Tennessee +5.5 @ NC State:
Not that they are great wins, but the Vols are starting to find their form in wins over Kansas State and Butler. NC State may very well bounce back for a big win after playing poorly against Wofford. We think a loss like that is not only deflating, but Tennessee plays a solid zone where NC State has really struggled to get inside scoring. Unless the Wolfpack shoot lights out from outside, the Vols have a nice shot. Value here in Tennessee. Not the easiest pick of the night, but Vols cover in a 65 – 61 loss.
Arkansas State +13 @ Mississippi State:
Sure the Red Wolves have a 40 point loss to Purdue on the road, which is scary, but the Bulldogs are not Purdue! You’re looking at a team on a 3 game losing streak, that includes a loss to Tulane! Arkansas State has shown the ability to play with an upper echelon Mid-Major squad, in Toledo. Red Wolves lose, on the road, but lack of confidence in Mississippi State isn’t lifting anytime soon. Red Wolves lose 61 – 50.
Detroit -3 @ UCF:
Detroit’s shown signs of life all season in close losses to Oregon, Michigan, and Wichita State. Detroit already won a game exactly like this over a South Florida team that’s scarily similar. UCF is coming off a 13 point loss to FLORIDA ATLANTIC, and on a 3 game losing streak. There’s no confidence in Knight country right now. We’re going with the better team, down in Florida for their Christmas vacation. Detroit 70 – UCF 62.
UIC +18.5 @ SMU:
Illinois Chicago has been playing better basketball lately, and while SMU may be finding their way there’s just too many points here. The only scary aspect is the level of travel for UIC. That being said, SMU has had issues scoring all season, though they do play great defense. Stat of the night: SMU is 1 – 8 on the season in covering an 18.5 point spread, and they have played plenty of cupcakes along the way. UIC covers in a 79 – 64 loss.
San Diego State -1.5 @ Cincinnati:
Both teams play fantastic defense, and if you’re a fan of defense, grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy. We wouldn’t touch the over/under with a ten foot pole here. The difference in this is talent. San Diego State is more athletic, longer, and purely not intimidated to play on the road at Cincinnati. Despite a bad loss at Washington, we like the Aztecs, who have proven they have the ability to beat teams like Arizona, BYU, and Utah. This will come down to the wire, because it’s at Cincy, but Steve Fisher’s boys prove they are a perennial sweet 16 team for a reason. Aztecs 58 – Cincinnati 53.
Sparty -13 vs. Eastern Michigan:
MSU has found it’s groove the last few games, popping in almost 90 points, per game. Eastern Michigan has had a week to get ready for Sparty, after its huge upset of Michigan. The Maize n Blue are not Sparty though. We’re expecting some lag from EMU, after a big win and a long layover. Sparty will be fully prepared after seeing what the Eagles did to their instate rival. Too much preparation, and too much Denzel Valentine/Travis Trice. Sparty wins on a big second half, 77 – 58 MSU.
Baylor vs. New Mexico State Over 133:
The one thing New Mexico State loves to do is press and play fast. They’ll have a lot of trouble doing that against Baylor, especially a Baylor team that is built on defense this year. That being said, the Bears are about as boneheaded on the floor as they ever were. No doubt the more athletic team gets sucked into the pace of this game and takes advantage of the layups and threes NMSU will allow. The Aggies can score, as well. They’re averaging 73 points, per game right now. The line is set about perfectly, but the speed and fouls lend itself to the over. Final score Baylor 76 – NMSU 65.
Auburn vs. Winthrop Under 138.5:
It takes two teams to cover a spread, and surprisingly, Winthrop is the team that can score. Auburn probably pulls out a win, for a change, in this one, but there’s value all over the under in this one. You’re looking at an Auburn team that has posted point totals in 5 out of their 8 games played, of 59, 35, 44, 54, and 61. At some point, it’s not a slump, it’s a reality. Bruce Pearly teams are usually known for some defensive intensity, as well. Granted, Winthrop can’t stop much, but there’s alot of value in the under here. It’s hard to see both teams put up 70 points, a piece, here.
UNO -3.5 vs. Northern Colorado:
A long ways to travel and a UNO team that beat Marquette, has played Nebraska close, and played Air Force close. Alot is riding against a Northern Colorado team that struggled with both it’s instate rivals. Home court favors the winner in this one, as both teams are similar, but slightly more talent on the Mavericks’ side.
Ohio State -33 vs. North Carolina A & T:
Huge spreads, always recipe for disaster. Look at UNA&T though! We’re looking at a 1 – 9 team with losses to Howard and Bradley! Old Dominion knocked these guys out of the water by 27 points. Ohio State’s athleticism is on another planet. OSU plays tons of defense and they also like to press a bit. Too much pressure and rampant turnovers will be a problem. Thad Motta teams, rarely, let off the gas pedal, either. OSU wins in a runaway 95 – 54.