up, the conference play starting. I’m always one personally that I keep every play I make in really until January 1st to a half a unit. I think that has a lot to do with just the wildness of the schedules, the neutral sites, the Christmas holidays, the Thanksgiving holidays, all that stuff, but we’re starting to get past that. And we’re starting to get into conference play here.

TJ Rives:

No doubt. And there are some conference games that are going to be played this week. Some of them have already been postponed. I know a lot of people in the Sunshine State where I am here in Florida are bummed because the Florida LSU game, or I’m sorry, the Florida-Ole Miss game that was supposed to be played this week is off, but some of these games are going to get played in conference play for this weekend. We’re actually going to look at one of them or at least one of them here on the slide today.

TJ Rives:

First things first, let’s look at the overall record right now for the handicappers on the show. And you see Jeff above the 500 mark. Ian Cameron has work to do here today and he’s going to try to make up a little bit of lost time with several different plays in this today. But again, for all the handicappers right around 500 right now with trying to catch up there. And let’s get to game number one that we’re going to talk about and discuss and it’s actually one that both of our handicappers are interested in making official plays. It is VMI, Virginia Military Institute going against Wofford, so VMI and Wofford, with Wofford laying the eight and a half points, the total at 142 in this one. Let’s get into it and begin with you Ian Cameron and what you like on this one officially.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, we got a team that’s playing their best basketball of the year right now. VMI, four straight points spread covers. You can quibble about the schedule not being in all that tough, but it’d be Portland outright as a road dog. It beat Seattle, outright it’s a road dog. It beat Gardner-Webb 64-61. And it was really a hard fought valiant effort against Wake Forest in their last game 77-70 Now, you’re concerned about the layoff. But hey, if you’re going to bet college basketball today, there’s layoffs left and right.

Ian Cameron:

There are teams that haven’t played in seven days, 10 days, 14 days, you got to deal with it, suck it up and live with it, and you got to bet some of these games despite that. And I think when you look at this matchup, both teams kind of in the same boat. So, it’s kind of a wash year. And when you look at the series history with VMI and Wofford, you start to scratch your head that Wofford is laying these many points in this game. I mean, where’s the evidence that VMI has not been able to compete with this Wofford team? And the Wofford Terriers are a very good basketball team. They’ve been that way for years in this conference, there’s no question.

Ian Cameron:

But VMI has covered three straight in this series since February of 2020. And when you look at it, this number has been hit down from 11 and a half down to eight and a half, and you’re always worried. With so many plays this year, we’ve just not been able to give you the best of the number here on the show. But where’s even the evidence that Wofford has been able to beat VMI by nine points or more? Last three meetings, Wofford, a six-point win, Wofford, a two point win. And then the last meeting here on Wofford’s own floor, VMI won in overtime 80-40-80. So, it’s been a good matchup for VMI. They’re a very good offensive team.

Ian Cameron:

And it’s been an offense that’s given Wofford defense more than their share of headaches here in this game. And I think VMI keeps this one close, it doesn’t hurt. They’re an 80% free throw shooting team. I always like that, and what I think is going to be a competitive game. So, I’m on VMI plus the points here and I like the over, this is a side and total official play for me in this game. This has also been an over series history. Last three meetings 152, 158, 164 in total points. Cleared this total with room to spare and we’re not asking for a shootout here. We’re asking for two solid, efficient offensive teams to do their thing as they’ve done head to head in recent meetings. I think we get over that total and I think VMI keeps us competitive. So, we’re on the points with VMI and the over.

TJ Rives:

Okay, very good on his explanation. And Jeff, you’re also interested in this game as well. So, everybody perks up here because both handicappers like this game for different reasons. Jeff, what is your play here on this one?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, look, I’ll admit, I hit this game as soon as it came out at 12 and a half. I didn’t understand it. Look, at eight and a half, I just can’t play it. Sorry. I think this game could fall, 81-71. It wouldn’t surprise me. Eight and a half is not enough for me, even nine. I think he is right. I mean, it is high. But as he mentioned, both teams are awful lay off here. I think the concerned occasion with VMI is that, they’ve always been dependent on the three-point shot [inaudible 00:07:19] or that’s a norm. But when you look at this series, as he alluded to, I’m kind of attacking VMI, just solely on their own. The team total I got was 67. I think there’s even better numbers out there at this point. This number is too low. VMI scored 70 or more in five and the last six against Wofford.

Jeff Nadu:

This series is always an up and down affair with plenty of offense. Both games last year got, I think, into the 80s. And when you look at VMI, the issue that Wofford has is they’re not any good defensively, they suck, quite frankly, they’re not any good. They can’t defend without fouling and they’re going to allow VMI think to hang in this game. Sixty-seven is too low. And look, if they only score 65 here, again, salut, it is what it is. I think this number is too low. And I’m just not wanting to be on it, where again, this could be at 81-71. I don’t want to be on the wrong side. At 12 and a half, look, if I could get the best number on this game, I’d have been on 12 and a half. I think that’s too high, eight and a half not as good. I’ll gladly just take the six, seven average, just assume that Wofford gives up 70 here. It’s what they do.

Jeff Nadu:

Remember on the season, VMI is scoring 79 points per game. So again, a renewed thought and you mentioned the [inaudible 00:08:36], really quick here as well, when you’re a team like VMI, nonconference play means absolutely nothing. It’s quite simple. Their shot at getting to the NCAA Tournament is in the conference. It’s that simple. VMI is not getting into an at large but, it’s just not going to happen. So, there’s a renewed interest. First conference game, excitement is there. They’ve played well against Wofford, I think they scored over 67 here.

