January 16, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Since Dec. 13, Brian Edwards is on a 35-25-1 run (58.3%, +8.4 units) in college hoops. Brian’s guaranteed plays have cashed at a 20-10 clip (66.7%, +9.26 Units) since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Arkansas at Florida**
-- Florida (12-5 straight up, 8-8 against the spread) is in a tie with Kentucky for second place in the SEC standings, with both teams one-half game behind first-place Auburn and its 4-0 record in league play. The Gators fell to 4-1 in SEC action and saw their six-game winning streak snapped in Saturday’s 78-72 loss at Ole Miss as five-point road ‘chalk.’ Keith Stone scored a team-best 23 points and had five rebounds in the losing effort. Egor Koulechov had 11 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and three assists without a turnover, and Jalen Hudson scored 11 points before fouling out after only 19 minutes of playing time.
-- Most books opened UF as a six-point favorite late Tuesday afternoon.
-- Mike White’s squad is 7-2 SU and 3-5 ATS at home. UF is 1-2 ATS with one outright defeat (vs. FSU) in three games as a single-digit home favorite.
-- Stone is playing the best basketball of his collegiate career. The third-year sophomore had a one-on-one meeting with White two weeks ago and since then, he’s exploded. Stone scored in double figures only once in Florida’s first 13 games, but he’s been in double figures in four straight outings. During this four-game stretch, Stone has become much more aggressive offensively. He’s averaging 16.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during this span, and he attempted 18 of UF’s 22 free throws in Oxford.
-- While Stone is blossoming, junior guard KeVaughn Allen is in a miserable slump. The former Gatorade Player of the Year as a prep senior in Little Rock, Arkansas, has been held to seven points or fewer in four consecutive games and has only scored in double figures three times during the past 10 contests. His averages in scoring (10.3 points per game), field-goal percentage (34.9%) and 3-point accuracy (29.1%) are career-low numbers.
-- According to long-time UF beat writer Chris Harry of floridagators.com, the Gators lead the SEC in turnover margin (+4.9) and 3-pointers per game (tied with Missouri with 9.6). They’re second in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.4) and third in scoring (81.6 points per game), free-throw percentage (76.4%) and 3-point accuracy (39.0%).
-- Florida is No. 30 at KenPom.com and No. 39 in the RPI Rankings. The Gators are 3-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 6-5 versus the Top 100. They own neutral-court wins over Cincinnati, Stanford and Gonzaga, in addition to wins at Texas A&M and at Missouri. UF also has a home victory over Mississippi State.
-- Hudson, who sat out last year after transferring from Va. Tech, is averaging a team-high 16.2 PPG while shooting 42.0 percent from 3-point land. Koulechov, a grad transfer from Rice who starter his career at Arizona State, is averaging 15.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. ‘3-Gor’ is making 93.9 percent of his FTs and 41.6 percent of his treys.
-- Arkansas (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS) is winless both SU and ATS in three road assignments. The Razorbacks are 2-3 in SEC play, joining eight conference teams in the middle of the standings with records of 3-2, 2-2 or 2-3.
-- Arkansas snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday’s 65-63 non-covering win over Missouri as a 4.5-point home favorite. Daniel Gafford’s 15 points led a balanced offensive attack with four players in double figures.
-- Arkansas has failed to cover the spread in five consecutive games (and the fade Arkansas-‘under’ combo has been a parlay winner in four straight).
-- Mike Anderson, the former top assistant to Nolan Richardson during the glory years of the storied program, left Arkansas late in Richardson’s iconic tenure to be the head coach at UAB before landing at Missouri and taking the Tigers to an Elite Eight. Anderson came back to Fayetteville in 2011 and is now in his seventh season as the head coach. Anderson owns a 140-79 record with only a pair of NCAA Tournament bids in 2015 and ’17.
-- Arkansas is No. 33 at KenPom.com and No. 19 in the RPI thanks to a 3-2 record against the Top 50 and a 5-6 mark versus the Top 100. The Razorbacks’ have a marquee neutral-court scalp of Oklahoma (#6 RPI), in addition to home wins over Tennessee, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado State and Fresno State.
-- With another hat tip to Harry here, Arkansas hasn’t tasted victory in Gainesville since Feb. 28 of 1995. Corliss Williamson had 20 points and eight rebounds in that victory for a team that was on its way to a second straight appearance in the national championship game. The Razorbacks would lose that one to UCLA, which was sparked by true freshman Cameron Dollar out of Atlanta Douglas High School. Dollar, who I played against at camps (and was absolutely destroyed by – seriously, nobody ever made me feel like less of a basketball player than Cam Dollar) in the early 1990s and who’s the son of the former Douglas HS head coach, was subbing for the injured Tyus Edney, who had hit a buzzer beater to clip Missouri after going the length of the court off the dribble in the Round of 32. Of course, the Hogs had won the national title the year before on Scotty Thurman’s late 3-ball to beat Duke, which had rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to beat Florida in its first Final Four appearance in Charlotte. (I remember…because I was there.)
