These are clear cut matchups. The handicapping process reverts back to not who wins, but by how many? Who do we think will cover the spread and make our top NCAA basketball picks?
Farleigh Dickinson (3-8) at Iowa (9-1)
Are 31 Points Enough?
As expected, the Hawkeyes are a huge 30.5 point betting favorite over the Knights. Iowa is coming off of a tale of two halves with Drake. Drake took the lead into halftime, shooting over 60% from the field while hitting eight 3-pointers. The 2nd half was a different story as Iowa went on a 10-0 run after the break and held Drake to just 9 field goals en route to a 83-66 victory.
Iowa had allowed just 57.1 points per game in its first 7 victories, but the defense has had lapses since then. Tonight, they can’t let their guard down as the opponent is expected to be weak.
The numbers all look good by the Hawkeyes who are led by the combination of Roy Devyn Marble (16.5 ppg., 3.7 rpg., 3.7 apg., 2.4 spg.) and Aaron White. Iowa is ranked 6th in the nation in rebounds, 8th in points, and 9th in assists. The Hawkeyes also have one of the best plus-minus ratios in production in comparison to their opponents. They’re an impressive +24.6 points per game this season. It appears that the Knights are in over their heads.
The Hawkeyes will be zeroing in on Farleigh Dickinson’s one man show in senior guard, Sidney Sanders Jr.
Sanders Jr. leads the Knights in scoring (18.9 ppg.), assists (5.2) and steals (1.8). He’s also had 4 consecutive games of 20 points or more.
Look for Iowa to dominate the boards and dominate this lopsided matchup.
Pick- Iowa -30.5 at Bet 365
Bryant (6-3) at Notre Dame (6-2)
Taking Advantage of the Weak
The Bryant University Bulldogs have had a respectable season. That said, sportsbooks could be leaning in Bryant’s favor a bit too much off of a good record against some smaller schools. The only time that Bryant faced a legitimate opponent was in their season opener as they were defeated by Gonzaga, 100-76. After Notre Dame, Bryant also has a matchup against Ohio State. When all is said and done, their appealing record could be headed towards the .500 mark.
Prime Time Player
Notre Dame can’t overlook the combination of Dyami Starks and Alex Francis. Starks is a player that’s averaging 23.4 points per game and a good barometer for his talent is the 35 point performance that he put up against Gonzaga in the season opener. Look for this stud to lead the Bulldogs against the Fighting Irish and attempt to make this a competitive matchup.
Alex Francis is no pushover either. He’s a player that’s a tough rebounder and efficient scorer. Francis could be expected to play the entire 40 minutes. The question could be “will Starks and Francis get tired facing a boarderline top 25 team with more depth?”
Notre Dame is a deeper offensive team led by senior Jerian Grant. Except for a poor shooting game against Iowa, a game in which he still picked up 10 assists, Grant has been knocking down almost every shot that he’s been putting up. The senior is averaging 56.7% from the field and 44.3 % from 3-point range. Look for Grant to have a big game against the Bulldogs.
With the senior combination of Grant and guard Eric Atkins, the Fighting Irish are ranked 2nd in the nation in assists. This is a team with plenty of options and a great deal of experience. The one concern here if you’re a Notre Dame backer is the Irish playing down to their opponent’s level. They’re coming off of an unconvincing 80-75 victory over Delaware.
Notre Dame has had to battle its last two opponents and I think that can possibly carry over to this game. 13 points doesn’t seem like a lot to lay, but this seems like a trap game. Take Bryant and the points.
Pick- Bryant +13 at Bet 365