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College Basketball Picks, Odds and Predictions

 

TJ Rives:

Welcome back off of a weekend that saw some very impressive performances by the teams at the top and a lot of good mid-major action. We are ready to discuss it all on the BetUS Monday edition of the College Basketball Show. I am the somewhat competent host, these are the guys you’re tuning in for to get the breakdown, the analysis, the handicapping, Mid Major Matt, Matt Josephs back aboard, the big man on campus, Jeff Nadu here as well. Gentlemen, good to be back with you. A lot that we saw this past weekend. What stands out? Big man, you first, what stands out if anything from this weekend? A lot.

Jeff Nadu:

Well look, I wasn’t really surprised by much. Duke won, they rolled. I didn’t think they’d win by that many points. Texas Tech took care of business. Matt kind of talked about it. I’m sure he’ll bring this up. Just kind of those spot kind of plays that we think about that we want to play, didn’t end up working out. Alabama was a rough one. A lot of these teams that had good opportunities at home, like in Alabama or West Virginia or Florida State or Iowa State or whoever, they all struggled to get it done. But I don’t know.

Jeff Nadu:

Gonzaga as usual destroyed Brigham Young. You got to wonder about BYU at this point. How can you continue to sell these games to fans? Could you imagine waiting out for a day or two in the cold, in a tent to get a ticket to this game and this is the game you get. Every year it’s year after year they get destroyed by a Gonzaga. And I mentioned this on Twitter, TJ and Matt, it was almost like that old Eminem song Stan, where Stan gets annoyed at Eminem because him and his brother wait out in the cold for four hours and Eminem just doesn’t even acknowledge that they’re there. That was kind of like the BYU fans on Saturday in front of the players. They just didn’t care that they were there for that long.

TJ Rives:

Once again, we have Marshall Mathers, Eminem and hip hop and rap and everything brought to the show right at the very beginning. Mid Major Matt, what about off the weekend? How are things? Have a good weekend? What’s up?

Matt Josephs:

Well, that gritty win by Auburn. Just grittiness. And it’s funny because I love the narratives that come out of these games from stuff like that because it’s oh, it was really tough effort by Auburn and yet Gonzaga game after game, oh, go play in a real conference. I just think it’s funny that we have these two different narratives where let’s just say we had Georgia play BYU a bunch of times, BYU would smash them. I thought Gonzaga was really good. I actually was trying to think and last night I was listening to a podcast. I think there’s about 10 teams that have a legitimate shot to win a championship. Legitimate. And then there’s probably 10 teams that if things break right, they could win a championship. And I was just wondering what Jeff’s thoughts were. 10 teams could I think can legitimately win and another 10 with the right path could win a championship.

TJ Rives:

What do you think big man?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. I think every year that’s kind of what I was talking about with kind of that eye test, does this team actually have a shot? And look, always I’m going to list teams that I think are going to raise an eyebrow for the good and raise one for the bad. I legitimately believe no matter if UCLA lost to Arizona State or not, I believe that when the time comes, UCLA is built to win a national title. Now it’s interesting because on the other end, I’ll tell you that I don’t believe Auburn is built to win a national title. I just don’t. I think they’ll be really good. I think they can get to the Final Four but can they actually cut down the nets? I don’t believe so. it’s interesting how all that works but I couldn’t agree more with Matt Josephs on that point.

Jeff Nadu:

He and I think very similarly and he and I have a similar thought to teams like Auburn. I know he’s a little less on LSU than I am but we have the same way of thinking. I’m not going to get kind of bullied into saying something because of a fan base or because I’m a fan of a team. You look at Auburn. This is a team that has struggled to beat Georgia. They’ve struggled to beat Missouri. They have struggled to beat Mississippi. And I know they have games where they’ve blown out opponents but time and time again, they put these bad efforts on and then Bruce Pearl said nonsense like, “We should have won the game. We deserved to win the game.” No, you won the game because you got a awful call to go your way. That was a stone cold charge and they didn’t get the right thing, Georgia there. But I agree with Matt, I think there’s a lot of things we could do a show on that and just kind of list teams off that can and can’t win. I think it would be great.

Matt Josephs:

TJ, Ill say this, Jeff was being kind. I despise LSU. LSU, Miami and Wake Forest are my three teams that are going to lose in the first round. And the reason why, LSU, I don’t even need to list.

Jeff Nadu:

Throw Providence in there too.

Matt Josephs:

Well depends.

TJ Rives:

You keep banging on Providence. Hold on, and they destroy Ewing in Georgetown this weekend.

Jeff Nadu:

Who cares?

TJ Rives:

When do they show a sign right now of letting up? They look good, Providence. We’ll continue to battle on that.

Jeff Nadu:

You can’t admit they’re not lucky. They’re super lucky.

TJ Rives:

What did luck have to do with Saturday? They pummeled Georgetown Saturday. Anyway, finish your point, Matt. Finish your point.

Matt Josephs:

Everyone pummels them except for Syracuse apparently. But I’m just saying, obviously LSU is doing the work for me. I’ve been on this LSU anti bandwagon for a while. I just think Miami has really good guards. They’ve got nothing inside and the ACC is not what it used to be. And I think that they’re not getting tested. And I think Miami’s the perfect team to lose to a Murray State, a Toledo or Vermont. And then Wake Forest I think is also in the same boat as Miami. They look the good in ACC play but they have no quality wins outside of the ACC. And I think those three teams right now are on my list for first round upsets and I’m very excited to see what 10, 11, 12, they get in the tournament.

Jeff Nadu:

Hey TJ, I’m telling you, wait till the tournament. Providence will be a five seed, they’ll get upset by a 12. Watch. They’re lucky as hell. It’s crazy.