-- Florida currently has 25/1 odds to win the national title at Sportsbook.ag. Arkansas is at 150/1.
-- Florida has won seven straight games in this rivalry, 12 of the last 13 and is a remarkable 18-3 in 21 head-to-head meetings dating back to 2003. (Yes, Nolan has been gone that long. I remember in the 1990s when UF went to the old Barnhill Arena or Bud Walton, I’d be thankful if the Gators got out of there without losing by 20-plus points.). White is 4-0 against the Razorbacks.
-- The ‘over’ is 8-7 overall for UF, but the ‘under’ is on a 7-3 run in its past 10 games. The ‘under’ is also 4-3 in the Gators’ home contests.
-- Totals have been an overall wash for the Hogs (8-8), but the ‘under’ is 3-0 in their road contests. The ‘under’ is also on a 4-0 run for Arkansas regardless of the venue.
-- Tip-off on ESPN2 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Seton Hall at Creighton**
-- Seton Hall is in a first-place tie with Villanova atop the Big East rankings, as both schools share 4-1 marks in conference action. Creighton is in a three-way tie for second place with a 4-2 record in Big East play.
-- As of early Tuesday night, most spots had Creighton (14-4 SU, 10-7 ATS) listed as a five-point ‘chalk.’
-- Creighton had its four-game winning streak snapped Saturday in a 92-70 loss at Xavier. The Bluejays, who were 3.5-point road underdogs, caught the Musketeers in a foul mood after they had taken woodshed treatment at top-ranked Villanova earlier in the week. Marcus Foster scored a team-high 16 points in the losing effort, draining 3-of-6 launches from 3-point range. Mtichell Ballock also had 16 points and made 4-of-8 attempts from long distance. Ronnie Harrell Jr. had 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
-- Foster is averaging a team-best 18.8 PPG while shooting at a 43.6 clip from downtown. Khyri Thomas is averaging 14.2 PPG with a 55/31 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Martin Krampelj is averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
-- Greg McDermott’s squad is unbeaten in 11 home games with a 7-3 spread record. The Bluejays have been single-digit home favorites three times, producing a 3-0 spread record.
-- Creighton is No. 23 at KenPom.com and No. 27 in the RPI. The Bluejays are 3-2 versus the Top 50 and 5-4 against the Top 100. They have home wins over Providence, Butler, Nebraska and St. John’s, in addition to a neutral-court victory over UCLA. The four defeats have come at Seton Hall, at Xavier, at Gonzaga and vs. Baylor on a neutral court.
-- Seton Hall (15-3 SU, 9-9 ATS) is No. 19 in the latest Associated Press’s Top 25, No. 28 at KenPom and No. 12 in the RPI. Kevin Willard’s club is 4-2 against the RPI Top 50 and 6-2 versus the Top 100. The Pirates have home wins over St. John’s, Indiana, and Creighton, in addition to road scalps at Louisville and at Butler. They also have neutral-court triumphs over Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. Their losses are at Marquette, at Rutgers and vs. Rhode Island on a neutral floor.
-- Seton Hall is 2-2 both SU and ATS in four road assignments this year.
-- Seton Hall has won four of the past five head-to-head meetings with Creighton both SU and ATS, including a 90-84 victory as a 5.5-point home favorite on Dec. 28. The 174 combined points went ‘over’ the 167-point tally to make it four straight ‘overs’ in this rivalry. Desi Rodriguez produced 23 points, five steals and four rebounds, while Angel Delgado finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell added 18 and 17 points, respectively. In the losing effort, Krampelj had 23 points and 10 boards.
-- Seton Hall has won six of its past seven games, but it is in a 3-5 ATS slump. The Pirates bounced back from a blowout loss at Marquette to beat Georgetown 74-61 as 12.5-point home favorites this past Saturday. Rodriguez hit all three of his trey attempts en route to a 19-point effort, while Powell also had 19 points to go along with six steals, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Delgado finished with 11 points, 13 boards, five assists and two rejections.
-- Rodriguez is averaging team-highs in scoring (18.2 PPG), FG percentage (49.8%) and steals (1.3 SPG). Delgado is averaging a double-double with averages of 14.2 points and 11.7 RPG. He’s also a willing passer for a center who has dished out 58 assists. Powell and Carrington are also both averaging 14.2 PPG apiece.
