NCAAB January 4th

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NCAAB Yesterday: 1-2, (33.33%) -1.2 Units
NCAAB Season: 26-23-1, (53.06%) +0.7 Units

Frustrating day yesterday going 1-2 for -1.2 units. A clear loser with George Washington and a winner with Wake Forest. The day ended up in the red when LSU blew a 2nd half lead and lost by 3 (and for me by the hook) against Kentucky. Looking to get things back on track today, here’s what I’ve got…

Cleveland State (-2): There won’t be many games where Cleveland State is favored this year but this is a rare case where they are in good shape for a win. Green Bay checks into this one 7-9 overall but 0-6 on the road, and those losses have come by an average of 17.7 points per game. As has been the case since Darner took over the Phoenix play at a very fast tempo. Fast doesn’t necessarily mean good though as they are 330th in the nation in offensive efficiency. They can’t shoot it well from 3, they don’t do any damage inside, they don’t rebound well and they turn it over too much. Just about the only thing Green Bay does well on offense is get to the line a decent and make them when they are there. They are 30th in the nation in percentage of points coming from the FT line and 31st in the nation in team FT percentage. Unfortunately for them Cleveland State only allows 15.8% of their opponents points to come from the FT line. In other words they just don’t foul much. Green Bays offense is so bad that if they can’t rely on free points from the stripe they really could be in trouble. Now Cleveland State isn’t any good and there’s no point in me trying to talk them up and act like they are something that they aren’t. When looking at their 3-11 record however it is worth pointing out that they are 3-3 at home. Frankly I just don’t feel either of these teams is good enough to beat the other on the road. All that said this play isn’t really about taking Cleveland State, it’s pretty much solely a fade of Green Bay. I don’t know if Green Bay is going to win more than a game or two on the road all season and I don’t see this being one of them.

Utah (+3): This could be a tricky spot for Arizona here tonight. The Cats have rebounded nicely from that awful showing in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving and won 8 straight since then. Most recently was a home win this weekend over rival and at the time undefeated Arizona State. Now they’ll have the challenge of keeping their focus and avoiding a let down on the road, and at altitude against the Utes. Now the Utes don’t do anything great but they do just about everything pretty well. They have a clearly above average offense, above average defense and should flirt with 20 wins this year. At home is where they are very tough to handle. Since the start of the 2014-15 season the Utes are 52-5 at Huntsman Center where they have an excellent home crowd and the already mentioned tremendous advantage of playing at altitude. Roster and talent wise I can’t deny that Arizona is better, this play is more about situation and environment than anything else. Bibbins has clearly become the leader of this Utah team but I think it’s Rawson and Collette who have some nice match ups tonight. Both are 6-10 and very athletic. Guys like Ristic and Ayton won’t be quick enough to guard them and nobody else on the roster has the size to handle them. I’m not sure Utah will pull off the outright win but this is one of those circle it right when the schedule comes out kind of games for them. They’ll be more than fired up and if they catch Arizona even a little flat and taking a victory lap off that ASU win they could pull off the mild upset. Either way I expect this game to come down to the final minutes and with 3 points in my pocket I’ll take my chances.

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