Last Updated Jan 21, 2023, 8:30 PM

Fade & Shade Predictions, Teams to Watch

With the College Basketball non-conference schedule fading into the background, new trends are emerging each week in college hoops. Before we dive into Saturday's loaded slate, check out my latest Bracketology Predictions for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Ahead of the weekend, it might be a good idea to check a handful of teams heading in one direction or another as we begin a weekly “Fade and Shade” alert piece with a strong focus on teams in action on Saturday Jan. 21, 2023.

Listed below are four teams that we'll be looking to Fade or bet against on Saturday and four teams that will be given Shade or better said, our money.

College Teams to Fade

Colgate Raiders

Saturday's Matchup - vs. American (2:00 p.m. ET)

Not a go-against in the traditional sense, as the Raiders are still winning games in the Patriot League as they have done consistently the past four-plus years (now 61-12 SU in Patriot clashes that span) for HC Matt Langel.  But after blowing away Loyola-Md, Lehigh, and Navy to begin league play, prices have over-adjusted and now Colgate has dropped four straight vs. the spread, not close to clearing double-digit numbers vs. Boston U, Bucknell, and Holy Cross into the weekend.  Colgate of course wears a pretty big target as the team to beat in the Patriot and can be expected to receive the best shot from all of its opponents, but despite a lot of positives (including an 80 ppg offense and 51.02% FG shooting, which ranks second in the nation), the Raiders are having trouble with recent hefty imposts.  Some Patriot observers are wondering if Langel might be just a bit missing departed star G Nelly Cummings, who is now doing his thing for Pitt after starring for recent Colgate editions.  This is still the clear team to beat in the Patriot, but handling the big prices has started to become a bit of a burden. 

Loyoloa-Chicago

Saturday's Matchup - vs. St. Bonaventure (4:00 p.m. ET)

This might not have been the best season for the Ramblers to move into the A-10, as Drew Valentine’s roster looks to be caught short, especially on the perimeter where replacing last year’s key cogs Lucas Williamson and Ryan Schweiger has become problematic. Valentine’s dip into the portal has also not yielded enough save D-II PF Philip Alston (14.5 ppg), but where Loyola needed upgrades was in the backcourt, and neither the transfer nor frosh have provided enough help... bad news in the guard-heavy A-10.  Loyola sits on the big donut after its first six games in its new league, and hasn’t covered a spread since two weeks before Christmas.  The Ramblers also haven’t been within single digits of any of their first six A-10 tilts. 

North Texas

Saturday's Matchup - at UAB (4:00 p.m. ET)

The Mean Green belong in a different category because it looks more a case of the oddsmakers simply overvaluing UNT.  Which was understandable as Grant McCasland’s no-nonsense bunch has ranked within the top few scoring defense teams in the land (55.3 ppg allowed currently ranks third) all season and began the campaign as a ball of fire, winning 14 of their first 17 games.  But with the secret out on UNT, no more breaks would be forthcoming from the sports books, and suddenly the Mean Green are stumbling vs. the number, with just one spread cover in the last eight after Thursday’s surprise home loss at the Super Pit to improved Rice (which was whipped three times by UNT last season).  Along the way the offense looks to be leaning perhaps a bit much on 'waterbug' G Tylor Perry (17.7 ppg), who continues to score in the high teens, but not getting the consistent help he was in December.  UNT might still to be reckoned with in C-USA, but we’re off of the Denton bandwagon on spread results begin tom improve. 

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey will be leaving the team after this season. (Getty)

Notre Dame

Saturday's Matchup - vs. Boston College (2:00 p.m. ET)

The announcement on Thursday of Mike Brey’s pending retirement at the end of the season didn’t take many Domers by surprise, as the Fighting Irish look to be on their way to their worst performance of Brey’s 23-year run in South Bend.    There are also a litany of unflattering stats for the Irish to better explain the downturn...308th in FG % defense (46%), 307th in FT attempts pg (14.5), 342nd in rebounds pg (31), 346th in offensive rebounds (6.36), 351st in turnovers forced (8.27). And tellingly,  ranking 350 in bench points pg (11.00), speaking to Brey's reluctance to play his reserves in November and December when most coaches try to develop a bit of depth.  The Domers love the three-ball on offense, too; we don’t need to be one of Bob Knight’s cronies to come to the same conclusion that this ND edition is a bit...well, for lack of a better term, let's say s-o-f-t.  Moreover, the Irish have covered only once in fourteen tries as chalk, as we wonder what is more eye-opening, such spread failures or the fact this Notre Dame edition has been favored fourteen times.  As the case earlier in the week vs. Florida State, the Irish are slated to lay points again on Saturday at the Phil Purcell Pavilion vs. a team they already lost to (BC) on the ACC trail.   

College Teams to Shade

Eastern Washington

Saturday's Matchup - at Northern Arizona (4:00 p.m. ET)

Setting the pace in the Big Sky is nothing new for the Eagles, who advanced to the Dance out of the loop two years ago before HC Shantay Legans to his act and a few of his best players with him to Portland.  But successor David Riley kept the ship afloat last season with 18 wins, and now EWU is setting the pace in the Sky again, having ripped off eight wins ina row since two weeks before Christmas and now on an extended 11-1 spread uptick after Thursday’s win at Northern Colorado.  With the core of last year’s team still in place,, led by bombs-away 6-7 wing Steele Venters (15.3 ppg), Riley addressed a specific need in the portal and uncovered Jacksonville G Tyreese Davis, a heady playmaker who has proven the perfect addition, and dishing out another six assists in the Thursday win at Greeley while emerging as a consistent scoring contributor (five straight games tallying double-digits).  The Eagles also have ample balance with four double-digit scorers in case Venters or Davis might lose their shooting range on any given night. 

