February 13, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 32-17 record (65.1%, +13.79 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Oklahoma at Texas Tech**
-- As of early this morning, Texas Tech (21-4 straight up, 12-9 against the spread) was installed as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 156.
-- Texas Tech is atop the Big 12 standings les than 24 hours before Valentine’s Day. This development means Kansas’s 13-year streak of winning Big 12 regular-season titles is in jeopardy. The Red Raiders are 9-3 in conference action and lead KU by one game and WVU by 1.5.
-- Chris Beard’s second team in Lubbock is undefeated in 15 home games with a 6-5 spread record.
-- Texas Tech star Keenan Evans is one of the country’s most underrated players. Evans is averaging team-highs in scoring (18.4 points per game), assists (3.3 APG) and steals (1.4 SPG). Jarrett Culver (11.0 PPG) and Zhaire Smith can both shoot it from deep, knocking down 38.5 and 38.1 percent of their 3-point launches, respectively.
-- Texas Tech is No. 11 in the RPI Rankings, producing a 3-1 record against the Top 25, a 5-3 record versus the Top 50 and a 13-4 mark against the Top 100. The Red Raiders have home triumphs over the likes of Nevada, West Virginia, Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State They have won at KU, at TCU, at South Carolina and at Kansas State, in addition to neutral-court wins vs. Northwestern and Boston College.
-- Oklahoma (16-8 SU, 8-15 ATS) beat Texas Tech 75-65 as a 2.5-point home favorite on Jan. 9. The 140 combined points finished well ‘under’ the 162-point tally. OU freshman star guard Trae Young scored 27 points and dished out 10 assists. Young had four steals but also committed four turnovers. He went 7-of-23 on field-goal attempts, burying 4-of-10 from 3-point land. Christian James added 15 points and four rebounds, while Khadeem Lattin had 11 points, eight boards and seven blocked shots.
-- Oklahoma has lost outright in three consecutive games and six of its past nine. Even worse, OU has failed to cover the number five straight outings and is 1-8 ATS in its last nine contests.
-- Lon Kruger’s team is an abysmal 2-6 both SU and ATS in eight road assignments.
-- Young leads the nation in scoring (29.5 PPG) and assists (9.4 APG). He also has a team-best 45 steals. James (11.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG) has hit 37.4 percent of his 3-balls, while Brady Manek (11.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG) has made 41.3 percent of his 3’s. Lattin (7.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG) has a team-high 55 blocked shots and is second on the team in steals with 31.
-- Oklahoma is No. 21 in the RPI thanks to its remarkable 5-0 record against the Top 25. The Sooners are just 6-5 versus the Top 50, though, and they’re 10-8 when facing Top-100 competition. They have wins at Wichita St and at TCU, in addition to home victories over Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas. Kruger’s bunch has neutral-court wins over USC and Oregon.
-- The ‘under’ is 14-7 overall for Texas Tech, 7-4 in its home outings.
-- The ‘over’ is 15-8 overall for OU, 4-4 in their road games.
-- ESPN will have the broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Virginia at Miami**
-- Virginia is the Associated Press’s No. 1 team for the first time since 1983, when three-time National Player of the Year Ralph Sampson was the team’s star. It was the first time ever (the AP was born in 1948) a basketball team had lost the previous week and still ascended to the top spot. This type of accomplishment has been the kiss of death for many teams through the years (Florida and Baylor immediately come to mind), at least as it pertains to its next game.
-- Virginia is certainly in danger of going down tonight, but the Westgate opened Tony Bennett’s team as a 5.5-point favorite. As of early this morning, one offshore book had the total at 119.
-- Virginia (23-2 SU, 16-5-1 ATS) is 12-1 in ACC play and leads Clemson by two games in the league standings.
-- UVA leads the country in scoring defense, holding opponents to 52.8 points per game. The Cavaliers are third in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (37.7) and fifth at defending the 3-point line (29.7%).
-- Virginia is No. 1 in the RPI with a 4-0 record against Top-10 foes, including victories over Rhode Island, North Carolina, Clemson and Duke. UVA is 8-1 against the RPI Top 50 and a 12-2 mark versus the Top 100. The Cavs have road wins at Duke, at Syracuse, at FSU, at Virginia Tech and at VCU.
-- UVA had its 16-game winning streak snapped Saturday in Charlottesville when Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored on a putback with 5.8 seconds left. The Hokies won 61-60 as 12.5-point underdogs to avenge a 75-52 home loss to the Cavs in Blacksburg in early January. Devon Hall had 16 points and six rebounds in the losing effort. De’Andre Hunter finished with 14 points and five boards, while Kyle Guy had 13 points, six rebounds and two assists without a turnover. Guy couldn’t buy a basket, though. He went 5-of-21 from the field and 3-of-14 from downtown.
-- Guy is averaging a team-best 15.3 PPG, while Devon Hall (12.5 PPG) is the only other double-figure scorer. Hall has hit 46.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and 90.6 percent of his free throws. Ty Jerome (9.9 PPG) has a 92/41 assist-to-turnover ratio and has buried 95.0 percent of his FTs.
-- Virginia is 7-1 both SU and ATS in eight road assignments.
