Games to Watch
December 3, 2012
By David Schwab
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The men's college basketball season is underway and so far Indiana remains the best team in the land with a 6-0 start. Right on the Hoosiers' tail are teams such as Duke, Michigan, and Ohio State, which are also off to a perfect start. All-in-all, there are a number of quality teams out there that promise to make this season another exciting race to a national title.
The following is a brief look at the top matchups for each day this week along with a few facts and figures to help handicap the games.
Monday, Dec. 3 - Eastern Michigan vs. No. 6 Syracuse
Eastern Michigan is off to a solid 5-1 straight-up start and it has covered against the spread in two of its first three games with a posted line. The Eagles biggest victory so far was a 61-54 road win over Jacksonville State as 8 ½-point underdogs on November 11. They are averaging 62 points a game and shooting 42.7 percent from the field.
Syracuse has worked itself to No. 6 in the last AP poll after starting the season ranked No. 9. It is off to a perfect 5-0 SU start and is 3-0 ATS. The Orange are coming off a 91-82 victory over Arkansas as 8 ½-point road favorites as part of last week's Big East/SEC challenge. James Southerland and Brandon Triche have provided the bulk of the scoring so far with a combined 34.8 points a game.
Tuesday, Dec. 4 - No. 18 North Carolina State vs. Connecticut
North Carolina State comes into this year's Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden with two losses in its last three games. Overall, the Wolfpack are 4-2 SU and 3-2 ATS with the total going OVER in two of their last three games. This past Tuesday, NC State fell to No. 3 Michigan 79-72 as a 5 ½-point road underdog.
The Huskies have jumped out to a 6-1 SU Start but they have only covered in one of their first four games with a posted line. They opened the season with an impressive 66-62 victory over then-No. 14 Michigan State as eight-point underdogs. The Huskies are averaging 70.4 points a game but struggling under the boards with just 32.3 rebounds a game.
Wednesday, Dec. 5 - No. 7 Florida vs. Florida State
Florida has moved up the polls with a perfect 6-0 SU start that includes victories over Wisconsin, Central Florida and most recently an 82-49 romp over Marquette this past Thursday as a 10 ½-point home favorite. The Gators are now 3-1 ATS on the year. Kenny Boynton leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points a game while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor.
Florida State fell to 4-3 SU on the year with back-to-back losses to No.21 Minnesota as a three-point home favorite and to Mercer in a game that had no posted line. It is 3-2 ATS and the total has gone OVER in all four of its games with a posted line. As a team, the Seminoles are shooting 47.6 percent from the field and averaging 75.1 points a game.
Thursday, Dec. 6 - No. 11 Creighton vs. Nebraska
Creighton moved all the way to No. 11 in last AP poll, but could tumble a bit after losing to Boise State this past Wednesday 83-70 as a 13-point home favorite. The Bluejays bounced back with an 80-51 rout of St. Josephs as six-point home favorites on Saturday to improve to 7-1 SU and 5-1 ATS. They are ranked 12th in the nation in scoring with an average of 82.6 points a game.
Nebraska starts this week off with a Monday night tilt against USC as a two-point underdog at home. The Cornhuskers are currently 5-1 SU and 3-2 ATS with the total going OVER in two of its first three games with a posted line. They are only averaging 65.2 points a game but shooting a respectable 46 percent from the floor.
Friday, Dec. 7 - VCU vs. Old Dominion
VCU made the switch to the Atlantic 10 this season but face an old familiar Colonial Athletic Association foe in this matchup. The Rams come in at 5-3 SU and 2-3 ATS after beating Belmont 75-65 this past Saturday as 7 ½-point home favorites. They are 1-2 SU against ranked opponents this season with a win over then-No. 19 Memphis followed by losses to No. 2 Duke and No. 16 Missouri.
It has been a rough start for the Monarchs with just one SU win in their first seven games. This past Saturday, they lost to William & Mary 71-62 as three-point road underdogs in their CAA season opener. Old Dominion is ranked in the bottom third of the nation in shooting percentage (40.6) and points per game (63.9).
Saturday, Dec. 8 - No. 2 Duke vs. Temple
Duke ran its record to a perfect 8-0 SU with an 88-50 victory over Delaware this past Saturday as a 20-point home favorite. The Blue Devils are 5-3 ATS and the total has gone OVER in four of their last six games with a posted total line. Mason Plumlee remains the team's leading scorer with an average of 19.6 points while also leading in rebounds with 11 a game.
Temple remained perfect on the year with a 70-62 victory over Wagner this past Saturday. There was no posted line on that game, but the Owls are 2-2 ATS this season. Before facing Duke this Saturday, they will put their 5-0 SU record on the line in a Wednesday night matchup against Villanova. Scootie Randall has been the top Owl so far with an average of 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game.