High/Low Picks For Wednesday, February 8

Air Force Basketball Player Struggling For The Ball

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 8:27 PM GMT

The biggest spread on the opening NCAA basketball board for Wednesday is a matchup from the Big East featuring DePaul at No. 24 Xavier and the smallest spread is a Mountain West game between New Mexico and Air Force. Here are my picks.

DePaul At No. 24 Xavier (-17)

I still don’t understand how DePaul remains so bad – it’s a good school in a city (Chicago) full of talented high school players every year. The Blue Demons haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since the 2003-04 season when they were in Conference USA. Once again, DePaul is the worst team in the Big East this year with an 8-15 overall mark (7-15 ATS) and 1-9 in the conference; every other team has at least four Big East wins. DePaul’s lone victory in its past 12 games was 64-63 over Providence on Jan. 10 on a 3-point play in the final seconds. The Demons were blown out at home by Marquette on Saturday, 92-79. They led 14-7 before allowing an 18-0 Marquette run. Tre’Darius McCallum led DePaul with a career-high 21 points. He’s averaging 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game after spending last season at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.

Xavier (17-6, 7-3) is one game behind Villanova in the loss column for the Big East lead. The Musketeers already were blown out by the national champions once this season and the two play again Saturday in Cincinnati. So if ‘Nova wins that, it should roll to the Big East regular-season title. Xavier has followed losing four of five and falling out of the polls with a three-game winning streak. It upset No. 22 Creighton 82-80 in Omaha on Saturday.  Xavier was a bit lucky there as it led by four with a minute left but then had three straight turnovers and finished just 3-for-5 at the line in the final 60 seconds. However, Creighton kept shooting itself in the foot. After trailing by nine at halftime, the Musketeers shot 60.7 percent from the field in the second half.

On the season, Xavier is 5-1 in games decided by four points or less. XU is 5-1 vs. DePaul since the two teams became Big East rivals in the 2013-14 season, including 3-0 at home. The Blue Demons are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings.

NCAAB Free Pick: Xavier -17Best Line Offered: Heritage

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New Mexico At Air Force (+1)

The season might have gone down the drain for New Mexico when star Tim Williams was lost indefinitely to a foot injury late last month. The senior leads the team in shooting (57.9 percent) and rebounding (7.9 rpg) while ranking second in scoring (17.9 ppg). I tend to doubt that the Lobos lose at home to a bad San Jose State team with a healthy Williams but that’s what happened Saturday, 78-68. It was the Spartans’ first victory over UNM in 13 tries. Lobos small forward Dane Kuiper also missed that game in the concussion protocol. The sophomore, who averages 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds, is questionable for this one. This will mark New Mexico’s third straight game against a team tied for the fewest wins in conference.

Air Force is 3-7 in the Mountain West, a half-game ahead of UNLV (3-8) for last place. The Falcons haven’t been able to win back-to-back games since starting the season on a five-game winning streak against some tiny schools. AFA enters off an 83-74 home loss to Wyoming on Saturday. The Cowboys hit 16 of their first 20 shots and never looked back. Junior Frank Toohey scored a career-high 23 points in the loss. Air Force has won three of the last four in the series with New Mexico. The teams split last year, each winning at home. The Falcons were 76-72 winners at the Academy and have won three straight at home vs. the Lobos.

The home team is 9-1 ATS in the past 10 meetings.

NCAAB Free Pick: Air Force +1Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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