TJ Rives:

You and I will continue to debate that and I’m no Providence guy. I’m not from that part of the world but we’ll continue to debate that. We’ve got a lot to cover. We had triple overtime mayhem by the way for Arizona State and UCLA as Jeff kind of made reference to. And by the way, Arizona State is already back playing Arizona in a makeup game for the PAC-12 on Saturday. Congratulations for Arizona and Arizona State to battle two of the top teams each, USC and UCLA and now because of makeup games, they’re right back playing each other almost like an NBA schedule on Monday night. Consecutive nights, three games in five nights essentially playing here. They got to come back and play. Did you guys see the stat by the way, on Arizona State unranked beating a top five team in a triple overtime or more game? Did you guys see the stat at the end of things in Tempe the other night?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. I did see that. I’ll tell you what, that was a horrific, abhorrent game to watch. Some of the possessions late in the game were just disgraceful. And look, that a lot of the time you could see some of these coaches, they just want to, Mick Cronin doesn’t have much hair but Bob Huggins, he seems like that. I’ve said before, some of these coaches are visibly annoyed with some of the decisions. And I saw Mick Cronin regularly ripping into Juzang, Jaquez. That one pass Jaquez threw out of bounds, Calvin Johnson couldn’t have caught the ball.

TJ Rives:

Shaq. Yao Ming.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, that Jaquez jump shot fade away at the end of the second over, it’s like, what is that crap? What is this stuff?

TJ Rives:

Where they were so good last year, especially in the NCAA tournament late game situation like you’re talking about, hit the big shot, it was bad and Arizona State found a way to win. Matt, did you hear the stat? I’m making reference to it, I got to pay it off that Arizona State became the second team in the history of college basketball ever to be unranked, beat a top five team in a triple overtime or more game. Canisius, what was it, Nadu? You did not cover the game. In the 1950s, Canisius won a four overtime game against a top five team and I can’t even remember who the top five team was. This is only the second time that’s ever happened. That tells you how crazy college basketball can get at times with what the Sun Devils did and now they’re right players, how about that?

Matt Josephs:

That game happened at the Palestra too in Philadelphia. It was in 1956. They beat NC State in the NCAA tournament.

TJ Rives:

There you go. How about that? It was an NCAA tournament game. Very good. Look at Matt deliver with the nugget. Not only did he know, he was ready to go with who it was and where it was.

Jeff Nadu:

Great to have Google.

Matt Josephs:

I didn’t.

TJ Rives:

Listen to human Google.

Matt Josephs:

I heard the stat during the broadcast today. Because look, the only reason why I watch PAC-12 games is because Bill Walton’s doing them. That game was atrocious and I wouldn’t have stayed with it. It’s much like the Manning cast. Bad Monday night football games are good with the Mannings.

TJ Rives:

I understand.

Matt Josephs:

Bad basketball games are good with Bill Walton.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. I enjoy the mute button with a lot of these people. But Matt’s a good guy. He’s a smart guy. These people that try to like be, it’s like Bill Walton’s so great. It’s no he’s not, he sucks. He’s annoying. Stay on topic. Talk about basketball. Nobody cares about your LSD trips.

TJ Rives:

He’s bringing an audience in with some of that.

Jeff Nadu:

It’s zany nonsense, TJ, keep it out.

TJ Rives:

Settle down, settle down. We got to get ready to get to the car, to get to what we’re doing. First, let’s take a look at the record from how we did through last week through Friday, including both the big man and Matt Josephs being on Toledo Rockets team totals, Jeff for the first half and Matt for the overall. They both went one and one on Friday’s show, ready to pick some more games here today. As you see the records right there for the guys. And I think we’re about ready to get to the schedule and see what’s going to happen for a Monday. This is what the peeps are tuning in for here Monday through Friday. Let’s get to it.

TJ Rives:

We will start with a game first of all in the Southern Conference. We talked about the Southern Conference a couple of times last week, we’ve talked about the Furman Paladins a bunch. Furman at East Tennessee State. This one coming this evening with Furman as a six point favorite. And I believe the big man is going to start us off here on what he likes and why for this Southern Conference matchup. Go ahead.

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. Furman’s been a team I’ve been talking about. They’ve really just shot the rock well. You look at as usual, number one in the SoCo and offensive efficiency but the thing that really makes you happy is they’re number one in defensive efficiency as well. They’ve really turned the defense. If they have some games where they have just blown their opponents out. They’ve really shot the ball well. And one thing I have working for me here is they’re off a loss, Furman. They lost over the weekend to Greensboro, a team that’s tough to deal with. They play so different than most of the teams in this conference. Really slow it down. Kind of want to get you into a fifties type of matchup. They had their bad shooting game. I feel like coming back, you kind of want to right the wrong after a loss. Nine and three in conference, the goal is obviously winning this conference.

Jeff Nadu:

We look at East Tennessee State, this group has lost five games in a row. This would be their third game in basically five days, which is not easy to do when you’re a team like this. These are hard playing these games back to back to back. Tired legs could be a problem here. As I’ve said before, Furman has shot the rock so well, over 38% this year, top 15 in the country. This offense is nasty. With this added defensive intensity, I really want to back this team all of a sudden. I think they catch up. Keep in mind, won the first game by nine. I don’t even think they played that well in that game and still were able to get the job done.

Jeff Nadu:

They’ll probably have some real good looks. They always seem to get good looks with that offense that they run down there with Bob Richey. They don’t turn the ball over. They value each possession and they’re a tough team. If they’re making threes and they’re hitting shots, they can run away and look at some of these scores in conference by 25, 38, 30, 19. This team just blows teams out. When they win, they roll. I think East Tennessee State’s just struggling right now. They’re not going to get much reprieve here. Furman modest six.

TJ Rives:

Okay. Jeff is on that one. Matt, any thought here? Because I saw some of that Furman and game with Greensboro I want to talk about. Matt, I don’t know how much you saw. Any thoughts here on what Jeff has to say about this matchup?

Matt Josephs:

I would kind of like the Furman team total over considering how bad East Tennessee State’s defense has been. The one thing that I’m concerned about with the regards to the spread is East Tennessee State’s lost five in a row but they lost by 2, 3, 4, 4, 2. And against some of the decent teams, UNC Greensboro was in there and Wofford of course was the last game and they lost that game by two and managed to grind that thing to a halt. 58 possessions. That was quite a bit. That was not what I expected. I’d be over in that game and unfortunately it didn’t come in.

