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Burke: Thursday college basketball predictions

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 20, 2022 11:13 AM
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We’ve got a juicy card tonight in college hoops and there is a trio of games that have caught my interest. One of them is an example of following through with a squad that I isolated as a fade team in my Point Spread Weekly article this week. I’d encourage you to check out that article and if you aren’t a subscriber, it’s a good way to use your free 7-day trial.

I prefer to teach rather than tell in these blurbs, but I think these are good examples of what I look for and some stats to use when capping the CBB card.

Belmont (-5.5) vs. Morehead StateMorehead State is 12-5 overall and 4-0 in OVC play, but this is a team that steps up in class in a big way here against Belmont. Against teams in the top 150, Morehead is 0-5. Belmont will be just the second top-50 team that they have faced.

The Eagles are a bad team at the free throw line, play at a slow pace and take a lot of 3s. They have the opportunity to be a very inefficient offense. Meanwhile, Belmont, who ranks seventh in Effective Field Goal Percentage Offense and second in 2P percentage, is strong on that end.

Two of Belmont’s losses have been in games where they’ve had a TO percentage on defense of 10.7 percent and 12.2 percent. Morehead State will turn the ball over a lot more than that.

Illinois-Chicago (-4) vs. Northern Kentucky – NKU is another fade team that I isolated recently. The Norse are one of the nation’s top offensive rebounding teams, but rank 334th in 2P percentage against Division I opponents and are also near the bottom 50 in free throw shooting. They’re a terrible defensive team on the interior and also give up a lot of offensive rebounds themselves.

UIC shoots a lot of 3s, with the 17th-highest 3P Rate in the nation against D-I opponents, but also shoots nearly 55 percent on 2s when the Flames do go inside. This is UIC’s first home game since December 19, so they should be excited to be back in the friendly confines.

Arizona (-11.5) vs. Stanford – This line has moved a bit, but this fits the “Regression to the Mean” article I just wrote. The Wildcats narrowly failed to cover the 19.5-point line against Utah last game, but it’s because they were 3-of-18 from 3. They still won the game by 18. Arizona plays at a heightened pace and is better than the other team on every possession, so the chance is there to cover big numbers.

Stanford is 343rd in the nation in TO percentage against D-I opponents and is facing the No. 1 team in 2P percentage defense. There will be a lot of empty possessions for Stanford, who is not a great defensive team, and it will be hard to keep up.

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