February 14, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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Friday nights are usually slow in college basketball, but thanks to the NBA All-Star weekend, the Big East showcases a solid matchup. Georgetown travels to Cincinnati for a key conference battle, one of nine games on the card. We'll also take a look at two other nationally televised contests, but start in the Queen City with two teams looking to improve their tournament resumes.
Georgetown at Cincinnati - 9:00 PM EST (ESPN)
The Hoyas (18-4 SU, 11-7 ATS) are the hottest team in the Big East right now with six consecutive wins, as Georgetown heads to Fifth Third Arena on Friday night. Cincinnati snapped a two-game skid with Tuesday's 68-50 blowout of Villanova as 7 ½-point home favorites, while improving to 7-5 in league play. The Bearcats (19-6 SU, 10-11 ATS) have cashed the 'under' in nine of the last 10 games, as Cincinnati's defense has limited seven of the previous nine opponents to 62 points or fewer.
Georgetown shot just 38% in Monday's 63-55 triumph over Marquette as five-point home 'chalk,' the eighth cover in the last nine games for John Thompson III's club. The Hoyas have covered four of five times in the underdog role this season, while winning outright against Louisville and Notre Dame. This is just the second road game since January 22 for the Hoyas, as Georgetown knocked off Rutgers last Saturday as 4 ½-point favorites, 69-63.
Cincinnati covered for just the second time in 11 home contests with the win over Villanova, as the Bearcats own a dreadful 0-5 ATS record the last five games off an ATS victory. Mick Cronin's squad has split six home conference games, while cashing the 'under' five times (the lone 'over' came in an overtime victory over Marquette). Five of Cincinnati's seven conference wins came against the bottom six teams in the Big East (Rutgers twice, Villanova, Seton Hall, and DePaul), but the Bearcats did beat the Hoyas twice last season in the underdog role.
Iona at Manhattan - 7:00 PM EST (ESPNU)
These two MAAC rivals are going in different directions at the moment, as the Jaspers go for their fourth straight win. Manhattan (9-15 SU, 12-10 ATS) drubbed Fairfield as a nine-point road 'dog in Tuesday's 62-40 rout, while improving to 7-2 ATS the last nine games. The Jaspers are stepping up their defense as well by cashing the 'under' in eight of the past nine contests, as Manhattan has allowed 54 points or less in five of the previous six games.
The Gaels (15-10 SU, 10-13 ATS) started MAAC play at 7-1, but Iona has gone backwards of late with losses in three of their last four trips to the court. A three-game skid was snapped in a 78-71 win over Rider last Saturday, but the Gaels failed to cash as 9 ½-point favorites (0-4 ATS last four games). Iona dropped its last two road contests at Niagara and Canisius by three points apiece, while owning an 0-3 ATS record as an away favorite in conference action.
Manhattan looks for revenge on Friday after falling at Iona, 78-70 in early January. The Jaspers cashed as 13-point 'dogs, despite blowing a six-point halftime lead and shooting 48% from the floor. Iona shot lights out from three-point range, knocking down 10-of-16 treys.
Green Bay at Cleveland State - 9:00 PM EST (ESPNU)
The Horizon League gets some national love on Friday as Green Bay attempts to capitalize off Saturday's home win over Detroit. The Phoenix (13-12 SU, 13-10 ATS) rallied past second-place Detroit, 68-59, while limiting the Titans to 40% shooting from field. Green Bay has now alternated wins and losses in each of its last seven games, as the Phoenix has lost outright in each of their last two opportunities in the favorite role (Illinois-Chicago and Wright State).
Cleveland State (12-14, 8-13-1 ATS) is going through a tough stretch in its schedule, losing to the top two teams in the Horizon over the last week (Valparaiso and Detroit). The loss to the Titans stung, as the Vikings fell by 30 points in the Motor City on Tuesday night, while Cleveland State got outrebounded, 44-23. The Vikings have won three of five home games in conference play, while posting a 3-1-1 ATS record (all in the underdog role).
The Phoenix dominated the Vikings in the first meeting of the season, 77-50 in mid-January at Green Bay as 8 ½-point favorites. Cleveland State allowed Green Bay to shoot nearly 55% from the field, but the Phoenix heads to northern Ohio trying to snap a four-game road skid in the series.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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