Matt Josephs:

But East Tennessee State’s not a bad team, their defense isn’t very good though but they’re managing to keep things interesting. Now they’re either going to, the dam’s going to break and they’re going to get blown out by Furman in this one or they’re going to keep playing close. That’s just my one concern. I never like laying that many points on the road. I know that’s kind of weird but I would look at the Furman team to total over if you truly believe their offense is going to break out, it should do so against the leaky East Tennessee State defense.

Jeff Nadu:

Keep in mind, and I guess it really depends on where you are in this conference and what you think of it. But I think Furman and, and Chattanooga are significantly better than everyone else. Maybe VMI is decent. I guess for me, I’m just not real, the three games in six nights or five nights, that’s a tough pill to swallow and look, he’s right. Matt’s always good to knock my play when he doesn’t like it and that’s why I like him.

TJ Rives:

Counterbalance, a little counterbalance.

Jeff Nadu:

I don’t agree with him but I hope he’s wrong.

TJ Rives:

Well, here’s one of the things you’ve been touting Furman and making all the threes, which they had made, I don’t know, 97 three pointers in seven games or whatever it was. I watched a lot of that game, especially the second half with UNC Greensboro. It was an early Saturday game. Matt, you would be proud of me. I was checking out the mid-major games in addition to the powerhouse games and they did a really good job of getting on the shooters and getting a hand in the face and running out on them and covering them. And it was a different story for Furman trying to make threes. And they only win I believe I have this right, something like six of 21 for the game at home from three. And not a lot of them were open looks. I don’t know that East Tennessee State can do any of that.

TJ Rives:

The big man obviously doesn’t think so here but it’s just going to be interesting as we go along, does that percentage go down a little bit? Because the scouting report is now out some on, hey, don’t let them just spot up and bomb away. They will kill you, like you were listing off the scores by 25, by 30 if you’re letting them spot up, bomb away. We’ll see if that makes a difference. One more here, because we’re going to lock you in on the official play here. Jeff is going with Furman and laying the six. You’ve talked before because they’re on the road, I know it’s a better payout to lay the six. Did you contemplate the money line here instead? Or this was just all the way in the spot you love laying the points for the bigger payout?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. I’m never going to play a money line at this price ever. I think in props markets and things like that, we have a Super Bowl coming up. To make money in props, you have to lay prices. It’s that simple. And if you don’t want to lay a price, you’re not going to win. But maybe in some sort of money line parlay with two other teams but I think if you start getting into those thought processes and gambling, you’re going to get crushed. That’s just something I’m not willing to do. There are people with way more money than me that I would do that with. Look, if I had billions of dollars, I would sit here and bet large money lines all day because it’s all about just making more than the interest is paying out in those cases. But for me, I like Furman. When they win, they generally win by three or more possessions and I’m okay with that here. I think they’re a good bet.

TJ Rives:

Okay. Fair enough. And as Matt said, East Tennessee State’s played some teams close. We’ll find out. Clash here. I like Jeff’s thought as well. I’m not just kissing up to you. Angry off the loss at home to now come back and be ready to go Furman at East Tennessee State in this Southern Conference matchup for tonight.

TJ Rives:

Game number two, very interesting here that we have James Madison and Drexel. The Dragons are laying four points in a Monday night game, the total at 149 and a half in this one. And Mid Major Matt is up for a play on a Monday. Matt, what do you like?

Matt Josephs:

I’m going to try something that I’ve done a couple of times this year. Generally, we talk about the team totals in here. A lot of times we’re looking at the favorites because we think they’re going to win the game. We think they’re going to score a lot of points or at least score over their thing. And so this time I’m actually going to take the team total over for the underdog. And you look at James Madison and this is a team that obviously is playing for nothing. They’re essentially playing for an NIT bid, which is not going to happen or a CBI or CIT bid. For those not familiar in the CAA, they are not allowed to play in their conference tournament because they decided to do the smart thing and get out of the CAA and go to the Sun Belt. The CAA one of two teams that are not allowing, it’s ironic because JMU is not allowed and Stony Brook who’s joining the CAA is not allowed to play in their tournament in the America East.

Matt Josephs:

JMU is essentially free rolling it. And look, this is their third straight road game. But in this conference, teams are used to it. This is not like some of the other conferences where three straight road games, you kind of have to be used to worry about something like this. You look at JMU, they played Drexel at home on January 27th, it was an 88-82 game. It was a 73 possession game. As I said, this is their third straight road game. They scored 78 in overtime at Hofstra and they scored 76 at Northeastern in a victory. And look, I think the pace is going to be there. Drexel’s a team that does not necessarily want to run but can run if necessary. And I don’t think their defense is that great.

Matt Josephs:

They gave up 83 at home to William & Mary earlier last month. They gave up, now look, the Elon game of course. They gave 81 at home to Delaware. Delaware’s offense is good but giving up 81 points at home should not happen. I’m going to take a shot with JMU. Now people are going to say, “Well, why don’t you think they’re going to cover?” Well, I don’t think necessarily they’re going to cover but like if this is an 80-75 type game, 82-77 type game, they don’t cover but the team total over hits. I think JMU put some points up here. I like this Dukes team. They’ve got plenty of firepower offensively. And if they can get this game going a little bit, then I think there should be no problems going over their team total in this one.

TJ Rives:

All right. Matt has the team total in this situation. Big man, what do you think here about Drexel hosting, the Dragons hosting JMU?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. JMU, if you know anything about their coach and their program for a while, run a lot of pick and roll with Vado Morse. He’s been there for a while. Drexel can’t defend pick and roll. This should be a high scoring game. I think both offenses convert. I don’t have any issue with it. It’s not one that I’m running to bet on but I think Matt has had success with this and I like it.

TJ Rives:

All right. We will lock him in on the official play. And Mid Major Matt is on the James Madison team total over 73. And you made reference to this with James Madison. You also referenced Stony Brook, who we talked about. I can’t remember Matt, if you were in on the conversation when we were talking about Stony Brook in the America East on the show last week. To do this to teams and in the Stony Brook case, they just announced it last week on a vote that, hey, we’ve all voted and decided you can’t play in the conference tournament. The only thing you’re doing there is penalizing the players that are involved. In a lot of cases if they’re seniors, this is their last chance to be part of March Madness, et cetera.