TJ Rives:

And you make an excellent point because for a lot of these programs, they’ve been taking the by games where they’re getting a financial guarantee, and they go when they play a top 25 or a top 50 program and they do it three or four times and get beaten up, that doesn’t mean that they can’t compete well and or win their conference and that’s what your point is here. Now, the real serious games for them begin for winning the regular season title in the conference. The conference tournament seeding all of that begins and it does seem to measure more. Yeah, go ahead.

Jeff Nadu:

It’s that renewed sense of, “Okay, now we’re through the monotony and then the rigor of going out to Seattle and Portland and we got through the holiday.” Now, the next couple of months, and look, this is a VMI team that I thought last year was very plucky in this conference. They did a nice job. They beat Furman in the southern tournament. This is a decent team that played. Pretty much everybody’s back. So, I think there’s a lot of excitement around this team. A good start to the season and against a team that you’ve played well against over the years.

TJ Rives:

And you made mention of something I was just about to bring up, you and I are starting to think like, which I think scares me that in the smaller conferences, they don’t have a lot of players that go to the NBA that leave early or even transfer. For a lot of them, the same players are there for a second year or maybe even a third year playing together. That’s something else to keep an eye on. And again, let’s officially lock this one in. Multiple plays from Ian, and also, the big man on campus on this game. So, Ian has got VMI and the points as well as the over. And again, for Jeff, he’s looking at VMI’s team total, getting that at over 67 for this first matchup.

TJ Rives:

Let’s move on the slide here and we have another interesting game Hofstra and William and Mary with Hofstra a large 16-point road favorite, the total at 146 in this game. And big man on campus, we’re right back to you about why you zeroed in right away early on in the show in this matchup. What do you like?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, I’ve talked about Hofstra before and for anyone that bets on college basketball regularly, I think it’s important that you know who Hofstra is. I mean, this is one of the absolute best teams in the country against the spread over the last five or so years. They’re elite against the number. Now, that being said, okay, look, I know they’re playing William and Mary tonight and we’ve talked about William and Mary at times. This is not a good basketball team. I think this numbers probably should even be a bit higher. But there’s not something in my head that sits right with me on laying almost 20 points with Hofstra. I don’t think that it’s a bad bet. If you like it, I would play it because William and Mary is that bad, but they’re not for a betting profile good enough defensively Hofstra for me to want to lay this number.

Jeff Nadu:

Look, I’m not taking William and Mary, but the reason I played their team total here is I know there’s one thing about this game that I trust and that’s Hofstra’s offense against really any defense in America. This offense works. It’s downhill. It’s highly efficient, and they have plenty of options. They’ve also added a really good three-point jumper this year, which has been terrific. You look at them on the season, 36% from three. They’ve had no trouble scoring, they value possessions, they don’t turn it over. And again, they played a nice pace that warns you laying and grabbing team totals of them.

Jeff Nadu:

We look at William and Mary, do nothing well. It also aids their opponent in the fact that they play with some tempo. They allow you to speed them up, they’re going to let you kind of do what you want on the defensive end. I think Hofstra gets to the 80s in this game. Keep in mind, they average 80 and a half points a game, team total tonight’s 81. Look, they’ve had no trouble. Look, I think a first half makes sense here as well. Hofstra has been one of the best first half teams in the country, 41 points a game in the first half. I like Hofstra up high on this team. And what I like one other thing about this team, they don’t keep their foot off the gas, they score points, they have no issue getting high scores in these games.

Jeff Nadu:

And remember, they could have completely faltered and said, “We just beat Arkansas. We’re going to Mammoth. We’ll put our…” No, they had focus. They came out and won another game and finally knocked off Mammoth against the number. This team is really good. They’re really well coached. I think they beat up William and Mary. I’m going to team total over at 81.

TJ Rives:

Okay. Ian Cameron, a quick thought on this one if no official play?

Ian Cameron:

No argument. In fact, I laid the number, it’s not an official play for this show. Because to Jeff’s point, there is some concern lay in these many points that William and Mary is going to try to slow it down but the problem is William and Mary has been absolutely wretched this year. They haven’t covered a point spread, believe it or not this year, not one single point spread. So, you talk about one of the better points spread teams going against one of the worst in the country certainly this season. So yeah, to me, it would only be laying the points with Hofstra.

Ian Cameron:

There are some concerns. Their defensive numbers aren’t great. There’s no doubt about that. I mean, when you look at Hofstra defensively, 72 points per game, 43% field goal shooting allowed, 35% from three-point range. The three point defense isn’t great, but here’s the thing, William and Mary’s only shooting 28.7% from three-point range. They’re a brutal offensive team. I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about that too much. So, I like that team total lot.

Ian Cameron:

And by the way, this team is absolutely loaded at the guard positions, Zach Cooks, Jalen Ray, Darlinstone Dubar, Aaron Estrada and going on down the list, this team got just guys that can flat out facilitate the ball, shoot the ball, and score at Speedy Claxton. I was worried about the transition a little bit. Joe Mihalich had been there a long time, had a great career coaching Niagara then here at Hofstra. Would there be a little bit of a bump in the road? No bump whatsoever. Hofstra is in good hands with Speedy Claxton. No argument fading William and Mary. I’ve done it a bunch already this year. I wouldn’t talk anyone out of doing it again tonight.

TJ Rives:

Right. And I’m just curious about one thing, you guys may have it or may be able to find it more readily than me again, I’m all over the place and I’m monitoring different things, including communicating with our BetUS guys while hosting here. You mentioned Hofstra has been so good against the number, William and Mary has not covered a number. Did this open at around 16 and a half and stay there or did it suddenly lower? Because a bunch of people were taking William and Mary, trying to see if they are going to cover? I’m just curious what opened that? I think you guys have that.

Jeff Nadu:

Thirteen.

TJ Rives:

So, it popped up. Okay, it popped three and a half.

Ian Cameron:

It did go up. Yep.

