Yesterday was our first day of betting on the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, and we started the season out undefeated! One of our wins came when we backed the Villanova Wildcats as small favorites against the Arizona State Sun Devils. For those of you that have been reading my preseason league breakdowns, you may know that I am very high on Arizona State this year and feel that they can win the PAC-12 title. But in this specific matchup, I felt that they were outmatched, particularly when I looked at the Villanova pressure defense.
The Sun Devils have two elite freshmen in Marcus Bagley and Joshua Christopher, but the straw that stirs the drink in Tempe is senior point guard Remy Martin. Martin is amongst the best scorers in the country, but I felt that Collin Gillespie and the rest of this Villanova perimeter defense was going to force him into taking too many bad shots, and if he wasn’t able to score, I didn’t see how the Sun Devils were going to be able to hang with the Wildcats. So, I laid -4-points and backed Villanova and expected Martin to struggle.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) November 27, 2020
And that is exactly what happened. Martin jacked up way too many bad shots as the Villanova defense was on him like white on rice. Instead of keeping Gillespie on him the entire game, the Wildcats took turns guarding Martin, and I am not sure he got a single clean look all game long. Despite playing 37 minutes, Martin scored just 5 points on 2-8 shooting, and the Sun Devils weren’t able to compete with Villanova despite Christopher and fellow guard Alonzo Berge Jr combining for 50 points. The game plan was clear, stop Remy Martin, and Jay Wright’s team executed it perfectly.
The final score might suggest that we had to sweat this one out, but in reality, it wasn’t all that close of a game. Villanova led by as many as 17-points late in the second half and easily won and covered. In a vacuum, I see these teams as both being very good, but just like in MMA, styles make fights, and in college hoops, matchups matter. Villanova was able to complete shutdown Remy Martin and executed their game plan, and we cashed a free money ticket. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to Manhattan, Kansas where the Kansas State Wildcats host the Colorado Buffaloes.
- Colorado Buffaloes (1-0) at Kansas State Wildcats (0-1)
- Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan
- 5:30 PM PST
- TV: ESPNU
The Kansas State Wildcats are looking for their first win of the season tonight, as they host the Colorado Buffaloes in a non-conference matchup. The Wildcats are painfully undermanned as they have just four returning scholarship players from last season and have lost practice time to COVID-19 complications as well. Those struggles led to a double-digit home-court loss to Drake in their season opener on Wednesday. The Wildcats are hoping to get back on track tonight at home against Colorado.
𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝗚𝗼 𝟮-𝟬
🆚 Kansas State
🕡 6:30pm MT
📻 KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM
📍 Bramlage Coliseum pic.twitter.com/9VIod8pZiy
— Colorado Men's Basketball (@CUBuffsMBB) November 27, 2020
For Colorado, the Buffaloes are expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the competitive PAC-12 this year and should be an NCAA tournament team if they play up to their potential. The Buffaloes beat up on a weak South Dakota State Coyotes team in their opener, beating them 84-61. Colorado jumps right into league play after this game, and they would love to be able to do it undefeated and need to take care of business tonight against a weakened K-State team.
Colorado Buffaloes (1-0)
The Colorado Buffaloes looked like a team that could have a deep run in the NCAA tournament in them last year, until a late-season collapse. The Buffaloes were 21-6 with a kenpom ranking of 17th before finishing the season by losing their last five games, including losses to bad teams like Washington State and Cal. This year, they bring a lot of that team back and feature a starting lineup that is made up of all upperclassmen.
All told, Colorado has a whopping 6 seniors on this roster, and that experience is going to help carry them to what I see as a top-half finish in the PAC-12 in 2021. McKinley Wright is the star of this team, and he returns for his senior season after averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal last year for Colorado. Wright had a nice start to his season as he led the Buffaloes in scoring, dropping 20 points on 8-12 shooting against the Coyotes.
Kansas State Wildcats (0-1)
Will the K-State Wildcats finish last or second to last in the Big 12 this season? That’s really the only upside I can see out of the Wildcats right now. Maybe they won’t finish dead last. It is a sobering assessment of a program that is just two years removed from a 25-win season that saw them hit the NCAA tournament as a 4-seed. Last year the Wildcats lost 21-games and finished dead last in the Big 12 at 3-15. They are almost certain to be worse this year.
The Wildcats bring back just four scholarship players from last year and will have the youngest and least experienced team in the conference. Gone are guys like Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra, replaced by mostly freshman and untested sophomores. Bruce Weber will be on the hot seat in Manhattan this year, and if he can’t find a way to at least stay competitive, it is hard to see him staying at the helm for too long this season.
Who Do I Like?
The sharps love home underdogs. And for the most part, I do too, especially in college hoops. In none of the major North American sports do we see home court/field advantage like we do in college basketball. But will that still be true this year without thousands of wild fans in the stands? I don’t think so.
We have seen home field/court advantage take a major dip in all sports this season, and it seems that what we knew all along is true, that it wasn’t the travel or the building that led to the advantage, it was the fans.
K-State has always had a healthy home floor advantage, but without fans cheering them on, they lost by 10-points to a Drake team that is expected to finish near the middle of the Missouri Valley Conference this year. They just don’t have the bodies right now to really compete with decent teams, no matter where the game is being played.
The sharps nearly always take home underdogs, and that is what they did in this game, as the Buffaloes opened up as -6-point road favorites, and the early action has come in on K-State. The line now stands at Colorado -4.5-points, and I am going to fade the sharps and jump on the other side and back the Buffaloes. I absolutely hate laying wood on the road, but the fact that the floor says K-State isn’t going to convince me that this is a true home game for the Wildcats.
Colorado isn’t a world-beater by any means, but they are at worst an NCAA bubble team. The same can’t be said for a K-State team that might not win 10-games this year. The Buffaloes win this one, and it likely won’t be all that competitive. Give me the Colorado Buffaloes as road favorites tonight, laying -4.5-points in a game that could get out of hand.