College Basketball Betting: Saturday Selections
Wichita State at Northern Iowa (4 pm ET, ESPN2)
The 19-3 Shockers, coming off a defeat Tuesday night, visit Cedar Falls to take on the 11-11 Panthers in a Valley battle.
Wichita State had to replace several key players from last year, but has done an excellent job of doing so. The Shockers own victories this season over, among others, VCU, Iowa, Southern Miss and Creighton, while their three losses have come against Tennessee, Evansville and Tuesday night at home against Indiana State.
WSU had won four in a row before Tuesday, when it let the Sycamores shoot 53 percent from the floor, while shooting just 27 percent itself. The Shockers lost that game outright as 12-point favorites.
Northern Iowa, meanwhile, returned four starters this season, and had some thoughts of making a run at the conference title. The Panthers have struggled in the W/L column, although in their defense they've played a solid schedule and lost several close games. UNI fell to Louisville, Stanford, Memphis, Iowa and UNLV in non-conference play, and has lost four conference games by four points or less. Last Saturday the Panthers lost at Indiana State 59-58, and Tuesday they lost at Evansville 54-51 in overtime.
These teams met back on Dec. 30 in Wichita, the Shockers rolling to a 66-41 victory. Wichita State shot 46 percent from the floor, held the Panthers to 33 percent shooting, and easily covered the NCAAB spread as seven-point NCAAB odds favorites.
The Shockers probably won't win by 25 again Saturday, but a bounce-back performance after Tuesday's defeat is expected.
Free College Basketball Pick: Take Wichita State at the -1 point offered at Pinnacle.
Ohio at Akron (5 pm ET, ESPNU)
Over in the MAC the top two contenders in the East Division meet as the 16-4 Zips host the 15-5 Bobcats.
Akron returned four starters from a team that won the MAC East last year, and is the favorite to win the MAC this season. The Zips only started 4-4 this year, with losses to Oklahoma State and Creighton, but they've won their last 12 games in a row, including their first seven MAC contests. Akron is also 5-2 ATS through its first seven conference games.
Last time out the Zips shot 48 percent from the floor in beating Bowling Green Wednesday night 68-55, covering as nine-point favorites on the road.
Ohio, meanwhile, returned all five starters from the team that beat Akron in the MAC championship game last March 64-63, then got to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. The 'Cats did, however, lose their coach when John Groce took advantage of their success and landed the head job at Illinois.
Ohio went 9-5 through its non-conference slate this season, but has won its first six MAC games. Most recently the Bobcats shot 50 percent from the floor in winning at Kent State last Saturday 69-68.
By the numbers Ohio holds an edge in shooting, hitting at 49 percent from the floor compared to Akron's 45 percent, but the Zips hold a small edge on defense, holding foes to 39 percent shooting, compared to the Bobcats' 41 percent. One stat, however, stands out; Ohio is getting out-rebounded by about two boards per game, while Akron is out-boarding foes by about six per game.
The Bobcats will have to scrap to keep things close on the boards Saturday, but they are battle-tested, and they're getting points.
Free College Basketball Pick: Take Ohio at the +5.5 points offered at 5Dimes for one of your Saturday college basketball picks.
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