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College Basketball Picks, Predictions and Best College Basketball Odds [Jan. 6]

College Basketball Picks and Best Odds Jan 6

TJ Rives:

Oh, it’s starting to get good now. And welcome to a Thursday edition of the BetUS College Basketball TV show. We are live each and every day at one Eastern Time right here on YouTube and the other platform through BetUS. I am the somewhat competent host of the program. These are our handicappers back again for an encore two days in a row of Ian Cameron and the big man on campus, Jeff Nadu.

TJ Rives:

Guys, always good to be with you. We had some winners last night and we’re looking forward to a bevy of games, a lot of mid-major games on a Thursday. Jeff Nadu, first of all, good to have you back aboard for another day. We have begun to learn some things in conference play and saw some more exciting conference games last night for sure.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, we definitely have and that’s the thing you take when conference play starts. You try to get to a groove. You try to look for things that make sense. And there was some things that made sense. And I think one thing that makes typical continuous sense is just the fact that the Florida Gators just I don’t think are going to win with Mike White as a coach. It’s concerning. I don’t know what else needs to be done. They have good teams before whatever reason. I don’t know what happens at halftime.

Jeff Nadu:

You get outscored 24 to 10 over the first 10 minutes of the second half and you lose by 13. That’s the difference in the game. It’s bad coaching. It’s the consistent obsession with not running when you should. It’s not having good free-throw shooting, just coaching and, yeah, teams like Florida are going to be bought in the April because of nonsense like that.

TJ Rives:

And Alabama made some shots. There’s some bitterness there from Jeff because he had Florida on the money line. Alabama made shots.

Jeff Nadu:

No. It’s no bitterness. It’s the fact that they… If this is a common thing year after year with this guy, I don’t know why they can’t see that he’s not a good coach.

TJ Rives:

Fair enough on that.

Ian Cameron:

What’s true too about the coach with Mike White with Florida too, turnovers and free-throws, you can drill it into your players’ heads like this is how you take care of the basketball, how not to have 20 turnovers in a game like Florida had last night, how to make your free-throws when you’re 64% free-throw shooting like Florida was last night. They had 20 turnovers and they shot 64% from the free-throw line. That’s where the game was lost. You can’t turn the ball, especially with the way Alabama plays, they eat you alive in transition when you turn the basketball over and obviously, Florida played right into that last night.

Ian Cameron:

So, I echo Jeff’s sentiments. That’s a disappointing result, and Florida already has a hideous loss on their resume earlier this year against Texas Southern. I still don’t know why they lost that game. So, I’ve never been a Mike White guy. I just don’t think this program is nearly been taken to the levels that people want it to be. Billy Donovan, they’re still missing him as far as I’m concerned in Florida, disappointing loss for Florida for sure for me, you guys last night.

Ian Cameron:

Jeff and I are good friends with someone named [Gabe Meranze 00:02:55]. We’ve known this guy for a while and one of the things he’s always said is Lord Gambler give it and Lord Gambler take it the way. He did that with me last night. He gave me one with VMI on a backdoor a buzzer-beater for a win there, and he took one away from me with Iowa State. They were up by seven and a bank din three at the buzzer by tech. The game lands on four which was a push with that Bet here on the US show yesterday.

Ian Cameron:

So, it’s just sometimes a reminder to everybody you’re going to be on the winning end sometimes of that luck and you’re going to be on the losing end of that bad luck sometimes as well.

TJ Rives:

Well, that’s a great point that you got to sometimes take the good with the bad. You had both though probably within about a half-hour of each other or maybe an hour of each other. Their last evening still, nonetheless, let’s take a look at the records from last night. Both the guys were on St. John’s game with DePaul. Ian had the team total to go over or actually the total to go over, and Jeff Nadu had the St. John’s team total to go over. Those were both victories for you guys. So, the big man on campus now at 35, 31 and one, and Ian also in addition to VMI had Pitt who hung in there with Louisville.

TJ Rives:

So, you’re creeping back towards 500 and got a lot of plays today on the show and what say we get right to it with the card today. You’re going to see a lot of mid-major flavor on the card today. Let’s begin with Bryant and Wagner. All right, this is not a game. It’s on everybody’s radar. However it is on Ian Cameron’s radar with Wagner laying eight points, the number at 142 and a half. [Bulbano 00:04:33], what do you like to begin things and why?

Ian Cameron:

I think there’s value right now for Bryant games over the total, and I’ll explain why. Nonconference, they had to face some really good teams, teams to play excellent defense, teams that aren’t going to be in that culture shock state of mind when you play Bryant with that hyperspeed pace that they planned or Jared Grasso. And I think now with Bryant, they struggled in a lot of those games like 44 points against Houston, 58 against Cincinnati. They’re playing some teams that play some really good defense. They played some teams to play a little bit slower as well.

Ian Cameron:

And as a result, we saw a lot of Bryant games go under the total. Now, we’re getting into conference play, though, for Bryant at this point in time, and the totals have been lowered as well. There’s been a lot of instances where last year, two years ago, we’ve seen 151, 160s even at times with Bryant totals, and now you’re seeing the totals getting lowered in their games.

Ian Cameron:

And now, all of a sudden as they’ve stepped down in class playing teams in their own conference, you’re seeing three straight overs for them. They’ve scored 78, 80 and 85 in those games. They’ve shot a better percentage in those games as well. I think that can continue here. The one concern is, look, with Wagner, they’re not going to run quite as much with Bryant. They’re only 198 in tempo. But Bryant is still a very, very poor defensive team.

