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Reply To: CBB • Tuesday Service Plays • 12/1/15

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5* 719 – Michigan -1

4* 721 – Northwestern -2

7* 749 – Miami Florida -6.5

3* 746 – Memphis -3.5

1* 714 – Florida -7

1* 718 – St. Josephs +12

1* 729 – Marshall +11

1* 732 – Georgia -7

1* 733 – Virginia -8.5

2* 737 – Utah State -3.5

2* 758 – Ball State -6.5

1* 766 – Nebraska Omaha -3.5

1* 777 – Eastern Washington +5.5

Added write ups

5-Unit Play. Take #719 Michigan (-1)
over N.C. State (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

North Carolina State sucks. They really do. This is not a good team and this number should’ve been closer to 6.0. It is only going to go up during the day. I know they are playing at home and will have a nice advantage with the home crowd. I get all that. But Michigan is a really good team – a Top 25 caliber team – that has a style that translates well on the road. Last year they were awful, and awful on the road. But that had more to do with injuries and the young team they were fielding than anything else. But they’ll be ready to play here. North Carolina State was one of the most overrated teams in the country coming into this season. That they were consistently posted in the Top 35 or so in the preseason polls was kind of ridiculous to me; they were rated ahead of Xavier, Miami and, in the Coaches Poll, SMU. State has one really good player, Anthony Barber. But he can’t shoot. At all. And watching this team play against mediocre competition last week (Arizona State and LSU) I can say I wasn’t impressed. Their ‘big win’ came over a bad LSU team and that was a game where both teams played like they didn’t want to win. Michigan has taken some early lumps. But their losses were against two Top 15 teams in Xavier and Connecticut. N.C. State isn’t at that level. Michigan has nice balance and a host of quality shooters. They are a much better team and I think they will fall behind early and then score a come-from-behind win in the second half to cash this one.

4-Unit Play. Take #721 Northwestern (-2)
over Virginia Tech (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

I think I am the only college basketball analyst in the country that has predicted that Northwestern is going to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time this year. I honestly believe that. This is one of their best teams of the last decade and they have a legit shot to go dancing. But they have to win games like this. Period. Virginia Tech is not a good team at all. They are one of the least experienced teams in the country and their two best players, Seth Allen and Zach LeDay, are retreads from other programs. The Hokies already have a home loss to Alabama State on their resume and they have been woefully unimpressive to this point. They will play hard because all Buzz Williams teams play hard. But Chris Collins has a nice blend of size, talent and experience on this Wildcats team and they will hold up. Also, look for a solid game out of Joey Van Zegeren. The Northwestern big man transferred in from Tech and I’m sure he will be out for revenge. He was one of the Hokies’ best players last year – now he’s coming off the Northwestern bench. That gives you an idea of the talent disparity in this one.

7-Unit Play. Take #749 Miami (-6.5)
over Nebraska (9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

Miami is good for one or two head-scratching losses a year, apparently. Last year they didn’t just lose, they were blown out by both UW-Green Bay and Eastern Kentucky (by 28 points!). But this is also the same team that won at Florida, won at Syracuse and won at Duke while compiling a resume that should’ve gotten them into the NCAA Tournament. Miami is coming off a weird loss to Northeastern as a 17-point favorite. However, the loss was clearly a letdown loss after their outstanding play down in Puerto Rico. Miami beat Butler by 10, Utah by 24 and Mississippi State by 26. Butler and Utah are potential Sweet 16 teams and Miami walked through them while playing out of its mind. I trust that Jim Larranaga will get this guys back on track after dumping that game to the Huskies. And Nebraska doesn’t do anything so well that it makes me think they can win this game. Four of Nebraska’s five wins this year have come against teams ranked No. 320 or worse. Oh, and they beat a weak Tennessee team. Other than that they have lost their two biggest games, getting lit up by Villanova and losing by four to Cincinnati. Nebraska isn’t wretched. They just aren’t very good. They are young and not very experienced and I don’t think they are good enough to beat a very talented Miami team. The Hurricanes are huge across the front line, they have a trio of fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year junior, and they are stacked with guys that have serious experience playing big-time ball in the Big 12. Miami is too well coached and too athletic for Nebraska. They also have three of the four best players on the floor in this game. Home court advantage is nice for Nebraska. But having guys that can actually play is nicer for Miami.

3-Unit Play. Take #746 Memphis (-3.5) over Louisiana Tech (9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

I really think this is a big game for Memphis. And even though this spread has been diving down – indicating all the money flowing to Louisiana Tech – I think that Memphis is going to come to play tonight. This team almost knocked off Oklahoma at home a couple weeks ago. And they may have gotten over the hump after that win over Ohio State over the weekend. At this point that’s really what Tech’s rankings and gradings have all been inflated by: a win over Ohio State. But right now everyone is beating Ohio State. Josh Pastner needs wins, and he needs them badly. And he is absolutely going to have his guys ready to play in this game. I think that Memphis has three of the four best players on the court, plus the home court advantage, and I just can’t see them giving away a game to a team from Conference USA. Louisiana Tech lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, along with their coach, and I simply don’t think they are as good as they were last year.

