It's time for the seventh installment of the College Basketball Weekly Schedule Spot Fade Picks article. Last season was the first for this article. Parity is the name of the game in college basketball this year. There is no standout team like there was a year ago. It means there are a lot of good teams who can beat each other, and both the conference tournaments and March Madness should be a lot of fun this season!
For this article throughout the year, I'll be looking at schedule spots that could be bad ones for teams throughout the course of the season and then recommending plays based on those spots. We'll track the weekly results throughout the course of the season. For games that don't have a line at the time each article is written, the Bookmaker opening line will be used for grading purposes. All plays will be one-unit plays.
Finally, a great week for the selections for this article! The fade picks went 4-1 last week. The sole loser was TCU +10 at home against Iowa State. The Horned Frogs had a great chance to cover late but missed multiple layups and even a dunk in the last two minutes. Louisiana Monroe led the whole way and covered the six-point spread at home against Troy. Middle Tennessee State opened as a 15-point favorite at Bookmaker. The line was bet down to -13 before the start of the game, but Middle Tennessee State dominated and won by 22 points over North Texas.
As Mentioned in last week's article, Illinois State was playing with triple revenge from last year against Northern Iowa, and the Redbirds got their revenge and won comfortably. I faded USC on Sunday against Oregon State, and Oregon State got the outright upset at home. The Beavers were a two-point underdog, and they trailed at halftime before outscoring USC 49-30 in the second half to win by 15 points. After a really bad start to the season on these plays, it was nice to get a solid group of winners last week.
Play #1- Play on Utah (Fade Cal) on Wednesday, January 27
The Cal Golden Bears are coming off an upset at home against Arizona. That was a big win for the team, but it's important to remember that Arizona is short-handed right now. Overall, Cal has been a disappointing team this year. The Golden Bears have a wealth of talent, but they haven't figured out how to win close games on the road. Their only road win this year was an overtime win over a mediocre Wyoming team.
Cal is in a letdown spot here, and they go to take on a Utah Utes team that is very tough to beat on their home court. Utah has also done a better job winning close games than Cal so far this year. I think Utah wins and covers this one.
Play #2- Play on South Dakota State (Fade Nebraska Omaha) on Thursday, January 28
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are the best team in the Summit League. Nebraska Omaha is playing in their third straight road game here. They played at Denver in the first road game and won. Denver is a tough place to play because of the elevation. They then won a close game at Oral Roberts on Saturday. Now, Omaha comes to take on the most talented team in the league, and they will likely be a little bit gassed as they do it.
South Dakota State dominated Nebraska Omaha twice last season, and in this spot I think they can do the same again here. Lay the points with the home team.
Play #3- Play on Eastern Washington (Fade Sacramento State) on Saturday, January 30
The Sacramento State Hornets have been playing the last couple weeks without Cody Demps. His return is questionable for this week, but even if he does return, this is a difficult spot for the Hornets. Sacramento State plays at Idaho on Thursday night and then has to travel to Eastern Washington on Saturday.
Eastern Washington has one of the best homecourt advantages in the league. This is both because travel to here isn't easy (long trip), and they have a very good fan base. The Eagles have been beating teams down at home, and in this spot I think they'll do that again here.
Play #4- Play on Louisiana Lafayette (Fade UT Arlington) on Saturday, January 30
UT Arlington has been very good this year, but they got some really bad news last week. Kevin Hervey was lost for the season, Hervey was the team's best player. He was averaging 18.1 points and 9.8 boards per game. The Mavericks won their first game without him, but were blasted at home by Little Rock in their second game without him. UT Arlington trailed 40-14 at halftime in that game.
UT Arlington plays at Louisiana Monroe on Thursday night and then must go to Louisiana Lafayette on Saturday night. UT Arlington still has some quality talent, but their depth will be an issue. Lafayette pushes the tempo more than any other team in the Sun Belt, and I think the Ragin' Cajuns will outlast a tired UT Arlington team in this one.
Play #5- Play on Colorado (Fade Cal) on Sunday, January 31
Yes, I will be fading the Cal Golden Bears twice in the same week. The first fade is primarily because of the letdown spot from their Arizona win this past weekend. In this one, I'm looking to fade Cal because they are playing their second game in a row at elevation. Utah is a team that plays great defense and can really wear a team down.
Colorado likes to play quickly, and the Buffaloes have a tremendous home-court advantage. Cal is unlikely to be able to come up with a big effort in their third big game in the span of eight days. I'll take the home team in this one.
Last Week's Results- 4 Wins (Louisiana Monroe -6, MTSU -15, Illinois State -1, Oregon State +2) 1 Loss (TCU +10)
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