Yesterday I mentioned that with the addition of 5-star recruit Sharife Cooper, that the Auburn Tigers were going to be a completely different team. While Auburn had been struggling in SEC play, I felt that Cooper was a game changer, and that with him on the floor, the Tigers were going to find a way to get their season turned around. When I saw that I could back the Tigers laying just a point against a Georgia team that was also struggling, I felt that it was a bargain, as I expected Auburn to win the game and cover fairly easily.
And that is exactly what happened. Cooper has been unbelievably good in his two games since the NCAA cleared him, and he was light’s out last night for the Tigers. Cooper’s stat line was 28 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. That brings his two-game season totals to 27 points, 10.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals a game, and he is quickly looking like the best freshman in a league that is loaded with top recruits.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) January 14, 2021
With nobody on Georgia able to slow Sharife Cooper down, this game quickly got out of hand. The Tigers hammered the Bulldogs, eventually running up a 95-77 blow out final score. If Bruce Pearl can keep this team healthy and find more ways to get Cooper involved in the scheme, the Tigers just might be the team of the second half in the SEC.
For Georgia, life in the SEC continues to be a struggle, as they are now 0-4 in league play and are quickly falling to the wrong side of the bubble. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to Bloomington to take a look at two more bubble teams as the Indiana Hoosiers host the Purdue Boilermakers in Big 10 action.
- Purdue Boilermakers (8-5) at Indiana Hoosiers (8-5)
- Assembly Hall, Bloomington
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: FS1
The Purdue Boilermakers are looking to make it back-to-back road upsets tonight as they head to Indiana to play the Hoosiers. Purdue had lost their first three road conference games before coming up with a huge upset in East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans in their last game. The Boilermakers are sitting at 3-3 in Big 10 play and are grouped together in the middle of the conference standings with several teams. A win tonight in hostile territory would go a long way into securing an at-large bid for the Boilermakers as they are squarely on the bubble entering play tonight.
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) January 14, 2021
For Indiana, the Hoosiers join the Boilermakers on the NCAA tournament bubble and desperately need to take care of business at home tonight. After losing their first two Big 10 games of the year, Indiana has now won three out of their last four league games and are tied with Purdue at 3-3 in conference play. On Selection Sunday, the teams that are able to win games like these ones between bubble teams are going to have a much better shot at hearing their name called and punching their tickets to the dance.
Indiana Hoosiers (8-5)
The Indiana Hoosiers have played a brutal schedule so far this season with an SOS of 14th. Ten of their thirteen games have come against the national top-100, and they have quality victories over Providence, Stanford, Butler, Penn State, and Maryland. Really only the loss to Northwestern at home sticks out as a bad one, as their other losses came to Florida State, Texas, Illinois, and Wisconsin, with all of those games being played as true road games or on neutral floors. The losses to Wisconsin and Florida State both came in overtime, and the Hoosiers are one bounce or two in their direction away from having a really nice tournament resume.
The star for the Hoosiers has been forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis is in the running for Big 10 player of the year with an average of 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game. This kid rarely ever leaves the floor as he averages an absurd 35 minutes per game. He played 49 minutes in the double-overtime game against Wisconsin, and in the Hoosier’s last game against Nebraska, he played all but two minutes. The big man is really starting to hit his stride here in league play as he had recorded a double-double in three straight games.
Purdue Boilermakers (8-5)
I was ready to count the Purdue Boilermakers out for the season before their shocking upset against Michigan State. I just didn’t see Matt Painter’s team being able to win on the road against quality competition, and with the Big 10 being so loaded, that meant that road wins were going to be basically non-existent for Purdue. Even in a league as good as the Big 10 is this season, if you finish with a losing record in league play, it is going to be hard to make a legit case for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
At home this season, Purdue is 5-0. On the road, they are just 1-4, with the lone win coming last week against the Spartans. The star for Purdue has been their big man, Trevion Williams. Williams led the huge comeback against Sparty and finished it off with the game-winning bucket at the buzzer. He averages nearly a double-double a game at 15 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest.
Who Do I Like?
This game is going to come down to who wins the matchup between two of the best forwards in the Big 10 in Trevion Williams and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Both teams rely on their bigs to rebound and score in the paint, and whichever one of these guys wins this matchup is likely going to lead his team to victory as well. While I really like what Trevion Williams is doing this season, I am going to have to side with Trayce Jackson-Davis in this matchup.
The main thing that separates these two guys, in my opinion, is the durability of Jackson-Davis. This guy is always on the floor, and when you compare that to Trevion Williams, Williams has yet to play 30 minutes in any single game this season. When they are both on the floor, it is going to be an even matchup for sure, but when Williams is sitting on the bench getting a blow, Trayce Jackson-Davis is going to be on the floor dominating.
This is a gut feeling game. The data says this number is on point as Kenpom has Indiana winning by three points. But something tells me that this is going to be a letdown game for Purdue and that the win over Michigan State likely said a lot more about the dysfunctional Spartans than it did the Boilermakers. The fact of the matter is that Purdue has been awful on the road with the exception of the one fluke win against Michigan State, and Indiana has been close to unbeatable at home.
I have been backing home teams in the Big 10 all season long, as the league is holding up as one of the most home court dominated leagues in the nation, and that is what I am going to do tonight. I expect a slow-paced, hard-fought game that stays within single digits much of the way. Expect Indiana to pull away late in the second half for the win and the cover. Give me the Indiana Hoosiers, laying -3.5-points tonight, I’ll call it a 66-59 final score from Bloomington!