We picked up a nice win last night when we backed the Seton Hall Pirates on the road at Xavier. I know it sounds funny when you say it out loud, but the Seton Hall Pirates are a legitimate threat to win the Big East title this year. They had proven to me that they could win on the road and beat good teams, so I backed them with the four points and expected a tight game.
In the end, it wasn’t even all that competitive as Seton Hall used a huge second half to pull away from the Musketeers and won the game outright, 80-70. Myles Powell exploded for twenty-five points, eight assists, and six rebounds. The win was a big one for the Pirates as they continue to cement their status as a legitimate threat, both in the Big East and nationally. The Pirates were ranked #46 in the NET rankings before this game and should move up even further with the big road win.
For Xavier, their season is quickly spiraling out of control. They don’t have a single good win on the season, and the losses are starting to pile up. It is far from over for Xavier as the Big East always provides ample opportunity for big wins, but at this point, the Musketeers don’t look anything at all like a tournament level team. For today’s pick, we will take a look at two teams that should be firmly inside the field of sixty-eight when all is said and done when the Purdue Boilermakers host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Boilermakers of Purdue are in need of a big win tonight as they host the Hawkeyes of Iowa in a Big 10 battle. The eye test tells me that Purdue is a good team, but their 8-5 record leaves something to desired. The Boilermakers have a tough schedule to blame for their slow start, but they need to find to win games against ranked teams if they want to contend in the Big 10 this season.
For Iowa, they started hot in the non-conference and rose to a high as number fifteen in the national rankings. However, they have started off 0-2 in league play, so they to need a breakthrough win tonight as well. The Boilermakers are -10-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 149 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Mackey Arena in West Lafayette.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to see Carsen Edwards play yet this year, you are missing out. The kid is electric and scores at will. Edwards came into the season as one of the favorites for the national player of the year award and has not disappointed. Edwards is scoring over twenty-five points a game right now and is the key to this Purdue offense.
The one knock on Edwards, and it has cost the Boilermakers wins, is that he is turning the ball over way too much. Edwards is always going to be a score-first point guard but having your star guard sporting a 1-1 assists to turnover ratio is never a good thing. He isn’t all the careless with the ball, he just at times tries to do too much, and it has hurt the team.
For the Hawkeyes, they came into this season with fairly low expectations despite bringing back essentially their entire team from last season. Iowa shocked many people when they went into New York City and took home the 2K Classic crown by beating Oregon and UCONN. Neither of those wins are looking as good right now as they did at the time, but they were solid non-conference wins, nonetheless. Iowa started out Big 10 play on the wrong foot as they lost at home to Wisconsin. But that game was much closer than the scoreboard might suggest as it was a one-possession game until the final few seconds and the Hawkeyes could have easily knocked them off. They followed that effort up by getting blown out by Michigan State.
Is this Hawkeye team for real? I can see why people might be doubting them. But I am not one of those people. Do I think that they are going to compete to win the Big 10 this year? Absolutely not. But I do think they will finish the year with an above .500 record in league play and are very much a tournament level team. They play a very efficient brand of basketball, they are currently ranked 20th in the country in offensive efficiency per kenpom and they swarm on defense.
Ten or fifteen years ago, before all the computers made bookmaking easier, this line would have been a very tight one. A ranked team playing against a team that is just 8-5? Seems like easy money, right? But now that we have more advanced metrics and realize that the AP Poll might not be the best indicator of how talented a team really is, these lines have evolved. That is how we end up in a position like this one, where the team that is seemingly having the much better season is getting ten points.
This number opened at eight points, and everyone jumped all over Purdue. And to be honest, I just don’t see why. Yeah, I like the Boilermakers to win the game at home. But if you think that Purdue is just going to run them off the court, you are crazy. This Iowa team plays solid team basketball, and now that the line has moved to where it stands now, all they really need to do is keep it somewhat competitive. And I think that is what will happen tonight. And it wouldn’t be all that shocking for the Hawkeyes to steal the win outright. Give me the Iowa Hawkeyes and the +10-points tonight from Purdue!