2-Unit Play. Take #737 Utah State (-3.5) over Missouri State (8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
Utah State got manhandled by Duke over the weekend. They are neither the first nor the last to have that happen. But I still think this is a decent team from a better conference than Missouri State and I think that the Aggies will salvage a win on this road trip. Utah State has four starters back from last year’s club and they were good enough to go on the road and beat a decent Weber State team to start the year. Missouri State got its first win of the season against a D-II school over the weekend in the home opener. They also have a much more attractive game with Oklahoma State coming up over the weekend. In between is a game against Utah State that I could see them letting slip bewteen the cracks.

2-Unit Play. Take #758 Ball State (-6.5) over IUPUI (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
I like this game more than the rating suggests. This is a sneaky-good Ball State team that has a legit eight-man rotation now that transfer Ryan Weber is active. This team is coming off a win over Valparaiso and that is no joke; the Crusaders are one of the best mid-major teams in the country. I think that Ball State has the potential to be a major spoiler in the MAC this year and this game is a revenge situation for the Cardinals. They lost in overtime at IUPUI last year and have actually lost the last two meetings in this regional series. IUPUI lost three of its top six players from that game, though, where Ball State has only added talent. I think that they win this one going away tonight.

1-Unit Play. Take #714 Florida (-7) over Richmond (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
This is a killer travel schedule for Richmond. They had to play two in Vegas over the weekend, fly back to Virginia, and then fly down to The Swamp to face a rested and ready Florida team. I think jetlag is going to get the better of them here and they are facing a motivated Florida team that will maintain a lot of focus in games like this this season as they fight to get back to the postseason.

1-Unit Play. Take #718 St. Joseph’s (+12) over Villanova (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
This is a Big Five game and these are always vicious rivalry spots. Villanova has been a godless killing machine this year. But at some point they have to not cover a spread, right? St. Joe’s has some talent and they vividly remember the 30-point ass-kickings they have taken the past two years. Prior to the last two blowouts, the last time St. Joe’s lost by more than 11 points in this series was 2007. They don’t have a chance to win here. But I do think they can sneak in that back door and keep this one respectable.

1-Unit Play. Take #729 Marshall (+11) over Ohio (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
Ohio shouldn’t be favored by this much over anyone and Marshall is a little better than it has played to this point of the season. Ohio does not have that home court edge that it enjoyed for the past 10-12 years; they aren’t that program right now. Ohio hasn’t played in over a week, they are coming of a trip to the Virgin Islands, and they beat Tennessee State and Florida-Gulf Coast by less than this margin. Marshall’s played three better teams than this and they will be hungry for that first win. They will hang around here.

1-Unit Play. Take #732 Georgia (-7) over Oakland (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
This game reminds me a bit of the big play we cashed in on Georgia against Murray State. Oakland is a really good mid-major team. But Georgia needs this win. They just got dumped again by Seton Hall on Sunday and Mark Fox is still trying to get things going with this group. He has quality guards and a good system; but Georgia is awful in the post. Fortunately Oakland isn’t the type of team that can take advantage of this interior weakness. Oakland has lost at Colorado State and Southern Illinois – two teams much worse than Georgia. I also like the ‘over’ in this game and won’t be surprised if Georgia puts up 80.

1-Unit Play. Take #733 Virginia (-8.5) over Ohio State (7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
Like I said: everyone is beating Ohio State right now. These guys are really young and they don’t do anything particularly well. The Buckeyes have lost a ton of talent over the last two graduations and this a rebuilding year for Thad Matta.

1-Unit Play. Take #763 Fairfield (+9) over Iona (7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)
Iona hasn’t played in nearly two weeks. Fairfield has improved this year. And while they don’t have the juice to win this game on the road I think they can be more competitive than they would’ve been the past three seasons. Iona will be just rusty enough for this one to stay a game.

1-Unit Play. Take #766 Omaha (-3.5) over Eastern Michigan (8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

1-Unit Play. Take #777 Eastern Washington (+5.5) over San Francisco (10 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1)

1-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #733 Virginia (-3.5) over Ohio State (7:30 p.m.) AND Take #742 Texas (-4.5) over Texas-Arlington (8 p.m.)

1-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #732 Georgia (-2) over Oakland (7 p.m.) AND Take #749 Miami (-1.5) over Nebraska (9 p.m.)

1-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #759 Siena (-2) over Cornell (7 p.m.) AND Take #756 Georgia Tech (-5) over Wofford (7 p.m.)