NCAAB 12/4

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Tuesday: 2-4, (33.33%)

November: 74-72-1, (50.68%)
December: 8-7-0, (53.33%)
Season: 82-79-1, (50.93%)

Sides: 41-41-1, (50.00%)
Totals: 41-38, (51.89%)
Overall: 82-79-1, (50.93%)

A losing day yesterday with another brutal bad beat mixed in. I shared a few thoughts on that on Twitter yesterday and would rather no go into it again now. Simply put unders and OT just don’t mix. A decent slate to work with today so let’s just right in, this is what I have…

Texas Tech (-2): Buy low, sell high time here with Texas Tech and DePaul. We’ll start with DePaul who is now 8-0 and probably playing over their heads a bit. Leitao has done a hell of a job with this team but tonight they’ll get a test the likes of which they haven’t seen this season, or last season for that matter. Texas Tech is off an 0-2 trip to Vegas where they took losses against Iowa and Creighton and I love this spot for them to get back on track. Offensively DePaul has been doing most of their damage in the paint but that’s going to be very tough against this Red Raiders defense. Last year Texas Tech held opponents to only 44.9% of their points from 2 which was 315th in the nation. This year they are right back at holding them to 43.9% of their points from two which is 316th in the nation. Simple fact is it’s tough as hell to score inside against this team. It does hurt that Ramsey is banged up and Beard hasn’t given us anything concrete as to whether he’ll play or not. It’s a hamstring injury and “really bad bone bruise” and he’s day to day. I went ahead and capped this game as though he’s out but if he ends up playing that’ll certainly be a welcomed bonus. Even if he can’t go it’s not like Tech doesn’t have other options. They still have 4 others who average 9.6 points per game or more. Offensively for DePaul it’s been Charlie Moore as the straw that stirs the drink. Now in his 3rd stop after playing at California and then Kansas he’s seemingly found a home with the Blue Demons. The challenge for him tonight will be dealing with the size and length of Morretti and Edwards. Both will provide much more resistance than what he’s seen in the early going this season. If this game was played 3 weeks ago Texas Tech is probably -8.5/-9 ish and despite this DePaul start I don’t think the gap has closed roughly 7 points in that time. 

Notre Dame (+9.5): You give me Mike Brey with over a week a prep as a 9.5 point dog and I’ll take him against just about anyone. For years I’ve considered him one of the best coaches in the nation and in this one I think he has a massive edge over Turgeon. I don’t want to over simplify this game but it’s going to come down to if Notre Dame can hit shots from the perimeter. The Terps are very tough to deal with inside but they are allowing a ton of 3 point attempts. 41.5% of the points Maryland allows are from 3 point land and that’s 13th highest in the nation. As a team the 3 point shooting numbers aren’t there for the Irish yet but with Mooney, Gibbs, Pflueger, Hubb, and Goodwin they certainly have legit threats from deep. Also the Irish (as usual) are doing a great job of protecting the ball. They are 3rd in the nation in offensive turnover rate and again I’m confident they are going to work themselves into plenty of clean looks tonight. Another important aspect of this game to look at is the FT line. Led by Cowan and Smith the Terps have been getting to the line a ton, but that could change tonight against a Notre Dame team that just doesn’t really foul. Only 11% of the points Notre Dame allows are from the FT line and that ranks 353 out of 353 in D1. They make you earn what you get and aren’t giving away many freebies at all. Brey I assume will try and slow this one down and force Maryland to execute in the half court. Cowan has become one of the better guards in the nation but tonight he’ll have a size disadvantage dealing with Hubb. He’ll get into the paint plenty but once there he’ll have to deal with Dunham who has turned himself into an elite shot blocker/shot contester. Maryland still probably wins but I see something like 75-70.

Virginia/Purdue Un 103.5: It feels weird saying a total of 103.5 is too high but here we are. Two elite defenses, snail slow pace, neither team can really shoot it well from outside, this one feels like a rock fight. We’ll start with the pace which should be about as slow as College Basketball games get. There are 353 D1 teams and Purdue ranks 348th in adjusted tempo while Virginia checks in dead last at 353rd. On top of that we have defensive efficiency in play where Purdue is 9th and Virginia is 1st. Virginia always takes a lot of crap for low scoring games but in past years it was things along the lines of 68 points on 61 possessions which is still a very impressive 1.11 PPP. This year however it’s shaky offense to go with the slow tempo. Gone are Guy, Jerome and Hunter and with those 3 excellent shooters no longer around the offense has taken a big hit. As a team they are 338th in the 3 point shooting and the only guys shooting it well (Diakite and Clark) are shooting above their normal levels and are due for regression back to the mean. On the other side we have the Purdue offense who better be able to hit some 3’s if they want to score. The Virginia defensive splits are pretty wild. Opponents score 48.9% of their points from 3 point land against them which is 1st in the nation. On the other hand however only 39.0% of their points from 2 which is 350th, and only 12.1% from the FT line which is 344th. In other words if you aren’t hitting a bunch of 3’s it’s going to be a very long night for your offense. This is a problem for Purdue who is only shooting 31% from 3 this year placing them 236th in the nation. Edwards, Kline and Eifert are all gone and with them has left most of the 3 point threats. At the end of the day I see a lot of long possessions ending in low percentage and highly contested looks. It sounds wild to say but it’s possible neither team even reaches 50 points.

Santa Clara/Nevada Ov 151: This one is mostly about pace and I think we could end up with a track meet here. On the Nevada side we all know Alford likes to push the pace and there’s no surprises there. As a team their adjusted tempo overall is 112th but their average possession length offensively is only 15.8 seconds which is 45th fastest in the nation. The surprise here is on the Santa Clara side where after 3 snail slow seasons Sendek has decided to turn this years squad loose and run like crazy. The last 3 years they had an average tempo of about 300th in the country and this year it’s all the way up to 25th. Offensively their average possession is 15.0 seconds which is 17th fastest in the nation. They already have a bunch of 75, 76 type possession games against teams that play below average pace. Ken Pom projects this one for 74 and I think that’s probably 2-3 too low. I see it in the 76-77 range as there’s really no sign that either team is interested in slowing this one down. Santa Clara has a nice size advantage across the board and they’ve been scoring inside like crazy so far this season. They shoot 59% from 2 which is 4th best in the nation. Caruso at 6’11”, Mitchell at 6’8″, and Vrankic at 6’9″ all figure to be problems against a Nevada team that’s still hoping for more from their bigs. In the backcourt however the Pack should have a nice edge with the trio of Harris, Drew and Johnson. Those 3 combine for nearly 50 points a game and frankly they should be too much for the Santa Clara guards to handle. Ultimately the pace should be there and each offense has pretty clear areas to attack where they should be able to find success. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this thing end up in the 160’s.


Texas Tech (-2)
Notre Dame (+9.5)
Virginia/Purdue Un 103.5
Santa Clara/Nevada Ov 151

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