Defense is the theme for Tuesday night's card, as we'll look at a pair of games that each feature clubs known for slowing their opponents down.
Kansas visits Oklahoma State in Big 12 action, while struggling Virginia hosts sizzling Clemson in ACC play.
Kansas at Oklahoma State (SportsLine's pick)
Tipoff: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Kansas -9.5, O/U 143
The Jayhawks (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) rebounded from their loss to West Virginia with a unspectacular 70-63 win Saturday over a TCU club that has a habit of hanging around with them.
Kansas fell well short of the 23-point spread, and has now failed to cover in three of its last four following a five-game winning streak ATS.
Even so, the Jayhawks are getting plenty of respect Tuesday night, as they will have to get a double-digit win at improving Oklahoma State (9-8, 1-4) in order to reward their backers.
The Cowboys are coming off pair of games in which they turned potential blowouts into tight contests and covered big numbers.
On Saturday, they came form 23 down in the second half against Texas to make it a one-score game in the final minute before falling, 74-69. They also rallied from a double-digit deficit against Oklahoma to lose 74-72 last Wednesday.
In each comeback, the Cowboys found an unlikely source to boost their struggling offense, helping out what has long been a solid defense (65.5 ppg, No. 46 nationally).
This is an improving team and another tempting position on the underdog, but there's concern about fatigue and firepower against a Kansas team averaging 85.8 points per game (No. 5 nationally).
In order to stand a chance, Oklahoma State must again rely on its rigid half-court defense. Kansas also is respectable, with a 67.5-point scoring defense.
Because of this, I like the game go to Under the posted total, which feels a safer play than either side.
Pick: Under 143
Predicted final score: Kansas 72, Oklahoma State 64
Clemson at Virginia (SportsLine's pick)
Tipoff: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET
Spread: Virginia -10, O/U 122.5
Two of the top defensive clubs in the country collide Tuesday night when surging Clemson (12-6, 5-1 ACC) takes on struggling Virginia (13-4, 2-3).
Both teams are in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, as the Hokies allow just 61.2 points per game (No. 10 nationally), while Clemson's 62.4 average (No. 17) isn't far behind.
After losing its conference opener to North Carolina, the Tigers have won five straight, including three over ranked opponents.
Meanwhile, Virginia has lost three of its last four after an outstanding start, and is reeling from a road loss to Florida State on Saturday.
The Cavaliers have dominated this series of late, with three straight wins, and they are in a tempting bounce-back position Tuesday.
Even so, this is too many points to spot a Clemson team that is emerging as one of the better clubs in the ACC.
Although defense gets most of the attention for both clubs, they are much better offensively than perceptions suggest.
Virginia averages 73.2 points per game and has scored at least 64 in each of its last six outings, while Clemson (69.8 ppg) has scored 66 in each of its five games during its winning streak.
I think the ultra-low total provides some value on the Over and, although defense might decide the outcome, these teams should clear the number with room to spare.
Pick: Over 122.5
Predicted final score: Virginia 74, Clemson 66
Editor's note: Lines are subject to change. At the time of filing, the writer used the SportsLine numbers, which come from a Covers Consensus of major sportsbooks.
Season to date: 17-9
Josh Nagel is a Reno-based handicapper and radio host who has worked in the Nevada sports gaming industry for 15 years. His work has been featured in USA Today, Poker News and on Covers.com. He looks for psychological edges, motivational spots and situational advantages.