January 23, 2018
By Brian Edwards
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**Temple at Cincinnati**
-- As of early Tuesday night, most betting shops had Cincinnati (17-2 straight up, 8-7-1 against the spread) listed as a 13.5-point favorite.
-- Cincinnati is atop the American Athletic Conference standings with its 6-0 record in league play. Houston and Wichita St. are in a second-place tie in the conference, two games back of the Bearcats. Temple is in 10th place with a 2-5 mark in AAC action.
-- Mick Cronin’s team is unbeaten in 10 home games with a 4-3 spread record. Since losing to Florida 66-60 at Barclays Arena in Brooklyn on Dec. 9, UC has won 10 consecutive games while going 5-3-1 ATS in its nine lined affairs.
-- Cincinnati is off an 86-60 win Saturday over East Carolina, but it failed to cover the enormous 28.5-point spread at BB&T Arena. The 146 combined points soared ‘over’ the 128-point total. Kyle Washington had 17 points and three blocked shots for the winners, while Jacob Evans added 17 points, two steals and two blocks. Gary Clark had a double-double with 14 points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks, while Jarron Cumberland contributed 14 points, four rebounds and three steals.
-- Cincinnati is ranked ninth in the Associated Press’s Top 25 this week and is No. 25 in the latest updated RPI Rankings. The Bearcats are 2-2 versus the RPI Top 50 and 8-2 against the Top 100. UC’s only other loss besides vs. UF came in an 89-76 loss at Xavier (RPI #3) back on Dec. 2. Cronin’s team has wins at Temple, at UCLA and at UCF, in addition to neutral-court triumphs over Buffalo and Wyoming. The Bearcats also have home wins over Mississippi St., SMU and Memphis.
-- Evans leads UC in scoring (13.9 points per game) and assists (3.4 APG), while Clark (12.8 PPG) paces the team in rebounding (9.1 RPG), steals (1.5 SPG) and blocks (1.3 BPG). Washington (11.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG) is hitting 52.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 40.0 percent of his 3-pointers. Cumberland (10.8 PPG) is also scoring in double figures.
-- UC is ranked second in the nation in scoring defense (57.4 PPG) and third in FG percentage defense (36.9%).
-- Temple (10-9 SU, 8-10-1 ATS) is 2-5 SU and 3-4 ATS on the road. The Owls endured a five-game losing streak, including four losses to start AAC play, but they’ve answered with three wins in their last four games.
-- Fran Dunphy’s club won a 60-51 decision Saturday over his old school, Penn. Temple took the cash as a 1.5-point road favorite, while the 111 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 139-point total. Obi Enechionyia led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Shizz Alston Jr. contributed 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. The Owls knocked down 7-of-16 attempts from 3-point range (43.8%).
-- Quinton Rose leads Temple in scoring (14.4 PPG), FG percentage (44.7%) and steals (1.8 SPG). Alston (13.3 PPG) is making 40.6 percent of his 3-balls and 92.3 percent of his free throws, while Enechionyia (11.7 PPG) is pacing the Owls in rebounding (7.0 RPG) and blocks (1.7 BPG).
-- Temple is No. 45 in the RPI thanks to Top-10 wins over Auburn (88-74) and Clemson (67-60) on a neutral floor. The Owls are 2-4 versus the Top 50 and 5-7 against the Top 100. They have a win at SMU and two more neutral-court scalps of South Carolina and Old Dominion.
-- When these team met in Philadelphia on Jan. 4, UC captured a 55-53 win but failed to cover the spread as a 7.5-point road ‘chalk.’ The 108 combined points went ‘under’ the 137-point tally. Despite dealing with foul trouble that limited him to only 22 minutes of playing time, Washington led UC with 18 points, six rebounds and one blocked shot. Evans added 14 points, six boards, four assists and three steals, while Clark was also in double figures with 10 points. Enechionyia finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
-- UC has won three in a row over Temple by margins of two, seven and six points. However, the Owls won outright in the three previous meetings and are 5-0-1 ATS in the past six encounters. The ‘over’ is on a 6-2 run in this rivalry.
-- The ‘under’ is 10-6-1 overall for UC, but the ‘over’ is 4-3 in its home games. The ‘over’ is on a 3-1 run for the Bearcats, who have seen their first four totals of the season in the 120s in the past four contests.