TJ Rives:

All right, fair enough on that. Let’s look at the official play from the big man on campus and he is on Hofstra his team total, in this case of 81 points. And you said, just to repeat it one more time, they’re averaging 80 and a half a game. Correct? Do I have that number right? So, it’s right around what their total is, right.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. I mean, again, when we look at both of these plays, we’re better betting on good offenses to just get to their averages. And again, average, I mean, to be honest, I mean, VMI 67, their average is 79. I’m not saying that they’re going to get to their average every game, but I’m trusting good offenses to do what they do. And again, when you bet online a team total, I couldn’t give a hell if they win or lose the game. I don’t care what happens. At this game, Hofstra and William and Mary, look, it could be 82, 83-82, I don’t really care as long as they win and get over that point. I don’t care what happens.

TJ Rives:

Cash the ticket on that. Moving on, we mentioned conference tournament games. I kind of sold a short. We’ve actually got three of them on the show conference play, not conference tournament conference play here. And one of those is in the Big East, a couple of programs that have been dealing with COVID-19. But they’re both back apparently and ready to go here in a game in Providence, the Dunkin Donuts Center where I again confirm that’s the sponsor name and they don’t serve doughnuts in the press room or at least they didn’t the two times that I was there. That is blasphemy for it to be the Dunkin Donut. I’m just saying.

Jeff Nadu:

It’s not a bad cake, actually.

TJ Rives:

Okay, I’m just putting out there. Providence, a home dog. Seton Hall, favored by the small number by one. It’s a 139 and a half total in this one. And let’s go back here over this one. There’s not an official play here, but it’s a big east game. And it’s a marquee game because Seton Hall when they went on pause is nine in one. Providence is 11 in one, so this is one of the more interesting bolding the top 25 games for a Wednesday night. So, Ian Cameron, really quick to you, even if no official play here, just a thought on this game.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, I played Seton Hall here, but it’s not an official play for the show. I still think Seton Hall is the better team. I do and I don’t want to totally disrespect Providence in what they’ve done. Certainly, it was a great road win for them 57 53, 11 days ago against UConn and I think a lot of that UConn team, especially the way they can play defense. This is a good Providence team. I mean, they’ve got a terrific senior Nate Watson has been absolutely outstanding. AJ Reeves as well. They played outstanding defense. They’re very tenacious. Both of these teams, you want some physical hard-nosed basketball. You’re going to see it tonight with Seton Hall and Providence.

Ian Cameron:

But when I look at this Seton Hall team, they’ve had some issues with their schedule. I mean, they’ve had games postponed because of other teams COVID issues a little bit lately as well. I think this is a spot for them, though, to kind of flex their superiority. At least in my mind, Jared Rhoden, Bryce Aiken and company. Again, this is going to be a very close game, competitive game. Just think Seton Hall’s a little bit better at the offensive end. Both of these teams mirror images in terms of their defensive numbers.

Ian Cameron:

Providence is allowing 39.4% shooting, Seton Hall’s allowing 39% shooting. I just think Seton Hall is just a little bit more polished at the offensive end of the basketball court. And I don’t worry about Seton Hall say, “Oh, you’re going onto the road here for your Big East opener, that’s going to be tough.” I don’t worry about Seton Hall in a road environment. We’ve seen them already this year go on the road, get some good results. I know you can quibble about the way Michigan’s played at times this year, but still beat them out right on the road earlier this season was impressive. They can go on the road.

Ian Cameron:

I just think if it’s a close game, which team am I going to trust to give me a big bucket late in a close game? I think that’s Seton Hall, also slightly a better free throw shooting team as well in Providence. So, I do like Seton here. I don’t want to lay maybe more than a point or so, but in a pick and price range here, with all due respect to Providence, they’ve had a great run that definitely exceeded my expectations. I’ll take what I still think is the better team and I pick Seton Hall to get the win on the road.

TJ Rives:

Again, Seton Hall has lost three games now because either they had the COVID numbers or the opponent had the COVID numbers. We were talking about them pre-Christmas with the St. John’s game back a week ago. They didn’t play that one. They also didn’t play since then the DePaul game as well. And we got to figure out if those are going to be rescheduled or not by the Big East. The last time, seen hopefully the game was December 12th, big man, hello, 17 days ago. So, is there a concern maybe about some being a little stale in the first half? You can go ahead, Ian.

Ian Cameron:

You just stated why this is not an official play. For me. That’s a lot of time off.

TJ Rives:

Sure.

Ian Cameron:

And that’s the one concern. How sharp are you going to be?

TJ Rives:

Of course.

Ian Cameron:

It’s like that with the DePaul-Butler game where I like DePaul in that game, but they’ve had a layoff too. So that’s why I pumped the brakes.

TJ Rives:

Big man, what about it for Seton Hall with a nice nine and one record, but they have had three games postponed here. We don’t really know what we’re getting, right?

Jeff Nadu:

But well, this is the continued complete hypocrisy of the NCAA. One hundred percent of Providence players are vaccinated and boosted, yet we’re still testing them for some reason, and they can’t play for whatever reason, we don’t know. It’s just odd. I like Providence here. I’m going to lean that way. This kind of fits the bill of I think something that to me, just doesn’t make sense. I think Providence is undervalued in the market. Ian mentioned some of their success. I mean, look, this isn’t anything, nothing. They beat Wisconsin. They beat UConn, they beat Vermont, they beat Texas Tech. They beat some good basketball teams. Okay, neutral sites, random places. Don’t sleep on Northwestern. That’s a good win on a neutral floor. This is a hard-nosed tough team.

