Let’s take a look at the current status of college basketball. The lines used below reflect what most shops were using as of early Wednesday afternoon.
We’ll break down some of last night’s action before getting to some trends, injuries, bracket projections, tweets, picks and more, as we look to tonight’s games and what’s left on tap for the rest of the week… Let’s get it!
—Florida (12-6 straight up, 9-9 against the spread) improved to 4-4 both SU and ATS in eight road assignments after going into Auburn on Tuesday night and racing out to a 44-22 halftime lead. The Gators took advantage of the Tigers missing their best player, five-star true freshman point guard Sharife Cooper, and won going away by a 74-57 count as 1.5-point road favorites. Auburn had been favored by two until the news of Cooper (ankle) broke about 15 minutes before tip. UF has won six of its last eight games and, with the 131 combined points dropping ‘under’ the 154-point total, it has now seen the ‘under’ cash in four consecutive contests. The best news for UF was Scottie Lewis erupting for 16 first-half points, playing what was perhaps the best half of the sophomore’s collegiate career. He was dynamite defensively with five steals. The Gators improved to No. 26 at KenPom and No. 27 in the NET rankings.
—Villanova (15-3 SU, 10-7-1 ATS) exacted revenge for a 70-59 loss at St. John’s by running the Red Storm out of the gym last night in an 81-58 triumph as an 11-point home ‘chalk.’ The ‘over’ had hit in four straight games for The Johnnies, but the 139 combined points went ‘under’ the 152.5-point tally. Since St. John’s (14-10 SU, 13-11 ATS) won six games in a row and ripped off eight consecutive covers, Mike Anderson’s club has lost three of four games both SU and ATS, including resume-busting defeats at Butler and at home vs. DePaul.
–I had been thoroughly enjoying this nightmare campaign for multiple blueblood programs over the last few months. However, those schools are making quite the late-season charge to salvage their respective seasons. Just three days after winning outright at Indiana as a seven-point road underdog. Michigan St. won an 81-72 decision over Illinois as a seven-point home underdog. Junior forward Aaron Henry has been the catalyst, tallying 47 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists (compared to just three turnovers), three steals and three blocked shots. The win improved Tom Izzo’s squad to 12-9 SU and 6-15 ATS. The Spartans are No. 75 in NET and No. 63 at K-Pom, but they still have five games (before the Big Ten Tournament) remaining to obtain monster resume-building victories: vs. Ohio St., at Maryland, vs. Indiana, at Michigan and vs. Michigan.
–On Monday, it was Duke that won its fourth straight game both SU and ATS by thumping Syracuse to improve to 11-8 SU and 7-12 ATS. The Blue Devils host Louisville on Saturday before finishing the regular season at Ga. Tech and at UNC. Mike Krzyzewski‘s team is up to No. 29 at KenPom, but it’s just No. 48 in NET.
–Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they picked up the best win of any team in the nation on Tuesday. Ga. Tech went into Blacksburg and won 69-53 as a four-point road underdog. Josh Pastner’s team has won three straight and covered the number in four consecutive contests. Ga. Tech (12-8 SU, 11-9 ATS) catapulted from No. 49 to No. 36 in the NET rankings. Although the Yellow Jackets are just 2-6 vs. Quad-1 foes, they’re 4-0 vs. Quad-2 opponents.
–Another blueblood starting to play better basketball is Kentucky, which took Tennessee behind the woodshed in Knoxville this past Saturday by a 70-55 count. The Wildcats have won three consecutive games after allowing late leads to get away in home L’s vs. Arkansas and UT. The ‘Cats host Florida at Rupp Arena on Saturday, and then they close the regular season at Ole Miss.
—Monday’s Biggest Wins:
1-Ga. Tech 69-53 at Va. Tech
2-VCU 67-65 vs. Saint Louis
3-Connecticut 70-57 at Georgetown
4-Ole Miss 60-53 at Missouri
5-Texas 75-72 vs. Kansas (OT)
6-Michigan St. 81-72 vs. Illinois
—Kansas saw its five-game winning streak both SU and ATS snapped last night in Austin, but its recent play has solidified an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.
–After Kermit Davis‘s team took a devastating home loss to Mississippi St. in Oxford this past Saturday night, Ole Miss responded by getting that win back at Missouri. This prompted ESPN’s Bracket Guru Joe Lunardi to move the Rebels back into his ‘Next Four Out.’ Lunardi also elevated UConn into his ‘Last Four In,’ in addition to moving Ga. Tech up into his ‘Next Four Out.’
—Who needs wins the most tonight?
1-Seton Hall (-7.5) at Butler
2-Indiana (+3.5) at Rutgers
3-Xavier (-1.5) at Providence
4-St. Bonaventure (+2.5) at Davidson
5-North Carolina (-9.5) vs. Marquette
6-Tennessee (-8) at Vanderbilt
—Clemson is a three or 3.5-point road favorite today at Wake Forest for a 4:30 p.m. ET. tip on the ACC Network. The Tigers are 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS in five road assignments.
—Seton Hall had its four-game winning streak snapped Saturday in an 81-75 loss at Georgetown as a 4.5-point road ‘chalk.’ Along with Indiana, the Pirates are part of Lunardi’s ‘Last Four Byes.’ Since Butler’s overtime win over St. John’s on Feb. 9, the Bulldogs have lost three games in a row both SU and ATS, falling by margins of 12, 16 and 15 points.
