South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers
Normally we find ourselves backing the Tigers with our college basketball picks, but this game we're going the opposite way.
The odds have Missouri favored by 14.5 points over a South Carolina team that has lost three of its last four, two of which were home losses to beatable opponents in Auburn (74-71) and Vanderbilt (58-51).
That said, the Gamecocks are catching the Tigers at the right time. Missouri was just demolished by Florida on the road and could be missing Laurence Bowers, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross tonight.
Bowers has been out with a sprained MCL and, as the team's leading scorer, his absence has been sorely missed. He's considered doubtful to play against South Carolina, while Bell (ankle) is also doubtful and Ross (back) is questionable.
What that means is Phil Pressey is going to have even more pressure on his shoulders to carry the offensive load. He'll get some help from Jabari Brown, but we find it hard to believe it'll be business as usual offensively for the Tigers.
South Carolina does have some balance, with four different players averaging in double figures. Lakeem Jackson (7.4 RPG) and Michael Carrera (7.2 RPG) have been tough to contain on the glass, while Brenton Williams is shooting a tidy 41.5 percent from three.
So far this season the Gamecocks have gone 5-1 ATS away from home and we're selecting them to grab another cover inside Mizzou Arena. This just seems like a little too many points against what's likely to be a shorthanded Tigers team.
Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks +14.5 at 5Dimes
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kansas State Wildcats
In what we're expecting to be one of the most exciting games of the night, in-state rivals Kansas State and Kansas will square off in a battle between the top teams in the Big 12 Conference.
Despite only two losses to their name and having the home-court advantage, the Wildcats are still considered underdogs here. They're getting 3.5 points from a majority of the NCAA Basketball odds shops, while the total can be found at 128.
We like a play on the UNDER because, quite frankly, both of these teams have been making their living on the defensive end.
We'll start with Kansas. The Jayhawks are allowing an average of 59.3 points per game and are holding teams to 34.8 percent shooting overall and 31.6 percent from three. The athleticism of Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson has been tough for teams to handle, while Jeff Withey's been a shot-blocking machine in the paint.
The Wildcats have been terrific defensively too, giving up just 59.2 PPG. At home they've been even more stingy, holding opposing squads to 56.1 PPG. Experienced guards Rodney McGruder, Will Spradling and Shane Southwell have been great out on the perimeter.
Though some questioned the hire of Bruce Weber before the season, he's really done a nice job of establishing a defensive identity for Kansas State. This battle against the Jayhawks will be one of the ultimate tests however.
The UNDER has cashed in the last two meetings between these teams and has hit in four of Kansas' last five matchups overall. We're looking for more of the same tonight, so let's roll with that total play to close out our sports picks for the night.
Pick: UNDER 128