Jeff Nadu:

In this kind of spot, toss up game, both teams off layoffs. I’m going to take the home team. I’m going to take the team to me, look, I love Seton Hall. I’m not going to tell you I don’t. I’m very high on this team long term. I think they’re in a worst COVID predicament than Providence is. And again, that’s just my knock. I also think when you look at the X and O’s of this game, one of the things if you can combat the length that Seton has in the perimeter, I think you’re going to have a shot. Obiagu who’s been in and out, that’s concerning. I think Providence can combat the size and the perimeter with guys like Durham and with Horchler and Reeves. Plus, I’ve been really high on their big Watson. He’s played really well this year.

Jeff Nadu:

Now, again, this is a tough game from a personal standpoint. We really don’t know who’s going to be in there and who’s not going to be in there. But at home, if you’re going to give me a toss-up coin flip, I’m going to lean Providence here. A very tough place to win. It’s that simple.

TJ Rives:

Fair enough. No official play.

Ian Cameron:

Great game.

TJ Rives:

But it is an interesting Big East game, again two top 25 teams. What are we going to get in that first half when they both have been on layoffs? Let’s move on, shall we? We will stick in the Northeast a former Big East team but now in the ACC is Syracuse. They’ve been interesting trying to figure out, kind of up and down at some points this season. Syracuse laying 14 and a half with Cornell. The big red of Cornell, and the total at 162 and a half for this one. Ian Cameron, you’re on this game, what do you like and why for a Wednesday night?

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, this Cornell team is an example of how too many times on this show this year I’ve been a day late and a dollar short. Last time, the Cornell played Virginia Tech. I had the over circled and I threw it in the trash can as an official play because the number moved too much. And sure enough, that game flew over the total against Virginia Tech. And I said the next time these buggers are on and playing when I’m on this show, I’m not passing up the over and that’s exactly what I’m doing here with Cornell and Syracuse.

Ian Cameron:

Look, this team doesn’t play much defense at all. Any team that’s a bigger conference team like Syracuse is going to probably rip them at the defensive end of the basketball court, much like Virginia Tech did in that last game, 93 points. They play extremely fast, one of the fastest pieces in college basketball. They’ve gone over the total and all but one game this year. And when you look at Syracuse, what could Brown do for you the other day against Syracuse? Not stop Syracuse. That’s it. Ninety-three points for Syracuse, 35 of 61. I mean, they blistered the net there, and that’s what they’re capable of doing against a Cornell team that again is just not offering up much resistance. I mean, look at these numbers for Cornell. They’re just not good, 39% shooting overall, and again, just given up way too many points right now at this point in time. But their offense is good, Cornell, 88 points per game, shooting almost 50% from the field as a team.

Ian Cameron:

The one thing about facing Syracuse, to beat that two, three zone, and Jim Bay on the Syracuse, you got to have some three-point proficiency shooting the ball, Cornell does have that. So, I think you’re going to get points both ways. It wouldn’t surprise me if Syracuse is knocking on the door of 80 or 90 in this game against this Cornell squad. But on the flip side, could you get yourself toward 70 points even out of Cornell against the Syracuse team that look it’s come and gone for them defensively, they gave up 79 points to Georgetown in a recent loss to Syracuse team. I’ve not been impressed with their consistency, one game to the next at the defensive end of the floor. They gave up 100 earlier this year to Colgate here at the Carrier Dome on this home floor. And that game went over the total and I think there’s some similarities with Colgate and Cornell just a little bit. So, high total, I get it 162, and it’s actually gone up. I’m seeing 165 now. Holy mackerel! But I think we get into the high 160s here at least and we’ll go over the total.

TJ Rives:

Okay, fair enough on that. Big man, any thought on Syracuse who did play back coming off of Christmas on Monday night? Buddy Boeheim scored 14 points as I’m looking at the recap in the game with Brown. He scored 14 points in the first five minutes of the second half to help break that game open. They were trying to play Cornell about 10 days ago and the game couldn’t be played because of COVID-19 reasons. So, this is a reschedule now to be playing it on Wednesday night. Big Man any thoughts? Real quick?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, so Cornell didn’t play last year. Last time, they played Syracuse every year. Last time they played 54 three-point attempts combined in this game. So, you’re going to have a ton of try balls here. The concern that I have on an over, look, Cornell plays the fastest pace in America. Nobody has a faster possession length than them. They were in a go, go, go. Syracuse will get to 90. I think that’s something that I would probably take to the bank. That’s a good one. The concern is Cornell is six for 28 from three and score 60 points. That’s the concern, and that could happen. That’s what happened against Virginia Tech. You took about an off, Cornell’s has been playing 21 days.

TJ Rives:

Wow.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, 21. That’s a long time, man. Look, should they get you to 65? They should, no issue. But we also have to revisit that game in 2020 that they played, 72-53. That’s not what you want here at all. But listen, for me, one of the reasons I like team totals is because I can isolate what I think will go on. Sometimes in these kinds of games, I want to worry about a team like Cornell because as Ian knows, his friend, an old friend, a guy that we’ve worked with in the past, and I know, he knows, Teddy Covers, a guy that that’s been around a long time, old Las Vegas guy. He’s made comments. And he’s mentioned this in college football.

Jeff Nadu:

And when I first started handicapping, I was on another system that we go on and we’ve used. He used to mention to me, when you have games like this, college football, college basketball, the level of athleticism is so superior from one side to the other. You have Cornell, they just don’t get the athletes that a team like Syracuse is going to get. The length that they have and they can really overwhelm you. That’s the concern here. I think Syracuse will do it. I’m worried about Cornell.

Ian Cameron:

Keep in mind Syracuse is only second in the country, three-point percentage defense efficiency. So that’s where the opening, and again, Cornell’s got to make the shots.

Jeff Nadu:

But remember, Ian…

Ian Cameron:

Those numbers, Syracuse, not great defending the perimeter this year.