TJ Rives:

It should have been worked out before the season began if you were going to do anything where those players maybe had a chance to transfer and go somewhere else, if they weren’t going to be in the conference tournament, at least that’s my say. Matt, I don’t remember if you got to weigh in on that before but the Stony Brook thing is a recent thing. I think the James Madison one, they had decided back earlier in the year but Stony Brook, they voted last week in the America East. You can’t play in the conference tournament even though they’re the second place team.

Matt Josephs:

Well and the irony is, this is different but Hartford is going D3, so they’re leaving the conference too and yet they’re allowed to play in the conference tournament. And now I understand they’re not going to another D1 conference but I think it’s ridiculous. Now look, the CAA it’s been in the rules, it’s been in the bylaws. I actually think JMU voted for this because Richmond when they left the CAA, ODU when they left the CAA, both went through this sort of thing. By the rules, it is the right thing. But nowadays that’s just, you are kind of killing the team and you’re killing the lower level sports too. And it’s just, it’s a bad look from the CAA and it’s a bad look from the America East to just, let the kids play. What if JMU gets into the NCAA tournament and wins and then the conference gets some shares there from the NCAA? It’s a bad look all the way around.

TJ Rives:

I know. And big man, you weighed in that, hey, Vermont is the top team in the America East and so part of the motivation is you want Vermont to be in the NCAA tournament because they’re still going to be around as the member that will be sticking around in the America East.

Jeff Nadu:

Probably. They’re just going to try to stick it to teams that want to leave. I get it. Look, I don’t get a lot of the things that some of these people do and some of these groups do. It’s a shame but we have all this realignment crap. I wish teams just stay where they are but they got to do what they got to do.

TJ Rives:

And another thing to point out, there are a couple of other teams that are in the situation of no postseason and they know it already. Oklahoma State is another one of those because they fought the postseason ban last year with an appeal. Cade Cunningham on the team, they played in the NCAA tournament. The appeal was denied. Now this year’s team ends up getting punished, no postseason for them. Just when you’re watching Oklahoma State down the stretch of the season here over the next three weeks, know they don’t have a March looming for them because of that ban. We just point that out.

TJ Rives:

Another thing that we point out is that we’re going to get to your questions and answers. If you’re watching us live Monday through Friday at 1:00 Eastern time, you can get the questions and answers rolling. The chat is rolling. The guys are much more savvy, I like to say, I talk them up. They’re savvy at answering you sometimes in the chat. We’ll get to some questions and answers though here live on the show if you send them in. Again, I know a lot of people watch after we’re done at 1:00 Eastern time but if you’re here watching live and you’ve got a quick question or a game, we’ll try to get to a few of those, as you see on the schedule with the Q and A at the bottom.

TJ Rives:

And another reminder too, before we continue on the games, hit the like button, hit the bell, subscribe away. More and more of you are doing that. I’m seeing that number climb on the subscriber list. The goal again, the TJ artificial goal, let’s get to at least 1,500, at least 1,500 before we get to March. I believe we can get there. More and more of you finding the show. We’re setting viewership records, guys. Last week on the show for the total number of views, the number of viewers live, spread the word, share it out, subscribe. More and more people will find it through the social media channels, et cetera, if you’re doing that. Thank you for those of you that have done it. I know a lot of you are watching on a consistent basis. Thank you for that.

TJ Rives:

And here’s what you’re here for. You’re here for more games and more college basketball picks and more analysis. Let’s go back to the schedule and take a look at a game in the Atlantic 10 with George Mason and the Richmond Spiders. Two teams that we have talked about before, Richmond as recently as last week that we talked about before. Richmond laying eight tonight, the total at 138 and a half. And I believe we’re back to Mid Major Matt. You’ve got the official play on this one in the Atlantic 10. What do we like here, sir?

Matt Josephs:

I know Jeff and I disagree somewhat on the outlook for the Spiders and everything but the one thing that they’ve shown or at least statistically, is that while their defense is performing well and will shut down bad offenses, they’re going to struggle against the good offenses, especially at home. They are, and I’ve got to remember this properly. I think they’ve played 11 home games this year and they were losing at halftime at six of them and they were not covering in another one. They’re four and seven, five and seven at home in the first half. George Mason’s an interesting team because you’re looking at them, you see they lost their last two games but the two biggest losses they had this year in terms of the kenpom numbers, they did it without Oduro, who is a rather large part to this handicap.

Matt Josephs:

And originally I was going to say, all right, give me Mason plus eight. And if I get some sort of sense that Oduro is playing, I’m going to play Mason plus the points here because I think he’s that important to everything that George Mason does. Since he’s not playing in this game, I’m going to look at the Mason team total over once again. I don’t trust Richmond’s defense. Now the one caveat here that’s going to make things rather interesting is these two teams play Monday and then they play on Wednesday. They the switch scene to Fairfax but George Mason has gone over their team total or at least this team total in all but one or two games in conference play. And you look, they’re coming off a 78 against La Salle, 90 against St. Louis, 72 at UMass, 76 at George Washington, 67 at Kansas. This number is a very manageable number.

Matt Josephs:

And Richmond has struggled with athletic teams. And you look at George Mason’s conference numbers. They’re number two in two point percentage. They’re number one in three point percentage. I think this one’s a higher scoring game. I don’t know necessarily who’s going to win. Who’s going to cover. Although I would like Mason, if I knew Oduro was playing but even if he doesn’t play, I still think their offense is going to be able to find some success here. I took the team total over with George Mason and if I find out Oduro is playing, I’ll probably actually also play George Mason plus the points.

TJ Rives:

Matt, what is the injury there? Because I’ve seen them play a little bit recently that has him questionable for tonight. Is it an ankle? Or do we know what that is for Oduro?

