The Villanova Wildcats are back at the top spot of the college basketball rankings. Baylor's stay was short at the top after getting waxed by West Virginia. It definitely feels like a wide-open year in college basketball. I also believe there are more high-quality teams this year than there have been in previous years. That should mean some really exciting action in March.
It's the third straight season for the College Basketball Weekly Schedule Spot Fade Picks here at Doc's Sports. 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 .
The plays were going along just great during the week last week. In fact, all three weeknight plays cashed in for the schedule spot fade picks. Then all four of the weekend plays lost. That was disappointing, but I still think some of those spots were good ones. The winners were on Creighton, Utah, and Weber State during the week. All three of those were no-sweat winners. The losers were on Iona (an OT loser), Air Force, Duquesne, and Colorado. Colorado was probably the most disappointing to me. They had USC in a terrible spot, and Colorado jumped on them early in the game. They couldn't keep the momentum going, though, and they ended up losing a close one.
On to a new week of selections.
Play #1- Play on Nebraska -1 (Fade Ohio State) on Wednesday, January 18
The Ohio State Buckeyes just got their first win in the Big Ten Conference. They beat Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans at home on Sunday. Beating Nebraska should be easy if they can beat Michigan State, right? I don't think so. Thad Matta's program has had some serious problems in recent years. The Buckeyes have apparent team chemistry issues for a third straight season. This isn't a Buckeyes team I trust at all.
Nebraska proved they are dangerous with wins at Indiana and Maryland. The Cornhuskers have a nice home-court advantage, and this Ohio State team has only won one game on the road this year and that was against an overmatched Navy team in the season opener.
Play #2- Play on San Francisco (Fade Portland) on Thursday, January 19
You couldn't find a much more back-breaking way to lose a game than the way Portland lost on Saturday. Portland was coming off that epic beat down at the hands of St. Mary's last Thursday (74-33). They had put up a big effort to try to bounce back against Loyola Marymount at home on Saturday. Portland led by five with 50 seconds left but ended up losing by a single point on a layup at the buzzer by Brandon Brown of Loyola Marymount.
Terry Porter's team has to be really discouraged now, and I don't think they'll be able to muster up another strong effort after that kind of loss. San Francisco star Ronnie Boyce has been a bit dinged up, so make sure he is going to play here before placing a bet.
Play #3- Play on Santa Clara (Fade Gonzaga) on Thursday, January 19
I love Mark Few and this Gonzaga team, but I don't think any team is immune to having a letdown spot once in a while. Gonzaga is coming off a thumping of rival St. Mary's this past weekend. The Bulldogs have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. They walk into a tricky spot here at Santa Clara against a team that is much improved.
Santa Clara has played Gonzaga really tough on their home court in recent years. The Broncos lost by only two points at home against the Bulldogs last year. Herb Sendek is doing a nice job with this team, and they are much improved on the defensive end of the floor. Santa Clara will be catching a big number here, and in a game that should be played at a slow pace I'll take the home underdog.
Play #4- Play on Sacramento State (Fade Montana) on Saturday, January 21
The Sacramento State Hornets have a great home-court advantage. Sacramento State started the season playing terribly, but they have won their last two games. Montana has a tough game against an up-and-coming Portland State team on Thursday night, and then they go to Sacramento State for this game on Saturday night. Sacramento State will be catching a solid amount of points, and I think this game could be closer than expected. If Montana is going to overlook someone, Sacramento State is the type of team they would overlook. The Grizzlies are unquestionably more talented, but the Hornets should fight hard in this contest.
Play #5- Play on Monmouth (Fade Fairfield) on Sunday, January 22
The Fairfield Stags have a rough schedule this week. When they travel to Monmouth to take on the Hawks Sunday, it will be Fairfield's fourth game in the past eight days. Fairfield plays at Iona on Friday night, and Iona is probably the second-most-talented team in the MAAC behind only Monmouth. A Friday night game against Iona and then a Sunday afternoon game against Monmouth. The schedule makers did this Fairfield team no favors. Monmouth should coast in this one. The number will be big, but I'll lay it because of the situation.
Schedule Spot Fade Picks Record From Last Week: 3 Wins 4 Losses (-$140)
Schedule Spot Fade Picks Record Season to Date: 10 Wins 12 Losses (-$320)
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