Jeff Nadu:

Here’s the thing, okay? This is why three-point defense to be sometimes I’m really concerned about using as a metric. Remember, that’s really only coming down, a lot of it comes down to luck, right? I mean, most of the time, you’re not going to be completely shut down. When you shut down even three-point attempts. Right? I look more at what three-point attempts are allowed, as opposed to three-point shots, because you just might have superior luck against teams that just aren’t making shots. But you’re right, that’s the opening for all offense tonight, hopefully in transition as well. I’m rooting for you. It screams to me like 92-70, probably something like that. But the concern is Cornell making shots.

Ian Cameron:

With the number of narrow losses I’ve had this year, can’t rule that out from happening.

TJ Rives:

Let’s have some confidence moving forward for you and let’s lock it in please. On Syracuse and Cornell for Ian Cameron, he does have the over, he’s looking to be overjoyed, 162 and a half.

Ian Cameron:

Give it another half point loss, why not?

Jeff Nadu:

Hey, TJ, just to put this into perspective, a little good news here. The Cornell big red are seven and one to the over this year. If you’re keeping track at home, 87.5% cover, that’s what you want to see when you’re backing a team like Cornell.

TJ Rives:

Fair enough. Move along, we’ll stay in the ACC with a conference game in this case. And again, let me make mention that we’re doing the show live here at 1:00 Eastern time. We’re also here on Thursday at 1:00 Eastern time. We will not have a Friday show on New Year’s Eve afternoon. We don’t know if you’re seeing us later if the game gets postponed at the line moves. I mean, Ian was mentioning that the total really moved in that last game as well with Syracuse and Cornell. Sometimes that happens again. We load in what we have for the lines at the time that we do to get the show prepared.

TJ Rives:

In this case, it’s Louisville hosting Wake Forest. It is Louisville laying five points here in this ACC matchup at home. The total is 143 and a half. And again, Ian Cameron is on this game officially and actually you’re going to side on this game. What is the play, sir?

Ian Cameron:

I don’t think things are all that right at Louisville right now. I really don’t. I mean, I’ve gone against them more than a few times remember on this show, despite some hesitancy. I think Matt Joseph was with me that day saying how can you take DePaul against Louisville and DePaul went in there and won outright against Louisville 62-55 I think Louisville is a fave right now. I mean, I don’t like what I’m seeing. They’ve had all kinds of issues off the court. Their defense was just brutal against Western Kentucky at 82-72. I think there’s just something amiss with this group right now. And I’ve got no problem catching points with the Wake Forest team that I think is on the rise when I think what might be the better coach in this matchup, Steve Forbes over Chris Mack, and a Wake Forest team that has been undervalued most of the season. Their point spread numbers are good.

Ian Cameron:

And it’s going to be I think, a situation where when you look at them here defensively, 67 points per game allowed. This is a Louisville team that again, offensively it’s been fits and starts for them. And like I said, even on the defensive end of the floor, we’ve seen this team struggle in certain games this year. And again, they’ve had their offense, they gave a score 64 in a loss against Mississippi State. They score 55 in that home loss against DePaul, and of course they give up 50% shooting in their last game at Western Kentucky on December 18. I think you’ve got a team that’s got some issues. It’s got some chemistry problems. I’m not sure what’s going on, I think. I don’t want to say locker room divide but I think there’s just a lot going on right now with Louisville. I’ve been fading them laying points. I trust Wake Forest here. I think it’s a competitive game. I wouldn’t rule out Wake getting the outright win. I’m on the Deacons here plus five. I think Louisville’s got issues.

TJ Rives:

Wake Forest, by the way, 11 and one. I don’t know how many people realize that. Again, strength of the nonconference, you might question some of that, the lone loss is to LSU. They haven’t played in a while, Jeff Nadu as well seems to be that we keep saying this as a theme. Wake Forest had their Boston College Game postponed. Last time they played was about 10 days ago in that quadruple header in Charlotte. They won on a last second three-pointer to beat Charlotte 82 to 79. Demon Deacons under the radar a little bit here.

Ian Cameron:

[crosstalk 00:31:47] is back. I forgot. I knew there was something I forgot to mention and that’s enormous for Wake. Steve Forbes said he’s cleared to play tonight. I’m going to believe him. And if that’s the case, he’s averaging 14 points per game. He’s an enormous piece of this Wake team and what makes it go and what makes it work. So that’s going to be a benefit to them tonight.

TJ Rives:

Big man, any thought on this game at Louisville later tonight?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, look, Louisville, a great basketball school, good tradition, have won national titles in my lifetime. I’ve had a great pedigree over the years. Look, if I’m a Louisville basketball fan, I think it’s time to seriously start to consider the future with Chris Mack as the coach. Look, I know Xavier saying something like that would have been nuts. But this guy just isn’t very good. It’s constant. All I read from Louisville Bay papers is yeah, he’s picking up the pieces. He’s trying to right the wrong. This guy isn’t been good. Throw in the fact that he’s a complete scumbag. This guy is one of the worst people in college basketball. No, he’s truly vile. He’s a terrible person and he should have been suspended the entire season, let alone six games, but that’s for another broadcast.

Jeff Nadu:

If you don’t know what he was doing to Gaudio, you should research. It’s absolutely pathetic and sickening. But that being said, I couldn’t agree more and I think this is one team going one way and I think this is one team going another. Louisville, and this was mentioned by a colleague that I think he Ian knows. Jordan Majewski mentioned this. Look, go back and watch the Kentucky game for Louisville. I mean, that was disgraceful, defensively low. I mean, they just can’t cover the pick and roll. It’s been laughable. Alondes Williams is the best player on the court, and on this game, it’s that simple. He mentioned [inaudible 00:33:31]. That’s another great point.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, listen, Louisville continues to come up short in games that they should play well. Now again, remember, this is that sentiment of “Okay, off of bad performance. You haven’t played in a while, new lease on life, conference game.” And Wake could be a little bit of paper tiger, if you will, where you know, they’ve won a lot of games against bad teams and now they play a team that’s actually good and they lose, like they did again sell a shoe. But it’s hard for me right now to bet on Louisville. I think they’re poorly coached. And I love Steve Forbes, so I’ll give them another shot. I didn’t play it, but I definitely root Ian here. I think, if you’re getting five I’d be in.

