January 31, 2018
By Brian Edwards
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**Louisville at Virginia**
-- Virginia (20-1 straight up, 14-4 against the spread) falls into a letdown scenario tonight when it hosts Louisville. I say that because UVA is off a thrilling 65-63 win at Duke as a 3.5-point road underdog. Ty Jerome buried a deep and crucial trey to extend the Cavaliers lead to five with 37.6 seconds left. After Duke’s Marvin Bagley III responded with a 3-pointer, UVA’s Kyle Guy was sent to the free-throw line with six seconds remaining. He sank both attempts at the stripe to finish with a team-best 17 points. Devon Hall added 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists with one turnover, while Jerome contributed 13 points, five rebounds, three steals and seven assists compared to merely one turnover.
-- As of early this morning, most books had Tony Bennett’s team listed as a 9.5-point home favorite with a total of 123.
-- Guy is scoring at a team-high 15.2 points-per-game clip. The junior guard is enjoying a breakout campaign, draining 41.3 percent of his 3-pointers and 88.1 percent of his free-throw attempts. Hall (12.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG) has a stellar 66/21 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he’s hit 46.2 percent of his 3’s and 93.0 percent of his FTs. Jerome (9.5 PPG) has a 71/34 assist-to-turnover ratio, makes 41.7 percent of his trifectas and 94.1 percent of his FTs. Isaiah Wilkins, a senior forward, is averaging 6.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG and has a team-best 34 blocked shots.
-- UVA is undefeated in 13 home games with a 7-3 spread record.
-- Virginia is No. 1 in the RPI Rankings and No. 2 at both KenPom.com and in the latest Associated Press Top 25. UVA has a 5-1 record against the RPI Top 50 and a 9-1 mark versus the Top 100. The Cavs have home wins over the likes of North Carolina, Syracuse, Clemson, Boston College and North Carolina State. They own road triumphs at Duke, at Va. Tech and at VCU, in addition to a neutral-court scalp of Rhode Island.
-- Virginia is ranked tops in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of 52.1 PPG. The Cavs are third in field-goal percentage defense (37.0%) and fifth at defending the 3-point line (29.1%).
-- Louisville (16-5 SU, 11-8 ATS) has lost four of its six road games, but it has produced profit for its backers with a 4-2 ATS mark. The Cardinals have a pair of outright road losses in overtime, including setbacks at Miami (78-75) and at Clemson (74-69), but they took the cash in both of those spots.
-- Louisville bounced back from the OT loss in Coral Gables with Saturday’s 96-77 win over Wake Forest as a nine-point home ‘chalk.’ V.J. King and Quentin Snider scored 15 points apiece to pace the Cardinals, who got 14 points, four rebounds and four assists out of Deng Adel. Dwayne Sutton scored 13 points for the winners, who had a 20/7 assist-to-turnover ratio.
-- Adel is averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, while Snider (13.1 PPG) has an 85/35 assist-to-turnover ratio. Raymond Spalding (11.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG) averages 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocked shots per game.
-- Louisville is No. 20 in the RPI with a 1-5 record against the Top 50 and a 5-5 mark versus the Top 100. The Cardinals picked up their lone Top 50 win when they rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit to win 73-69 at FSU on Jan. 10. They also have home wins over Boston College, Virginia Tech and Southern Illinois, in addition to a victory at Notre Dame.
-- U of L hasn’t been beaten in regulation since taking a 90-61 loss at Kentucky on Dec. 29.
-- The ‘over’ is 4-0-1 in U of L’s past five games to improve to 10-7-2 overall and 4-2 in its road outings.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in five straight UVA games and eight of its past nine. The Cavs have watched the ‘under’ go 14-4 overall, 7-3 in their home outings.
-- ESPN2 will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Arizona at Washington State**
-- As of early this morning, most spots had Arizona (18-4 SU, 7-13 ATS) installed as an 11.5-point favorite with a total of 151.5.
-- Sean Miller’s team is 5-1 SU and 3-3 ATS in six road assignments.
-- Arizona's Allonzo Trier is averaging a team-high 19.7 PPG while hitting 40.2 percent of his 3-balls. DeAndre Ayton (19.5 PPG) paces UA in rebounding (10.7 RPG), FG percentage (61.9%) and blocked shots (1.8 BPG).
-- Arizona brings a six-game winning streak to Pullman, but Miller’s team is mired in an abysmal 1-6 ATS slump. The Wildcats haven’t tasted defeat since dropping an 80-77 decision at Colorado as nine-point road favorites on Jan. 6. They’re off a 74-73 win over Utah as 8.5-point home ‘chalk.’ UA raced out to a 14-4 lead, led by 10 at intermission and spent most of the first 32 minutes ahead of the number vs. the Utes. However, Utah took the outright lead with less than four minutes remaining, only to eventually come up short. Dusan Ristic scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots. Trier finished with 16 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Ayton chipped in 15 points, eight boards and a pair of rejections. Parker Jackson-Cartwright had 12 points and six assists.
-- Arizona is ranked ninth in the latest AP poll and 14th in the RPI. The Wildcats are 5-1 versus the RPI Top 50 and 9-4 against the Top 100. They have home wins over Alabama, Arizona St., Utah, UConn, Oregon and Colorado. In addition, UA has a neutral-court victory over Texas A&M and road triumphs at Utah and at Stanford.
