Gamblers have a pair of outstanding games to wager on for this week’s Big Monday doubleheader on ESPN. Syracuse and Marquette are going to the NCAA Tournament, but both teams could see their respective seeds slipping with another loss.
Kansas can’t afford another loss if it wants to see its name on the top line on Selection Sunday, while Iowa St. can basically cement its at-large case with a win over the Jayhawks. Let’s touch on these matchups and more.
**Syracuse at Marquette**
--As of early Sunday night, most books were listing this game as a pick ‘em with a total of 131.
--Despite playing in front of a record crowd at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse (22-5 straight up, 14-9 against the spread) couldn’t cool off Georgetown in a 57-46 loss as an eight-point home favorite Saturday. Otto Porter destroyed the Orange with a career-high 33-point effort. James Southerland and C.J. Fair scored 13 points apiece for the ‘Cuse.
--Marquette (19-7 SU, 11-11 ATS) is undefeated in 14 home games with a 5-5 spread record.
--Buzz Williams’s team had won six of its last eight games until Saturday’s 60-56 loss at Villanova as a two-point road underdog. Junior Cadougan was the only Marquette player in double figures with a team-high 12 points.
--Marquette (RPI of 17) is 5-5 against RPI Top 50 opponents and 8-6 versus Top 100 foes.
--Jim Boeheim’s club is 12th in the RPI Rankings, going 4-4 against the RPI Top 50 and 10-5 against the RPI Top 100.
--Marquette junior guard Vander Blue is averaging a team-high 14.7 points per game, but he was held to seven points in each of his team’s most recent losses at Villanova and at Georgetown. He made only 2-of-8 shots from the field in Saturday’s setback to the Wildcats.
--After missing seven games and more than a month due to eligibility concerns, Southerland has scored in double figures in all five games since returning. Brandon Triche is the Orange’s leading scorer, averaging 14.7 PPG. Fair scores at a 14.2 PPG clip and Southerland averages 13.8 PPG.
--These Big East rivals have split the last four head-to-head meetings, but Marquette has covered the spread in each of those encounters. The ‘under’ has cashed in the last three meetings.
--The ‘under’ is 11-10 overall for the ‘Cuse, but the ‘over’ is 5-3 in its eight true road assignments.
--The ‘under’ is on a 6-2 run in Marquette’s last eight games. However, the ‘over’ is 11-10 overall for the Golden Eagles, 6-4 in their 10 home games with a total.
--Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Kansas at Iowa State**
--As of early Sunday night, most betting shops had Kansas (23-4 SU, 13-13 ATS) installed as a one-point road favorite with a total of 144.
--Iowa St. (19-8 SU, 12-10 ATS) is unbeaten in 15 home games, posting a profitable 7-3 spread record.
--Since suffering back-to-back road losses at Kansas St and at Texas, Fred Hoiberg’s squad has won three in a row both SU and ATS, including Saturday’s 88-66 win over Texas Tech as an 18-point home ‘chalk.’ Chris Babb and Will Clyburn scored 17 points apiece, while Melvin Ejim had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
--Bill Self’s team avenged an embarrassing loss at TCU a few weeks ago by demolishing the Horned Frogs by a 74-48 count as a 23-point home favorite. The Jayhawks raced out to a 38-9 lead at halftime. They were led by Jeff Withey’s 18 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
--Kansas is in a first-place tie with Kansas St. for the lead in the Big 12 standings. With identical 11-3 records, KU and K-St. lead third place Oklahoma St. by one game and have a two-game advantage over Iowa St. with its 9-5 league ledger.
--KU owns a 9-3 record against RPI Top 50 opponents and a 12-3 mark against the RPI Top 100. Meanwhile, Iowa St. (RPI: 51) has a 2-5 record against RPI Top 50 foes and is 5-6 versus the RPI Top 100.
--KU’s Withey leads the nation in blocked shots, averaging 5.2 rejections per game. Freshman Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring with a 16.2 points-per-game average.
--Clyburn is the Cyclones’ leading scorer, averaging 14.9 PPG.
--When these schools met in Lawrence on Jan. 9, Kansas won a 97-89 decision in overtime. However, Iowa St. took the cash an 11.5-point road underdog. McLemore led all scorers with 33 points, including an off-the-glass 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force the extra session. All five starters on both teams scored in double figures. Eijm produced 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists compared to only one turnover for the Cyclones.
--KU has watched the ‘under’ go 12-10-1 overall, 6-2 in its eight true road assignments.
--The ‘over’ has hit in nine consecutive games for the Cyclones, who have seen the ‘over’ go 15-3 overall, 8-1 in their nine home games with a total.
--The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these Big 12 rivals.
--ESPN will provide television coverage at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Most books are listing Villanova as four-point road favorite Monday night at Seton Hall. ESPNU will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
--Kansas St. is a 19.5-point home favorite vs. Texas Tech at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
--Georgia is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games after pulling out a miracle cover in Saturday’s 62-54 overtime win over South Carolina as a seven-point home favorite.
--Georgetown has won nine in a row and 11 of its last 12 both SU and ATS following Saturday’s win at Syracuse.
--With Sunday’s 62-41 loss at Notre Dame, Cincinnati has now lost three in a row and five of its last six. The Bearcats continue to throw up bricks galore and their lack of offense has allowed ‘under’ backers to cash tickets at a frenetic 18-4 overall pace for the season. Mick Cronin’s team had better tighten up soon.
--Poor Bill Carmody. His Northwestern squad has been absolutely decimated by injuries and the result has been three straight blowout losses, five straight defeats overall with each coming by double-digit margins (although the 10-point loss at Ohio St. was a much closer game than the final score indicated).
--San Francisco is tied with Virginia for the best ATS record in the nation with a 16-7-1 ATS mark. The Dons have covered in eight of their last 10 games and own an 8-1 spread record in their last nine games as underdogs.
--Florida St. has clearly quit on Leonard Hamilton this season. The Seminoles suffered another brutal loss Sunday, falling 80-70 at Va. Tech. I’m not even sure if Hamilton is on the hot seat but if I’m FSU, I go offer Butler’s Brad Stevens a king’s ransom to come be my next head coach. There’s no excuse for FSU not to have an elite basketball program. The ‘Noles are in the ACC, have the ‘FAMU recruiting tool’ which is essentially a guarantee that African-American players can enjoy a social life in Tallahassee like none that can be offered at any other school in America. Also, the off-campus arena allows for alcohol to be consumed at games. This is a huge drawing card for students to go to games. And the quality of ACC basketball has been extraordinarily diminished in recent years. But hey, I’m a GATOR so I’d just assume Bobby Bowden come out of retirement and Hamilton stick around for another decade.
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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