TJ Rives:

Okay, let’s lock it in as an official play with Ian Cameron on the side of Wake Forest in the ACC matchup at Louisville. And I should just clarify because Jeff’s taken two handed swings at Chris Mack, what he’s talking about was an NCAA and a Louisville investigation about Dino Gaudio, the former coach and he was the former Wake Forest coach for a while and the former broadcaster. He had come back as a Louisville assistant and Chris Mack was looking to make a change and get rid of Dino Gaudio. And Gaudio was essentially taping Chris Mack and trying again. He said, she said, whatever trying to demonstrate here that Chris Mack had done some things wrong and Gaudio ends up making a couple of threats about turning Louisville into the NCAA. So, Gaudio is in trouble. Mack gets suspended, and maybe that’s some of Louisville problems as well. But one thing you won’t catch me doing, yeah, go ahead.

Jeff Nadu:

But remember, he illegally and secretly videotaped his audio conversation, a private conversation which again is illegal. That’s illegal. You can’t do that. He recorded him.

TJ Rives:

You’re talking about Mack.

Jeff Nadu:

Right. Mack did that. Yeah, it’s, it’s just lame. You don’t do stuff like that. It’s like me calling Ian and having a private conversation. He’s recording it and puts it out on the internet. That’s illegal. Either way, I just think he’s been a bad coach at Louisville. I mean, how many times have we talked about, oh, he’s got talent, but they’re all injured. It’s not always injuries. It’s sometimes the fact that you’re not been good there.

TJ Rives:

Fair enough on that. And again, I’m a Memphis guy. I’m not taking up any sympathy or any charge for Louisville.

Ian Cameron:

And I have been a sounding board in the past for Jeff, and I would never do that.

Jeff Nadu:

And remember as well, I also want to point out I always like to kind of help people if I can. [Rara Murphy 00:36:04]. He’s been sharing some really good trends in the chat. But one thing I would remember though, he mentioned he’s talking about Demon Deacons are seven and 18. Remember, those were much worse Demon Deacons and bad coaches, and that’s why I don’t like trend.

TJ Rives:

He’s talking about seven and 18 as what? Clarify seven and 18.

Jeff Nadu:

We’ve seen that as a road dog. That’s why like I don’t like trends like that because, remember, you’re dealing with different teams, you’re dealing with different regimes.

TJ Rives:

Danny Manning was there and was miserable as the coach and tried to get numbers and success.

Jeff Nadu:

To compare Danny Manning to Steve Forbes is like comparing Ian Cameron and Jeff Naidu to some you know, Hawkster handicapper that nobody knows. I mean, how could you compare greatness to some no name. Simple.

TJ Rives:

I thought you were going to self-deprecate and go with like, “You guys against Mr. Olympia or something like that, but you went Hawkster handicapper there on that on the comparison. We’ll see. Anyway, Ian is on Wake Forest there for the game, as you see right there as the official play. One more game to discuss. I promise we’ll get a little Q&A in as well. And that is a rivalry in the SEC. There’s more known for football, but they’re renewing it in basketball as well and it’s been hotly contested in recent years, because both of these teams are good in hoops. Alabama and Tennessee. Alabama will play significantly more important football game coming Friday in the Cotton Bowl, the college football playoff semi final but rival Tennessee comes in to Tuscaloosa with Alabama lane three and a half year and a number of 147 and a half for this game. No official play from our handicappers on the show. But still, this one is of interest.

TJ Rives:

And in particular, which Alabama team is it? Is that the Alabama team that went up to Seattle in a home away from home situation for Gonzaga and completely outplayed them? Or is it the Alabama team that recently lost a Memphis Tigers and also lost to Davidson in a close one-point loss in Birmingham. Which Alabama team are we getting? Tennessee has the win over Arizona which Jeff Nadu was all over that, say don’t back Arizona in that one. All right, guys, thoughts here on this SEC matchup?

Jeff Nadu:

I’ll just say it now. I mean, I didn’t get involved here because of, from what I understand Fulkerson and Josiah-Jordan James may not play in this game. Unless, I get a worthy health update on them, which, in college basketball that’s like waiting for a solar eclipse or something, you’re just not going to get it. I don’t trust any info here. I mean, Andy Katz is reported multiple times that Keegan Murray wasn’t going to play or was going to play and he did the opposite. So, I don’t think anyone ever truly knows that. That’s kind of the sucky thing sometimes about college hoops.

Jeff Nadu:

This spot kind of screams Alabama to me. I kind of sometimes go with recency bias, right? I was in on Tennessee against Arizona. I come back tonight. I just I can’t get involved with them without Fulkerson or Jordan James. And the truth is, Fulkerson is a really good defender. He has a couple of post moves that [inaudible 00:39:16] didn’t have any, he’s a better player overall. I just have some questions. And Alabama back at home, if you don’t have those two guys in, I just don’t think they’re the same team. So, I lean on Alabama here, but again, like some of the other games we talked about, the COVID question marks are keeping me off.

TJ Rives:

The Arena Coleman Coliseum is known as the plaid palace in honor of the former coach Wimp Sanderson always wearing a plaid jacket. The plaid palace will be alive. It will be electric for this game with Tennessee. Ian, any real quick thought here?

