February 11, 2013
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Sportsbook.ag College Basketball Monday
MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES (17-5) at GEORGETOWN HOYAS (17-4)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Georgetown -4.5 & 122
No. 20 Georgetown will host No. 24 Marquette in a Big East tilt between two top-25 teams on Monday night.
Georgetown has been hot lately, winning five in a row SU and ATS. That streak began with two impressive wins against Notre Dame and Louisville. The Golden Eagles fell to Louisville by 19 points on the road to start the month of February, but have won their past two games comfortably, beating South Florida by 23 points and DePaul by 11 on Saturday. When these two schools met earlier in the year on Jan. 5, Marquette eked out a one-point win at home (49-48), though the Hoyas covered the three-point spread. That evened up the series at 6-6 SU (Marquette 7-5 ATS) since the Eagles joined the Big East. The Hoyas have been great in Big East play (7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS), winning four straight (SU and ATS) at home. The Golden Eagles have been nearly as good in conference action (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS), going 3-1 ATS (2-2 SU) on the road. Even though this figures to be another low scoring game, with Georgetown's slow pace of play and top-notch defense keeping opponents to 55.7 PPG, the Hoyas should be able to create enough separation to win this one at home. Otto Porter is in top form right now and should be able to perform better than his 5-for-13 FG performance against the Eagles last month. And home favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points revenging a road loss versus an opponent that is coming off a home win with 85+ points are 69-33 ATS (68%) over the past five seasons.
In an ugly game on Jan. 5, the Golden Eagles shot just 36.4% from the field (4-of-17 threes) in their win against the then-No. 15 Hoyas. Juniors SG Vander Blue (15.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG) and PF Davante Gardner (12.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG) both tied a team high with 12 points. Gardner is efficient on the floor, averaging those points in just 20.9 MPG thanks to a 57% FG clip and 86% FT rate. Blue has scored double-digit points in 12 consecutive games, as he and Gardner are the only two players who average double-digits for Marquette. But also key to the Eagles efforts is senior PG Junior Cadougan (9.0 PPG, 4.3 APG) who is coming off one of his best games in the year Saturday versus DePaul, in which he scored 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting, also adding six assists and five rebounds. He'll need to replicate that sort of effort to help break the Hoyas stingy defense.
Junior SG Markel Starks (12.2 PPG, 2.9 APG) led the Georgetown offense against Marquette, scoring 18 of the team's 48 points on 7-of-12 FG. He also had seven assists, giving him a hand in 14 of the Hoyas 18 made shots that game. Starks is coming off another strong effort Saturday at Rutgers, playing 40 minutes and scoring 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. He's been a top-notch shooter all season, hitting 42.7% from deep. Sophomore PF Otto Porter (15.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG) is the star of the offense and is also coming off a great game, tallying 19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. He's averaged 18.3 PPG during an eight-game, double-digit-scoring streak, and at 6-foot-8, he is a dangerous dual threat who is hitting 45.5% from three-point range this season. Junior F Nate Lubick (7.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG) also has the potential to be a key factor for the Hoyas, though he needs to recover from his last game in which he racked up five quick fouls and did not score while only playing 15 minutes. Lubick also failed to score in the loss at Marquette going 0-for-2 FG in 32 minutes of action. Sophomore F Mikael Hopkins (6.4 PPG) also has the potential to be an imposing force in the paint, averaging 1.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG. Hopkins is coming off a 14-point effort on 6-of-9 shooting in Saturday's win.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (17-5) at KANSAS JAYHAWKS (17-4)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Kansas -7.5 & 129
No. 5 Kansas tries to avoid its longest losing streak in 24 years when in-state rival No. 13 Kansas State pays a visit to Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night.
The Jayhawks ripped off 18 straight wins by an average of 16.1 PPG from Nov. 15 to Feb. 9, but Saturday's 72-66 setback at Oklahoma gave them three straight SU losses in February. KU was favored by an average of 10.7 points in those three defeats, and carries a four-game ATS losing skid as well. Kansas State won its fourth straight game on Saturday versus Iowa State, shooting 51.0% FG and prevailing 79-70. But the Wildcats rarely win this rivalry game, going 3-45 SU in the past 48 meetings between these schools, and dropping 17 of the past 18 trips to Lawrence. When these schools met on Jan. 22 in Manhattan, KSU shot just 35.1% FG in a 59-55 home loss. Since the Wildcats pulled off the shocker in Lawrence in 2006, the Jayhawks are a perfect 6-0 (SU and ATS) at home versus their rivals, beating them by 27, 14, 16, 17, 14 and 18 points last season. Kansas State is also 5-17 ATS (23%) versus good rebounding teams (4+ RPG margin) over the past two seasons, and Bill Self is a stellar 26-9 ATS (74%) as a home favorite of 6.5 to 12 points since taking the head coaching job at Kansas. Also, the revenge factor works against KSU, as teams revenging a loss in which they scored fewer than 60 points, are 4-25 ATS (14%) since 1997 when facing an opponent coming off back-to-back upset losses as a road favorite. The pick here is KANSAS to win and cover.
