As we get ready for another big week in college basketball action, with conference play all around, here’s a look back at the highs and lows of Top 25 action from the past week from a college basketball betting perspective:
Saturday, Jan. 5
Rutgers 67, Pitt 62
Pitt had been playing well and was ranked, but following up a home loss to Georgetown on New Year’s Eve with a road loss here was not a way to stay that way. They were 7.5-point road favorites against a Rutgers team that just isn’t very good, so it was far from pretty. They are a talented squad, but focus remains a real concern as we head into the rest of the season.
Kansas State 73, Oklahoma State 67
The Cowboys followed a similar path to Pitt — they lost to Gonzaga at home on the last day of last year, and then they lost this one on the road. The difference here, at least, is that Oklahoma State lost to better teams than Pitt did — they were 3.5-point underdogs on the road.
Illinois 74, Ohio State 55
The Big Ten has produced a few surprising results so far, and this is chief among them. Ohio State went into this game ranked eighth at 14th ranked Illinois, and the visiting Buckeyes were favored by three. They were completely hopeless — they lost the game as much as the Illini won it.
Arizona 60, Utah 57
Arizona, one of only four unbeaten teams at this point, was favored by 19 points at home, but they really didn’t care in this one. Their talent advantage was massive, but they played with no heart whatsoever and floated to this soft win. It was a hint at what was to come later in the week.
UNLV 84, Cal State Bakersfield 63
This result was interesting for just one reason — UNLV was favored by 21.5 points, so they failed to cover by just half point — the most dreaded outcome in sports betting and reminder yet again of how important shopping for the best price is.
Notre Dame 66, Cincinnati 60
Notre Dame, ranked 16th, was a 4.5-point underdog at 20th-ranked Cincinnati. The game was as good as you would have hoped for one between two ranked teams and was yet another reminder of how sad the demise of the Big East is from a basketball perspective. This was a quality win for an Irish squad that has the potential to be dangerous.
Tuesday, Jan. 8
Pitt 73, Georgetown 45
On Saturday it was Pitt that had a mind-numbingly bad game as a ranked team. They lost their ranking, but this time they dished out the humbling performance to the ranked team. Georgetown was a one-point favorite at home, but you’d never guess that they had ever played basketball before by watching the game.
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Kansas 97, Iowa State 89 (OT)
Kansas got very lucky to pull this one out, and it was the second time in a row that they had failed to cover in games that should have presented little challenge for them given the matchups. They are 13-1 and very talented, so there is no reason to panic about them, but hopefully they shake off the post-Christmas blues and get back to covering spreads soon.
Michigan 62, Nebraska 47
Michigan was playing their easiest Big ten game of the year, but they made it much harder than it should have been. Nebraska plays very methodically, and they were the first team that found a way to slow down and frustrate the Wolverines. Michigan’s typically potent shooting was cold in the first half, and it was a test of a game until things widened late. Michigan is a solid 9-5 ATS, but they have struggled to cover spreads against outmatched opponents.
Minnesota 84, Illinois 67
Here’s another surprising Big Ten outcome. Fresh off of their dominating win over Ohio State the Illini were totally dominated by the Gophers. Any doubts about whether Minnesota is an elite-level team were thoroughly answered in this one — and that was more of an outcome than any concerns about the Illini. This game was also further proof of just how brutal the Big Ten season promises to be.
New Mexico 65, UNLV 60
UNLV has played a very tough road schedule this year, and this is their second road loss following one at North Carolina. Losing to New Mexico in the Pit isn’t damning by any means, though, and Anthony Bennett and company remain a team to watch the rest of the way.
Boise State 63, Wyoming 61
Wyoming was the most surprising of the four remaining undefeated teams heading into this game, but they are undefeated no more after losing at home. Boise State is a great football school, but basketball certainly isn’t their strength. This year, though, they are off to a surprising 13-2 start, and this win against a legitimate Wyoming team really has to make you wonder if the Broncos can remain a factor in the tough Mountain West the rest of the way.
Thursday, Jan. 10
Oregon 70, Arizona 66
Oregon is a decent team with a few things to like, but Arizona should be utterly ashamed of themselves for this loss. They were on the road and just one-point favorites, but they still should have won. They fell behind by 11 in the first half, though, thanks to some sloppy, disinterested play that is going to be the death of this team if Coach Miller can’t get things back on track, and they couldn’t get back in the game.