Iowa

Saturday's Matchup - at Ohio State (2:00 p.m. ET)

Just coincidence, or has the absence of third-leading scorer and coach Fran’s son Patrick McCaffery been a plus for the Hawkeyes?  Curiously, the current four-game Iowa uptick began right after Patrick took a leave of absence due to anxiety issues, and some Big Ten sources are hardly convinced this is a random development, as teams have been known in the past to send a message when certain players are missing from the lineup.  Perhaps the Hawkeyes didn’t like playing with Patrick.  Whatever, it has been a different team since Patrick has stepped away, with one leff McCaffery for the team to worry (besides coach Fran, there’s also Patrick’s brother Connor, a guard who has moved into the starting lineup in Patrick’s absence).  Though it could be that the Hawkeyes lineup has simply kicked into gear behind high-scoring F Kris Murray, following his twin bother Keegan (now NBA Kings) and his scoring exploits last season by hitting for 25 ppg in January, while 6-9 Filip Rebraca (14 ppg) has recently been producing some of the numbers he did at North Dakota before transferring to Iowa City last season.  Caching a break earlier in the week might have been Northwestern, which had to postpone the Wednesday game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena due to a Covid breakout on the Wildcats team.

The Oregon Ducks have won and covered three of their last four games. (GettY)

Oregon

Saturday's Matchup - vs. Stanford (11:00 p.m. ET)

We had hardly seen the full-strength version of the Ducks all season until the past week or so, as various injuries had depleted the Oregon roster into January.  All of a sudden, however, the Webfoots have revived and appear poised to go on one of their patented upticks that have been commonplace the past few seasons.  Consider blowout wins over top-ten Arizona and Cal in the past two games as warning shots to the rest of the Pac-12.   The recent activations of Gs Jermaine Cousinard (ex-South Carolina; scored 27 in the Arizona win when into the starting lineup for the first time) and Keshawn Barthelemy (ex-Colorado) have finally given Altman his top two portal adds, and Oregon now has an embarrassment of riches on the perimeter with G Will Richardson (14.7 ppg)  and ex-Syracuse wing Quincy Guerrier (10 ppg) having done their best to keep the ship afloat thru the holidays.  And the new wave of “double bigs” sweeping the country is alive and well in Eugene with 6'11 N'Faly Dante (13.2 ppg), 7-0 frosh Kel’el Ware, and another recent activation from the injured lost, 7-foot soph Nate Bittle, who has scored double-digits in back-to-back wins vs. the Wildcats and Golden Bears.   We already knew that Altman can coach, as he seems to remind us each season at right about this time.  The “buy” signal is flashing brightly in Eugene.. 

Santa Clara

Saturday's Matchup - at Saint Mary's (8:00 p.m. ET)

Herb Sendek has always been ahead of the strategic curve (“More plays than Shakespeare” says  former coach and TV analysts Pete Gillen about Sendek’s thick playbook) so no surprise that Herb’s embrace of the new/old “double big” concept has helped recall a traditional rugged brand of Santa Clara hoops.  Though Sendek’s perimeter weapons Brandin Podziemski (Illinois transfer; 18.7 ppg),  Carlos Stewart (15.2 ppg), and Keyshawn Justice (14 ppg) are generating the headlines, Sendek’s pair of 6-10 frontliners Parker Braun (ex-Mizzou transfer) and Jaden Bediako have spearheaded one of the nation’s leading rebound margins (15th) as the Broncos are dishing out the same sort of punishment on the blocks that they often did during the best years of the long-ago Dick Davey regime.  After a couple of bitter last minute losses (but covers) at home vs. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s in recent weeks, Thursday’s 83-76 win at the Leavey Center over BYU was the latest bit of evidence that the Broncos mean business.  Santa Clara thus brings a seven-game spread win streak into the rematch vs. the Galloping Gaels at Moraga this weekend. 

Fade & Shade Bonus Teams

FADE

-- Coppin State (2-7 vs. line last nine)
-- Duke (1-6 vs. line last seven)
-- LSU (3-10 vs. line last thirteen; last four SEC losses all by double-digit margins)
-- Northern Colorado (1-7 vs. line last eight)
-- Prairie View (1-7 vs. line last eight), Texas (1-6 vs. line last seven)
-- Texas Southern (0-6 vs. line last six, 2-12 vs. spread last fourteen)

SHADE

-- Iowa State (6-0 vs. line last six)
-- Lafayette (5-0 vs. line last five)
-- Monmouth (“Under” 8-0 last eight)
-- North Florida (home teams 7-0 SU and vs. spread in Ospreys’ A-Sun games)
-- Pittsburgh (3-1 vs. line last 14), South Florida (“Over” 13-2 last 15)
-- St. Joe’s (two straight impressive wins and covers have A-10 sources issuing an alert)
-- Utah Valley (10-1 vs. line last 11)
-- Wake Forest (6-1 vs. line last seven)

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