-- Miami is No. 24 in the RPI, going 3-4 versus Top-50 opponents and 5-5 versus the Top 100. The Hurricanes have a neutral-court win over Middle Tennessee and have beaten FSU and Louisville in Coral Gables. They have road wins at N.C. State and at Virginia Tech.
-- Miami (18-6 SU, 9-10 ATS) had its three-game winning streak halted in Saturday’s 72-70 loss at Boston College as a two-point road favorite. The Hurricanes led 70-63 with six minutes remaining, but the Eagles finished the game on a 9-0 roll. The 142 combined points wiggled ‘under’ the 146-point total in a tough loss for ‘over’ supporters. UM’s Dejan Vasijevic scored 17 points thanks to 5-of-10 accuracy from 3-point territory. Chris Lykes had 16 points and Ja’Quan Newton finished with 11 in defeat.
-- Miami has won nine of its 10 home games, but it is merely 1-4 ATS. This is the second home underdog situation for Jim Larranaga’s squad. In the first, Duke went to south Florida and emerged with an 83-75 victory as a 4.5-point road favorite.
-- Huell (12.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) leads a balanced scoring attack that features seven players averaging 8.4 PPG or better. However, one of those players, Bruce Brown, remains ‘out’ with a foot injury. Brown was averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocked shots per game. UM’s hope is that Brown can be back at some point in early-to-mid March. Lonnie Walker is also scoring in double figures with his 11.3 PPG average.
-- The ‘over’ is 10-9 overall for UM, 4-1 in its home games. The Hurricanes have watched the ‘over’ cash at an 8-2 clip in their past 12 outings.
-- The ‘under’ is on an 8-1 run for UVA to improve to 17-5-1 overall and 8-4 in its home games.
-- The ‘under’ is 6-2 in the past eight head-to-head meetings between these teams.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- The SEC’s longest-tenured coach announced his resignation Monday, effective at the end of the season. Andy Kennedy was all class and integrity as he told the media he was “completely at peace” with his decision to step away after 12 seasons. Although he only took Ole Miss to two NCAA Tournaments, he is one of only five coaches in SEC history to win at least 20 games in nine of his first 11 seasons, joining the likes of Billy Donovan, Joe B. Hall, Nolan Richardson and Tubby Smith. Kennedy has never finished worse than 7-9 or in sixth place in the SEC, and he’s the all-time winningest coach in Rebels’ men’s basketball history. My favorite line from Kennedy came as Ole Miss was going to halftime against Wisconsin in a first-round NCAA Tournament game. When asked about Marshall Henderson’s first half shooting struggles (he had made like 1-of-14 FGAs in the first 20 minutes), Kennedy told the CBS sideline reporter, “We gone go with the horse that brung us; Marshall will be aaaight in the second half.” Indeed, Henderson heated up in the second half and the Rebels handed Bo Ryan one of the worst losses he ever took in an NCAA Tournament.
-- When Kennedy took the job, there wasn’t a new arena, Memphis wasn’t as down as it is no under Tubby and there was no SEC Network. In other words, it’s a much better gig these days. Recruiting in Memphis is key and Kennedy was the best there’s ever been at doing so for the Rebels. Although he’s 58 years old, Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis seems like the best fit. The thinking here is that Tom Crean will have better options and Rhode Island’s Danny Hurley is not the right fit. Whatever the case, Kennedy’s correct decision for both Ole Miss and himself to make a clean break and hit the reset button has come at a time that gives the school an early start on other programs that’ll also be hunting for a new coach.
-- Baylor picked up a huge win at Texas in double overtime last night. Jo Lual-Acuil tipped in the game-winning bucket off a miss by Manu Lecomte, who had driven deep into the paint to draw other defenders. Lecomte’s penetration paved a path to the offensive boards for Lual-Acuil, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the Bears’ 74-73 win. Scott Drew’s team now takes a four-game winning streak back to Waco, with consecutive home games vs. Texas Tech and West Virginia looming. Baylor beat the Longhorns for the sixth straight time as a three-point underdog. Gamblers backing the ‘under’ took a ruthless Bat Beat. The 147 combined points only went ‘over’ the 132 points because the game went to a second straight extra session. It was the same scenario for ‘under’ backers in Arkansas’ double-OT win at Georgia last month.
-- West Virginia shook off Saturday’s gut-wrenching home loss to Oklahoma State to capture an 82-66 win over TCU last night in Morgantown. The Mountaineers hooked up their backers as eight-point home favorites. Freshman Teddy Allen led the way with 16 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time from off the bench.
-- Georgetown has covered in four straight games going into tonight’s game at Butler on the CBS Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The Hoyas were 11-point underdogs at most books this morning. Patrick Ewing’s team is 7-1 ATS in eight road assignments. Meanwhile, Butler is 12-2 SU and 10-3 ATS at home.
-- Kansas will try to bounce back from Saturday’s 16-point loss at Baylor tonight when it faces Iowa State at 7:00 p.m. in Ames on ESPN2. The Jayhawks were favored by six early this a.m.
-- Richmond was listed as a 16-point underdog for tonight’s trip to Rhode Island. The Spiders might be without De’Monte Buckingham, who is listed as ‘questionable’ with cramp issues. Buckingham is averaging 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.3 APG.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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