ESB COLLEGE HOOPS TOP 3 GAMES PREVIEW (1-23-20)

NO ELITE CBB MATCH UP TONIGHT BUT 3 VERY SOLID GAMES TO CHECK OUT (1-23-20)!

 

VEGAS ODDS:

MICHIGAN STATE (-4) @ INDIANA   ~  TOTAL: (142)

MURRAY STATE (-1 1/2) vs. BELMONT   ~   TOTAL: (150)

OHIO STATE (-8) vs. MINNESOTA  ~   TOTAL: (134)

 

OK we don’t have one standout or marquee game tonight in CBB or NBA so we will look at the top 3 games on tonight’s College Hoops card instead.

#7 MICHIGAN STATE @ #4o INDIANA

This is always a really good battle, regardless of the two teams rankings and tonight should be no different. Indiana is a totally different team at Home and once again a (10-1) Home record so far proves they play to a much higher level in front of the crazed home fans. They are (14-4) overall and they have played a loaded schedule thus far as they have wins over #12 and #16, with losses to #10, #19, #24 and #34. Indiana isn’t as good as the Michigan State Spartans talent wise, but they weren’t last year either when they swept the Spartans winning 79-75 @ East Lansing (a major shocking Upset win) and also winning at Assembly Hall 63-62. 

Michigan State is the best team in the Big 10 and now come in (6-1) in Conference Play and they are on a nice (9-1) run. They have though played only 3 true Away games winning by 3 and 5 points and losing @ Purdue by 29 (a complete beat down for 40 minutes). Sparty has wins over #11, #19, #22, #24, #29 and #38, with losses by two super teams (Kentucky and Duke). They are in Top 25 in both Offensive and Defense Efficiency and have the best player in the Big 10 running the show with Cassius Winston. 

This Indiana team isn’t a great shooting team (only 29 from 3-land) and (68% FT’s) so they have to play solid Defense and turn this into a lower scoring game. Last year they forced a slower pace on their Home court, just hanging in there hoping for a chance to win late. That formula worked and this time around it’s likely they must do that same thinking as the Spartans want to run and get easy baskets in transition. Sparty will surely be fired up as they have rarely ever lost twice to an opposing Big Ten team.

 

#38 MINNESOTA @ #12 OHIO STATE

This game is interesting due to the fact that on December 29th the Ohio State Buckeyes were ranked #1 team in the land. They looked like a Final 4 team playing outstanding on Offense and Defense. Then they hit the wall hard, losing 5 of it’s past 6 games, falling to just (2-5) in Big Ten play. They just played terribly in 4 straight Road losses, losing all 4 by double digits, shooting horrific and just playing with little urgency. Somehow they are still ranked as high as #12 for tonight’s game vs. a very pesky team in the Minny Golden Gophers. They come in (4-4) in Big Ten play and their problem is kinda like Ohio State’s problem, they are terrible on the Road. They have lost every Road game this season and so they can nil afford to bring a not near perfect effort on both sides of the ball to win on the Road in Columbus tonight.

The past 2 years the Buckeyes have just lit up the Gophers, winning by 20 and 18 points. The Buckeyes right now are hitting a very solid 38% on 3-balls and holding opponents to just 43% FG. This team is a huge enigma as they talent is there, but they simply don’t play together or hard enough and the losses of late prove they need a total wake up call win to get them back in the right direction. Minnesota has proved they can play with Top teams as evident by wins over this same Buckeyes team (by 13) and over #20 Penn State (a very under rated team) and #29 Michigan. They are just so-so shooting the ball, so it’s in their best interest tonight to go at slower pace and grind this game out. They only shoot 33% from 3-Land so they have to really spread ball and do the little things. In the first win this season by the Gophers they shot lights out (by far best shooting night this season) and PG M, Carr shot (9-11) with 35 points. They also had 8 steals. 

The Buckeyes season could be riding on this game tonight as another bad loss and getting swept by a Gophers team playing 3 Sophs and 1 Frosh won’t bode well for the remaining stretch or their own confidence for a very even Big 10 the rest of the way. Hard to think the Gophers sweep this years two game series as they have no Road wins and the Buckeyes surely will come in very fired up to erase a really bad stretch since being ranked #1 in the country.

 

BELMONT @ MURRAY STATE

Every year the two tops teams in the Ohio Valley Conference are these two teams and this year is no different. They may play as Mid-Majors, but nobody wants to play either in March Madness. Murray State comes in as a small favorite sporting a perfect (6-0) Conf. record and Belmont comes in (5-1). Murray State has only lost one Home game the entire past 2 seasons, a 79-66 loss to this same Belmont team last Jan 24. Murray comes in off 4 straight Road wins, but all against really low level teams. They are holding opponents to just 45% on 2’s and 47% overall. This is one of their better Defensive teams. 

Belmont is a very good, if not GREAT, shooting team, hitting at 55% and their Defense is just as good as Murray States D this year, holding opponents to just 45% overall FG %.  They simply do not allow opponents to hit the 3-ball as they are a rare CBB school holding their opponents under 30% from 3-land (just 29%). 

Neither has really played any tough competition, so tonight’s game is one we can get a better gauge who is really the best team. The line is saying Belmont is the better team but my view is you are grabbing real good “VALUE” laying under a Hoop with Murray State. You won’t hear much about this game tonight as this Conference flies under the radar. But both of these teams are super well coached and have enough talent to pick off someone in March Madness. These games though don’t mean too much as it’s all decided in the Title game, one where these two are the usually suspects playing in it. 

If you want to watch some really good Hoops tonight, check out ESPN2 as you will likely not be disappointed. 

Enjoy tonight’s Basketball action and may all your Wagers be WINNING ones!

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