NCAA Basketball Picks: Norfolk State To Cover ATS vs. #23 Cincinnati

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 3:36 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 3:36 PM UTC

The Cincinnati Bearcats (8-2) look to bounce back into the win column as they get a relatively easy matchup against the Norfolk State Spartans (4-5) at home. Check our NCAA basketball pick here.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Norfolk State +23
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST tonight at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. At 5Dimes, the Bearcats are a 23 point favorite on the NCAA basketball odds board and the total for the game is listed at 136.5.

The Bearcats would like to put an outing that saw them lose to Xavier 65-55. past them. They shot just 40% from the field and had accounted for 16 turnovers. It was a game against a very good team that they were playing from behind and playing "catch-up" is a difficult thing to do in any sport. Now, it's time to concentrate on a much inferior opponent and pad their record against Norfolk State.


Octavius Ellis
The Bearcats are a team that uses frequent substitutions as their leading scorer, Octavius Ellis, plays an average of 23.6 minutes per game as this is a very deep team with no major superstars.

That said, Ellis leads the way at 11.2 points and 7.5 rebounds. He's also shoots an outstanding 63.1% from the field as most of his shot come inside the paint.

He's a very solid player for the Bearcats to have as he plays both ends of the court. The only drawback to his game is his free throw shooting, but I don't think that this will be a free throw shooting contest. Cincinnati should have this game well in hand. Ellis had a respectable 13 point ,6 rebound outing against Xavier and shot 6 for 9 from the field. You know exactly what you're going to get from this very capable senior out of Memphis, Tennessee.


Gary Clark
Even though this game shouldn't be close, the Bearcats would like to see a bounce back effort from their leading rebounder, Gary Clark. Clark was held scoreless against Xavier and really didn't look for his shot at all in 29 minutes of play. While he held his own on the defensive side of the court with 7 rebounds, and 2 steals, Clark can't have a scoreless game and not look for his shot in almost 30 minutes of play.

He's averaging 8.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting over 60% from the field. Clark must be more aggressive on the offensive end when playing teams the caliber of Xavier. Cincinnati get an easy matchup tonight and look for head coach, Mick Cronin to get some players in this game that don't see a ton of playing time. The only issue with this is that the spread is 23 and garbage time could have an effect with a backdoor cover from Norfolk State.


Can't Win the Big One
Norfolk State has won 3 out of their last 4 games, but has had difficulties in dealing with the top level teams. They have lost 13 games in a row to top 25 teams and that makes me think (which I already knew), that this game will come down to who will win, but how many points will Cincinnati win by?


Jeff Short and D'Shon Taylor
The Spartans play a much shorter rotation, but Cincinnati could have a problem with Norfolk State's two top stars in Jeff Short (17.2 points, 3.9 rebounds) and D'Shon Taylor (14 points, 6.1 rebounds). Both players are shooting over 40% from beyond the arc and are both 80% plus shooters from the foul line. This is defense sorely lacking in rebounding and that's where Cincinnati will hurt them. D'Shon Taylor needs to come up big here if this game is to be competitive.

I have no doubt that Cincinnati will win and make their substitutions, but 23 points are a lot to lay and look for Norfolk State to hang around as the NCAA basketball pick.

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