Ian Cameron:

And I think when you look at this Wagner Seahawks group, I think they’re going to be able to score. You look at some of the bad teams that when they put up big points this year, Wagner has been against teams that don’t play great defense. There’s been a couple of these games on their schedule where they feasted on teams that just aren’t great at that into the basketball court.

Ian Cameron:

You look at the last meeting, Bryant versus Wagner last year, it was 81, 75, 156 points. The total was 147 in that game, and yet here we are with a total in the 142 and a half range. I thought it was a great value here. So, Bryant, Wagner over 142 and a half.

TJ Rives:

Interesting. Something you guys have been talking about and hopefully the viewers that are watching as daily pay attention to this that once these teams have gotten into conference play, it’s the tiny northeast conference. Wagner’s on Staten Island. I had to verify where it was in the New York area is on Staten Island. Bryant is three and 0 in the Northeast conference to start with here. And Wagner is two and 0.

TJ Rives:

So, Byrant was three and seven out of the conference. They’ve won their first three northeast conference games. Big Man, pick up on this if not an official play here about this game.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, I didn’t understand this slide at all. It’s funny, I actually saw the opener at 10. And I was sure it was a misprint. I didn’t get it. Look, the truth is that coming into the season, Bryant was the pick to win the NEC conference. Let’s start it that way. But has it? Bryant has played a couple of games in conference in their two and 0. That’s all that matters in this conference. The regular record that they have doesn’t mean anything. Okay. So, there’s one checkmark.

Jeff Nadu:

Let’s look back to last year, Bryant won both games. These are the same teams. There’s no difference between the teams. The only difference this year is Bryant just hasn’t shot the ball well. Look at their numbers. Three-point shooting has been a disaster. And I don’t think that’s going to last forever. But what that means to me is I don’t think this number has any shot to hold up. I think Bryant, I would just take it on principle, I got to be honest with you guys, I got 440 on the money line last night on Bryant. I played that. I think it’s too volatile of a game.

Jeff Nadu:

Look, if you can break the press that Mason is going to throw at you and you can shoot the ball a little bit, I think you have a real shot and I think the volatility of Bryant can shoot the ball well tonight, I think they can get the job done here. I really do. I think they’re a good team. I think on paper, they’re better than Wagner.

Jeff Nadu:

I just think this is just, oh, that teams are eight and two and the other team six and seven. The regular season doesn’t mean anything. So, I took a shot with their money line. I’m not going to venture that. Anyone else do that. I just felt like it was some value and I took a shot with it.

Ian Cameron:

I agree completely. I actually bet Bryant, and I was debating back and forth when I sent this game in is one of the games to talk about today whether I’d go side and total. But I figured I’d just go total here. But I agree completely with Bryant plus the points. They’re undervalued because they got their asses kicked in nonconference play.

Ian Cameron:

And there’s no shame to getting beaten by Cincinnati and Houston and losing some of these teams that Bryant lost to. Now, they’re stepping down in class and I agree with that side too, Bryant plus the points. I actually did bet it but I decided only the total for official play for the show.

TJ Rives:

So, as Ian was just saying, that is his play on this game tonight in the Northeast Conference. It is the over total for Bryant and for Wagner. Game number two features again one of the best scoring guards in the country at a little school in Max Abmas, and Oral Roberts, they are playing St. Thomas. This is a four and a half point line. Oral Roberts is the road favorite the number at 155 and a half, and we’re right back to Ian Cameron again for an official play on this one.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, points. Hopefully, there’s points in that last game and hopefully points in this one here with Oral Roberts and St. Thomas. I think we’re going to see a good amount of points both ways. St. Thomas is actually a very good offensive team that Tommy’s out of St. Thomas, a newbie here, of course to division one college basketball this year. I’ve been impressed with this team offensively this year. The problem is the defensive end, they’re not good at all. They’re obviously going to struggle with Oral Roberts’s pace, Oral Roberts’s versatility at the offensive end of the basketball court led of course by Max Abmas. And I think it’s going to be a lot for them to handle.

Ian Cameron:

But at the same point in time, I think the St. Thomas offense, I like what I’ve seen. They’ve got multiple balanced scoring, multiple guys and double figures scoring the basketball this year for St. Thomas. They’re at home. And I think that’s going to help them a lot of teams especially in the smaller conferences. You see them shoot the ball a little bit better when they’re on their home floor.

Ian Cameron:

It’s a high total but we’ve seen Oral Roberts particularly of Lee blow through some of these really, really higher line totals. They have the propensity to do that. Both teams are decent at the free-throw line. I should see a lot of points here. So, Oral Roberts and St. Thomas over for me, 155 and a half the number there.

TJ Rives:

A Smith is averaging 21 a game right now. He did have 32 in a game back in late December. The last two games, he’s had 20 and 24. Big Man, we talked about Oral Roberts some on the show. Any thoughts here, no official play?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, I think that the play it made is where I would go that I thought [inaudible 00:11:04] conservative but 155 and a half seems like first to 80 wins. St. Thomas while they’re fun team to watch offensively, they get no stops in the defensive and A Smith probably goes off tonight and has a big one. And this is a good time to back Oral Roberts offense. They’ve been rolling. Put up 83 against Denver, 107 against Nebraska, Omaha. This team’s scoring a lot of points right now. And they have to be wide-eyed in this one here.

Jeff Nadu:

This is a bad defense, worse than both those teams. So yeah, I think this would surprise me if it was one of the higher scoring games in the night, 87, 82 or something like that. I think it’s a fun game. I think team total on Oral Roberts makes some sense as well. I think it’s 80 and a half. I’d be comfortable with that just the way they’re playing right now.