-- Seton Hall has won outright in a pair of underdog situations with wins at Louisville and at Butler.
-- The ‘over’ is 9-8 overall for the Bluejays, 5-5 in their home games. However, the ‘under’ has been a winner in five consecutive Creighton games.
-- The ‘over’ is 10-7 overall for the Pirates, 2-2 in their road outings. The ‘under’ has hit in back-to-back games and three of their last four.
-- Fox Sports 1 will have the telecast at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Georgia had dropped back-to-back games and was staring at a three-game losing streak and a 2-4 record in SEC play when it trailed by double digits at intermission in Baton Rouge last night. But senior power forward Yante Maten wasn’t having it. His short jumper in the paint with five seconds remaining lifted UGA to a 61-60 victory at LSU as a 5.5-point road underdog. The Bulldogs hooked up money-line supporters with a +195 payout. Maten finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Juwan Parker contributed nine points and eight boards. Mark Fox’s team used a 20-7 run to start the second half. UGA is now 12-5 overall and 3-3 in league play. The Bulldogs, who are No. 41 in the RPI Rankings with 6-3 record against the Top 100, will be well rested for Saturday’s trip to Auburn and a 6:00 p.m. Eastern tip.
-- Speaking of Auburn, it was a 2.5-point favorite late this morning for tonight’s rivalry game against Alabama at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers are No. 5 in the RPI Rankings, while the Crimson Tide is at No. 36 after posting back-to-back wins vs. South Carolina and at LSU. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
-- Tennessee is 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS on the road. The Volunteers are 1.5-point underdogs tonight at Missouri. The Tigers are 8-1 SU and 4-4 ATS at home.
-- SMU is 0-3 both SU and ATS on the road going into tonight’s game at Wichita State. The Shockers have won outright in eight of their nine home games, but they’re only 3-4 ATS. Gregg Marshall’s team was listed as an 8.5-point home favorite late this morning. ESPNU will have the broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
-- Chris Mack’s Xavier squad is undefeated in 12 home games with a 9-3 spread record. The Musketeers host St. John’s tonight at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network. They were 11.5-point home favorites late this morning. The Red Storm is 2-0 ATS in a pair of true road assignments.
-- Ohio State is a 3.5-point favorite tonight at Northwestern. The Buckeyes are 3-0 both SU and ATS on the road this year. The Wildcats are 9-2 SU and 4-4 ATS at home. This game tips at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.
-- Vanderbilt is now 1-14 ATS after getting smashed 80-62 as a five-point underdog at Mississippi State last night. Matthew Fisher-Davis (11.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG) didn’t play due to a shoulder injury. Aric Holman paced the Bulldogs with 18 points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists without a turnover. Ben Howland’s club improved to 13-1 SU at home inside The Hump. I had Mississippi State for a winner but the 142 combined points slithered ‘over’ the 140-point total. Therefore, I went 1-1 for the game (2-2-1 for the night, although I did cash my ‘guarantee’ with the LSU-UGA thunder ‘under’ (121 combined, total closed at 139.5)) because I was on Vandy-MSU ‘under.’ With 1:35 left, MSU was up 75-58 for 133 combined, but Vandy’s Ejike Obinna made a short jumper and then MSU’s Xavian Stapleton buried a trey with to make it 78-60 with 1:00 remaining. MSU’s Abdul Ado made bets on the total a push with a dunk at the 40-second mark. Then with 25 ticks left, the game went ‘over’ on an Obinna dunk for the Commodores. MSU is now No. 41 in the RPI Rankings and Vandy is the only SEC team that’s already seen its postseason hopes dashed (check that, and here lies the beauty of college basketball, everybody except for those that don’t finish in the top four of the Ivy League standings, gets new life at the conference tourneys!).
-- After last night’s 87-79 loss at UNC, Clemson still hasn’t won in Chapel Hill since 1929. The Tigers have lost 59 consecutive road games to the Tar Heels, who covered the closing number as 7.5-point home favorites.
-- Last Call: Arizona State at Stanford on the Pac-12 Network at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Fresno State at San Diego State on ESPNU at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. ASU was favored by four late this morning, while the Aztecs were 7.5-point ‘chalk.’ San Diego State is 7-1 SU and 5-1 ATS at home, while the Bulldogs are 3-3 both SU and ATS on the road. The Aztecs have covered in four straight games and seven of their past nine.
-- Check out the list of televised games for tonight right here.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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