Matt Josephs:

I’m pretty sure it’s a concussion. And my Mason guy said that during the La Salle game, he was very active on the bench. He was not locked in a dark room or anything so it looks like he is heading towards playing tonight but there is no official word on that yet. That’s something I’m going to be kind of looking at. I’ll go ask my Richmond people if he’s warming up or anything right now or whatever or if he’s at the shoot around but I think he makes a difference in terms of the game but I don’t think he makes as much of a difference to George Mason’s offense, which for now is why I’m playing their team total over in this one.

TJ Rives:

And again, they played La Salle in Jeff’s area on the weekend and Oduro did not play in the game. They lost to La Salle by five. I saw him big man, in Oduro and he was really good at times in the St. Louis game but he was one of the ones that missed a couple of the free throws. Here we go back to the free throw shooting, they lost a double overtime game to St. Louis missing five free throws, five, in the second overtime alone in Oduro missed a couple of them himself and they lost on a last second layup. There’s where free throws can haunt you. Any thoughts, big man at all on this game, if no official play?

Jeff Nadu:

I think it’s impossible to play anything George Mason related without him. And I don’t know how you can make the case that you can. He’s played in only two games he hasn’t played in this year and they were against GW and La Salle and you lost those games. We’ve seen eat him in every other game. He’s giving you something in every other game. He’s giving you six or more points in every game. He’s giving you double digits in all but three. I think it’s impossible to play without him. And all due respect, I just don’t think you can gauge who they are without him. I think you can make the case he’s the best player in this conference. And this is a good conference as Matt knows, he follows it. This is a good conference.

Jeff Nadu:

Why is the number eight as well? As we know with Richmond, they’re not exactly a team I want to lay those kind of numbers with. I just, for me, I completely skipped over this one. Now, as Matt alluded to, if Oduro plays, then I have a lot of interest here but I don’t really know what George Mason is without Josh Oduro because we we’ve only seen them in two games without him and they lost those games and they were against two really bad teams. I can’t do much here without him.

TJ Rives:

Okay. The unknown has Jeff backed off a little bit. Mid Major Matt is undaunted and this is sometimes where these guys like the spot, they like the play. Let’s lock him in.

Jeff Nadu:

I will say, TJ real quick, Richmond has I think really pulled the wool over my eyes and I’ve lost with them recently. One of my losers on Friday was that over. This Richmond team for whatever reason, since the middle of January has figured out how to defend. They’re all of a sudden giving up 57, 61, 63, 64. They haven’t given up 70 or more since January 18th. What’s happened? Richmond all of a sudden knows how to play defense. My worry here for Matt Josephs is, they keep throwing in these great efforts and George Mason just looks lost without Oduro. I’m going to hope it doesn’t happen. But for whatever reason, Richmond’s all of a sudden found out how to defend. I don’t know.

Matt Josephs:

Well, let me counter that there.

TJ Rives:

Please.

Matt Josephs:

I’ll go over this stretch here. Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, VCU, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure. Name me a competent offense in that stretch.

Jeff Nadu:

Okay but George Mason, they’re not a competent offense without Oduro. They haven’t had to do it yet.

Matt Josephs:

But I don’t need them to do anything. They scored 76 against GW and 78 against La Salle without him. And I only need 65 or 66 points from them against a team that gave up 72 to a bad UMass team at home.

Jeff Nadu:

But Matt again, they haven’t given up more than 65 in almost a month. That’s pretty impressive. I’m just saying, look, I root for you. I hope you win honestly. I just, I don’t know how I can capably play this without him. That’s just my thought. But some of those offenses are bad and that’s the thought, that’s the point.

TJ Rives:

Very healthy debate. This is what we like on the show. I just kind of step back and let them go back and forth. Let’s lock it in for Mid Major Matt. He is on the George Mason team total for the reasons that he gave and he brought the interesting stat up that Mason has had to make some games up because of COVID pause. These two teams are going to come right back and play on Wednesday and maybe Oduro can play in the Wednesday game if he doesn’t play tonight but keep an eye on that as the afternoon goes on about is he cleared or not? Because we don’t know that right now live on the Monday show.

Matt Josephs:

And I’ll say this TJ, on Wednesday, depending upon how this game goes, I like Richmond as an underdog a lot more. And I’d certainly like Richmond on the road a lot more. It’s just at home with this many points. And against, look, this is not the Mason team of last year. Kim English has done some great things for this team. And I think Kim English could arguably be a better coach than Chris Mooney right now. That’s why I’m looking towards the Patriots in this game and we’ll find out. Look, I could be wrong. Oduro doesn’t play and they look terrible but if he does play, then I got some value on 65 and a half because I don’t think that’s what the number would be if we knew a 100% he was playing.

TJ Rives:

Absolutely. Best weapon on that team. Again, he’s big, can rebound, spots up, shoot threes. He’s not everything but he’s a big part of what they’re doing and he may or may not play in the game. We’ll keep an eye on that. One more to go. Again, get your questions and answers here. We’ll have some time for that for what else is going on on Monday. You see that the final game on our slate is Kansas and Texas. And how about Rock Chalk Jayhawk and what they did to Baylor on the weekend. It was one of a bevy of games, Kentucky whacking Alabama. You already talked big man about Gonzaga going into Provo and demolishing BYU. We haven’t said yet, Duke clobbering North Carolina at Carolina but Kansas did the same thing to Baylor. Granted that one was at home. Now, Kansas at Texas follow right back up 48 hours or so later with a match up in Austin. Big man, what’s the play for you in this Big 12 game?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. Let me kind of unpack some things here. Kansas, as we know, they’re rolling. They just blew out Baylor as you alluded to. The whole world knows it. Kansas is a really good team, everybody knows that. I think they have some defensive deficiencies. It is also, this is a tough road game. It’s always a tough road game when you go to Texas or any place in the Big 12. You have a team here in Texas who I know the last time most people saw Texas was the no show against Texas Tech. That was aided by the fact that it was huge. It was on ESPN. Everybody saw it. It was a standalone game. Nobody really saw they blew out Iowa State over the weekend and gave up 41 points. All in all right now, Texas is playing some pretty good basketball. Winning four of five, have some really solid wins mixed in there.