Jeff Nadu:

Remember, St. Thomas is built on. They want to shoot as many three-pointers as possible. If they’re going in tonight, which they shoot over 39%, it’s conceivable to believe that they will. Again, I’d put it more towards 160 as opposed to 155 and a half. I think it’s invaluable over here.

TJ Rives:

Okay, let’s lock it in for Ian Cameron’s second straight play. And again, it’s the over total in this one for St. Thomas and Oral Roberts in game number two. Game number three, a team that we were talking about just a few nights ago. Sam Houston State, they are on the road at Tarleton State. And we have talked about both of these teams on the show. Tarleton State is a three and a half point favorite. Again, the total here, 126. Again, Sam Houston State was up huge on Texas Rio Grande Valley.

TJ Rives:

And our buddy mid-major Matt Joseph still got a backdoor cover with Rio Grande Valley scoring a bunch of points in the last two minutes of the game. So, Sam Houston State still got the win. Now, they go on the road and we’re going to the big man, Jeff Nadu for an official play.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. So, again, basketball is all about where do you see value, right? This one’s a little low, too. I felt like three and a half was fair with Tarleton. I think a lot of people were always turned off by them just because they play that burn offense where the goal is to take as much time off the clock as possible. But I think offensively, I think he made the case. They’re a better overall team than Sam Houston.

Jeff Nadu:

You also look at the fact that they’re going to press the hell out of you. That’s what they’re going to do on defense. They’re going to make it really tough on you defensively. And I’m not sure if Sam Houston on the road here has the ability to not only break that press but score consistently. Look, the truth of the matter is anytime you play Tarleton, it’s a physical tough game, very blue-collar if you will.

Jeff Nadu:

The difference to this game, adding on to the fact that Tarleton is at home and I just think a better team, it’s a glaring one. But it’s the difference in this game. Tarleton State shoot 74.2% from the free-throw line, which is very good. Sam Houston is dead last in America 358. They shoot 53.9%. That’s just how you lose games. It’s that simple.

TJ Rives:

That’s horrid. 53% as a team is horrific. That means they don’t work on it, guys. We’ve talked about that before, right? And that means are not working on file shooting at least the right way.

Jeff Nadu:

There’s not one player on this team that plays regularly that shoots over 75%. And in fact, there’s only one player that’s shooting over 65%. It’s a dreadful issue and it’s how they lose games. And on the other end, Tarleton again is at home here. Look, in a conference like the Southland being at home or in the whack, this home atmosphere is…. being at home is helpful, man. It really is. And as Matt’s discussed, Sam Houston just can’t score consistently.

Jeff Nadu:

Look, I don’t care about they covered against your grant. Look, they were down 25 in that game. That’s really what happened in that game. So, they beat Lamar. Who cares? Lamar is terrible. North Carolina Central is bad. There’s not much to write home about here. I like Charlton. I think they win, 69, 59, something like that.

TJ Rives:

Ian, do you have any thoughts on this one tonight in the state of Texas?

Ian Cameron:

There’s definitely a strength of schedule advantage too for Tarleton State. And Tarleton State, one of those teams they played dreadfully slow, painfully slow 349 in the country in tempo, but they have a solid defense. And Sam Houston State sometimes struggles to shoot and they’re also not the better defensive team in this game. But strength the schedule, I want to bring this up. They played one decent team so far this year, Texas, so far this year for Sam Houston State.

Ian Cameron:

Whereas you look at Tarleton State, they played Kansas, they played Wichita State, they played Michigan, they played Gonzaga. And they frustrated Gonzaga. They only lost by nine in that game, and Michigan down by 11. That style nails on a chalkboard make you play in the half-court, suffocates you, don’t let you find uncontested shots. It really grinds the gears of the opponent and it’s probably going to do that here to Sam Houston State. So yeah, I got no issue with Jeff like in Tarleton State here.

TJ Rives:

Okay, let’s lock it in officially. Jeff Nadu is on Tarleton State in his matchup in the Southland Conference and he is laying the three and a half points on the side of Tarleton State here for tonight. We’re going to go to Conference USA for a couple of games now, the first of which on a Thursday night has the MTSU Blue Raiders taking on the Rice Owls. Rice is laying four and a half points in Conference USA, play the total at 150 and a half. Ian Cameron, back to you, and what you like in this matchup in Conference USA.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, this is another one where we’re going to look for points scored between these two teams tonight. Bart Torvik is one of the holy bibles of college basketball in terms of websites I use every day, and I’m always interested in what their projections have for the games. And they’ve got this one at 154 in terms of the total indicating some value.

Ian Cameron:

What I like about that site is they really account for current form, and they adjust their numbers daily based on, Oh, is there an injury, is key player out, how is the team playing in the last five to 10 games or so. Whereas KenPom, and that’s a great site too. but I find they rely more on full-season numbers and full-season data. I don’t care what a team does in November anymore.

Ian Cameron:

You see teams that are changing their spots and changing the way they’re playing now as we get into conference play. So, being able to get the shorter term picture of a team I think means something right now. And when you look at these two teams, pace-wise, particularly in recent games, it has been there for both.

Ian Cameron:

You look under Nicholas McDevitt, the coach here for Middle Tennessee State, they’ve consistently been inside the top 100 in tempo. You know you’re going to get that as well from Rice. They’ve been one of the faster-paced teams in Conference USA for the last several years under Scott Pera, their coach. Rice is a very good offensive team. In terms of shooting the basketball, there’s no question about that.

Ian Cameron:

And I think defensively, they’ll be able to take advantage of Middle Tennessee who’ve had some really, really ugly, defensive numbers of transition defense, not good. And that’s where Rice can really, really hurt you. On the flip side though, you look at Middle Tennessee. They’re very good in the interior, 38, two-point field goal percentage. Rice struggles a lot more to defend around the rim.

