Hokies & Friars Favored to Move Forward in 2K Classic

Willie Bee

Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 1:30 PM UTC

The bright lights of the Big Apple shine on The Garden tonight, and we have college basketball picks for the first two games of the 2K Classic.

We’re just a week into the 2017-18 college hoops schedule with tonight’s games, yet it still feels we’ve waited too long for a true bracketed tournament. That itch gets scratched with the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warriors Project at Madison Square Garden.

The field includes three teams playing in their inaugural 2K Classic, with three of the Power 6 conferences represented. Providence represents the Big East, and the Friars are the only member of this quartet to have already lost a game. Virginia Tech carries the ACC banner, the Hokies among the contenders in the tough league according to NCAA basketball futures. The Pac-12 Washington Huskies and A-10 Saint Louis Billikens round out the tourney.

 

Hokies, Billikens Tip Event On ESPN2

Thursday’s opener has the most mystery of the two matchups. We know Virginia Tech is going to be solid under Buzz Williams and practically a lock for the NCAA Tournament. But Saint Louis is almost a complete unknown after Travis Ford spent his first season guiding the program in rebuild mode. 5Dimes lists the Hokies -13½ with 146½ for the scoreboard target.

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Losing Zach LeDay and Seth Allen from a 22-win team a year ago has not been an issue for Williams’ gang. Kenny Blackshear Jr. returns after missing all of last year, his 6-10 presence in the middle a tough matchup for the Billikens and everyone else. Virginia Tech also landed prize guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker out of Canada, and the 6-5 freshman has hit the ground running. Ford has two key players back, seniors Aaron Hines and Davell Roby, but it’s going to be the production of transfers Javon Bess and DJ Foreman plus freshmen Hasahn French and Jordan Goodwin that make or break Saint Louis.

These two used to meet regularly when they were members of the old Metro Conference, the Hokies winning all seven matchups with the last one in 1982. Gimme’ the chalk for my free college basketball pick.

 Friars Take On Huskies Anxious To Rebound From Loss

There’s really no shame in losing to a very good Minnesota squad, and sports books haven’t let that affect their respect for Providence by listing the Friars -9 on the NCAA basketball odds against Washington. Totals for the nightcap are running 150½-151.

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Ed Cooley is already having his depth tested without Emmitt Holt in the paint. The 6-8 senior is out with abdominal issues, meaning freshman Nate Watson and sophomore Kalif Young are carrying a bigger load down low. In his first season at Washington, Mike Hopkins takes over a program that lost its final 13 games a year ago. So far, so good as the Huskies have won their first two contests, one of those as small ‘dogs with freshman Jaylen Nowell stepping right in to pick up the scoring void left behind when Markelle Fultz went to the NBA.

There has been only one previous meeting between the Friars and Huskies, and that took place 37 years ago in Providence where Washington came away with a 60-51 decision. We’re mushing with the Huskies in this one.

Free NCAAB Picks: Virginia Tech -13½; Washington +9Best Lines Offered: at Heritage
 
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