-- The ‘under’ is 10-9-1 overall for the Owls, 4-3 in their road contests. The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run for Temple in its past seven outings.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network.
**Nevada at Wyoming**
-- As of early Tuesday night, most spots had Nevada (18-3 SU, 11-7-2 ATS) installed as a 5.5-point favorite.
-- Nevada is alone in first place in the Mountain West Conference with its 7-0 record. The Wolf Pack are 1.5 games ahead of Boise State after pushing past BSU 74-68 as a six-point home favorite late Saturday night in Reno. This was a brutal loss for me and some other Boise State backers (I posted my BSU play at +5.5 early Saturday before the line moved to six – and even got to 6.5 at a few spots), as Nevada’s Jordan Caroline hit a pair of FTs with four seconds left. One second earlier, BSU’s Zach Haney made only one of two attempts at the charity stripe. BSU had the ball down only two with 35 seconds remaining when Chandler Hutchison missed a 3-pointer. Down three with 16 ticks left, BSU’s Alex Hobbs committed a turnover.
-- Caleb Martin scored a game-high 28 points against the Broncos, who got a team-best 27 points out of Hutchison. Caroline finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Kendall Stephens added 11 points. Cody Martin, who was nursing an Achilles injury that kept him out of last week’s win at San Jose St. (on a miracle cover that made SVP’s Bad Beats section for Spartans’ backers), was able to give 21 minutes of effort from off the bench. Martin finished with four points, three rebounds, three steals, two blocks and three assists without a turnover before fouling out.
-- Eric Musselman’s squad is 7-1 SU and 5-2 ATS on the road. The lone outright defeat came at Texas Tech in overtime when the Red Raiders miraculously covered as 5.5-point home favorites in an 82-76 victory.
-- Nevada is ranked 23rd in the latest AP poll and 14th in the RPI. The Wolf Pack is 2-2 versus the RPI Top 50 and 5-2 against the Top 100. They have home wins over Rhode Island, BSU, Illinois State, UC Davis and Wyoming.
-- Since a neutral-court loss to San Francisco, Nevada has won seven in a row with five of the wins coming by double-digit margins.
-- Caleb Martin’s 19.7 PPG average leads Nevada. He’s shooting at a 46.0 percent clip from 3-point range and also averages 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Meanwhile, his brother Cody Martin (12.8 PPG), another transfer from N.C. St., paces the Wolf Pack in FG percentage (52.7%), steals (1.7 SPG) and blocks (1.6 BPG). Caroline averages 16.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while Stephens (12.8 PPG) is draining 44.8 percent of his 3’s and 89.3 percent of his FTs. Lindsey Drew (7.2 PPG, 1.1 SPG) has a stellar 92/33 assist-to-turnover ratio and also has 20 blocks.
-- Wyoming (12-7 SU, 8-9 ATS) is 9-2 SU and 4-5 ATS at home. This is the third game as a home underdog for Allen Edwards’s team. The Cowboys won outright in both previous such spots, beating San Diego State 82-69 as three-point ‘dogs and edging BSU 79-78 in overtime as one-point ‘dogs in a game they trailed by 16 at intermission.
-- Wyoming avoided a three-game losing streak after losses at New Mexico and vs. Colorado St. by winning 85-77 Saturday at Utah State. The Cowboys took the cash in the outright victory as three-point road underdogs. Alan Herndon was the catalyst with 21 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Hayden Dalton added 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Hunter Maldonado finished with 14 points before fouling out. Justin James contributed 11 points, nine boards and five assists compared to merely one turnover.
-- James is averaging 17.3 points and 6.2 RPG, while Dalton is averaging 17.2 points and 8.3 RPG. Herndon (12.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG) averages team-highs in FG percentage (49.4%) and blocks (2.3 BPG).
-- These MWC rivals met in Reno on Jan. 3 when Nevada won a 92-83 decision, but the Cowboys took the money as 12-point underdogs. The 175 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 155.5-point total. James had 30 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot before fouling out in the losing effort. All five Wolf Pack starters scored at least 13 points led by 22 points and 12 rebounds from Cody Martin. Caleb Martin finished with 19 points, five boards and two blocks, while Carolina added 18 points, 16 boards and four assists. Drew had 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
-- The ‘over’ is 11-9-2 overall for Nevada, 4-4 in its road assignments.