Ian Cameron:

So, I think there’s offensive advantages here for the Blue Raiders in this game as well. You’re get paced. So, there you go, Middle Tennessee, Rice for me over 150 and a half.

TJ Rives:

And just like we’ve talked about, really this entire week, the COVID pause factor, you’ve got to study it. You’ve got to weigh it. And Ian has done that. Middle Tennessee has not played a game since December 22. They lost two of their conference games right now to postponement with Texas-San Antonio and UTEP Texas-El Paso.

Ian Cameron:

But that can be a negative defensively, TJ.

TJ Rives:

Sure.

Ian Cameron:

We saw that in the DePaul St. John’s game last night. Right? Just the defense was pretty porous in that game. And the layoff sometimes affects you more defensively in a negative fashion.

TJ Rives:

And another point to Florida given up just about any shot that Alabama wanted especially in the first half of that game coming off a long COVID pause. So, Jeff Nadu, what do we make of this for Middle Tennessee State here having not played a game and what 15, 16 days playing on the road tonight?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, I don’t have much on it. I think Ian, I trust this handicapping. I will say this, he made a good point about KenPom. Look, it’s a great catalog, right? You can find all the games and stuff, but it also doesn’t account for injuries as well, which is a big issue. If Wisconsin doesn’t have Johnny Davis, it’s a totally different team than if they do so.

Jeff Nadu:

All their predictive measures, you got to keep, and he’s right with Bart Torvik. Some of them actually will get to where the season is. And I like that. So yeah. I don’t have much in this one. I think the over prime makes some sense here. Neither team can really stop each other at the rim, so yeah, I think Ian is onto something here.

Ian Cameron:

And if you think I like the Bark Torvik website, you better listen to our colleague here on the BetUS College Basketball show Kyle Hunter because he really, really likes that site and uses it. And actually, he mentioning it years ago was what got me to start looking at it and using it daily. And it is a great resource for college basketball odds handicapping.

TJ Rives:

Fair enough. Let’s look at the official play. It is Ian Cameron’s and he’s once again three for three on the Thursday show with the over. He is over the 150 and a half. He’s overjoyed to take the over for Rice and Middle Tennessee. Let’s stick with Conference USA. This is the latest game on our slate game. What number five on the slate right back to Conference USA, it is the North Texas, Green Eagles or the Mean Green. They go by both. They’re laying two against UAB in this matchup coming up this evening. The total at 126, we are back to Ian Cameron on what he likes for this matchup and why.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, this would be a great game. These are two teams with the legitimate potential to win Conference USA this year. I’m looking forward to watching this game here tonight. I think when you look at this conference as a whole, yeah, Western Kentucky’s probably got a shot. Louisiana Tech’s got a shot. But to me, I think one of these teams could very easily win this conference. So, this is a huge game in Conference USA.

Ian Cameron:

And I really like what Andy Kennedy’s done at UAB. Don’t get me wrong. They all missed. I like that he got another chance here at UAB. This team has continuously improved. They’ve got probably the best team he’s had here with the Blazers and they’ve actually had some success against North Texas. They won both games last year against North Texas.

Ian Cameron:

But North Texas realizes that there were some interesting quotes from a couple of their players talking about just wanting to finally beat UAB here in this game. There’s a little pack the Pitt rally that’s going on trying to get the crowd support ramped up for this game. The Super Pitt is what they call it here the UNT Coliseum. So, I expect a good environment here from North Texas.

Ian Cameron:

And this is not so much me betting against UAB. This is me betting online on North Texas because I love this group. They won Conference USA last year. They got to the NCAA tournament. Grant McCasland is one hell of a head coach for this team. They’re number two in the country, defensive efficiency, or in terms of points per game rather. Number two, they are just there. It’s impossible to try to get an open look against them in the half-court. They are an outstanding defensive team. And I think it’s going to be trouble for UAB.

Ian Cameron:

And the one little thing in a close game like this and it will be. This is going to be a war. This is going to be a battle. Possessions are going to be at a premium. Points are going to be at a premium. Neither of these teams play fast. Both of these teams play good defense. The difference is UAB sometimes they can get hot from three. North Texas has been stifling with their perimeter defense this year.

Ian Cameron:

And another situation I think benefits North Texas here, UAB has got this North Carolina thing where they feast on offensive rebounds and put-backs in getting those second and third chances. They’re a great offensive rebounding team UAB. But North Texas is a very, very good defensive rebounding team. So, they may not get those second looks, those third chances that maybe they would get against other teams because North Texas has been cleaning up the defensive glass pretty well. So, it’s going to be a war. It’ll be a close game.

Ian Cameron:

But they say the old saying, To be the man, you got to beat the man. And I know UAB is on the prowl here. But North Texas got to the tournament out of the conference last year. And I’m just willing to take McCasland teams in a straight-up win situation on their home court. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.

Ian Cameron:

And I took North Texas against Rice minus 10. No look ahead whatsoever. They crushed Rice on Saturday, which tells me this team is locked in right now, the Mean Green. I think they get the win. But keep in mind for the official play on this show, I’m using North Texas minus 130, not minus two. I’m going with the money. This is what I do with the short favorites. I like the money line in case it’s a one-point win. So, North Texas minus 130 for me, money line.

