Here we go with a new college basketball season upon us. Will try to do write ups as often as I can, but they’ll be some days where it’s just plays only. Hope those who come along for the ride don’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. It’s a long season, settle in, it’ll be a roller coaster. Here we go….
Coastal Carolina (+13): Facing an SEC team coached by a former NBA champion it’d be easy to overlook lowly Coastal Carolina in a game like this. Avery Johnson is back for his second season with the Tide and all signs point towards Bama being better than they were last year. One thing that helps the cause of the dog here is that this game is only projected to have 67 possessions. Alabama last year played to the 318th slowest adjusted tempo in the nation. Simply put the lower possessions the harder is it to cover a big number like 13. On the flip side despite most people not knowing much about them, Coastal Carolina is a pretty solid team. Cliff Ellis is back for his 10th season and this squad has won 66 games over the last 3 years, including tournament appearances in 2014 and 2015. The last few years Ellis has had his team start playing slower and slower in terms of adjusted tempo. This is the kind of game that should be a slow paced, grind it out type of battle. I frankly just don’t know if Bama has the firepower to cover this number.
Eastern Michigan (+12): I like this Eastern Michigan squad this year, and I think they’ll be the best team in the MAC. They lost Forward Brandon Nazione who was a damn good player, but other than that all the key pieces are back. Over the past few years head coach Rob Murphy has been hitting the gas with EMU and increasing the tempo. I look for that continue as this team continues to look for chances to get out and run. They have good, athletic guards and it’s in their interest to get up and down the court as often as they can. On the other side we’ve get Kevin Stallings coming over from a long run at Vandy and taking the helm for Pitt. Over the years Jamie Dixon had Pitt playing a snail slow pace, and for the most part the last handful of years at Vandy Stallings had them playing slow too. Not quite Dixon slow, but slow regardless. It should provide an interesting clash in styles, because as far as I know Pitt isn’t looking to get into any track meets. There’s always an adjustment from one coach to the next so I’ll take advantage of the contrast in styles and a Pitt team that I assume will still be feeling itself out. Feels like a good spot to snag 12 points with a pretty solid team.
Fresno State (-15.5): There’s no denying Fresno State lost a lot from last years 25 win team. Cezar Guerrero, Julien Lewis, and most importantly Marvelle Harris are all gone. All that said I still think there’s enough here to blow the doors off lowly UTSA. The Road Runners only won 5 games last year and frankly I don’t think things will get much better this season. I expect UTSA to be one of the worst teams in the nation and for them any road game will be a stiff challenge. A trip out west to take on a Fresno State team that should win 17 or 18 games this season figures to be a rough start to the year. I think Fresno jumps out early and keeps adding on. They could win this game 30 if they care enough.
Those 3 are going to be it for today. It’s a long season ahead and there’s no reason to get crazy on the first night. Many of these teams I want to see a little bit before I start getting involved either on or against them. Good luck to all of you this year!