-- The ‘over’ is 10-7 overall for the Cowboys, 7-2 in their home games. The ‘over’ has cashed at a 10-2 clip in Wyoming’s past 12 contests.
-- ESPNU will have the telecast at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- When you make an ‘under’ wager, you always fear a late foul-fest and/or overtime(s). This happened for me last night with Arkansas at Georgia. The ‘under’ had cashed in seven straight for UGA and was 6-1 in games that had totals in the 140s for the Bulldogs. With the Razorbacks coming to Stegeman Coliseum, oddsmakers made the total 145. After 40 minutes, nothing was settled, including bets on the total. I was on the ‘under’ and with the game knotted at 63-63 (126 combined points), I was still in good shape. However, the game went to double overtime when UGA’s William ‘Turtle’ Jackson took a wild/stupid/impossible shot even though there was three seconds remaining, and he had time to penetrate further or dish the ball to a teammate. The first extra session ended in a 69-69 tie. The ‘over’ hit in the second OT and the Hogs picked up their first road win of the season in an 80-77 victory. I was on UGA -1.5 and ‘under’ 145, so it was Heartbreak Hotel for me in Athens last night. UGA has now lost four of its past five games.
-- Alabama saw its four-game winning streak both SU and ATS snapped in last night’s 78-66 loss at Ole Miss. The Rebels covered the spread as 2.5-point home ‘chalk,’ while the 144 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 149-point tally. After missing back-to-back games, Alabama’s leader in scoring and assists, freshman star Collin Sexton, return to the court from an abdominal injury. Sexton logged 20 minutes of playing time from off the bench, producing seven points, two rebounds and two assists without a turnover. However, he was an abysmal 2-of-13 from the field and 1-of-3 from 3-point range. Deandre Burnett paced Andy Kennedy’s team with a game-high 24 points thanks to 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 net splashers from 3-point land. Terence Davis added 15 points and nine rebounds for the winners.
-- South Carolina has won three of the past four head-to-head meetings with Florida both SU and ATS. I was at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 26 for the East Region finals between these SEC rivals. UF led by seven at intermission, but Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks to a 77-70 win by scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds. UF can exact a super-small measure of revenge tonight in Gainesville where it hosts Frank Martin’s squad as a 10.5-point favorite. The total was 139.5 this morning. The Gators are mired in a 2-6 ATS slump at home. They captured a 66-64 win Saturday night at Kentucky as two-point road underdogs. Jalen Hudson scored a team-best 17 points, while senior point guard Chris Chiozza produced 13 points, six rebounds and eight assists compared to only one turnover. Mike White’s team won at Rupp Arena for the first time since 2014 despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field, 20.0 percent from long distance and 64.0 percent from the FT line.
-- I found it beyond amusing that #BBN (Big Blue Nation/Kentucky fans) took to social media Saturday night in an uproar about the officiating. UK fans bitching about calls/non-calls in an SEC game at Rupp Arena? Funny! Anyway, it reminded me of the three UK-UF games in 2015, Billy Donovan’s last season. The officiating in these games was, well, let’s just point out the numbers and allow you to decide. In UK’s win at UF, the ‘Cats went 21-of-22 at the FT line while the Gators were 7-of-14 at the charity stripe. No harm there, especially since I vividly recall UF missing multiple front ends of one-and-one chances. However, in UK’s win at Rupp in the regular-season finale, UF made three of its only seven trips to the line. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats were 15-of-21 at the stripe. Then in the 2015 SEC Tournament, Florida went 3-of-5 at the FT line, while UK was 19-of-23. In the three games combined, UK shot 66 FTs compared to just 22 for the Gators. That’s easy math and makes BBN’s complaints Saturday night even more comical.
-- Rutgers is a two-point home favorite tonight vs. Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights are 12-5 SU and 7-2 ATS at home this year, while the Cornhuskers are 1-6 SU but 5-2 ATS on the road. Nebraska has been a money maker all season, compiling a 14-6 spread record. This game tips at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.
-- N.C. State is a 9.5-point road favorite tonight at Pittsburgh. The Wolfpack is winless both SU and ATS in three true road assignments. The Panthers, who are 8-12 SU and 8-7 ATS, own a 7-5 SU record and a 3-4 ATS mark at home this year. You think the Pitt faithful wish they would’ve shown Jamie Dixon a little more love a few years back?
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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