Bob's Past Picks
Ball State is undefeated at home while the Cougars are winless on the road. They have a +12.3-point differential at home and can keep their opponents off the offensive glass. SUI Edwardsville lives and die by the three and struggle with turnovers. If it comes down to it, the Cardinals are the better free-throw shooting team as well.
Miami is the more battled tested team with the better coach. The Buffaloes struggled defending the perimeter and the less experienced team.
Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence is questionable with a high ankle sprain. The Browns defense is elite at home, allowing 175 total yards to their opponents. They also had two games where they held opponents to under 100 total yards. Even if Lawrence plays, Cleveland is 8th in the league in quarterback knockdown rate and will bring the pressure to make him uncomfortable.
Opening game in the Sun Belt for both teams. Old Dominion starts four athletic guards that will attempt to beat the Dukes down the floor in transition. James Madison is shooting 39.4% from beyond the arc while the Monarchs are shooting 36%. Old Dominion as lost their last two games but their defense should be ready for this rivalry game and the Dukes are due to regression from three at some point.
Saint Mary’s had high expectations coming into this season. The Gaels have struggled mightily on the road offensively (minus-15-point differential). They still have a top-40 defense in terms of efficiency but haven’t capitalized on offense unless they’re home. Colorado State is 6th in the nation in offensive efficiency and has very athletic forwards to compete with Mitchell Saxen down low. The Rams have more options on the offensive end than Saint Mary’s.
TCU has not played a difficult opponent yet. This is by far its toughest test of the season, and the Tigers are more battle-tested. Clemson shoots 41.7% from beyond the arc, while the Horned Frogs struggle defending the perimeter. Clemson is the better rebounding team and takes care of the ball better. The Horned Frogs have great numbers in all departments, but that’s because of the below-average opponents they’ve played thus far. This is a neutral-court game, as well.
Wisconsin is playing its best basketball of the season. The Wildcats are 7-0 ATS on the season. Wisconsin matches up well and has shown it can go into hostile environments and compete. The Badgers weren't fazed by the pace of Marquette, even thought that was on a neutral court, and they shouldn’t be fazed by the Wildcats' pace, either.
Harvard comes off their worst offensive performance of the season. The Black Knights are still without their top rebounder and have one of the worst offenses in terms of efficiency in the country. Army is also dead last in the nation from the free-throw line. The Crimson don’t turn the ball over much and have shot 38.9% from beyond the arc thus far.
Manhattan is 2-0 at home thus far. However, the Jaspers start four guards and have really struggled offensively and rebounding overall. They’ve only score above 70 points twice this season, once coming against a D-II school. Fairleigh Dickinson averages 82.3 points per game and are a solid rebounding team. Even though the Knights are way below-average on defense, they want to beat you with their up-tempo pace and have five players averaging double figures.
Pittsburgh has lost its last two games. This is also the Panthers first true road game and it’s the backyard brawl. Pittsburgh has blown out inferior teams and struggled with teams that play defense. The Mountaineers play above average defense but have struggled on offense. West Virginia has Jesse Edwards downlow, who should continue the paint, on both sides, and if the Panthers aren’t hitting their three’s their offense struggles. Pittsburgh continues to have difficulty from the free-throw in crunch time as well.
Southern Indiana has lost four of its last five games. The Mastodons play at a top-40 pace in the nation and have been very efficient offensively, ranking in the top-25 thus far. Southern Indiana plays average defense but struggle mightily on defense, ranking in the near the bottom of the country in efficiency. Not sure if the Screaming Eagles can keep up in transition with IPFW’s offense.
Massachusetts is off to a 4-1 start. However, all their wins have come against lesser opponents. The Minuteman’s only lost came to the hands of Harvard at home. The Tigers are not as good as Harvard, but this is also the Minutemen’s first true road game. Massachusetts has always performed their best at home and sub-par on the road. The Tigers, while they aren’t as good as years past, do crash the offensive glass very well. They’ll dictate the pace, taking Massachusetts out of their element.
This is Oklahoma State’s first true road game. The Salukis are 4-0 at home to start the year. Oklahoma State continues to struggle on offense, especially from the free throw line, 61.9% on the season. However, they must deal with Xavier Johnson, averaging 23.1 points per game. If the Salukis can control the boards, on both ends of the court, Oklahoma State will have to match their offensive efficiency, which may be tough on the road.
San Diego State still has one of the top defenses in country. This is a battle tested, veteran team. However, the Antelopes have one of the most electric home courts in the country. They’re also a veteran team with plenty of experience and have yet to lose a home game this season. Grand Canyon shoots 55% from the floor and crashes the offensive glass, but the home court advantage could be the difference maker.
Boise State comes off their big win against the Gaels. The Mean Green's defenses is toughest that the Broncos have faced yet. The line has moved in Boise State's favor, probably because it’s North Texas’ first true road game. The Mean Green live and die by the three but they have experience players downlow to clean up the boards.