NCAA Basketball can be a bumpy ride early in the season with a great amount of mismatches. Yesterday, we stuck with the major tournaments and went 2-0. Let’s attempt to expand on this as we weather out the storm with our betting picks.
Alabama (3-1) vs. Duke (6-1)
MSG Is Like Home
The Duke Blue Devils have dominated the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament when participating. The Blue Devils have won 13 straight games in this tournament. A victory over Alabama will get them back in the finals. That said, Duke is coming off of a game that they’ll never forget.
The Vermont Catamounts nearly pulled off the impossible in a 91-90 victory for Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke came into this game, looking to extend their winning streak at home against non-conference foes to 106 games and Vermont made them work for it.
Rodney Hood’s free throw with 5 seconds left kept the streak alive, but Mike Krzyzewski considered the game a wake-up call in which Duke came into the game taking over-confident. Even though Alabama is a much tougher opponent than Vermont, look for Duke to be all business at the Garden tonight.
Killing Two Birds With One Stone
A win here would be huge for Alabama as they’re just 1-7 against Duke in 8 career meetings and the Crimson Tide last played in this tournament in 2011 when they made it to the finals and lost to Wichita State. The task is easy; contain Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood and Bama will get a return trip to the finals.
Alabama is coming off of an easy 75-58 victory over the Georgia State Panthers. Leading scorer ,Travis Releford, led the way for the Tide with 19 points and 6 rebounds while fellow guard, Retin Obasohan chipped in with 18 points, 4 steals, and 3 blocks.
Alabama will need the same kind of defense from Obasohan against Duke if they expect to have any chance in tonight’s upcoming game. You can bet that Coach Krzyzewski ripped into his players after the Vermont game and Duke usually responds after a post- game tongue-lashing from the legendary coach.
Look for Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood to “show off” their skills on the biggest stage of all, Madison Square Garden, as Duke sails into the finals.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke -9 at Bet 365
Drexel (3-1) vs. Arizona (5-0)
Arizona vs. Duke in the Finals?
It certainly appears that way as head coach Sean Miller and has Arizona Wildcats have been playing like an NBA team. A Duke vs. Arizona matchup in the NIT Tip-Off Finals could be one for the ages. Arizona has had success in this tournament winning 3 titles. Can freshman Aaron Gordon (13 ppg., 9 rpg.) deal with the spotlight and attention that MSG garners?
The Nick Johnson Show
Although all of the attention is focused on Arizona’s talented freshman, junior Nick Johnson has been the leader of this team. Johnson is coming off of a dominant performance against Rhode Island in which he produced 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.
In his last 3 games, Johnson is averaging 20 points per game. This is a player that can shoot the basketball from anywhere on the court and stays consistent while the freshman won’t always be as consistent. Johnson is the backbone of this team.
Not to be overlooked are the Drexel Dragons. This is a team, that has only suffered one loss this season and that was to a nationally ranked UCLA team and the Bruins won by just 5 points. If Arizona’s youth can’t handle the pressure, Drexel can possibly steal this game away from the Wildcats.
Drexel is coming off of a convincing 70-59 victory over Rutgers in Piscataway. In this game, Tavon Allen came off the bench to lead the Dragons with a game high 21 points. Drexel’s defense has been very respectable, but the level of competition is greater in this game as they’re an 11 point underdog on the NCAA Basketball odds.
We’re looking at a Duke vs. Arizona finals. Even though Drexel is a formidable team, Arizona has been overpowering as of late. I recommend that the readers back Arizona for their NCAA Basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Arizona -11 at Bet 365