In making my transition from the National Football League and college football, I’ve been able to focus some attention on the NBA but now I finally am returning to the last place where basketball truly is played as close to the way it was intended as possible. It used to be that Monday night was always the biggest night in college hoops action but these days you can find big games nearly every night across your television dial.
This Monday night however feels like a throwback with classic Big East and Big 12 match-ups and a potentially new rivalry in the ACC. Let’s get to them shall we?
Duke (+3.5) at Pitt – As it’s maiden voyage into Atlantic Coast Conference continues, the highlight of said voyage arrives for Pitt tonight. The Duke Blue Devils come to Western Pennsylvania for the first time with both schools being members of the same conference. Not surprisingly, this has been the hottest ticket in Pitt basketball history as students have braved the cold to camp out and hope for tickets.
The Panthers are unbeaten at home in the Petersen Events Center and they will need to rely on their very efficient shooting and unselfish play to beat the Devils. While this isn’t the usual dominant Duke teams we’ve seen in the past but this is still a very good team under Coach K. Pitt is 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games while the Blue Devils are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five road contests.
Look for big games from Lamar Patterson of Pitt and Jabari Parker of Duke but it might be the scrappy guys who make the difference. Take the Panthers giving the points to win at home.
Oklahoma State (-3) at Oklahoma – The 11th ranked Cowboys travel to Norman to play their rivals and 25th-ranked Sooners. Oklahoma State is 16-3 while Oklahoma is 16-4. Both schools already have two losses in Big 12 Conference play while conference leader Kansas is 6-0. The Cowboys are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games and they are also 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games at Llyod Noble Center in Norman.
OK State is led by Marcus Smart and Markel Brown who average about 17 and 16 points respectively per game. Cameron Clark and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma average almost the exact same points per game respectively as well.
The Sooners are 19-4 straight up in their last 23 games at home but I like the Cowboys to cover because of a little bit tougher schedule.
Villanova (-5) at Georgetown – The #4 Wildcats hit the road to the nation’s capitol where a rather disappointing Hoyas’s team is waiting for them. At 17-2, Villanova trails Big East Conference newcomer by just a half a game for the Big East lead. Georgetown is just 11-8 but is just 3-5 in the Big East Conference.
Jayvaughn Pinkston and James Bell each average 15 points per game to lead ‘Nova. The Hoyas are led by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera who averages 17 points per game and Markel Starks who averages 16 points per game. The difference between the two teams however is that Villanova gets more scoring from other players than Georgetown does and that explains Villanova scoring about ten points more per game than the Hoyas.
The Wildcats are 1-4 against the spread when playing at Verizon Center in Georgetown while the Hoyas are 8-2 straight up in their last ten against Villanova. I expect that Georgetown will play well but these are drastically different teams. I look for Villanova to cover and get the win in Big East play.