Jeff Nadu:

This is the time to me where I think Texas is starting to get going a little bit and I’m not going to say they’re not, of course they’re going to make the NCAA tournament but they’re three and five in quad one. They haven’t exactly had a really marquee win. This would be a marquee win. This is a team that they took care of last year. You look at this number tonight. This screams Texas. It is a home game. The last time we saw Texas was a complete no show.

Jeff Nadu:

I know it’s not easy to play Texas here, but again, I’ve learned over the years in these spots in the Big 12, in the SEC, I will always be on the dog in this spot. It’s that simple. I know there’s a lot of people watching this and probably Matt Josephs will probably make a statement that really goes against everything. I get it but I will always be on Texas in this spot. They’re the team that I want here. I think they’re talented. I don’t love Kansas defensively. I think McCormack is a hack, quite frankly. I think if you get physical with him, you can get him off his game. I think Texas gets a gigantic win tonight at home.

TJ Rives:

Well, and again, Kansas was impressive without Agbaji the guard because of COVID-19, he couldn’t play. They still won on the road at Iowa State. And then as you mentioned, what Texas did to Iowa State holding them to 41 points. How much? Again, I did not see that game. How much of that was good Texas defense and how much of it was a brickfest from Iowa State? I don’t know that answer. Did they have open looks they were just bricking? I don’t know. You would think some of it was yes when you only score 41 point but still, Texas gets credit for holding them down.

Jeff Nadu:

Well, the thing is, Iowa State was two for 15, from three. They’ve been a terrible three point shooting team all season. We have to also dispel that, some of these teams just can’t shoot and that’s why Nate Oats is another hack. This guy, all we hear is about how great Nate Oats is, yet he has no game plan every game. He goes in with just let’s just shoot a ton of threes even though we don’t make them. Iowa State, they don’t shoot a ton but they’re not a good shooting team. They only made 35% of their twos. I didn’t watch every minute of this game but it was a really nice performance by a team in Texas who generally is pretty damn good defensively and have been all year. We just remember the last time we saw Texas, it was against Texas Tech.

TJ Rives:

That’s right.

Jeff Nadu:

I think for me, I think Texas in this spot at home, I think they get the job done tonight against a team they took care of last year.

TJ Rives:

And what does that say when they respond off the emotional game at Texas Tech, bounce back and win against Iowa State? Matt we’re hogging the conversation. Any thoughts here on this? I know no official play on this one.

Matt Josephs:

Look, I’ll be completely honest. I don’t look as much in these bigger games as other ones. I just, I don’t find the value as much in some of these big. Look, I spend more of my time on the Big Sky games tonight. But I’ll say this, the one thing I do know about Texas is their offense isn’t great. And I feel like you’ll know early in terms of how good this game’s going to be if they’re bricking shots. Because looking at the kenpom numbers, Kansas is defensive numbers aren’t great. If they’re hitting their shots then this seems like a great one. But if this is one of those brickfests and we’ve seen it, the 51 against Tennessee, excuse me, 52 against Tennessee, 56 against Oklahoma State. If this is low and ugly, it benefits them. If it’s a high scoring game, it benefits Kansas. I feel like this could be a good live betting situation more because I don’t trust Texas’ offense. I trust their defense. I trust Kansas’ offense and Texas’ defense so whoever wins that side of the ball’s going to determine it more I feel like.

Jeff Nadu:

Hey TJ, I’ll tell you this. I was in this spot. I took Texas against Texas Tech. They didn’t get it done for me. But I think as a gambler you have to be willing to go back to spots and do what works for you. And over the years, these are spots that generally work out for the home team. I’m going to rock with the Longhorns, hopefully Beard who has another reprieve here in a big game, gets the job done.

TJ Rives:

And remember, that was an emotional game at Lubbock where Beard had coached so much pinup venom coming from the fans. This is a home game, Kansas coming to them, the marquee program in the conference. Let’s see what happens. Let’s lock it in for Jeff Nadu here. Here’s what he has for the official play on this money night. That is Texas at home as the underdog, a short underdog but he will take those points and hook them horns for the game tonight.

TJ Rives:

All right, let’s get to the chat. Let’s see what we have from some of the peeps. I love you guys with the creative names. The baseball player, Jhonny Peralta is apparently watching us. He wants to hear about Temple and USF, South Florida in Tampa. They are playing in the SunDome. USF’s had an awful year. Temple in is the road favorite minus four American conference game. Matt, do you have any thought on this one tonight at all?

Matt Josephs:

Well, as a long time Temple fan, this team is atrocious on offense. Just atrocious. They should be called habitat for humanity, they can’t hit a three. They’re like bricklayers because it’s just ridiculous. But somehow it’s working. Their defense is just really good. It’s really good. You look at this, they’re 26 in three point defense. They’re 35th in two point defense. This is like Virginia level good defense here. The problem is I can’t trust their offense. Here’s the other thing though. I looked at USF, this is a game that Temple has lost in the past, which ironically last year they went down there and won and then lost to them at home. But in 2019 they lost this game.

Matt Josephs:

They’ve had better teams go on some of these sleepy road trips and lose this game. The thing is, they won at East Carolina, they won at Tulsa, they won Central Florida, they won at Vanderbilt. It’s a tough thing for me. I’ve seen some four and a halfs pop up. If this thing gets to four and a half consistently across the board, I might look at USF here. I don’t trust Temple’s offense but USF has been brutal. They’re getting blown out by everybody, including at home. This should be an easy win for Temple but years of watching this team and having seen them lose these sleepy road trips before are definitely, I wouldn’t lay the points. That’s for sure. It’s either take USF or pass on the game.

TJ Rives:

All right. Big man, any thought? You’re in the Philadelphia area, any thought here?

Jeff Nadu:

Just to get technical, Habitat Humanity doesn’t use bricks to build homes, but they go the cost effective way, let’s just say. Bricks are pretty expensive but that was a great throw in by Matt there. As far as this one, I am also a Temple fan. I grew up rooting for Lynn Greer and John Chaney but they’re not a real good offensive team. I’ll tell you what, they’re playing well, you got to give them that. They’ve only lost one since January 2nd and that was to SMU in a game that they actually led in the second half late. They’ve done a nice job. They’ve just kind of answered the call. They’ve taken care of teams like this. South Florida sucks. Let’s just add that in. This is a bad team. Temple should get the job done. I didn’t have much on it though.

