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Thursday’s ‘College Basketball Plays’

7-Unit Play. #758 Take Louisiana Tech (-3)
over Old Dominion
(9 p.m., Thursday, January 7)
This C-USA match-up pits two 27-win teams from a year ago. But the story so far this season is that these two programs aren’t both on that same level. Louisiana Tech is 12-2 and attempting to go on another big regular season to avoid another NCAA Tournament snub like last season. Old Dominion, however, are just 8-6 (2-8 ATS) and have shown to have taken a step back from last season. La Tech have wins over a good Texas-Arlington team as well as at Ohio State, a win that’s looking much better after the Buckeyes recent resurgence. Seven of La Tech’s nine home wins were via double digit blowout, and their lowest margin of victories with seven and eight points while averaging 83 points on their home floor. ODU have lost all four games on the road this year (0-4 ATS) while scoring just 60 points per game away from home. The Monarchs are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games overall, and this game in particular isn’t going to go well for them. Louisana Tech was manhandled last year at Old Dominion via a 19-point loss, one of only three conference losses for the Bulldogs en route to their regular season title. Tonight at home in Rustin you can bet La Tech will be remembering that result and ready for payback against this vulnerable road team. ODU have won four straight games but don’t let that fool you. From late November until mid December, the Monarchs had lost six of seven and were in a major slump. Three of these last four wins came against teams outside the RPI Top 220. ODU’s RPI is 189. Louisana Tech ranks 60. We’ll see that separation tonight when the Bulldogs continue their strong push forward while getting revenge for last year’s one-sided loss to these Monarchs. La Tech comes out swinging and keeps it up all game, 77-61.

3-Unit Play. #726 Take N.C. State (+6)
over Louisville
(7 p.m., Thursday, January 7)
Am I the only one that thinks this Louisville is completely overrated? Seven of the Cardinals 12 victories have come outside the RPI Top 150, five outside the Top 200. Their best win is against an average Wake Forest team that doesn’t do a thing for their rep. Cat Barber is an absolute stud for Mark Gottfried’s program, while this season its obvious this Louisville team lacks a proven top scorer. N.C. State have gone 12-3 ATS in their last 15 home games vs. teams with losing road records. And with the Cardinals not challenging themselves much on the road prior to conference play, this play and game sets up perfectly for the home Raleigh team. N.C. State have racked up four straight home wins since a Dec. 1 loss on their own floor to Michigan. They’ll be up for this game and ready for a statement win. Cards don’t find an anwser for a motivated Wolfpack team tonight.

5-Unit Play. #786 Take Eastern Kentucky (-4)
over Tennessee Martin
(8 p.m., Thursday, January 7)
EKU have dominated this series at home while the home team have won eight of the past nine meetings when it comes to these two. The Colonels are 8-0 at home this year (4-0 ATS), and I think all these factors set up for a pretty easy win over Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks have played in six games this year that have been unlined, two of them they lost. All four of Tennessee-Martin’s road losses have come by an average of 20 points. Eastern Kentucky is averaging 93 in their eight home games while Tennessee-Martin is scoring just 64 points in its eight road games. Its home cooking all the way for EKU in this one.

3-Unit Play. #745 Take Louisiana-Lafayette (+6)
over Arkansas-Little Rock
(8:15 p.m., Thursday, January 7)
Watch out for the underdog here. ALR may be the dominant 12-1 team, but this ULL squad can hoop. We saw it when they travelled to Westwood to give the Bruins a very good game, and I think they do the same to their conference opponents. And while the Cajuns are just 5-6, they are scoring 84 points this year, compared to just 69 by the Trojans. This has been a very competitve series with each of the past three meetings being settled by six points or less, as well as six of the last seven by single digits. The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the last ten meetings while the road team is 14-6 ATS in the last 20. Give me the points and the live underdog in this Sun Belt match-up.