Kansas State has outscored opponents by 11.5 PPG during its four-game win streak, thanks to a blistering 41% clip from three-point range, but its offense still isn't great with 68.8 PPG (138th in nation) on 43.4% FG (162nd in D-I). The Wildcats do share the ball nicely though with 15.7 APG (29th in the nation), and play extremely tough defense, allowing a conference-low 58.3 PPG on 40.9% FG. Junior SG Rodney McGruder (15.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG) is the only KSU player that scores more than 10 points per game, and he has caught fire with 20.0 PPG on 13-of-24 FG (54%), 4-of-6 threes and 10-of-13 FT in his past two contests. He also had four steals in Saturday's win over Iowa State. But McGruder made just 4-of-12 shots (3-of-9 threes) in the Jan. 22 home loss to Kansas, and was 10-for-29 FG (34%) in last season's two losses to the Jayhawks. PG Angel Rodriguez (9.9 PPG, 4.7 APG) has done a great job driving to the hoop during the win streak and connecting on 17-of-18 FT. He's coming off a season-high 20 points in Saturday's victory, and ran the offense effectively against KU on Jan. 22 with eight assists and just two turnovers, while adding 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. Junior swingman Will Spradling (8.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.7 APG) is a valuable player, but he had just three points against Iowa State and was scoreless (0-for-5 FG, 0-for-5 threes) versus the Jayhawks last month. SG Shane Southwell (7.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG) is in a massive shooting slump in the past four games, making just 8-of-29 shots (28%) and 5-of-18 threes. But Southwell led all scorers with 19 points (5-of-11 threes) in the loss to Kansas last month, while adding a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore PF Thomas Gipson (7.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG) was in foul trouble against Kansas and played just 14 minutes in that defeat, but he has been outstanding during the current four-game win streak with 12.8 PPG (62% FG) and 5.8 RPG in just 22.8 MPG of action coming off the bench.
Kansas doesn't have a glaring weakness with 73.0 PPG (57th in nation) on 46.9% FG (34th in D-I) while grabbing 39.0 RPG (26th in D-I). Defensively, the Jayhawks hold teams to 60.5 PPG on 36.0% FG. But the offense has failed to reach 70 points in eight of the past nine games, and has shot just 38.6% FG during the three-game losing skid. Despite these numbers, freshman swingman Ben McLemore (16.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG) has 11 straight double-figure scoring games and has made 21-of-43 FG (49%) during the skid. He scored 11 points against KSU last month, but shot just seven times (4-of-7 FG). C Jeff Withey (13.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG) is a shot-blocking force, ranking third in the nation with 4.0 BPG this season. But he's also stepped up his offense with seven straight games of 11+ points and 7+ rebounds, averaging 12.9 PPG and 8.1 RPG during this stretch. This includes his double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) versus Kansas State on Jan. 22. SG Travis Releford (11.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG) scored a team-high 12 points in that victory, making 5-of-6 shots. And in last season's home win over KSU, he posted a double-double with 16 points (6-of-11 FG) and a career-high 11 rebounds. But Releford is a big reason why Kansas is slumping, averaging just 5.7 PPG on 5-of-13 FG during the three losses. In the shocking defeat at 17-point underdog TCU on Wednesday, he fouled out after scoring just one point (0-for-1 FG). Senior PG Elijah Johnson (9.3 PPG, 4.7 APG) has also been ice-cold during the losing skid, making just 9-of-37 FG (24%). He was also a subpar 3-of-10 FG with five turnovers against the Wildcats last month. Senior PF Kevin Young (7.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG) scored just three points -- his lowest total in 18 games -- in the win over KSU, but has played pretty well during the losing skid with 8.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG in just 18.7 MPG of action.