TJ Rives:

And again, I was the former voice of the USF Bulls, South Florida. Mrs. Rives is a Bull and the Bulls are this, not hook them horns, the Bulls are that. The Bulls are bad and I’ll probably have a couple USF people that see this, their offense. Again, they hung in there with Auburn. They had the lead. I keep saying this, Auburn’s got a 19 game wins streak. They had the lead on Auburn in December in Tampa, playing at the downtown arena where the Tampa Bay Lightning play with three minutes left in a game in the fifties and didn’t win it. The problem is the Bulls can’t score. This has been their, except for the one aberration game against UCF where they broke out and scored 75, you look at the last three games, 49, 45 and 54 points. And also to Houston, 55 points after that. The last four games, they haven’t busted 55 points in the game. That would concern me about that match up tonight with Temple in the Yuengling Center. What used to be the SunDome, it’s the Yuengling Center now. Have a beer if you’re watching a Bulls game.

Jeff Nadu:

Love Yuengling.

TJ Rives:

With temple. There you go. Benjamin watching says, “Why is North Carolina Wilmington being slept on plus six and a half?” Hofstra is the play for him. Any thought guys on that one for the viewer?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah, they’ve been a team that have just fell behind and somehow came back. I get the feeling tonight Hofstra I think who lost to them in the first game, didn’t have Zach Cooks in that game. I think Hofstra will bounce back in a big way here at home. Eventually the dam is going to break for Wilmington. They’ve had to been able to come back and kind of skate and ultimately get the job done. They’ve been what you call lucky in a lot of games. Now I’ll give them respect, they’ve found ways to get the job done but I don’t know. Hofstra’s just one of those teams just going to keep coming at you and coming at and coming at you. They don’t really turn it over. They’ve got good guard play. I don’t know, something tells me Hofstra wins by double digits here. I think they get into a fall behind mode in Wilmington where they just don’t climb out of it.

TJ Rives:

Matt, any thoughts? Or you want to move along?

Matt Josephs:

Spot play it seems like it’s Hofstra here. They’ve been home during this stretch whereas UNC Wilmington has gone from Elon to William & Mary to Hofstra. Now look, that’s not devastating travel in anything. And as I’ve said, the CAA has had these stretches where teams are playing three games in five days all on the road. It’s not like it’s, but I agree with him in terms of UNC Wilmington’s had a horseshoe up their rear end. And so, as we’ve said with LSU, who’s fallen out, now it’s time for the Wilmington one to fall out. Look, Wilmington’s defense is a little bit leaky against the three but Hofstra doesn’t shoot the three very well so that’s one of the things that consider there. I would lean to the home team or pass.

TJ Rives:

Okay. Another guy having fun with the names is under Polly Walnuts. He’s a Sopranos fan. He says, “Duke in the over tonight.” Again, Duke in a letdown spot, maybe here guys, hosting Virginia off the emotional win over North Carolina. I see the big man nodding. The viewer says, “Hey, Duke hits 80 tonight,” He thinks, “they won’t let off the gas.” The team total is 70 right now on BetUS. “Any thoughts on the team total?” he’s asking about.

Jeff Nadu:

I’ll bet with that individual on the side that they don’t hit 80 tonight. If you’re going to give me 11 and a half, I’ll lean Virginia. Tough matchup off the game they had the other night, does seem like kind of a let down game. Virginia’s just kind of been alternating win losses. It kind of be nice to get one of those vintage wins. I don’t think they’re going to get it. But with the pace that this game’s going to be played at, I think Virginia can hang around here. I really do. I’m going to bet that Duke doesn’t get to 80 like that individual says. And remember, Duke becomes a little bit obsessive over this falling in with Banchero at times. Now they’ve played really good and sometimes they’ll shred this Pack Line defense but I don’t see it tonight. I think Virginia hangs around, just a gut.

TJ Rives:

They destroyed North Carolina from the beginning of the game, especially getting just about any shot they wanted and second chance shots as well in that one. We’ll see if Virginia makes it tougher. Matt, do you have any thoughts on that? Or you want to move along?

Matt Josephs:

I took the over the moment it came out at 127. Virginia’s defense this year on the road in ACC play scores of 74-69, 75-65, 74-58, 66-61, 77-63 and 69-65. It was 127. I would’ve made an official play in the game but when we looked, it was a 129. That’s a little high. And people are like, “Well wait, it’s only two points.” But in a game like this, two points is going to matter because Virginia’s going to grind it to a halt. Plus if you look at some of the games these two have had in Cameron in past years and of course different teams but same systems, they’ve gone over this total. It’s been ugly. It’s been tight. I kind of, I liked the over when it first came out, it moved on me or else I would’ve made an official play. But the over seems like it was right at 127 but now it’s a little bit higher.

TJ Rives:

All right, good enough. Another mid-major game is Belmont and Austin Peay, these are perennially two of the best teams in the Ohio Valley. Laron is watching and saying, “Any advice here? Belmont laying a ton of points, 19 and a half points.” Any thoughts guys on this?

Jeff Nadu:

Yeah. Well, remember Austin Peay used to be a perennial team, not anymore. Matt Figger leaves. They’re really struggling this year. Seven and 13, only three wins in conference. Helped me out in the first game, stayed within eight. Belmont’s off a wild game the other night. They were down big at the half against Tennessee Tech. I think they gave up 52 in the first half to Tennessee Tech, what an odd game. Stormed back, ended up winning by eight in overtime in a 100 to 92 affair.

TJ Rives:

Wow.

Jeff Nadu:

Now you got to to come right back. I don’t have much on this game. I’ll tell you right now, the only team I’m willing to lay a big number with in this conference is Murray State. Morehead has struggled laying big numbers, Belmont for that matter occasionally has struggled laying big numbers. They have been winning big lately. I don’t know if Austin Peay’s as bad as Eastern Illinois or Tennessee State but I didn’t have much in this game with just a quick trip here off of the game on Saturday. Maybe if you can get 19 or something with Austin Peay maybe you take a shot but I didn’t have much on this one.

