Pennsylvania (3-14) at Temple (12-5)
Obviously, this is a major mismatch, as we have two teams who have faced different levels of competition all season long.
The NCAA Basketball odds had opened Temple at -20, but early betting action has sen that number fall to -17.5 at most betting shops. While this is a large number by anyone's standards, will Temple be looking to run up the score in this lopsided matchup?
The high note in Pennsylvania’s season was their somewhat encouraging performance against Butler earlier in the season, where they were handed a 70-57 defeat. The Quakers were actually as close as 3 points to the Bulldogs with 9 minutes to go, but their season has gone downhill from there.
Nelson-Henry To the Rescue?
Without leading scorer, Fran Dougherty, the Quakers have no legitimate “go to guy”. Guard, Miles Cartwright, has been atrocious as of late, but one player that has stepped up has been 265 pound freshman, Darien Nelson-Henry.
Nelson-Henry is averaging just 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds this season, but has been progressing well lately. In his last 4 games, he’s averaged 14.3 points per game and has been a more dominant rebounder. Pennsylvania needs some support if Cartwright comes up with another stinker and Darien Nelson-Henry might be the answer.
Where Temple is concerned, not only have they played against a higher level of competition, but they’ve come out on the winning end with victories over Syracuse and Villanova. The one weakness to their game would be that they lack consistency. The Owls are coming off of a very disappointing loss to a sub-.500 St. Bonaventure Bonnies team. A good team can’t lose to teams like this.
Temple is led by guard Khalif Wyatt, and the senior has played exceptionally well all season. This is a player that lit Kansas up for 26 points in a 7 point loss and is coming off of a 31 point game on 10 of 13 shooting against the Bonnies. Look for Wyatt to pick apart the Quakers defense with his ability to shoot from outside and ability to penetrate. Temple is due for a big performance after their previous game.
Even though this is the largest spread on the boards, it didn't open at 20 points for no reason. Temple is fully capable of blowking out the Panthers, and I will gladly add Temple -17 to my sports picks in this situation.
NCAA Basketball Picks: Temple -17
Wichita State (17-2, 6-1) at Missouri State (5-14, 3-4)
Except for a “shocking “ loss to Evansville, the Wichita State Shockers have a had a storybook season thus far.
After the Evansville loss, the Shockers proceeded to get their confidence back with a 67-64 victory over #12 Creighton on Saturday. Wichita State is a team that excels defensively. They’re tops in the Missouri Valley Conference in points allowed (60.1) and allow just 39.5% shooting from the field. They’ll need their defense to be out in full force against Missouri State to make up for their lack of efficiency on the offensive end.
Look for forward, Carl Hall, to play a significant role in this game. He comes off the bench, but makes the most of his minutes on the court. Hall is coming off of a 17 point, 13 rebound performance in a game that saw his team shoot 38% from the field, 47% from the foul line, and they were still able to knock off a top 20 team.
This game could get ugly. While the Shockers sports a top-rate defense, the Bears are at the bottom of the MVC, scoring 59.7 points per game on 40.9% shooting from the field and 30.6% from 3-point range. This team is taylor-made for Wichita State.
For Missouri State to have any chance at home, leading scorer, Anthony Downing, must put up a strong performance. Downing has tailed off a bit as of late, but this is still a player that can score and rebound at just 6 foot 1. Look for Downing to play well against a superior team.
I expect Wichita State to put up a better effort than they did against Evansville. This should be a blowout.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Wichita State -11.5