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, I definitely liked Alabama initially, but am I going to recommend laying four now? No, I’m just not. That’s with the injury situation with Fulkerson. If you watched that Arizona game, Arizona was allergic to fouling the guy in that game. Just constantly, he was just a difference maker. He was terrific. He was aggressive. Arizona couldn’t contain them all that much. So, you take John Fulkerson over the game here and off the court. It’s going to be a significant loss for Tennessee if he doesn’t play. It does feel like it’s that circle the wagons type of spot for Alabama. They had a disappointing setback against Davidson 79-78 in their last game, lost outright is nine and a half point favorites. But keep in mind, Davidson was a rescheduled game that was just put together, thrown together two days before the game took place.

TJ Rives:

We should clarify it was a pop-up game. In other words, Alabama’s opponent couldn’t play and they got a hold of Bob MacKillop and Davidson and said, “Do you want to play?” And the game was not in Tuscaloosa. They have renovated, I know this from having been in Alabama a couple of times during the football season, and stayed in Birmingham. They’ve renovated the downtown arena, which used to be a dump, called the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center.

TJ Rives:

It’s now known as the Legacy Arena. They poured millions of dollars in it. That was Alabama’s first time to play in there since the renovation. they needed an opponent. Davidson was willing to do that. And then Davidson comes in and narrowly beat them, late in the game 80 to 79, I believe, was the final on a pop up game, which I guess some Alabama fans are now saying, “Why don’t we play them?” Why don’t you find somebody else easier to play them and you took a loss? Does that have any bearing, Ian, on Tennessee game or a little?

Ian Cameron:

Well, the thing is, if you got to create a list of top five or 10 teams you don’t want to play with just two days to prepare, Davidson’s got to be on that list. You know how difficult it is to get ready for a team like that runs such good offense? Great spot. MacKillop is a legend there and what they’re able to do offensively to get your team defensively in the right mindset in a short period of time like that against a really schooled fundamentally sound offensive team like Davidson. It’s a difficult matchup. And Nate Oats was thrown out the excuse machine after that loss saying, “We just got to get our defense back. We weren’t really ready for what to expect.”

Ian Cameron:

Well, no wonder you weren’t ready, it was two days basically to get ready. So, it’s kind of the excuse machine there from Nate Oats a little bit. You still expect better than that from his team defensively, but that’s what they focused on. It is just being better at the defensive end here tonight. As we mentioned, we’ll have to see who suits up for Tennessee. Like I said, just screamed like a great spot. Good price initially. This was like pick a minus one. And now it’s up to minus four, but minus four I don’t like it. I’ll be honest, I mean, that’s just too many now to lay. The best of the number is gone.

Jeff Nadu:

Hey, TJ, I will say before you get into Q&A, I missed the deadline to get this and I should have put it last night but I forgot Samford Furman seems like a great over tonight if anybody’s looking for something. If you know anything about Sanford, they play this BuckyBall system, their code Bucky McMillan. They play about as fast as possible, defense is always a problem and they’re going to press, Furman will destroy process. The only thing that I think is a little worrisome is their point guard, Hunter, he had a concussion, I think it was like a week ago or so.

Jeff Nadu:

I’d expect he plays here. These are always wild games generally. Furman has been very good to the over this year, eight and two, they always are. Two very good offenses here. I think this is a fun back and forth affair kind of screen versus 75 one for me. So, I would look at that. If you could somehow get some info on Hunter that would be great. I’d expect he plays, but there’s plenty of reinforcements on both these teams for some high scoring and an exciting affair back in the court.

Ian Cameron:

I second that. I second that fully. In fact, that’s a bet for me, well over 149 and a half. I like it. I totally agree with that Samford Furman over, it makes sense.

TJ Rives:

Samford is also based in Birmingham, the smaller school Alabama and they are 10 and 2 playing on the road tonight for whatever it’s worth. It will have slightly less attention in the Birmingham market and in the state of Alabama than Alabama Tennessee just a little bit. But the big man on campus says it’s still worth a look, nonetheless if you’re looking if you’re looking at games here for this.

TJ Rives:

All right, so on the Q and A, let me get the name correct. Tony wants to know who’s watching us here live at 1:00 Eastern Time on the BetUS College Basketball Show. Butler on the money line, this is Butler and DePaul, a Big East Game. TV has dictated this as an earlier start, it’s 5:00 Eastern in the afternoon and Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, he says, “I’m no capper but I like Butler this afternoon.” Thoughts, real quick guys.

Jeff Nadu:

Oh, well if you remember, I actually like Butler the other night against St. John’s in playing that game. We haven’t seen Butler in a while. Listen, this is a game where I think, gun to my head, I take Butler. I would be betting this game. Here’s what you have here. You have two bad teams that I think one of which and DePaul really patted their schedule with some decent wins. I mean, Rutger is a pretty good win. Louisville, I guess someone should rate that. But these are two bad teams. I think both will finish under 500 surely in the Big East. We don’t know Butler could have some COVID cases. This is one of the teams that over the years have struggled mightily with injuries, Butler. I mean, they always have somebody out, whether it’s Bryce Golden or Chuck Harris, or whoever. A tough one. It’s tough at Hinkle, lean Butler, but, Tony, I’d stayed the far, far the hell away from his game.

TJ Rives:

All right fair enough on that.

