CBB best bets: Back E.J. Liddell and the Buckeyes against Duke
Feast Week has come and gone, and with it goes the 14-hour college basketball slates that filled up the entire day.
While the schedule calms down significantly, there's still value to be had with our best bets for Monday and Tuesday.
UC Riverside @ Saint Mary's (-11, 120)
Nov. 29, 10:00 p.m. ET
Besides the fact that Saint Mary's and UC Riverside have a combined 12 players from Australia and New Zealand, these two squads also play a similar style. Both are big, perform at a slow pace, and shoot well from beyond the arc.
Saint Mary's has much better guard play, which should push the Gaels to a home win. However, the Highlanders' size and methodical offense should keep the contest close. This line is unlikely to finish at a double-digit number as it's projected on KenPom, but with such a small total and high spread, I would bet this all the way down to a two-possession game.
Pick: UC Riverside +6 or better
Wyoming (-1, 139) @ Cal State Fullerton
Nov. 29, 10:00 p.m.
Wyoming has been quietly awesome this season, sporting the country's No. 1 effective field goal percentage on defense and ranking third in two-point offense. The Cowboys are huge and switchable, with all eight rotation players standing between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-10.
Cal State Fullerton's offense is dependant on individual isolation and spot ups from its guards, but Wyoming is in the 99th percentile in spot-up defense, per Synergy. Look for the Cowboys to play lockdown defense on the road and pull away with timely three-point shooting.
Pick: Wyoming -5 or better
Davidson (-5. 133) @ Charlotte
Nov. 30, 7:00 p.m.
Davidson and Charlotte are only about 20 minutes from each other, and the two schools play every season. The 49ers are just 2-6 in their last eight meetings against the Wildcats but have won the previous two.
Davidson is a talented offensive group but severely lacks athleticism on the perimeter, allowing opposing guards to succeed. The dynamic backcourt of Jahmir Young and Clyde Trapp lead Charlotte, and the pair should be able to penetrate the defense well enough to keep things close and maybe even grab a third straight rivalry win.
Pick: Charlotte +3 or better
Tulane (-1, 147) @ Charleston
Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Tulane would prefer to slow the game down offensively, but coach Pat Kelsey and Charleston won't let that happen. The Cougars play at a frenetic pace, ranking fifth nationally in average offensive possession length.
Charleston doesn't own any major statistical advantages here, but it seems unlikely that an average Tulane group can go on the road and keep up with the Cougars' hectic playstyle. So long as this spread doesn't soar the way of Charleston, back the home team.
Pick: Charleston -2 or better
North Dakota State @ Creighton (-8, 136)
Nov. 30, 9:00 p.m.
With five freshmen in its rotation, Creighton was always going to have ups and downs this season, and tight wins over Kennesaw State, Southern Illinois, and SIU Edwardsville are far from encouraging.
Rocky Kreuser and Grant Nelson lead North Dakota State. The two big men should limit the Bluejays' two-point attack, an area where they score 63% of their points. Creighton just hasn't shown enough to warrant such a large spread against a feisty underdog.
Pick: North Dakota State +6 or better
Duke @ Ohio State (-1, 147)
Nov. 30, 9:30 p.m.
Duke's Paolo Banchero could be the No. 1 pick in the next NBA Draft. Ohio State's E.J. Liddell is the potential front-runner for Player of the Year. These two forwards run the show for their teams, and whichever player wins this marquee matchup likely wins the game.
While Banchero might be more talented, Liddell is 12th nationally in fouls drawn per game and could get the freshman in foul trouble. It's Banchero's first-ever college road game, and playing at Ohio State is no small task. In what should be a tight contest, back the home team with the more experienced star.
Pick: Ohio State -2 or better