The college basketball season is a long one, and we are sure to take our fair share of bad beats this year. But the one we took last night is going to stick with us for a while. We came up just short yesterday when we backed the Tennessee Volunteers against the Kansas Jayhawks. We got four points backing the Vols, and I expected a hotly contested game.
And that is just what we got as no more than six points separated these teams at any point during regulation. The Vols actually held the lead almost the entire second half and had a 69-67 lead with just over a minute left on the clock. Seems like a lock, right? In the immortal words of Lee Corso, not so fast! Kansas tied the game up on two Charlie Moore free throws with just over a minute left in the game. Both teams had good looks in their final possessions to win the game but came up short, and we went into overtime.
In the extra frame, the Jayhawks jumped out to an early five-point lead and never looked back, winning 87-81 and covering the spread. It was a brutal way to lose as Tennessee should have probably won the game outright, and overtime was the only way we could have lost the cover. What can you do, sometimes you get a game right, and still, lose your bet. Both of these teams certainly looked great, and this game lived up to its billing as a potential Final Four preview. For today’s bet, we look at the game between the Houston Cougars and the BYU Cougars.
The Cougars of Houston will travel to Provo to face the Cougars of BYU in a non-conference matchup. Both of these teams are playing out of smaller conferences but should be right around the bubble come March. Houston is 3-0 on the season against some very low-level competition. While BYU is 5-1, with their lone loss coming against a top ten ranked Nevada Wolfpack team. The BYU Cougars are -1-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 149.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 PM PST from the Marriot Center in Provo, Utah.
In an interesting bit of scheduling, the BYU Cougars have played all three teams that the Houston Cougars have played this season. That is particularly strange considering they play in different leagues. But it does give us a lot of data to analyze against like teams. Houston beat Alabama A&M, Rice, and Northwestern State so far this year. The game against Rice was somewhat competitive as they beat the Owls by just eleven points, but the other two games were huge blowouts.
The Cougars had a solid season last year as they won twenty-seven games and were selected to play in the NIT, where they lost in the first round. The Cougars lost their two best players from that team, but have a solid level of talent left on this team and brought in transfer DeJon Jarreau to run the point, taking the place of last year’s standout, Rob Gray Jr.
Jarreau has looked great so far, as the UMASS transfer is averaging eight points, three rebounds, and most importantly, seven assists a game. The Cougars are actually number one in the country right now in assist to turnover ratio as Galen Robinson Jr is also averaging seven assists a game. This team should be high scoring, and if they continue to take care of the ball like they have to start the season, they could compete for the AAC title against this year.
The WCC this season is Gonzaga, and then everyone else. As is usually the case, the Zags are the class of the league. But that everyone else group? They are led by the Cougars of BYU. Winning in Provo is never an easy thing to do, and when the Cougars host Gonzaga in conference play, the Zags will be on upset alert. The big reason why? Yoeli Childs.
Childs is a returning all WCC player for the Cougars who averaged eighteen and nine last year for BYU. Childs has been even better so far this season as he is going for twenty-one points, twelve and a half rebounds, and three and a half assists a game. Childs is the only real NBA prospect in this game and could blow up.
I was quite surprised to see this number so low. BYU is always great at home. No matter what team they trot out they are tough in Provo. And with Yoeli Childs looking like he could play himself into the first round of next year’s NBA draft, I think this team is going to surprise a lot of people. The Cougars hung with Nevada on opening night, a team that many expect to contend for the Final Four and have blown out every other team on their schedule. That Rice team that Houston struggled with? BYU just blew them out by thirty points.
I think Childs scores twenty-five or more points and BYU wins this one fairly easily. Houston is a decent team, they should finish in the top half of an OK AAC this year. But to go into Provo and beat BYU on their home floor is going to be too much for them to handle. Give me the BYU Cougars as small home favorites, laying -1.5-points!