NCAA Basketball Expert Betting Advice: Three Interesting Opening Lines 1/9/2018
Don't know about you, but I really started getting into college basketball when the Big East was in its heyday, and by that I mean in the mid-1980s when superstars like Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and St. John's Chris Mullin were facing off. Ewing is on a short list of greatest NCAA players ever, and Mullin is easily the best player in St. John's history and probably only behind Ewing among the top Big East players. That was back when guys stayed in school all four years. Ewing and Mullin were also on the legendary 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team. The two Hall of Famers face off as coaches for the first time Tuesday night.
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Penn State at Indiana ( pick'em )
A 6:30 p.m. ET tip on the Big Ten Network. IU hired Dayton's Archie Miller as coach this past offseason, and that was widely lauded. In fact, it's good thing Indiana grabbed him when it could because the Ohio State job eventually opened up and the Buckeyes would have been all over Miller, who was an assistant at OSU from 2007-09. I agree that Miller was a great hire for Indiana, but it's going to take at least a year for him to rebuild this program into an NCAA Tournament team. The Hoosiers have embarrassing home losses to Indiana State and Fort Wayne on their resume (they can claim one win over an in-state team: Notre Dame) and the only way they make the Big Dance is by winning the Big Ten Tournament, which isn't happening.
IU (9-7, 2-2) does come off a nice win at Minnesota, 75-71 on Saturday. Robert Johnson scored a career-high 28 points, while Justin Smith and Juwan Morgan each added 20. The Hoosiers were short-handed as sixth man Collin Hartman was a late scratch due to sore right shoulder and sophomore De'Ron Davis has been ruled out indefinitely after injuring his lower leg in practice last week. Davis is averaging 9.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Hartman puts up 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds. PSU (12-5, 2-2) beat visiting Northwestern on Friday, 78-63. Lamar Stevens had a career-high 30 points and Mike Watkins 18 points and 17 rebounds. Indiana beat Penn State twice last year, by three in State College and triple overtime in Bloomington. It was the first triple-OT game ever at storied Assembly Hall.
Key trends: The Lions have covered just one of their past 12 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Indiana is 0-6-1 against the spread in its past seven on Tuesday. The road team has covered five of past eight in series.
Pick ATS: Indiana.
Georgetown at St. John's (-8)
Another 6:30 p.m. ET start and televised on Fox Sports 1. About the only interesting thing about this matchup is Ewing and Mullin squaring off - neither of their teams is going to contend in the Big East this year, much less make the NCAA Tournament. Ewing is in his first year as the GU head coach and reached out to Mullin, who is in his third year at his alma mater, as he pondered accepting the job. Ewing replaced John Thompson III, who of course is the son of Ewing's former coach John Thompson. Ewing was a three-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year who led the Hoyas to three Final Fours and their only national title in 1984. Mullin won Big East Player of the Year three times (he and Ewing shared it twice) and led the Johnnies to the 1985 Final Four when the Big East had three of the four teams. St. John's lost to Georgetown, which was then shocked by Villanova in the title game.
The Hoyas (11-4, 1-3) were blown out at home on Saturday, 90-66 by Creighton. They shot just 36.5 percent from the field and didn't have a starter score in double figures. It was 14-3 barely five minutes in and that was that. SJU (9-7, 2-3) lost its fourth straight Saturday, 91-74 vs. DePaul. The Johnnies were outrebounded by 16. This game is at Madison Square Garden not the school's on-campus Carnesecca Arena. So it's a basically a home game for Ewing from his Knicks days (and he'll be cheered big time). Georgetown and St. John's split last regular season, but the Red Storm beat the Hoyas by a point in the Big East Tournament. That was the final game for Thompson III.
Key trends: The Hoyas are 1-5 ATS in their past six following an ATS loss. SJU is 6-1 ATS in its past seven after a double-digit home loss. The Johnnies have covered four of past five at home in series.
Pick ATS: Georgetown.
No. 18 Texas Tech at No. 7 Oklahoma (-3)
Tip at 7 p.m. ET for Big 12 matchup on ESPNU. What else can be said about Oklahoma superstar freshman Trae Young? He looks like the next Steph Curry. The Norman native leads the country in scoring (29.4 ppg) and assists (10.2 apg) and is the clear Wooden Award favorite. He had 29 points (just 8-for-22 from field) and five assists in Saturday's 89-76 loss at No. 6 West Virginia, ending OU's 10-game winning streak and his personal streak of double-doubles at five straight. The Mountaineers double-teamed Young just about every time he touched the ball. He turned it over eight times. It was the lowest-scoring game of the season for the country's highest-scoring team (94.4 ppg). Oklahoma (12-2, 2-1) had been 3-0 vs. ranked teams.
Texas Tech (14-1, 3-0) has only lost to Seton Hall and has wins over ranked teams (at the time) Northwestern, Nevada, Baylor and Kansas. The Red Raiders spanked visiting Kansas State on Saturday, 74-58, leading wire-to-wire. Keenan Evans had 27 points. The Red Raiders have won their first three Big 12 games for the second time in program history. The other time it happened was in 2003-04 under Bob Knight when current head coach Chris Beard served as an assistant to Knight. Oklahoma and TTU split last year when neither was very good.
Key trends: The Red Raiders are 9-4 ATS in their past 13 vs. the Big 12. OU has covered eight of its past 10 in the conference. The home team has covered six straight.
Pick ATS: Oklahoma.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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