The college hoops scheduled is littered with competitive games today, and we are in store for a bunch of exciting college basketball action! The headlining game of the day is a non-conference game between Villanova and Texas. While the AP Poll sees this as a game between top-20 teams, kenpom sees this as a potential Final Four preview, as they have the Wildcats and the Longhorns both ranked in the top-4 right now.
Other top-25 teams in action today include West Virginia as they play the Georgetown Hoyas, Kentucky plays Georgia Tech, Michigan State hosts Western Michigan, and Texas Tech plays Grambling State. Other stellar games on the schedule include Missouri against Wichita State, Xavier at Cincinnati in 88th playing of the crosstown showdown, and Oklahoma and TCU in both team’s first Big 12 game of the season.
Some leagues have already jumped right into league play, most notably the Pac-12, Big 12, and Big 10, and these early season conference games are going to be huge in this abbreviated season. For our free daily betting pick, we will head to Happy Valley, where the Nittany Lions of Penn State host the struggling Seton Hall Pirates in a non-conference game.
- Seton Hall Pirates (1-3) at Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0)
- Jordan Center, University Park
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: BTN
The Penn State Nittany Lions are undefeated at 2-0 and are looking to keep their winning ways going tonight in a non-conference game with the Seton Hall Pirates. Penn State came into this season picked to finish 11th in the Big 10, but in a league that could get double-digit teams into the NCAA tournament, the Nittany Lions are closer to the bubble than some people might think. Pen State is coming off of a quality victory over VCU in their last game and would love to run their record to 3-0 with another solid non-conference victory tonight at home.
— Penn State Men’s Basketball (@PennStateMBB) December 6, 2020
For Seton Hall, the Pirates are hoping to repeat as league champions in the Big East this season but are struggling to adapt to life without superstar All-American Myles Powell. The Pirates were picked to finish in the top half of the Big East this season, but a 1-3 start has Pirate’s fans wondering what has gone wrong. The schedule hasn’t been an easy one for Seton Hall, but their lone win of the season came against 244th ranked Iona, and they need to turn things around quickly if they want to see their once-promising season get back on track.
Seton Hall Pirates (1-3)
I am not going to be too hard on Seton Hall, as they have played a tough schedule. But when you play in the Big East, you are always going to play a tough schedule. Losses to teams like Oregon and Louisville aren’t bad ones, and the loss to Rhode Island wasn’t an awful loss either, but when you look ahead on the Pirate’s schedule, you wonder where the wins are going to come? The only game on the current Pirates schedule that comes against a team outside of the top-100, is their next game after this one, against a very bad Wagner team.
Every other game they’ll play this year will be against quality competition, and they just haven’t shown any ability to beat quality teams yet this year. The Big East hasn’t finalized all of their league games yet, so Seton Hall only has 11-games scheduled or already played this year. Kenpom has them at a projected record of 5-6 in those 11 games. That is very disappointing for a team that some people thought would challenge Villanova for the Big East regular-season title this year.
Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0)
In any other league, I think Penn State would be a tournament team. That doesn’t mean they can’t be a tournament team playing in the Big 10, but their conference play schedule is going to be brutal. That makes these last two non-conference games for Penn State that much more important. After tonight, the Nittany Lions play at Virginia Tech. Wins against these two solid teams in the non-conference will be critical as Penn State will have a hard time finishing with a winning record in conference play this year.
The season hinges on Penn State’s ability to replace the departed Lamar Stevens. Stevens was a monster for Penn State last year, and they are looking to Seth Lundy to step into that leadership role in 2021. Lundy looked like he was up to the task against VCU, as he dropped a career-high 32-points on the Rams on 11-19 shooting, including nailing five three-pointers. The Pirates have not played great defense this year, and if Lundy can stay hot, he could drop 30+ points again, tonight at home.
Who Do I Like?
The preseason hype on Seton Hall was a bit hard to understand. They lost a lot, and they didn’t do much to replace the talent. The Big East is always great, and this year is no different. Lots of people saw Seton Hall finishing near the top of the league, but I always felt that this team was going to end up in 6th or 7th. A 6th place finish in the Big East is probably enough to get you into the NCAA tournament, but I was much more skeptical of the Pirates than the rest of the media seemed to be.
So, when I see them out to a slow start, I am not all that surprised. And on the flip side, I tend to rate the Nittany Lions just a touch higher than most. I see the Nittany Lions as a tournament team and feel that they are a better team than, say, for example, Rutgers, who most expect to finish higher in the Big 10 standings than Penn State this year.
Now that I have seen that Lundy is ready to step up and be the alpha dog for Penn State, I see them winning a lot more games in league play than expected, and as usual, they are going to be tough to beat at home.
Penn State opened up at -3-point, and I felt that was a sharp line. I see the Nittany Lions winning this game, but Seton Hall is too well-coached to just go out and get blown out. But, as is almost always the case, the public did me a favor in this one, as they have mostly backed Seton Hall, moving the line towards the Pirates and giving me a discount.
Now that I can back Penn State -2-points, rather than -3, I am going to back the home team. One point might not seem like much, but the difference between -2 and -3 is real, particularly in a game that is likely to come down to free throws at the end of the game.
Last season, Penn State was elite at home, beating teams like Iowa, Maryland, Alabama, Yale, Ohio State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Rutgers. I expect them to take care of business again tonight at home, with the win and cover against an overrated Seton Hall Pirates team. Give me the Penn State Nittany Lions laying -2-points tonight; I’ll call it a 75-68 final score from Happy Valley!