The College Basketball Eye Test blog went 65-53 against the spread in the 2018-2019 NCAA Basketball Season. Click here to see that season’s thread on Twitter.
The picks are made by me, Matty D, an avid college basketball fan with no ties to a specific team. I challenge my first-hand observations about teams by trying to beat the spread. Whether those picks are simply tweeted for pride, or cashed in at a sports book, it’s all in good fun. Below are my picks for an important mid-season Saturday.
Ohio State -1 at Penn State:
Early in the season, I loved the Buckeyes at 55-to-1 to win it all. Coach Chris Holtman is a proven coach and he has a well constructed roster. However, his decisions and that roster are at a breaking point right now. After reaching a #1 overall ranking earlier this season, Ohio State has lost 4 of its first five Big 10 games. Sandwiched in that losing streak was the absence of hustle player forward Kyle Young (appendix surgery). Holtmann suspended two players in recent days for conduct detrimental to the team. (Updated status for 11 a.m. EST Saturday: https://twitter.com/CBBEyeTest/status/1218558064598700032). I think today’s game against a much improved Penn State program can quite literally be a playoff seeding game that dictates whether a team will be slated as a 3/4 seed or a 6-10 seed come March. A 6 seed hasn’t reached the Final Four since the Fab Five in 1992. You don’t want to slip into that 6-10 seed lottery. I don’t think Ohio State is the #1 overall team as it was ranked earlier this season. But I also don’t believe they’re a 6-10 seed. They’ll respond today with whichever players are ready for battle and stop the bleeding.
Seton Hall -5 at St. John’s
Seton Hall is on a serious rise right now. With star scoring guard Myles Powell missing much of December with multiple injuries, the rest of the roster responded. They beat then top 10 ranked Maryland with a skeleton crew. Now Seton Hall is at full strength and brings in two waves of 7-plus-footers at center. Most of their roster is constructed of tristate guys, so playing in front of a feverish New York City fan base shouldn’t phase them. Although St. John’s has perhaps overachieved this season in taking on coach Mike Anderson’s 40 minutes of hell mantra, I’m taking Myles Powell and his now proven supporting cast minus the five points at St. John’s.
Read more about Seton Hall’s resurgence from SHU Pirates.com.
Clemson +7 at NC State
How is Clemson getting 7 points on the heels of its dramatic and sound victory over #1 ranked Duke this week? That’s the definition of a suspect spread! I won’t be scared by it. These are both effectively bubble teams in a bizzarely down year for the ACC. In reality, I don’t think either team will make the tournament. But, while each does think it has a shot, I am predicted a close game here. Clemson is now playing with house money in the national playoff picture, so I would hammer the +7 with a little fade on the money line today.
Each year, I also publish a top 5 best future values for the season. Here are the teams I predicted would be good values in the first week of November:
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