TJ Rives:

And you guys both have talked about this that if you believe enough in it and the line is only one or two, you can go ahead and get better value on the money line. Jeff, just a follow-up here before we lock it in on UAB and North Texas there and what Ian had to say.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, I think it’s a real chess match. I’m a big Andy Kennedy guy. I like McCasland as well. I think UAB is better offensively and North Texas is probably better defensively. They’re really going to shut off the rim and freeze into the mid-range. I don’t know. It’s a tough one. I lean under quite honestly. I think it’s first to 60 probably wins or Texas I think will dictate the tempo.

Jeff Nadu:

But yeah, I think Ian, in conversation, they pick some tough ones here quite honestly. I’m just more enamored with the individual in the chat. They call me the fat guy. Bro, if I lost 125 pounds, I’m considered normal. Listen you don’t like me, that’s fine but [crosstalk 00:25:17].

TJ Rives:

How about this portion of the show, we have Ian quoting Ric Flair, “To be the man, you got to beat the man.” And we got Nadu referring to himself as normal. I love this segment of the show right now, this portion of the show.

Jeff Nadu:

We use a name. Are we sixth grade? Come on. Get lost.

TJ Rives:

Can we lock it in? Let’s lock it in for Ian on the money line with North Texas tonight. Let’s specify that he’s on the North Texas Green Eagles or the Mean Green tonight at home with UAB.

Jeff Nadu:

Nobody calls them the Green Eagles. Why do you keep saying Green Eagles? I never heard of that before. Have you, Ian?

TJ Rives:

Well, they have both I guess. You notice that the logo is an eagle, my friend.

Jeff Nadu:

I like Mean Green personally though.

TJ Rives:

I do too because of Mean Joe Greene who they change the nickname of the school because of him being such a great player with the Pittsburgh Steelers that’s why they became the Mean Green in the first place. All right, so there you go. There’s the official play on that one.

TJ Rives:

Moving right along, an interesting one here between Abilene Christian and Stephen F. Austin back to the Southland Conference, with Abilene Christian, shout out to my buddy Grant Boone who is the longtime voice of the Abilene Christian Wildcats. You got a problem with that nickname, Nadu? They are the Wildcats.

Jeff Nadu:

No.

TJ Rives:

Abilene Christian is laying six and a half and the under over is 140. Abilene Christian, the darlings of the tournament a year ago with the upset of Texas. They’re usually very good in the sound plan. We are back to Ian Cameron again and what he likes on this Thursday night play.

Ian Cameron:

So, it’s a combination of, yes, this is a very good Southland team Abilene Christian. This is a team that’s been a point spread machine. So far this year they’ve covered every single line game they’ve had. Yeah, you can argue the schedule a little bit nitpick. The schedule has been the greatest but it’s a very good basketball team. They’ve got offense. They’ve got inside, outside balance. They’ve got incredible defensive play from this team. And I think it’s going to be too much for Stephen F. Austin.

Ian Cameron:

I think Stephen F. Austin’s had better teams than this year’s group for the Lumberjacks. You look at last year on this home floor, Abilene Christian not only beat Stephen F Austin. They crushed them. They only lay in two and a half. They won 82 to 62. I think there’s a growing gap between these two teams.

Ian Cameron:

And like I said, when it comes to Abilene Christian, they haven’t just been winning games. They’ve been eviscerating teams. I thought the number was modest enough to go ahead and lay it here with Abilene Christian against Stephen F. Austin.

Ian Cameron:

Remember Brad Underwood, Stephen F Austin teams years ago, I don’t think Stephen F Austin is quite at that level anymore and certainly Abilene Christian took him to the woodshed last year. I’m not saying they’ll win by 20, but I think they could win by double C or so, at least by 10. So, Abilene Christian for me will lay the sixth time.

Ian Cameron:

And by the way, there are better free-throw shooting teams as well specifically in the last five games. Definitely can matter at this point spread rain. So, if they’re up by five or six late, they can hit free-throws to be able to cover a number like this. So, I’m on Abilene Christian here, ACU minus six and a half.

TJ Rives:

They lost their two opening games to Utah and Texas A&M. They have run off 11 in a row. Has Abilene Christian now as we enter 2022? Big Man, any thoughts on this one real quick?

Jeff Nadu:

I think a gutsy play by Ian Cameron. Quite honestly, I think he’s honest. I don’t know. As he alluded to… really doesn’t matter whether it’s Joe Golding or Brette Tanner. Look, Abilene Christian has one goal, to get up in your grill and turn you over. And look, Stephen F. Austin has no competent kids that can handle the ball. That was one of the reasons that I want to say Stephen F. Austin lost both games last year too, but I could be wrong. I’m not going to think of the year before or something.

Jeff Nadu:

But either way, yeah, I’m in agreement here with Ian. I lean it. It’s gutsy. But I think I believe just a thorn in Stephen F Austin’s side.

TJ Rives:

And again, it is a Stephen F. Austin team that’s lost to Louisiana Monroe and then to Kansas. They actually hung in there with Kansas. They’re only lost by eight. They then have had a couple of games postponed because of COVID pause before playing this one tonight. Let’s see how Stephen F Austin looks.

TJ Rives:

Again, Ian Cameron has the official play on this game and it is with the Wildcats of ACU, Abilene Christian laying the six and a half. He is proud to lay the number here in this one believing that much in ACU. We will get to your question and answer comments. Some of you are already weighing in with those. We’ll try to get to as many of those as we can in a few moments.

