NCAAB Yesterday: 0-0, (0.00%) +0.0 Units
NCAAB Season: 2-2-0, (50.00%) -0.2 Units
Have kept things pretty low volume here to start the season with only 4 plays in the first 3 days. Taking more of a wait and see approach with many teams this year and that’ll keep early season volume lower than it’s been in past years. Did find some I like tonight though…
UT Arlington (+2): On the surface it feels a little weird seeing a Sun Belt team as only a 2 point dog at a BIG 10 team. That’s what we have here with UT Arlington against Minnesota though, and I still think the wrong team is favored. UT Arlington is off a 24-11 season last year and I expect them to flirt with that same amount of wins this season. This is a team that loves to get out and run, and with the 11th most experienced roster in the nation they do it very well. They are led by the trio of Erick Neal, Jalen Jones and Jorge Bilbao who are all among the best players in their conference. Frankly those 3 guys could all play in the BIG 10. As far as Minnesota goes I’m just not terribly impressed by their roster this year. I think they’ve got NIT or CIT written all over them. I fully expect them to finish in the bottom half of the BIG 10 and this is the kind of non conference game I could easily see them losing. All that said an NIT or CIT birth would be a nice step in the right direction for a team that only won 8 games last year. Tonight however I just don’t like the matchup. UT Arlington has an experience edge and a clearly better backcourt. The only possible concern is Minnesota’s height. UT Arlington will need to just keep things respectable on the boards, if they can do that they should win.
Vermont (+5.5): I can’t pass up a chance to fade Providence in their first game without Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. If you watched Providence last year you know that was basically a two man team. Dunn and Bentil were great college players and most of the time it felt like those guys were taking on opponents 2 on 5 with 3 other guys just standing around. After losing guys like that there’s going to be adjustment. There’s just nobody on that roster that’s used to being the guy, or even being the 2nd guy for that matter. It should be a rough go early for the Friars as people figure out their rolls. On the other side Vermont is one of the best non power conference teams around. They’ve won 110 games in the last 5 years and I see no reason for them to not go over the 20 win mark again this year. I just can’t see any reason not to snag the 5.5 points and take my chances in a game that I think comes down to the final minutes.
Xavier (-15): I like this Xavier team quite a bit this year, and after a clunker and narrow escape to open the season against Lehigh I think they’ll really get after it tonight. I think Chris Mack will have these guys ready to go, and I just can’t see back to back lethargic efforts from Xavier to start the season. I love the trio of Edmond Sumner, JP Macura, and Trevon Bluiett leading this team. Buffalo should have a nice season and you could argue they might even be the best team in the MAC, but I think they are in over their heads tonight. I think they are good enough for Xavier to respect them and take this game seriously. That coupled with the lackluster showing on Friday really leads me to believe we see a different Xavier team tonight. They win by 20+