Christmas Comes Early

The college basketball schedule for Tuesday, December 22nd treats its fans  with presents and the license to unwrap them.

Here’s what collegebasketballeyetest.com predicts will be inside…

(6) Xavier -8 at Wake Forest
Bubble Magnifier Metric: 🔍🔍🔍🔍 (*Max 5 glasses)
Prediction: Xavier 67, Wake Forest 63
DFS Play:  J.P. Macura

Synopsis:

Xavier better be careful here.  Despite analysts firing off early about the Musketeers being Final 4-caliber, we know this nucleus is recently congealed.  Both teams are excelling with efficient guard play.  Wake Forest currently sits atop the ACC standings after wins against Indiana, UCLA and Arkansas.  The bubble watch is high here because a win against Xavier would be the knockout punch that solidifies Wake’s non-conference excellence.  They’re 8-2.  The Demon Deacons have kept every game close.  The largest margin in its 10 games was a 10 point win versus UNC Greensboro.  I am choosing J.P. Macura as my daily fantasy play.  I’m banking on a high scoring affair with fast perimeter play and Macura sneaking behind the line for a couple of threes.

(11) Iowa State at (22) Cincinatti (-4)
Bubble Magnifier Metric: 🔍
Prediction: Cincinatti 81, Iowa State 65
DFS Play: Troy Caupain

Synopsis:

Play with fire, you get burned.  Iowa State finally suffered a loss after one of its custom slow starts.  UNI beat them on a neutral floor.  And, with all due respect to Northern Iowa, the Bearcats are much more athletic and much deeper.  The UNI loss just scratched the surface on how Naz Long’s loss will affect this Iowa State team.  As flawless as Monte Morris has been at running the point, his counterpart tonight in Troy Caupain has quietly been one of the nation’s best.  I think Morris suffers from carrying a heavy burden tonight while Caupain flourishes while finding his gym rats in transition.  I think this is finally the game where Iowa State gets off to a slow start (See Illinois, Iowa, UNI) and it ends up becoming an embarrassment.  Watch closely for a ferocious battle between Octavius Ellis and Jamaal McKay down low—those are two dudes you’d want to pick first for size in a street game.  This game is very low as far as bubble watch is concerned, because each is a 2-6 seed caliber tournament team regardless of outcome.

Vanderbilt at (14) Purdue (-6)
Bubble Magnifier Metric: 🔍🔍🔍
Prediction: Purdue 71, Vanderbilt 60
DFS Play: Isaac Haas

Synopsis:

I’ll wait until I see the final score before I say “I feel sorry” for Vanderbilt going without center Luke Kornett.  Purdue has two giants in the middle.  I am not talking about Odell Beckham Junior giants, but more like Andre the Giant giants.  Hammons and Haas should be pretty angry after a loss to Xavier.  I think Vanderbilt was exposed for some offensive lack of creativity in its Dayton loss and can’t help but predict a similar out-toughness against a very strong Purdue team.  There’s a moderate bubble alert on for Vanderbilt, because, on the heels of that Dayton loss, they have some making up to do.  Aside from Kentucky and Texas A&M, the SEC won’t have many teams to topple in order to punch a ticket to March Madness.  Even LSU has proven in this non-conference that it could be a bubble team.  Vanderbilt could boost its stock greatly with a surprise win tonight.

California at (5) Virginia (-15)
Bubble Magnifier Metric: 🔍🔍🔍🔍
Prediction:  UVA 58, Cal 54
DFS Play:  Ivan Rabb

Synopsis:

This game is an interesting clash of conflicting character.  Virginia has the old-man game.  They’ll lock you down on defense with solid team principles and the fact that they’ve played together for 2, 3, 4 years collectively.  California is the McDonald’s All-American squad.  They have a kid like Ivan Rabb who nets comparisons to Kevin Garnett, but haven’t yet found a true identity on either side of the floor.  However, they have the talent to shock Virginia in this spot.  And, it would stamp their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.  We know the way national analysts salivated over Cal’s talent in the preseason, ranking them in the top 25, and the NCAA wouldn’t let that hype train circumvent mid-March.  Back to basketball.  Virginia does not have a true “rim protector,” so if freshmen Rabb and Jaylen Brown attack the way they’re capable of, this could get interesting.  Expect a low scoring game regardless.  That’s what Virginia does.  Especially at home.

(2) Kansas at San Diego State (-7)
Bubble Magnifier Metric: 🔍
Prediction:  Kansas 72, San Diego State 60
DFS Play:  Jamari Traylor

Synopsis:

Kansas has revenge on its mind.  San Diego State came into Allen Fieldhouse two seasons ago and beat the Jayhawks.  Now, with some wacky things going on with the Aztecs, elder statesmen like Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Frank Mason III can return the favor.  Wayne Selden Jr., who also played in that January 2014 upset, has been playing out of his mind this year.  He has become the small forward that NBA scouts expected coming to Lawrence as a high school All-American.  San Diego State’s expected offensive leaders this season, Winston Shepherd and Malik Pope, just played a combined 30 minutes in a shocking loss to Grand Canyon in the Aztecs last game.  The Bubble-barometer is at a level one for this game.  That’s because the Aztecs haven’t played like a tournament team and I doubt this will be the game that changes that.  Neophytes Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo have been getting P.T. in a process coach Bill Self hopes is another Final 4 run.  But expect the Jamari Traylors of the roster, the guys who can expect and benefit from the San Diego State post double-team, to run wild.

