College basketball is well into conference play, and now we're even starting to see some rematches. In at least one of the conferences - the Mountain West - they are simply putting teams back-to-back in the same place.
DePaul is coming off a nice 68-61 win on Saturday over Marquette, where Charlie Moore tallied 21 points. And St.John's has a nice road win under its belt, beating nationally-ranked UConn as they held the Huskies to just 40% shooting.
Let's be honest; the Red Storm is not a very good team when they are defending in the halfcourt. Fortunately for them, DePaul is not exactly a dead-eye shooting squad (just 33% triples) and doesn't do any favors for himself at the free throw line (just 67.2%).
Mike Anderson's team has to get some effective pressure going, in order to be successful. So that's why it's an even more fortuitous circumstance for them that DePaul is an error-prone team. In fact, of all teams the Red Storm has played this season, they have the highest offensive turnover percentage. The others in the "neighborhood" in that metric were vanquished pretty easily.
Moore, who has made stops at Cal and Kansas before getting to DePaul, can score, for certain, but he is shaky as a floor leader, barely on the positive side of the assist-turnover ratio. St. John's is much better in that area, and freshman guard Posh Alexander, a Brooklynite, is starting to add to his offensive arsenal, going 5-of-11 beyond the arc over his last two games. He is the Big East leader in steals.
The best player on the floor in this matchup is Julian Champagnie of St. John's, who has hit just 33% of his two-pointers in the last three games but is dangerous from long-range (40.7%) and can make free throws in the clutch (85.7%).
College Basketball Odds: Wisconsin -3, Total 130.5
We know about Wisconsin's attributes; the Badgers are superb when it comes to taking care of the basketball (second-best in Offensive Turnover Percentage) and they are seventh in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (as per the numbers at KenPom).
Yet there are certain areas where they have come up deficient. In their last outing, a 74-62 loss to Ohio State, they were 7-for-28 beyond the three-point arc - even including 4-of-8 from Aleen Ford. The Buckeyes did everything just a little better.
This is a rematch; Maryland won the first meeting 70-64 on December 28. This ended Wisconsin's 15-game home winning streak. The Badgers shot below 50% inside the arc in that one. And this is a problem; they don't hit two-pointers particularly well, and they are just 33.7% in triples in Big Ten play (10th in the conference). Also, they don't customarily get to the line. Maybe they're not as good as advertised?
Maryland can put an effective smaller lineup out there to cause matchup difficulty for Greg Gard's club,and that's what happened in the initial meeting, as the Terps shot 64% AND controlled the boards in the second half.
College Basketball Odds: Utah State -6, Total 135.5
Quick turnaround from Monday's game, in which it was pretty clear that Utah State under-achieved, shooting just 33% while UNLV hit 13 triples. The 56-point total was the lowest of the season for the Aggies.
But a closer look reveals that UNLV's bigs didn't accomplish a whole lot, while Utah State pulled down thirteen offensive rebounds. These things were par for the course, as the Aggies are one of the top 25 offensive rebounding teams in the nation, and very few people do business with them, on the inside (sixth in the country in two-point defense).
A good reason for that is Neemias Queta, a seven-foot Portuguese import who has blocked 3.8 shots a game over his last seven games. UNLV was just 7-of-31 in two-pointers on Monday. We could imagine something similar repeating itself. And that would leave the Rebels hoping and praying to get hot again from the arc. Hmmm.
These coaches know each other from the Summit League, where Utah State's Craig Smith (South Dakota) and UNLV's TJ Otzelberger (South Dakota St.) dueled. Expect more intensity out of Utah State. And know that once the Aggies get their claws into an opponent, they can create some distance; in their recent 11-game winning streak, their average margin of victory was 25 points.
Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with
handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive
experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.
He has been involved with professional sports industry for
almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent,
manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night
Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on
upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the
world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine
Network and Prime Network.
His radio experience includes being the host of numerous
programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las
Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's
Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks,
and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular
Working within the casino industry, he has a special events
consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in
the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he
had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player,
Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in
blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled
"Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the
2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports
Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit
organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.
In 2006 he established a content services division of his
company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the
world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to
his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So
you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during
this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called
"gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the
NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of
different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.
This renaissance man is a winner of the Retired Boxers Foundation's "Dignity Award" and a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; graduate of the University of
Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.