TJ Rives:

One final game to cover on our slate for the Thursday show, and it is a big 10 matchup between Iowa and Wisconsin. We’ve been waiting for a little bit here for Jeff Nadu to get back in with an official play. He likes it in this big 10 game where Iowa is a three-point road underdog here and the over under at 147 on the total. Jeff, what do you like here in the big 10 showdowns in Wisconsin?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, it’s going to be a great game, 9:00 Fox Sports one. The only sucky thing about it is we had Gus Johnson, unfortunately. That sucks. But outside of that, I’m pretty excited about it. You got really two of the, I think, top 20 teams in the country. Wisconsin with Johnny Davis who has been incredible. Keegan Murray might be the best player in the country. It’s going to be a war back and forth.

Jeff Nadu:

But you look at this game. I will get three. I know they’re on the road here. But I guess my big question, and I’ll ask Ian, if Johnny Davis doesn’t play well, do you trust Wisconsin’s team to bring them out? I don’t. I think Iowa is-

Ian Cameron:

Is the reason they beat Purdue.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, exactly. And if he doesn’t go off like he did, it’s not the same game. When I look at Iowa, first of all, I don’t think Wisconsin can guard Murray. I don’t think that’s simple. He’s a really just tough-ass because he’s big and he’s a huge kid on the wing. It’s just hard to deal with him. But I look at the rest of the kids that I can throw out there. There’s a lot of talent here. This is a really good team. I’m going to give them a little credit defensively. I think they’re solid enough that they make it difficult on you.

Jeff Nadu:

And I think Murray is just the best player on the court. I’ll take him over Davis. I’ll take the supporting cast over whatever Wisconsin throws at you. Quite frankly, if I’m getting three on either side, that’s the way I’d go here. But I think Iowa was in a decent spot to take an opportunity and run with it. It’s going to be a great game.

Jeff Nadu:

I’m going to gladly take three-points in my back pocket and what could be a game that comes down to the final shot. I think Murray over Davis supporting cast over Wisconsin. I like Iowa.

TJ Rives:

And will they have a bit of a letdown after Davis had the 37 points and win over Purdue? Ian, what do you think?

Ian Cameron:

Very possible. And that’s why I didn’t bet Wisconsin. I don’t love Iowa to be honest. But the spot definitely is better for them in this game I would think of getting points. And this is where I prefer Iowa. I was ever to bet Iowa. I don’t bet I would very much because I don’t love this team’s defense half the time and I don’t like their coach very much. I just don’t. I’ve never liked them. It’s overrated. This program has been overrated for years as well.

Ian Cameron:

But I understand like in Iowa potentially in this spot. They’re getting points now. They’re not laying points. Wisconsin is coming off the huge win against Purdue. And it was the Johnny Davis show. And Brad Davis is a really good player too for Wisconsin. He’s good offensively.

Ian Cameron:

But outside of those two guys, what do you get consistently from the rest of the Badgers, that’s going to be a concern and something that Greg Gard is going to have to answer or find a solution for moving forward with the Badgers. Are you going to be able to get third, fourth, fifth, sixth offensive options? Because if you can key in on one guy or two guys, it’s going to make you easier to defend.

Ian Cameron:

So, maybe Iowa and hopefully doofus Fran McCaffrey can figure it out tonight that maybe we should guard Johnny Davis and Davidson tonight. But if they can, I think they’ve got a shot. So, always Jeff locks with this play.

TJ Rives:

Let’s lock it in officially for his play with the Iowa Hawkeyes or as Brent Musburger always called them in the ’80s in the ’90s doing college football the Hawkeyes, the Hawkeyes, plus the three tonight in big 10 play. Let’s also get to the Q&A from the audience here.

TJ Rives:

A couple of you have questions about games. Dalton wants to know thoughts on Seattle, no, not the Seahawks, Seattle minus 10 against Chicago State. We are going obscure on this one. Do either of you gentlemen have something on that?

Jeff Nadu:

Ah.

TJ Rives:

You see the reactions, Dalton. Nothing more.

Jeff Nadu:

I don’t really… Seattle is taking care of teams that they should, I mean, beat up Idaho State, beat Morgan State, beat up Pine Bluff, beat up St Thomas, beat up McNeese. I think that’s a good omen in this game. Good thing is they’re not off any crazy. They had a little pause, I think for the holiday. But before that, they played a non-division one team.

Jeff Nadu:

Look, here’s the thing, Dalton, and I continue to anchor that same sentiment. I’m never going to be on the dog in this game ever. I’m never going to bet that ever. So yeah, I think Seattle probably covers this game. This is a tough road trip, though.

Jeff Nadu:

I’ve never quite understood why Chicago State was in the whack considering if you look at the whack, it’s the western athletic conference and Chicago is nowhere near West, but, I don’t know, I guess they’re looking at this organized crime because back in the day, Chicago would run everything west of Chicago. So, maybe that’s how they’re making sense of this. But yeah, I lean Seattle. But it’s not ideal to lay 10 like this in the road, but I’m not taking CSU ever.

TJ Rives:

Seems like a topic for someone’s mafia podcast. Yes, Ian.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, for me and this one, the one concern Chicago State, we got into conference play there the last two games, New Mexico State and Grand Canyon, two better teams in the whack. And Chicago State covered the number against both of those teams. So, even they were getting 24 and a half and 22 and a half, they’re only getting 10 in this but Seattle’s not like those two teams. So, be careful here.

Ian Cameron:

It’s a tricky game. That’s why I’d be hesitant to lay the 10. Chicago State 2-1-O ATS in conference plays. So, they’re showing signs of being an undervalued team because they’ve taken their lumps earlier in the season. And now they’re undervalued because of it.

TJ Rives:

All right, Joseph wants to know Vermont, New Hampshire all the way away from Seattle on the other side of the continent, is Vermont and New Hampshire tonight. Either one of you with a thought on that?