—Butler is dealing with injuries galore as Kevin Willard brings his bunch to Hinkle Fieldhouse tonight. The Bulldogs have three starters — senior guard Aaron Thompson (thumb, 10.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game), junior guard Bo Hodges (calf, 9.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG and 1.0 BPG) and senior forward Bryce Nze (groin, 10.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG) — listed as ‘questionable.’
–The ‘over’ is on an 11-3 run for Vanderbilt, which hosts Tennessee tonight. The Commodores have compiled a 5-0-2 spread record in their last seven games, and they haven’t lost by more than seven points since Jan. 23. The Volunteers are eight-point road favorites at Memorial Coliseum tonight. They’re mired in a 2-8 ATS slump. Josiah-Jordan James (8.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.4 SPG & 1.1 BPG) is listed as ‘questionable’ for UT, while Vandy’s Clevon Brown is expected to be a game-time decision.
—Pitt’s Xavier Johnson has left the program. He was averaging 14.2 points, 5.7 assists and 3.4 RPG for the Panthers, who have dropped four straight games and seven of their last eight.
–Props to Houston for adding a mid-major in Western Kentucky for a home game in H-Town tomorrow night. CircaSports opened Kelvin Sampson’s team as a 12-point home favorite. The Hilltoppers will bring a 15-4 record and six-game winning streak to the Longhorn State on Thursday. The Cougars are No. 5 in KenPom, while Rick Stansbury‘s squad is No. 83. Charles Bassey is Western Ky.’s star center who averages 18.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per game. He shoots at a 61.0 percent clip from the field. If WKU can win at Houston, it’ll have signature road wins at Alabama and at UH, in addition to a neutral-court victory over Memphis. The ‘Tops also have a season sweep of Marshall (No. 68 K-Pom) and home wins over Rhode Island (No. 86) and La. Tech (No. 90). They lost by six to West Virginia on a neutral floor, and their only shameful defeat is an OT loss at Charlotte.
—Drake already lost its leading scorer and rebounder who remains out for another week or two at least, and then the Bulldogs got this terrible news about Roman Penn that has their dream season looking as if it’s beginning to crumble:
—Indiana‘s four-game gauntlet that could determine head coach Archie Miller‘s future starts tonight at The RAC in New Jersey. The Hoosiers end the regular season like this: at Rutgers, vs. Michigan, at Michigan State and at Purdue.
–The ‘over’ is on a 10-2-2 run for FSU (13-3 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) in its last 14 games. The Seminoles are 11.5-point road favorites tonight at Miami, with the total at 143 points. When these teams collided in Tallahassee on Jan. 27, Leonard Hamilton‘s team captured an 81-59 win, but the 140 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 141.5-point tally. Since beating Duke at home on Feb. 1, the Hurricanes have lost three games in a row and seven of their last eight. They’re mired in a 2-6 ATS slump.
–-Wednesday’s Televised Games:
Clemson at Wake Forest (ACC Network, 4:30 p.m. Eastern)
NC St. at Virginia (ACC, 6:30 p.m. ET.)
Marquette at North Carolina (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m.)
Seton Hall at Butler (CBSSN, 7:00 p.m.)
Temple at South Florida (ESPNU, 7:00 p.m.)
South Carolina at Mississippi St. (SEC Network, 7:00 p.m.)
Indiana at Rutgers (Big 10, 8:00 p.m.)
FSU at Miami, Fl. (ACC, 8:30 p.m.)
Alabama at Arkansas (ESPN2, 9:00 p.m.)
Xavier at Providence (FS1, 9:00 p.m.)
Cincinnati at Tulsa (ESPNU, 9:00 p.m.)
DePaul at Creighton (CBSSN, 9:00 p.m.)
Fresno State at UNLV (FS1, 11:00 p.m.)
–The ‘over’ is on a 12-1 run for Eastern Kentucky, which hosts Belmont on Thursday. Circa opened the Bruins as nine-point road favorites with a total of 160.5 points. Belmont is 5-2-1 in eight games as a single-digit ‘chalk’ and has seen the ‘over’ go 14-10 overall. The Bruins beat Eastern Ky. 92-74 as 12-point home favorites on Feb. 11, with the 166 combined points elevating ‘over’ the 162-point tally.
—Other openers from Circa for key games on Thursday:
Michigan -3 vs. Iowa
UCLA -1 at Utah
Illinois -16 vs. Nebraska
Gonzaga -31 vs. Santa Clara
San Diego St. -6.5 vs. Boise St.
Ohio St. -5 at Michigan St.
—Boise St. is 2-0 ATS with one outright win in a pair of underdog spots this year. The Broncos won 74-70 at BYU as three-point underdogs and lost 68-58 but covered at Houston when they were catching 12 points.
–Ohio St.’s Kyle Young (8.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG) is ‘out’ of Thursday’s game in East Lansing because of a concussion.
–With Gabe Kalscheur ‘out’ until early-to-mid March, the Gophers aren’t at full strength for this critical stretch run, and Liam Robbins still isn’t practicing yet, either: