Last week we had our first picker to achieve a perfect score!!! Congrats to RamblerGambler for achieving what no one else has been able to achieve this season!!!
I should’ve done this last week, but since I was upset with... let’s just say a few other sport related things, I forgot the college basketball season started.
I do realize that some people struggle to keep track of college basketball in the same way they follow college football. There are more games, more teams, and the schedule can be a challenge to keep track of when games don’t all take place on Saturday. But it does still have the fun of a college game experience and they are fun to attend.
So this week I’m going to take a unique approach. YES, I AM STILL PICKING COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES THIS WEEK; however I will be evaluating the teams involved as if their basketball teams are playing.
For an example, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame are playing each other in football this week (NOT BASKETBALL) but I will be making my pick for that game based on the performances of the Georgia Tech and Notre Dame basketball teams thus far in the season. Confused yet? Well hopefully it will get clearer as we go on.
Last note, basketball plays midweek so some stats I looked up when I wrote sections earlier in the week may change. I’ll do my best to make sure everything stays up to date. If I am unable to update the article properly before it posts this week, just know I tried my best for this gimmick. Apologies if not all shooting percentages are accurate. Hopefully this will stir up some interest from fans who aren’t usually into college basketball to watch a few more games before March and see what all the hype is about.
picks for this week:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-17)
Logan: The Jackets are starting to find stability with Devoe and Usher. Despite some struggles at the end of the first game of the season the Jackets rebounded well (both figuratively and literally) against Stetson and Lamar. Notre Dame seems to have been focused purely on getting buckets out of the gate. Even though the Irish have put up many points in their first games, they have struggled with supporting stats (rebounds and assists) despite the scoring which would indicate they are mostly playing ISO ball. I think Georgia Tech can defend pretty well on the perimeter so if the Jackets can force tough shots Georgia Tech should be able to take this one. These are the hoops I have to jump through to keep picking GT to win football games.
Logan’s pick: Ramblin’ Wrecks!
#25 Arkansas Razorbacks @ #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (-20.5)
Logan: On paper this is a great matchup. Both Alabama and Arkansas have put up great numbers on offense this year. It’s still early but Alabama is averaging 98.5 ppg with 49 rebounds per game and Arkansas is averaging 80 ppg with 37 rebounds per game. You can argue about the talent level of the teams they have played, but you can’t argue with the results. Bama gets this game at home, so I expect them to win. That said don’t be surprised if the senior leadership on the Arkansas team, particularly from J.D. Notae, leads the Razorbacks to cover the spread.
Logan’s pick: Alabama wins, Razorbacks Cover
#3 Oregon Ducks @ #24 Utah Utes (-3)
Logan: The Utes really need their defense to come together to win this one. Utah had struggled on offense. Utah does have some versatile scorers in Branden Carlson (Center), David Jenkins Jr. (Guard), and Both Gach (Guard); but these scorers have not been able to hold on to the ball with 15.7 turnovers per game and have struggled behind the arc where they are shooting only 33.8%. Oregon on the other hand is much better at shooting, but has mostly run the ISO ball philosophy of “let the scorers score, everything else will come”. The rebounds and the and assists have not come but Oregon has still won their matches with much better shooting percentages than Utah. This one comes down to if Oregon can get ahead early against Utah’s defense then Utah will not be able to catch back up, but if Utah can hold Oregon then superior rebounding gives Utah the edge. Since this is at Utah, I’m gonna side with the Utes.
Logan’s pick: Utah
Virginia Cavaliers @ #21 Pittsburgh Panthers (-14)
Logan: This one is interesting. Both Pitt and UVA stand at 1-2 on the season. The UVA losses have been to Navy and #15 Houston, while Pitt lost to West Virginia and The Citadel. In that sense I guess I have to give UVA the edge, if I must give it to either of these teams. From a strategy standpoint Pitt is all about getting work done in the paint, using players like John Hughley and Mouhamadou Gueye to get rebounds and put backs. Problem for Pitt is that their guard work is lacking. The starting guards for Pitt are averaging a FG% of 34.5% and the team as a whole has a 3 pt % of 21.7%. Virginia is more focused on keeping scoring low and maintaining tempo. If Virginia can stay out of their own way with turnovers I think the Cavaliers’ defense can shut down Pitt. Give me the Cavs.
Logan’s pick: UVA
UCLA Bruins (-3) @ USC Trojans
Logan: Those who keep track of college basketball might be aware that UCLA is expected to be quite good this year. The #2 Bruins are currently shooting 49.5% from the floor, 40.2% from three, 82.1% from the line, and averaging 40 rebounds per game. USC has been decent this year from a stats standpoint showing similar numbers from the floor but less outside accuracy at only 31.2% from three. Unfortunately for USC they just don’t matchup up against this UCLA team in terms of raw talent. barring some rivalry magic, UCLA takes this game with ease.
Logan’s pick: UCLA
#12 Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Clemson Tigers (-3.5)
Logan: Both of these teams have been shooting hot to start the season. Clemson has been shooting 50.6% from the floor, and Wake has been shooting 51.7%. Clemson is less experienced, but possibly more talented. Wake has been less effective on defense but better at finding turnovers when the Deacs need them most, Jake LaRavia and Alondes Williams in particular seem to have sticky fingers averaging 8 steals a game between the two of them. If Clemson is going to win they really need their defense to keep the Deacons out of the paint, and the Tigers need to avoid turning the ball over. I just don’t see that happening, I’ll take Wake in this one.
Logan’s pick: Wake Forest
Iowa State Cyclones @ #8 Oklahoma Sooners (-4)
Logan: I wouldn’t say Iowa State has played the best schedule in college basketball so far, but they haven’t been slouches. The Cyclones won close matches against Kennesaw State and Oregon State, mostly on the back of Gabe Kalscheur and Izaiah Brockington. Oklahoma on the other hand has really breezed through opponents like North Western State and UTSA. On paper Oklahoma looks better, but their past opponents have definitely assisted in pumping up those numbers. Given the games they have played, even though Iowa State has struggled more, I want to side with the Cyclones who have shown they know how to fight in close games.
Logan’s pick: Iowa State
Illinois Fighting Illini @ #20 Iowa Hawkeyes (-12)
Logan: Despite their loss to Marquette, Illinois is very good this year. Guard Jacob Grandison is leading the way, currently shooting 57.1% from the floor. Iowa has quite a bit of talent, but their leading scorer in Keegan Murray is a sophomore with slightly less experience. Normally I would just roll with the Illini, but playing in Iowa is always a challenge. This is gonna be a close matchup in my opinion. I’ll take Illinois to at least cover, if not win, in this one.
Logan’s pick: Illinois
SMU Mustangs @ #5 Cincinnati Bearcats (-11.5)
Logan: Both of these teams are talented and matchup well against each other on paper. Honestly this game could go either way based on what we’ve seen from them thus far. I could go into a whole spiel about the logic behind my decision but here’s the real deal; Cincy beat georgia by 5 points in basketball. That speaks to me as a Georgia Tech fan. Gotta go with the Bearcats.
Logan’s pick: Cincy
#7 Michigan State @ #4 Ohio State (-19)
Logan: The top matchup this week compare two teams who are good at both basketball and football. Michigan State is 1-1 on the season due to their early loss against a top 5 Kansas team. Ohio state struggled in their opener against Akron but looks to be shaping back up to form. As much as I would like to pick Michigan State, I think Ohio State is just more talented this season from a basketball standpoint. As the talent develops I could see the Spartans flipping the narrative next year, but we’ll deal with that when it happens. The Buckeyes getting the Spartans at home is just the cherry on top. I think its the Buckeyes and I don’t expect it to be close.
Logan’s pick: an Ohio State