Jeff Nadu:

I’ll tell you this is a game I looked into pretty heavily actually. Yeah, I think that the sentiment is you play Vermont, the Vermont, Vermont. And look, Vermont is a very good Americans team. They generally win the conference every year. But I’ll tell you, don’t sleep on New Hampshire. There’s a decent team under Bill Herrion. They have a terrific player Nick Guadarrama, very, very solid kid. I think they have some of the kids up front to hang around with Ryan Davis, the terrific player for Vermont.

Jeff Nadu:

And as I’ve said time and time again when you’re backing double-digit dogs, which is what New Hampshire is here, do they turn it over Vermont or New Hampshire? No, seventh in the country and 30%, they don’t turn it over at all. Do they make threes? Yes. 36%, 68th in the country. Free-throw percentage, right around 70%.

Jeff Nadu:

I think the number is just a bit too high. New Hampshire can hang around here. Probably, low scoring game but I think they can hang around. Don’t sleep on New Hampshire, solid team under Bill Herrion.

TJ Rives:

Okay, I misspoke. Chicago State is actually hosting that game in Seattle but still from Chicago to New Hampshire and Maine. A good distance away. Any thought real quick, Ian Cameron, before we move along on this game?

Ian Cameron:

I would lean to the dog here too, New Hampshire. They’ve been a point spread machine on the road. They’ve had no problem playing well on the road form one ATS. See some of the road results too. They beat down Holy Cross. They nearly beat Duquesne on the road. The Dukes out of the 8, 10. Point spread cover. There’s double-digit dogs. Marquette, a pretty good game early in the year 75, 70. And of course, Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles teams probably played better than some people thought.

Ian Cameron:

So, New Hampshire has been good on the road. The best basketball has been on the road so I don’t think they’re going to be in all of this Vermont team. And the one thing too is Vermont’s not going to play fast. You’re not going to get as many possessions in this game. So, getting 10 and a half in a game like that with a team that’s been good and competitive on the road. I could see the interest in the underdog here.

TJ Rives:

Real quick. Matt wants to know Pac-12 game and the Pac-12 is playing some games tonight with some teams that have been on pause. USC is one of those teams. It’s been on pause, and have been very good in the nonconference season. They played Cal tonight. I know it’s not an official play on the show. Either one of you with a thought on that.

Jeff Nadu:

I don’t want to take all these first but I have to take this one again. Another one, I lean Cal here. This team has been really solid, man. I thought when they lost Matt Bradley last year to San Diego State, I thought they just roll up and die this year. Not so fast. Mark Fox has done a nice job with this group. A couple of really nice wins lately against Santa Clara and Arizona State, beat I think a pretty good Fresno team, hung around with a couple of other groups. I think this is a decent team and this is a tough spot for USC as you said coming off a long pause, haven’t lost this year. Okay.

Jeff Nadu:

A lot of people are going to zoom in and say I got to take USC, Cal sucks. No, they don’t. And again, guys we’ve talked about this before. Two things, last year, USC beat them I think by six or seven. Tahj Eaddy and Evan Mobley were leading scorers. They’re gone. This is also USC team on the road here against little brother which, look, your Cal, this a game we get up for.

Jeff Nadu:

USC is 58% for the free-throw line. We are playing two, three possessions. It’s hard to do that when you don’t make free-throws. I like Cal here. I think it’s a low-scoring game but Cal don’t turn the ball over. They value it. And I think [Anna Sevich 00:39:15] can give you some help with Mobley down low. I got to tell you, if this gets to six I might fire it on the bears. I think it’s a good spot for them here at home.

TJ Rives:

December 19th, Ian Cameron, is the last time USC played a game just be aware. Go ahead.

Ian Cameron:

Yeah, the layoff concerns me. The fact that Cal is on a point spread streak and been competitive in every game. Cal’s last game against Arizona State, they blew the doors off the Sun Devils. I know the Sun Devils are sketchy and erratic as it gets. But 74 to 50 when you’re putting that victory on the board against, still a talented Arizona. Like I said, they’re erratic Arizona State but they’ve got still some good talent on that team. That’s impressive by Cal.

Ian Cameron:

Andre Kelly’s a good score for this team, Jordan Shepherd, the Charlotte transfers ultimate grant and to savage the Ozzie. I think he’s a really good player down low for this Cal team as well. I like the inside, outside scoring balance. I like that they defend.

Ian Cameron:

And look, I thought Mark Fox, I thought the welcome mat was running thin here on Mark Fox and Cal coming into this year. What he’s been able to do with this group, I think maybe it saved his job security for another year if Cal keeps playing competitive like this. Because I thought things were starting to fall apart for him a bit here at Cal, but it’s been a nice start to the year.

Ian Cameron:

It just feels like that buyer beware spot. Even though they’re undefeated with USC, land five and a half with them on the road because Cal has been scrappy. They play defense. USC hasn’t played in a while, and they’re off a long layoff and they’re not a great free-throw shooting team that matters when you’re laying points like this on the road. So, there’s a lot of warning signs for sure if you’re going to back the Trojans tonight.

TJ Rives:

All right. One more that I will add is that Ohio State, Indiana game we did not play it officially. Indiana off the loss to Penn State over the weekend, which was a bit surprising although they’ve been pretty good under Mike Woodson. Again, this one will have intrigue. I know you guys don’t have an official play. Either one of you though with any a thought here on this matchup of the Big 10?

Ian Cameron:

I like Indiana a little. Actually, is a bet for me, Indiana here, and this small bet. Nothing substantial. I don’t like that it’s up to three and a half now. You’re starting to lose a little bit of value here on the Hoosiers. But Mike Woodsoon’s team, I’ve been impressed with what they’ve done defensively so far this year. And at times, I’ve seen Ohio State go into these scoring droughts on the road. And it bothers me a little bit.