Ian Cameron:

I bet DePaul. I’ve been higher on DePaul than a lot of people. I took him against Louisville, one that they want out right there. They had the good win against Rutgers. Look, the thing that I think DePaul, what makes them a more undervalued team this year. I think they’ve been horribly coached in years past. I mean, they’ve had some really rough go. I mean, they’ve been all over Purnell. They’ve had freaking Dave Leitao. I mean, yeah, disastrous coaches in the past. I think Stubblefield is actually, I’ve been impressed. They’re playing fast. They’re getting up and down the basketball court. Their offense has been good and say what you will about Louisville and their struggles to hold them to 55 on the roads impressive, to go and beat Rutgers 73-70. Their defense is actually been good lately. Now, has it come against a weaker schedule? No doubt. It has. This can be a good test now against take Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Ian Cameron:

But I’ve still got a question about how good Butler is. And Jeff mentioned, nobody can stay healthy on Butler. They always seem to have injuries. Bo Hodges is out. Bryce Nze is out with a shoulder injury. Chris Harris’s questionable. Chuck Harris, I should say is questionable tonight for Butler. A lot of concerns and questionable for this Butler team going into the game tonight. And I think DePaul remains undervalued. So, I actually like the Blue Demons here getting to.

TJ Rives:

All right, fair enough on all of that. One more really quick before we get out of here on the Q&A. Zack wants to know about Purdue playing Nicholls. We’ve talked about both of these teams. Purdue obviously one of the top teams in the country. This is a game again also this afternoon coming up at 5:00 Eastern time from West Lafayette and Mackey Arena. Purdue is an overwhelming favorite. He’s interested in the Purdue team total. Did either one of you have a thought on that against Nicholls?

Jeff Nadu:

I mean, look, there’s a lot of team totals today that have value. Kansas do whatever they want to get to Nevada. Look, I like Nicholls. I think they’re a team that could surprise in the Southland this year. I think they could frankly win it. But I mean, running against Purdue is suicide. I would be more inclined, if I’m looking at a team total, I’d be more inclined to go, Iowa as opposed to Purdue. I mean, Western Illinois, while they’ve been plucky, I mean, they have been riddled in transition, riddled. I think Iowa was the best offense in the country. That simple. I think Purdue is too.

Jeff Nadu:

But Nicholls presents I think a little bit more defensive prowess than Western Illinois does. I think that could be the highest scoring game of the day, Iowa, Western Illinois. If I was going to lay a big total, it would probably be that one. I’d be more inclined to play that over Purdue. But look, I don’t think you’re going to have anything wrong. Look, I see a lot of people coming in with Purdue. Yeah, look, I’m never going to tell you, you shouldn’t bet that. All these teams should be able to move and score against their opponents. But again, we’re getting towards the end and non-con play, how much the benches factor? I think Iowa is the most equipped to put the bench in. Iowa was one of the best benches in the country. So, I’m never worried. I mean, they run it up. They’ve been above 90 four or five times this year. They shouldn’t have any issues scoring.

TJ Rives:

To your point, you had Baylor yesterday on the team total and there might have been concerned that Scott Drew would take foot off the gas. They skyrocketed past 100 points yesterday and scored over 40 in the second half. They kept guys in at least long enough to push it beyond the team total that you had in that game. With that, let’s circle back and take a look at our best bets. What a loaded show today. Here’s what the guys are on. In fact, both of them are on the VMI-Wofford game. Ian is on two plays. He’s on VMI and he is on the over for the game. Jeff is on the team total for Virginia Military Institute, VMI, in that one. And you see the other plays there including Ian on another underdog Wake Forest in the matchup with Louisville.

TJ Rives:

Goodness, a ton that we have covered on the Wednesday before we ring in the New Year coming this weekend. Guys, anything else before we depart? We do have some games postponed. The Duke-Clemson game, not going to be played tonight in top 25 action and a couple of other ones that also fell by the wayside tonight that are going to have to be made up somehow, someway. But there are plenty of other games that will suffice including some of the ones Villanova and Temple right there in Philadelphia where you’re based, Jeff. That big five game is also postponed tonight out of the top 25, but we got plenty other games up to watch.

Jeff Nadu:

It’s interesting, weirdly enough last year Coach Krzyzewski was very interested in postponing the season because his team wasn’t any good. This year though, a top two team, no interest in postponing the season this year for Coach K.

Ian Cameron:

Funny how that works.

Jeff Nadu:

The guy that cares so much about his players and isn’t about himself. Interesting. He has no issue this year in canceling the season. That’s all you need to know about Coach Krzyzewski. That’s who he is. That’s what he’s all about. He has come and gone as a coach. Good riddance.

Ian Cameron:

And his final swansong year, how dare you postpone any of my teams?

Jeff Nadu:

But remember, he’s not about himself. I mean, come on.

TJ Rives:

They are also postponed on the weekend already. They’ve already announced that.

Jeff Nadu:

Of course, they are, because they’re on the road. What a surprise. Do you think he’d be canceling two home games against Carolina and Virginia? Of course not.

Ian Cameron:

Sam’s question about LSU Auburn. I just wanted to touch on it.

TJ Rives:

Quickly, yes.

Ian Cameron:

If it had been minus three or lower, I would have liked Auburn here. I still think they’re a little bit better than that. But I’ve been behind the curve on LSU. They’ve impressed me a lot more than I thought Will Wade’s team. And now that Auburn’s land four and a half and five in that game, I don’t know if I want to lay that many with Auburn. It could be a close game, but I lean Auburn and lean over just a little. Auburn’s defense has impressed me. They stifled Murray State in that recent game that they played against the Racers and they’re playing some good defense, but it’s also a lower total than what you normally get with these two teams going head to head. So, just small lean to the home favorite in the over in that game.

Ian Cameron:

And there’s another conference game as well. So, a lot of them on this Wednesday. Jam-packed show, guys. Excellent job. Good work. We appreciate it as always. We’ll do this one more time, coming up tomorrow. Jeff Nadu and Ian Cameron, thank you.

Jeff Nadu:

Thank you.

Ian Cameron:

Thanks, guys.

TJ Rives:

And we thank you for being with us on the Wednesday edition of the BetUS College Basketball show. See you one more time this year for the Thursday show. Bye.

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