 

Suspect Spreads Saturday 2015-16 Record

It’s an uphill battle for College Basketball Eye Test to match its win percentage of 60% last season.  Look for our picks against the spread before Saturday’s action with the hashtag #SuspectSpreadsSaturday.

We went 5-0 at last attempt to improve to 9-12 overall.  Here’s an archive of the picks, starting with the most recent.

 

2-3, 4-12 Overall

2-4, 2-9 Overall

0-5 ROUGH START!

Hilton Magic Continues

The Cyclones saw a storm come through its arena Thursday night.

Jarrod Uthoff, the one-time Wisconsin Badger, had his national coming out party as he looked like Dirk Nowitzi in the first half.

Iowa led 49-35 at halftime and maintained as large as a 20 point lead.

The Cyclones would, however, generate the final storm.

College Basketball Eye Test reminded folks at halftime about this Iowa State team’s historic (tied for largest ever) comeback against Oklahoma last season at the Hilton Coliseum.

Uthoff scored just two points in the second half after a 30 point explosion in the first.  Iowa still shot 52% from the field, but Uthoff missed six shots.

A last-moment bucket by Monte Morris capped off an 83-82 comeback victory for Iowa State.  It was a feather-in-the-cap effort that proved Steve Prohm’s Cyclones squad can defend as well as “just outscore” its opponent.

 

Dayton Did Not “Upset” Vanderbilt

Don’t call it a comeback.

Dayton has been here for years.

Don’t call it an upset, either.

Dayton’s one blemish on its record this season is a 29 point loss to Xavier.  Let’s not overreact about that loss and now call Dayton’s win against Vanderbilt “an upset.”

Xavier is currently the 12th ranked team by the Associated Press and Ken Pomeroy’s 11th ranked squad.  Loss forgiven.

Tonight Dayton completely muted the projected 11th overall pick in next Spring’s NBA Draft, Damian Jones.  Dayton’s guards flew down into the paint to grab defensive rebounds late to seal victory.

Dayton rallied from down 16 to beat Vandy in their house.

Forward Kendall Pollard knocked down a late possession 3 pointer, a rare shot for him, to land the knockout punch.  Pollard scored 21 points in addition to epitomizing Dayton’s grit with that shot.

Freshman center Steve McElvene also prospered with the absence of Vanderbilt big man, Luke Kornett.  He registered 10 and 9.

Devin Oliver, who played on Dayton’s 2014 Elite 8 team, enjoyed the victory while overseas.  He is now playing professionally in Israel, according to his Twitter bio.

The prognosticators are also prognosticating.  People “in the know” know that this could be a bubble-avoiding win for more Archie Madness.

Eye Test Tuesday: A Buffet of Tourney-Worthy Teams

A bevy of basketball’s finest teams appear on ESPN Networks tonight.  Not only are top 10 ranked squads appearing in national primetime, but also teams that will straddle that top 25 line throughout this season.  Those teams—Miami, UCONN and Michigan—may prove to be the most dangerous as their mixture of youth and newcomers congeal early Spring.

Here’s your timetable:

6 p.m. Virginia vs. West Virginia on ESPN
6 p.m. Colgate at Syracuse on ESPNU
6 p.m. Florida at Miami on ESPN2
8 p.m. UCONN at Maryland on ESPN
8 p.m.  Stony Brook at Notre Dame on ESPNU
8 p.m. Michigan at SMU on ESPN2

Vote for the best team, according to YOUR eye test:

Michigan State Basketball Reacts to Football Championship

As the Twitterverse was buzzing over LJ Scott’s second effort, so were the Michigan State basketball players.

Of course, head basketball coach Tom Izzo was in the house:

Freshman Deyonta Davis was quick to tweet after the Spartans’ Big 10 Championship:

 

Junior Guard Alvin Ellis also went with the go-to Dave Chappelle GIF to illustrate his thoughts to non-Sparty fans:

Ellis retweeted that, plus a dip from Sparty himself:

 

 

 

“Cheick Please” Is Coined

Cheick Diallo was as advertised.  Against Loyolla in his collegiate premiere, Diallo seemed to play angry while still under control.  He played often with the 1’s in the first half.  His first bucket as  Jayhawk came on a dunk assisted by Wayne Seldon in the second half.

Matty D Media 1

While Cheick dominated the second half, suspended player Brannon Greene had the look of, “check please.”  This photo is not a troll-job, or a random “gotcha” moment.   This is how Brannon Greene’s posture looked the majority of the second half.  Click here to read the background, courtesy The Kansas City Star.

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Cheick did it.  He put on a show.  He played with fellow freshmen Carlton Bragg Jr. and Lagerald Vick as if he were the elder-statesman.  Tuesday night he motioned with one finger to the sky, like “throw that up to me.”  His teammates clearly responded by continuously looking for him in the post.  Cheick even put his palm to the back of his neck while taking off from just below the free throw line.  Enjoy.
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