TJ Rives:

Matt, any thoughts here? Belmont, Austin Peay?

Matt Josephs:

Belmont team total overs at home have been very good. The one worry is A, it’s coming off of an overtime game on the road and then B, Thursday they’ve got Morehead State at home coming, avenge off the loss on the road. Those are two worries here but Belmont at home in this conference, 87, they scored 60 against Murray but against the other team’s 92 and a 102. That’s the only way I go in Belmont home games pretty much. And you’re getting a low eighties number here, which is rare because usually in these games against the lesser part to the OBC, you’re getting 85s, 86s. You’re getting a lower number because Austin Peay plays slower but teams have gone over it against them. I would play the team total over in this game, if you were to play anything.

TJ Rives:

All right, fair enough. You were mentioning Murray State. I was just looking at their net ranking. They’re in the top 30 of the net. They’re actually number 28 this week in the net rankings. Murray State might very well end up being a 10 seed or a nine seed at large, depending. I don’t know but you never know what that selection committee is thinking with how well they have been playing and have a couple of wins out of conference as well. And I was just looking on Saturday, they were impressive again over SIU Edwardsville. They won by 20 at home. They’re 12 and 0 in this conference. You were mentioning, Murray State is one of the top teams as well. Keep an eye on them especially when we roll around in March. Matt was already saying, get them in there with a team, maybe in a 12 five game. Matt, I don’t know that they’re going to be a 12 seed, I think they might be higher than that if they keep rolling.

Matt Josephs:

If Murray’s smart, they’ll lose in the title game to somebody else and then we have a two bid OBC like we have in the past, maybe like a Belmont in and then we get two bids in. Because I think if Murray State goes and wins out and loses in their title game, I think they still get in.

TJ Rives:

Got a strong on a conference resume right now. Four, looking at it they’re three and one in the first two quadrants, three quad one or quad two wins out of the four attempts there for them. All right, one more on the Arizona, Arizona State game. Any thoughts guys real quick? That’s obviously the marquee game, at least nationally in the power conferences in the West coming up for this matchup tonight. Arizona stayed off a triple overtime win over UCLA, Arizona Saturday afternoon beat USC, swept the two California teams. Arizona is the road team. I know no official play but any thoughts on this game?

Jeff Nadu:

I think it’s a tough one. Arizona generally beats up bad competition. I’m not going to, to me, I don’t think Arizona State’s a good team because they want a three overtime game. I still think they’re pretty bad. Marreon Jackson played out his mind Saturday. I don’t think he scored 20 points yet as a player on that team. I think he averages eight per game. I think a lot of things went well for Arizona State. This is obviously a rival, this is a really good team, but look, against teams like this, I’m never going to take the dog against Arizona. Now when Arizona’s playing UCLA or Tennessee or something who I think they’re good teams, I’m going to look towards the other team but Arizona’s been taking care of teams like this. I don’t want to really get in front of them. I do again, this is a team that I’m not fond on. I don’t like Kerr Kriisa long term. I don’t think he’s a great point guard but we’ll see. I lean Arizona but this is a tough game. It really is.

TJ Rives:

They are laying 12 in this one, Mid Major Matt tonight. And you really wonder what’s left in the emotional reserve here for Arizona State after they won a triple overtime game at home. They are playing the rival. They are at home again but it’s two nights later. They could be flat. They could be awful. They could get rolled in this game, right?

Matt Josephs:

I think it’s a bad spot situationally for both of them. Arizona coming off of the home sweep of the California schools and now they hit the road to play their rival who’s coming off the three overtime. And by the way, I’m not going to fade Arizona State here, but Thursday when they travel to Washington, Arizona State’s last five games, USC, Arizona, USC, UCLA, Arizona and then on Thursday, they’re going to travel to Washington and play a Huskies team that’s starting to play a little better. I’m probably going to end up playing Washington in that game based on the spot here. I don’t like this situation for either side. Three overtimes versus two emotional games against better schools at home. Now the one thing I’ll say is Arizona was tied at halftime at home against Arizona State so they know they could be close but I don’t like this spot for either team emotionally.

TJ Rives:

All right, good enough. We covered a lot on the question and answer. Let’s circle back to the best bets as we recap what the guys are on for their official plays for tonight. And in Matt’s case, he’s got a couple of overs, including very interesting on that George Mason team total, which could go up if we find out their best offensive player, Oduro will play off the concussion. Jeff is on a side on both of the games, Furman, arguably the top team or one of the top two teams in the Southern Conference, laying points at East Tennessee State. And in that Texas Kansas game, he’s saying hook them horns at home with Kansas coming in and takes the one and a half for that one. With that, I think we’re fairly well done. I always love to give you guys an opportunity to get the final salvos in. Anything else for a Monday before we are done, gentlemen?

Jeff Nadu:

No. As always another week here. Looking forward to hopefully having a good night and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be back with another good show.

TJ Rives:

Matt, anything else?

Matt Josephs:

Yeah. That’s about it. Jeff, eloquently put what I would’ve said. Go for it.

TJ Rives:

Love that. I’m unofficially saying we covered about 25 games here today. You get a lot. You get a lot from these guys if you’re here Monday through Friday at 1:00 Eastern time. You see the official plays that they have the night but we gave you a lot of info on some of the other games. We’re looking forward to marching to March as I like to say. We’re on the way there. We can see Selection Sunday from where we are coming up. We’re anxious about all of that. We’re anxious to have you subscribe. Find us, hit the like button, hit the bell, et cetera. More subscribers help. Share it out as well. There you see it one more time for the promo. We’re here Monday through Friday, 1:00 Eastern time. For the big man on campus, Jeff Nadu, for Mid Major Matt, Matt Josephs. Good luck with all your plays tonight. I’m TJ Rives, thank you for watching the BetUS College Basketball Show. Don’t forget to visit our  sportsbook!

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