Ian Cameron:

And one thing about assembly hall, it’s still not the easiest place to win. You’ve seen a Buckeyes team that sometimes, like I say, that gone into offensive droves to concern for me going into a matchup like this against Indiana in this one. So, I like Indiana a little bit. Again, with this number rising, you’re losing a little bit of value on the Hoosiers right now. But I still think they can win this game and hopefully cover this number.

Ian Cameron:

Again, when you look at Ohio State, certainly Chris Holtmann is going to have his hands full. And EJ Liddell, sometimes the problem is when he struggles to shoot, you don’t always get someone else helping him out on this Buckeyes team. And that’s going to be the challenge here tonight against the Hoosiers.

TJ Rives:

All right, Jeff, any final thoughts on that, on Ohio State Indiana or are you good?

Jeff Nadu:

I thought 140 was a bit high. I had this one mid-60s, right, 68, 65, something like that. I thought 140 was a tad high. These are two really good defensive teams. Indiana is according to KenPom number one in the country in two-point defense. So, Trayce Jackson-Davis against Liddell will be a great matchup. I lean TJ D. a not matchup.

Jeff Nadu:

But I’ll tell you, I have to say one thing about Ohio State. That was impressive what they did the other night. I know it wasn’t the defensive performance they wanted against Nebraska. But they hadn’t played since December 11, that’s over three weeks basically that you didn’t play, you come out and you get a nice OT win against a pesky group that’s better than they were last year.

Jeff Nadu:

So yeah, this game screamed. It’s 70, 66. I could see a close to that number, but I’m leaning under here in this one.

TJ Rives:

Okay, good enough. On Indiana and Ohio State, let’s look at the games that the guys are on. Again, it’s a bevy of them on our best bets for Ian Cameron. He’s got several plays with the over. Again, on North Texas, it is the money line, no spread there. And again, for Jeff, he’s on Iowa in the matchup at Wisconsin as the Road Dogg as one of his two plays for this Thursday.

TJ Rives:

Busy, busy show, ton of games in conference play. Anything else in closing, gentlemen, before we’re done on a Thursday?

Jeff Nadu:

Well, I will say this, there’s a game coming up at the top of the hour and I want to congratulate these two groups for making this game happen. This is a game that was thrown together. These are two teams out of conference that want to play and want to get out there and they want to go against this nonsense COVID crap and just get out and play, too good institutions and loyal in San Francisco, too good Catholic schools I believe.

Jeff Nadu:

And this would be a great game, too good mid-major teams here, great coaches. Drew Valentine, the youngest coach in the country has done a hell of a job with Loyola.

TJ Rives:

If you know, why are they playing in Salt Lake? Is that because of restriction and it was supposed to be somebody else’s home game? But they’re playing in Salt Lake San Francisco and Loyola Chicago is what I see here.

Jeff Nadu:

I imagine that’s what they did. Again, this is 11:00 Eastern time. They’re going to play here. So, I think an interesting thing. I think that’s what happened. Keep in mind, Loyola, or San Francisco, so to speak, Gonzaga and I think Loyola was, they just agreed on that spot. I don’t know. I can’t call it. I’m not sure why they did that.

TJ Rives:

So, again, to clarify, they’re playing a two Eastern Time 11:00 in the West. San Francisco’s 13 and one out of the West Coast Conference right now. And you’re right. Some of these pop up games have already happened. And they make some more sense like the Davidson upset of Alabama that was like on less than 48 hours that suddenly Alabama was playing Davidson and Davidson upset them.

TJ Rives:

But again, I give credit just like you do that if you’re willing to take the risk and go get a game and make it happen. That’s what some of these smaller schools, mid-major schools have to do, correct, Ian Cameron?

Jeff Nadu:

Real quick. If I could just say one thing. I think this game, I would be blown away if this doesn’t come down to the final possession or two. I think these teams are super even. This is what mid-major flip games are all about. This is a big game from a long-term standpoint. San Francisco, this could help a lot in the grand scheme of things down the road. So, this is a great game. I’m looking forward to watching it as a standalone.

TJ Rives:

Ian, anything else?

Ian Cameron:

Like Loyola, I took Loyola on the money line here. I like them here. It’s nothing against San Francisco. They definitely had a great start to the year and you’re right about the coaches being great for both of these programs. But I think Loyola Chicago in these environments like Todd Golden’s team, they’ve got a good amount of talent with [Bloye and Michalski 00:46:19] and company.

Ian Cameron:

But Loyola, Chicago when you look at the names on this team that have played big games like Braden Norris and Lucas Williamson, and they know what it’s like and these environments here for Loyola, Chicago and games where you’re playing a team, it’s like the bracket busters. You remember that? That’s what this feels like, bracket busters.

Ian Cameron:

One of those games where they put two mid-major teams against one another and it would be a situation where the team that wins the game really enhances their NCAA Tournament resume, but I favor Loyola a little bit. In fact, I put it up on Twitter earlier as a game that I bet a little small piece of action here on the Ramblers here on the money line in the sportsbook.

TJ Rives:

All right, we will see how that one goes. It’s an afternoon game again as Jeff was making mention of for those two teams and that is what a noon Mountain Time game two hours behind Eastern time that they are playing between Loyola and San Francisco, got creative with that.

TJ Rives:

With that, I think we’re good. Jeff Nadu, the big man on campus, he and Cameron, thank you very much for hanging in here for another edition on the Thursday show, boys. We always appreciate it.

Jeff Nadu:

Thank you.

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