With a smaller slate on the NBA card today, College Basketball has hoops heads more than covered. An exciting slate of games is headlined by a big ten rivalry match between Purdue and Maryland. Iowa and Iowa State also play out another bout of their intense rivalry, whilst a struggling Cal Riverside play host to Pepperdine. On another action-packed day of College Basketball, let’s take a look at our 4 best bets on the board.
Fairfield enter this one of a rather disappointing campaign so far, sitting with a 2-6 record. Shooting Guard Landon Taliaferro is leading the way offensively for the Stags, averaging 15 points on 58.5% shooting. He has been balanced nicely in the backcourt by Neftali Alvarez, who is currently averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Where Fairfield have struggled this season is on the interior, where they don’t have a single player averaging 6 or more rebounds per game.
Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Oakland have had an inconsistent season so far, losing their last 2 games to sit 3-5. Swingman Xavier Hill-Mais has had an excellent offensive campaign, averaging an efficient 25 points and 6 rebounds. Junior Guard Jaevin Cumberland has been a solid complementary piece, averaging 14.5 points and 4 assists in his first season as a starter. If they could manage that third star, the Golden Grizzlies have the potential to be a very solid squad.
Prediction: Fairfield -3.5
Fairfield has a deeper and more versatile squad in this one. Buoyed by their home court and the hot shooting of Landon Taliaferro, I expect the Stags to manage a comfortable home win and cover here.
The Boilermakers enter this crucial matchup at 5-3, having lost 3 of their last 4 to sides ranked in the top 16. Junior Guard Carsen Edwards has been far and away the Boilermakers best player, averaging 24.5 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds per game. He has been capably supported by Senior Guard Ryan Cline, who is averaging 15 points, 3.5 boards and 3.5 assists of his own. The only other player averaging double figures is reserve Forward Evan Boudreaux, which suggests the Boilermakers could use a third scorer.
The Terrapins have had an excellent season so far, winning 7 of their first 8 to find themselves as the #23 team in the country. Junior Guard Anthony Cowan has provided an offensive spark for this Maryland side, averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4 rebounds so far. Sophomore big man Bruno Fernando has also been excellent on the interior, averaging 15.5 points and 10 rebounds on 73% shooting. In Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins and Darryl Morsell, the Terrapins have 3 more capable rotation pieces that are all averaging in double figures.
Prediction: Maryland +7
Getting 7 points, I’m more than happy to roll with the Terrapins here. I think they have a more well-rounded starting five and the defensive versatility to cope with Edwards. Whilst they could win this outright, I’ll happily take the +7.
The Hawkeyes enter this one as the #18 ranked team in the country, losing their last 2 to sit at 6-2 on the season. Forward Tyler Cook has led the way offensively, averaging an efficient 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. He has been capably supported in the frontcourt by Forward Luka Garza, who’s currently averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds of his own. With 4 players averaging in double digits, the Hawkeyes are definitely a team that loves to spread the wealth.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State enter this cross-town rivalry at an impressive 7-1, a loss to Arizona their only blemish on the campaign. Senior Guard Marial Shayok has had an excellent offensive start to the campaign, averaging 19.5 points and 6 rebounds per game. Junior Forward Michael Jacobson has balanced this out with some strong interior play, averaging 17 points and 8 boards on 64% shooting so far. Swingman Talen Horton-Tucker has been an excellent complement to these two stars, averaging 14.5 points and 6 boards on the season.
Prediction: Iowa +1.5
Ultimately, I think Iowa are the better team in this one and shouldn’t be a home underdog here. They’ve got a deeper and more versatile rotation in this one, which should prove enough for the win and cover.
Cal Riverside Highlanders
The Highlanders have struggled mightily this season, losing 4 of their last 5 games to sit 2-7. Junior Guard Dikymbe Martin has been their best player on the campaign, averaging slightly under 16 points and 4 rebounds per game. Cal Riverside just haven’t been able to generate consistent offence this season, evidenced by the fact that no-one else is currently averaging in double figures.
Pepperdine make the trip to California at 5-3, winning 3 of their last 4 games. Guard Colbey Ross is the man to watch for this Waves side, averaging an outstanding 20 points and 7 assists so far. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Pepperdine is their ability to spread the wealth. All 5 of their starters are currently averaging double figures scoring so far, indicating the diversity of their talent.
Prediction: Cal Riverside +7.5
On these big night games, I’m always a fan of taking a sizeable home dog. Whilst Cal Riverside have struggled so far, I believe they’ve got the defensive ability to contain Pepperdine. Through the key number of 7, I’m very comfortable taking the Highlanders here.