On Saturday's Opening Line Report story, I looked at the status of Arizona sophomore guard Allonzo Trier and how much better the already-good Wildcats could be if/when he returned from a PED suspension. I'd like to tell you that I had some inside knowledge that Trier was going to return on Saturday, but that would be a lie. Yet there he was, and what a difference it made. The Wildcats dominated No. 3 UCLA in the Bruins' gym, 96-85, for their 12th straight victory. The former touted recruit finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. I absolutely believe Arizona is good enough now to give the Pac-12 its first men's basketball national champion 1997 when Arizona won it. The Cats have are now down to +1400 to cut down the nets.
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No. 2 Kansas at No. 18 West Virginia ( -3 )
Game of the night is from the Big 12 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Could Kansas be caught looking ahead a bit to a mega-showdown with Kentucky this Saturday? Probably not since WVU already clobbered former No. 1 Baylor in Morgantown a couple of weeks ago. Kansas is No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. KU won its 18th straight game -- second-longest streak in the nation behind Gonzaga and tied for the second longest under Bill Self -- on Saturday, 79-67 over visiting Texas. It was Kansas' 50th straight win at Allen Fieldhouse. Big 12 Player of the Year leading candidate Frank Mason III had 17 points and seven assists. Mason III eclipsed the 1,500 career-point mark as he's now 20th in school history with 1,514 points. The Jayhawks had a season-high 14 steals, 10 in the first half.
West Virginia had it rough last week, being upset 89-87 in OT at home against Oklahoma and then losing 79-75 at Kansas State on Saturday to drop from No. 7 in the AP Top 25. WVU led the Wildcats by 12 in the second half. The Mountaineers, who usually force a ton of turnovers, gave it away a season-high 23 times. Kansas State shot 54 percent in the second half, had a 25-15 advantage in points off turnovers and outscored the Mountaineers, 40-28, in the paint. Two WVU players fouled out as it was whistled for 30 fouls compared to KSU's 19. Kansas is 6-3 all-time against West Virginia, but the Mountaineers have won the past three at home in the series.
Key trends: The Jayhawks are 2-5 against the spread in their past seven vs. the Big 12. WVU is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The home team is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings.
I'm leaning: Kansas is getting points? Huh. Take the Jayhawks.
Toledo at Ohio (-6.5)
Mid-American Conference game at 7 p.m. ET. Last week, news came down that Ohio's best player, forward Antonio Campbell, will miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. He's the reigning MAC Player of the Year and ends his career in the Top 10 in program history in rebounds, blocks and shooting percentage. This year, he was averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Ohio was clocked at Akron in its first game without Campbell but bounced back Saturday to win 78-69 at Northern Illinois. The Huskies led 59-57 with about six minutes left before Ohio went on a 19-5 run.
Toledo has dropped three of four following an 85-61 defeat at Kent State on Saturday. KSU broke open a close game with a 13-2 run in the latter stages of the first half. The Golden Flashes shot 57.6 percent from the field and limited the Rockets to a 36.7 shooting mark, including a season-low 29.2 percent in the first half. Senior forward Steve Taylor Jr. paced Toledo with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Jonathan Williams entered ranking second in the MAC in scoring at 21.0 ppg but was held to 15 on 3-for-12 shooting. Ohio U beat visiting Toledo 81-79 in the lone meeting last season. Campbell had a big late steal. Williams missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left.
Key trends: The Rockets are 0-5 ATS in their past five road games. The Bobcats are 1-6-1 ATS in their past eight following an ATS win. Toledo is 8-2 ATS in the past 10 meetings.
I'm leaning: Ohio.
No. 4 Kentucky at Tennessee (TBA)
SEC game at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. I didn't really want to preview another Kentucky game because I'll be surely looking at the Cats for Saturday's great one against Kansas, but there's a potentially important injury to be aware of here and that's to UK star freshman De'Aaron Fox. In Saturday's 85-69 win over No. 24 South Carolina, Fox suffered a right ankle injury in the first half and wasn't able to return. He was seen with crutches and a walking boot later on. Fox is averaging 16.2 points, 6.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds and is a projected 2017 lottery pick. I would be a tad surprised if he plays here. Fellow freshman Malik Monk had 27 points to lead the way vs. USC. It was his fifth 25-point game, tied for second-most by a Kentucky freshman under eighth-year coach John Calipari. Jamal Murray had six last year.
The Vols are off a 91-74 home win over Mississippi State on Saturday. Robert Hubbs III scored 19 points to lead four Vols in double figures. Tennessee had just seven turnovers and dominated the glass with a 49-35 advantage. The rebounds were a season has as was the plus-14 margin. UT's 91 points in the marked its most in SEC play this season and the most MSU has surrendered this year. Kentucky is the sixth ranked opponent that UT has faced in 2016-17. The Vols are 0-5 but nearly won a couple of those. Of Tennessee's 68 wins -- which are the most against the Wildcats of any team -- 22 have come against a ranked UK squad. An unranked UT team has 18 wins against a ranked Kentucky team.
Key trends: UK is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 SEC games. The Vols are 1-5 ATS in their past six on Tuesday. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
I'm leaning: Vols are going to get a fair amount of points here, and I like them a lot if Fox does sit.
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