Conference play continues to be very good to us as we picked up yet another win yesterday when we backed the Pitt Panthers at home against the Tar Heels of North Carolina. It felt weird seeing the Tar Heels as road underdogs, but they were certainly not going to be the better team in this matchup, and after the public moved this number multiple points towards UNC, I was able to back Pitt at home at a very reasonable price.
These two teams had just matched up in Chapel Hill just ten days before, and the Panthers won the game with relative ease as road underdogs. Now that the game was going to be played on the Panthers home floor, I felt that covering the -3-points would be free money. And in the end, it was.
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) January 18, 2020
The Panthers mauled the Tar Heels from the tip and quickly ran out to a twenty-point lead at halftime. North Carolina saved a little face in the second half, but the game was never in doubt, and the Panthers easily won and covered, and we cashed our ticket.
It is shocking to see a Roy Williams coached team just give up like this. And it is even more shocking that the public keeps backing them and giving us enormous value to fade them. The Tar Heels have lost nine out of their last twelve games and are tied for last place in the ACC with Wake Forrest.
For Pittsburgh, they now have the season sweep of UNC, something they likely haven’t gotten in ages, maybe ever, and they are right in the middle of the pack in the ACC and are making a strong case for an NCAA tournament bid.
For today’s pick, we will head to South Dakota, where one of the more underrated rivalries in the nation will be renewed, when the Coyotes of South Dakota host the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State in a Summit League battle.
- S. Dakota State Jackrabbits (14-7) at South Dakota Coyotes (11-8)
- Coyote Sports Center, Vermillion
- 1:30 PM PST
- TV: N/A
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits head to South Dakota Sunday to try and continue the dominance of their in-state rivals. Between the two teams, they have taken the last five Summit League regular season titles, with the Jackrabbits winning four of those with former superstar Mike Daum leading the way. But now the Jackrabbits must adjust to life after Daum, and so far, they are enjoying a lot of success as they are in first place in the Summit League with a 5-1 league record.
— JackrabbitBasketball (@GoJacksMBB) January 19, 2020
For the Coyotes, their program is on the upswing as they have gone 23-7 in Summit League play the last two seasons after joining the league back in 2011, including winning the regular-season league title in 2017. The Coyotes have gotten off to a slow start in league play this season as they are 2-3, but all three of those losses have come on the road, they are 2-0 at home.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
When Mike Daum finally left the program after being the best player in school history, many wondered who the Jackrabbits would turn to for scoring production. But they need not wonder anymore as junior college transfer Douglas Wilson has arrived on the scene and looks like a guy the Jackrabbits are going to be able to count on to lead them back to the NCAA tournament.
Wilson leads the team in scoring and rebounding at nearly eighteen points and six and a half boards a game and transferred from Kirkwood Community College. He has four double-doubles this season and has eclipsed the twenty-point mark seven times this year, twice going for more than thirty.
Kenpom currently has him rated as the best player in the Summit League, and if he continues to produce as he has recently, he is scoring almost twenty-two points a game during this recent five-game winning streak for the Jackrabbits, he is a shoo-in for the player of the year award in the Summit League this year.
South Dakota Coyotes
It was the Coyotes, not the Jackrabbits, that most people picked to win the Summit League this season coming into the year. Last season they were derailed when their best player, Tyler Hagedorn, got injured in the preseason and missed the entire season. But with him returning this year, the hopes were high that South Dakota could return to the top of the standings.
And while they haven’t lived up to that potential just yet, I wouldn’t count this team out. Hagedorn is doing more than his fair share as he leads the team in scoring and rebounding at eighteen and seven a game. He is paired with guard Stanley Umedue, to make up what just might be the most talented duo in the league. Umedue is just behind Hagedorn in both points and rebounds as he is producing a seventeen point and six and a half rebound per game stat line.
Who Do I like?
What a fun matchup we have in store for you in this one. As is usually the case in a rivalry game, you can throw the records out as these teams are both going to be playing hard today, and neither wants to give up an inch. So, I won’t let the Coyotes slow start to league play distract me from the fact that this is a very talented offensive squad. A win in this game would get their season right back on track.
But I am going to be honest here, I don’t have an overly strong opinion on a side in this game. I love taking home underdogs in league play, and if I had to take a hard stance on a side, I would likely end up backing the Coyotes +2 on their home floor in front of what should be a very rowdy crowd. But I am not going to make my play there, as I see more value in the game total of 149-points.
When you look at these teams, they are built very similarly. They both score at a high rate, 76 points a game for South Dakota and 77 a game for South Dakota State, and neither team likes to play defense. The Jackrabbits have a top-50 offensive in terms of efficiency, and their defense is outside the top-200, and they allow teams to score in transition and on the fast break far too often.
And similar can be said about South Dakota, as the Coyotes offense ranks out in the top-80, and their defense is one of the worst in the country as they are currently ranked at #319. Both teams tend to play a somewhat slow pace, but with neither team overly interested in trying to get stops of the defensive side of the court, I see a lot of points going up on the board in this one.
While the number is a fairly high one at 149-points, I think this game ends up going over when all is said and done. This game has shootout written all over it, and I can see them trading baskets back and forth all afternoon long. Both of these teams are elite in shooting from the field, as both are in the top-25 of the nation in field goal percentage as a team.
And when you look at the Coyotes, they are the third-best three-point shooting team in the country, and they are going to make it rain today on their home floor. So, I will make my play on the over 149-points and expect another classic battle between two offensively gifted teams in a game that could very well come down to the wire.