NCAA Basketball Picks: Lay the Points & Go 'Over' in SMU vs. Stanford

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:14 PM GMT

Stanford hosts SMU and we bring you the best NCAA Basketball picks for this game going down tonight at 23:05 pm EST. The Mustangs are -5.5 on Pinnacle NCAA basketball odds with a total of 145.5.

No Big Dance For Mustangs
SMU was the preseason betting favorite on NCAA Basketball odds to repeat as American Athletic Conference champion, but the Mustangs have opened the season without Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown. He was suspended the first nine games for infractions committed by the program -- Brown wasn't involved in any of those, but allegedly when he found out about them didn't inform the NCAA. The Mustangs can't play postseason basketball this season, which is a shame because it's a good team and surely would have been an NCAA Tournament team again. Brown probably should have been fired considering his two previous stops, Kansas and UCLA, also ran into trouble with the NCAA under his watch. But Brown made the SMU program relevant again. Assistant Tim Jankovich is coaching the team currently. The former Illinois State head coach joined SMU in 2012 as the expected successor for Brown.

The Mustangs opened the season with an easy 85-50 home win over Sam Houston State on Saturday. SMU jumped out 9-0 and never looked back. Reigning AAC Player of the Year Nic Moore had only eight points for SMU but Shake Milton had 17 (off the bench), Ben Moore 15 and Keith Frazier -- he was a focus of the NCAA investigation -- 13 points. Nic Moore became the 37th Mustang to score 1,000 career points.

Moore was chosen in the preseason to repeat as AAC Player of the Year and is on the Wooden Award Top 50 list. Last year, Moore was also an All-America honorable mention selection after recording team bests in scoring (14.5) and assists (5.1). He and fellow senior Markus Kennedy were unanimously selected to the preseason all-conference first team.

SMU is 31-11 now in regular season non-conference games under Brown and Jankovich. SMU is 36-63 all-time in its first game away from home. Last season, SMU’s first road game was a 72-56 loss at ranked Gonzaga as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.

 

Cardinal Missing 2 Starters
Stanford opened the season last Friday and was nearly upset by visiting Green Bay, but the Cardinal escaped 93-89 in overtime in a preliminary game of the Preseason NIT. On Sunday, Stanford had no trouble in routing Charleston Southern 93-59. Dorian Pickens had a career-high 20 points and Michael Humphrey 13 points and 12 rebounds. Six of Humphrey’s nine field goals this season have been dunks.

It’s the first time in the Johnny Dawkins era that the Cardinal have scored at least 90 points in back-to-back games. Stanford last achieved the feat in 2007. It leads the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 93.0 points. That's 20.7 points per game more than the Cardinal averaged in 37 games last season. Stanford also leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage, shooting 54.8 percent from the field. But consider the competition.

Stanford has won seven straight overall dating to last season. It was a bubble team for the 2015 NCAA Tournament but bypassed. The Cardinal then won the NIT, beating Miami (Fla.) 66-64 in overtime in the championship game. Rosco Allen has been the lone Cardinal from Stanford’s starting lineup in the NIT title game who has started either of the Cardinal’s first two games this season. He is averaging 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds. Stanford lost a key player for the season in early November in sophomore Robert Cartwright, who was expected to start at point guard. He suffered a compound fracture in his forearm. In addition, another projected starting guard, Marcus Allen, is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right foot. Allen made 23 starts as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.

The Cardinal are 18-13 all-time against current members of the American Athletic Conference, most recently beating visiting UConn 72-59 on Jan. 17, 2015 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford is 0-1 ATS on NCAA Basketball picks this season and 1-0 O/U.

 

All-Time Series
Stanford has won both meetings against SMU. The first was an 80-70 result in Moody Coliseum on Dec. 28, 1963. The second meeting saw No. 3 Stanford win 86-51 in a preseason NIT game on Nov. 18, 1998.

 

Final Analysis
The three best players on the court here will be SMU's Nic Moore, Kennedy and Frazier. That's enough for me. Give the points and go 'over.' SMU has covered four of its past five non-conference games. Stanford has failed to cover its past five following a win of more than 20 points. 

NCAA Basketball Free Picks: Lay the points and go 'over.' at BetOnline

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