-- Arizona is ranked seventh in the nation in FG percentage (50.9%), 11th in FT percentage (77.9%), 33rd in 3-point accuracy (39.2%) and 34th in scoring (81.7 PPG).
-- Washington State (9-11 SU, 9-10 ATS) has a 6-4 SU record and a 6-3 ATS mark at home. Ernie Kent’s squad has lost three straight games and seven of its past eight both SU and ATS since Pac-12 play started. The Cougars return home in this spot after losing three consecutive contests by double-digit margins on the road.
-- Washington State is No. 152 in the RPI, going 1-4 against the Top 50 and 1-8 versus the Top 100. The lone signature win came over Saint Mary’s on a neutral floor.
-- Washington State is looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 80-62 loss at Washington as a 7.5-point underdog. Robert Franks produced 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in the losing effort. Drick Bernstein finished with 13 points, nine boards, two steals, two assists and one block.
-- Franks is averaging team-bests in scoring (17.6 PPG), FG percentage (47.8%) and blocked shots (0.8 BPG) and he’s also yanking down 7.0 RPG. Malachi Flynn (14.6 PPG) has a 79/37 assist-to-turnover ratio with a team-high 27 steals.
-- The ‘over’ is 12-9 overall for Arizona, 4-2 in its road outings.
-- The ‘under’ is 11-8 overall for the Cougars, 8-1 in their home games.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Tennessee was listed as a 10.5-point home favorite over LSU early this morning. The Tigers will be without four players, two who have been put on what’s being called a “leave of absence” and two others who will be serving one game suspensions. Brandon Rachal (4.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG) and Wayde Sims (5.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG) won’t play at UT. The Volunteers are 8-2 SU and 3-5 ATS at home, while the Tigers are 3-2 both SU and ATS in their five road assignments. Tip-off on the SEC Network is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
-- Miami will be without sophomore guard Bruce Brown for the next six weeks after he sustained a foot injury at Monday’s practice. Brown will undergo surgery on Thursday, six weeks to the day from when the NCAA’s first round will start. Through 19 games, he was averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocked shots per game.
-- Georgia (13-8 SU, 10-8 ATS) stopped the bleeding with last night’s 72-60 win over Florida as a 3.5-point home underdog, hooking up money-line supporters with a +150 return. Yante Maten was the catalyst with 20 points and seven rebounds, while William ‘Turtle’ Jackson scored 16 points and played turnover-free basketball. Juwan Parker added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists without a turnover. UGA ended a three-game losing streak and improve to 4-5 in SEC play.
-- Vanderbilt missed four of five free throws in the final minute of regulation and committed an unfathomably knucklehead foul to open the door for Kentucky to force overtime last night in Lexington. John Calipari’s squad would take advantage and eventually win 83-81 over the Commodores, who covered the spread for the fourth straight game as nine-point underdogs. But Bryce Drew’s team choked in epic fashion. Way worse than the missed FTs, including a front end by senior guard Riley LaChance with 20 seconds left and a three-point lead, was the worst foul Vandy’s committed since Matthew Fisher-Davis fouled Northwestern on purpose with a one-point advantage in last year’s NCAA Tournament. With two ticks left and UK’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gathering a loose ball about 65 feet from the basket off a missed Vandy FT, Joe Toye inexplicably committed a foul that the referees had no choice but to call. Gilgeous-Alexander hit both FTs to force OT. He dropped 30 points on the Commodores, who nearly won at the buzzer when Payton Willis’s 3-ball was left just short and bounced off the rim.
-- After blowing a 17-point lead and losing to UK in Morgantown this past Saturday night, West Virginia looks to snap out of a recent funk tonight in Ames. The Mountaineers, who have lost four of their last five games, were favored by nine at Iowa St. as of early this morning. This Big 12 tussle will tip at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
-- Alabama is off the biggest win of Avery Johnson’s three-year tenure in Saturday’s 80-73 triumph over Oklahoma in a pick ‘em affair. The Crimson Tide is at Coleman Coliseum again tonight, listed as a 5.5-point home favorite vs. Missouri for a 9:00 p.m. Eastern tip on ESPN2. Johnson’s team is 10-1 SU and 6-3 ATS at home, while the Tigers are 2-4 both SU and ATS on the road.
-- Boston College was listed as a 2.5-point home underdog vs. Virginia Tech as of early this morning. The Eagles are 11-1 SU and 5-2 ATS at home. They’ll take on the Hokies at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the ACC Network.
-- Marquette was installed as a 2.5-point home favorite vs. Butler early this morning. This Big East scrap will go down in Milwaukee at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1. The Bulldogs have been horrible on the road, limping to a 2-4 SU record and a 1-5 ATS leger.
-- Speaking of road woes, Mississippi State takes a 0-5 record both SU and ATS into tonight’s game at South Carolina. The Gamecocks were listed as 3.5-point home favorites early this morning. They’re 7-3 SU and 4-5 ATS at home. This game will come off the board 8:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
-- UConn was a five-point underdog for tonight’s game at UCF as of early this morning. Terry Larrier (nose) is ‘questionable’ for the Huskies, who take on the Knights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network. Larrier is averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
-- Last Call! Nevada will take on Fresno State tonight in Reno at 11:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network. The Wolf Pack was favored by seven points early this morning. Eric Musselman’s squad is unbeaten in 10 home games with a 5-3 spread record. The Bulldogs are 4-3 both SU and ATS in seven road tilts.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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