Many bettors have been distracted from hardwood action by the Bowl Season and the NFL Playoffs that get started this weekend. On that note, let’s get you caught up on what’s been going on in college hoops over the holidays.
–Just before Christmas on Dec. 23, we learned that Harvard star Seth Towns would have knee surgery and miss the rest of the season. Towns missed all of last year, too, and hasn’t played since the end of the 2017-18 campaign. Towns was the Ivy League Player of the Year in ’17-18, averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He drained 44.1 percent of his 3-pointers. Due to the Ivy’s archaic rules, you can’t redshirt. Therefore, Towns has no other choice other than turning pro or transferring. Media reports earlier today indicated that he’s entered the transfer portal. It’s a similar situation that Yale’s Makai Mason faced before he transferred to Baylor.
–Harvard star guard Bryce Aiken has missed back-to-back games with a foot injury, and he is ‘questionable’ to return for Saturday’s home game vs. UC Irvine. The Crimson won 71-63 at California and 84-81 in overtime at San Francisco without Aiken, who averages a team-high 16.7 points per game.
–Tennessee suffered a crushing blow when senior guard Lamonte Turner had to shut down his season to have shoulder surgery. In nine games for the Volunteers this year, Turner averaged 12.3 points, 7.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. As a junior last season. Turner helped UT make the Sweet 16 by averaging 11.0 points, 3.8 assists and 1.3 SPG. The Vols open SEC play on Saturday at home vs. LSU.
–Utah State 7-foot center Neemias Queta missed all over November injured. He returned for three games in December. Queta had 11 points, nine rebounds and one blocked shot in a 68-64 loss at BYU. Next, in a 76-74 overtime win at South Florida, Queta finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and one rejection. However, he injured his knee in the first half of a 65-62 win over Florida down in Sunrise (South Florida) on Dec. 21. As a true freshman last season, he averaged 11.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.4 BPG. Queta set a single-season school record with 84 blocked shots. He has missed both of the Aggies’ games since the win over UF, including last night’s 70-53 loss at UNLV. But Queta’s return will be soon, perhaps as early as Saturday at home vs. San Diego State.
–Alabama will take a three-game winning streak into Gainesville to face Florida on Saturday. The Crimson Tide is on a 6-0 against-the-spread surge and is 8-1 ATS in its last nine outings. Nate Oats’s squad has won five of its past six games, with the only defeat coming in a 73-71 loss at Penn State as an 11-point road underdog. ‘Bama has seen the ‘over’ hit in three consecutive contests. Florida freshman guard Scottie Lewis, who is averaging 8.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocked shots per game, missed a 102-63 win over Long Beach State on Dec. 28 due to a concussion. Lewis is ‘questionable’ vs. Alabama.
–BEST ATS TEAMS: Yale (12-2), Oral Roberts (11-2), Abilene Christian (11-2), Liberty (11-3-1), St. Francis (PA.) (9-1-1), Tennessee State (10-2-1), La Salle (10-2), Georgia State (10-2-1) and four teams who are 10-3 ATS apiece — The Citadel, Appalachian State, Prairie View A&M and Northern Iowa.
—WORST ATS TEAMS: Texas A&M (2-9), VCU (3-10), Bucknell (3-10), Xavier (4-10), Grand Canyon (4-10), Virginia (3-9), Howard (4-9-1), High Point (4-9) and Iona (1-6).
–Seton Hall star Myles Powell returned from a two-game absence (concussion) and scored 27 points to lead the Pirates to a 74-66 win at DePaul on Dec. 30.
–According to Jon Rothstein, Michigan State senior leader Cassius Winston will play tonight against Illinois.
–Minnesota guard Payton Willis, a junior guard who sat out last year after transferring from Vanderbilt, is ‘out’ again tonight at Purdue. Willis averaged 11.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 SPG in the first 10 contests for the Gophers. He’s buried 38.0 percent of his 3-pointers. Minnesota forward Alihan Demir (7.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG) is ‘questionable’ tonight (knee) against the Boilermakers, who are on a 7-3 ATS roll in their past 10 outings.
–As you saw above in the ATS standings, Yale is enjoying a helluva season to date. The Bulldogs are 10-4 straight up and ranked No. 69 at KenPom.com. All four defeats came to K-Pom Top-100 foes: at North Carolina (70-67, #47), at Penn State (58-56, #23), at Oklahoma State (64-57, #41) and at San Francisco (84-79 in overtime, #97). Yale won outright by a 54-45 count at Clemson and have another K-Pom Top-100 win over Vermont. The Bulldogs also have a pair of road overtime wins at Stony Brook and at UMass.
–The ‘under’ is 11-1 overall for Missouri. The Tigers are ranked sixth in the nation in both scoring defense (55.7 PPG) and at defending the 3-point line (26.0%). Mizzou (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) plays Saturday at Kentucky. Junior forward Jeremiah Tilmon is ‘questionable’ at UK due to a foot injury. Tilmon is averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 BPG.
–The ‘under’ is 10-2 overall for Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 11-1 SU and 7-5 ATS under new head coach Eric Musselman. They went into Assembly Hall on Dec. 29 and captured a 71-64 win at Indiana as a six-point underdog. Arkansas opens SEC play at home Saturday vs. Texas A&M. The Aggies have seen the ‘under’ cash at a 9-2 clip.
–Missouri, Arkansas and Texas A&M (along with Fairfield and its 9-2 ‘under’ ledger) are the country’s best ‘under’ squads. The best ‘over’ teams out there include Gonzaga (12-3), Delaware (11-4), Wright State (11-4), Green Bay (11-4) Delaware State (11-3), San Francisco (11-3-1), McNeese State (10-2) and Georgia State (10-3).
–Saint Mary’s 6-foot-10, 240-pound center Matthias Tass tore his ACL last week and will miss the rest of the season. Tass was averaging 6.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per games for the Gaels, who take a 13-2 record into a road game at San Francisco tonight as three-point ‘chalk.’
–Congrats to former Florida assistant, former head coach at Western Michigan and South Florida and current FAMU HC, Robert McCullum. The Rattlers pulled a stunner on New Year’s Eve, winning 70-68 as a 25.5-point underdog at Iowa State. This is the fourth upset of a favorite of 25 points or more so far this season in college basketball. It’s wide open this year, folks.