The matchups become increasingly more competitive in college hoops on Friday. See who we make our NCAA basketball picks today as we attempt to sweep the day and set ourselves up for a weekend full of sports.
Taking On All Comers
Most teams take the easy route early in the season, but not the top ranked team in the country the Michigan State Spartans and their head coach Tom Izzo. Tonight, State encompasses another battle as they face the Virginia Tech Hokies, who had a 105 point output in their last game against VMI.
Virginia Tech and Michigan State meet tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The winner plays either Oklahoma or Seton Hall in the finals on Saturday.
It’s been difficult for Michigan State to match their victory over Kentucky and they’re coming off of a 82-67 victory over Portland in which they struggled in the first half, managing only a 4 point lead. The Spartans rode the back of senior Keith Appling ,who continues to have an outstanding season. Appling scored 25 points and grabbed 7 rebounds while going a perfect 5 for 5 from 3-point territory.
A similar performance in an assumedly tougher matchup against Virginia Tech will go a long way for the number 1 Spartans. Senior leadership has really stuck out thus far as Appling and center Adreian Payne (17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds) have been dominant.
3 Straight Victories
After a devastating opening game loss against the USC Spartans, the Virginia Tech Hokies have managed to get back on track with victories against teams like West Virginia and most recently a 105-92 victory over Virginia Military. The Hokies face another Spartans team that’s much better than the one that they lost to and must build upon their 3 recent victories.
The Hokies have 3-15 plus per game scorers including junior forward C.J. Barksdale, who had been suspended for the first 3 games of the season. Barksdale made a successful return against Virginia Military as he shot 7 for 12 from the field and finished the game with 16 points and 6 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play.
Now that they’re back at full force; look for Virginia Tech to keep this game close.
Oklahoma (3-0) at Seton Hall (3-1)
In the other Coaches vs. Cancer Classic game, the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners are expected to be in a tight battle, according to the sportsbooks, as the Sooners are a 3 point betting favorite against Seton Hall. This isn’t a home game for Seton Hall, but geographically speaking, they have the home court advantage as their fans and supporters can just drive or take mass transit to the game.
Players To Watch
The Sooners are coming off of a 85-65 victory over the Idaho Vandals. In this game, Oklahoma, outrebound, outpassed, and outshot their opponent efficiency-wise. Oklahoma got off to an early lead and leading scorer, Buddy Hield, and the rest of the Sooners starters got to sit while the bench got some “PT”.
Look for Hield (18.3 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) to be the focus of attention on a team in which he’s the go to guy offensively. Transfer, Ryan Spangler, didn’t get the playing time at Gonzaga, but has made the most of his time as a starter with the Sooners as he’s a near double-double threat every game and Oklahoma’s leading rebounder; definitely a difficult player for Seton Hall to deal with.
From a Seton Hall perspective, their only loss of the season came in double overtime in a 77-74 loss to Mercer. This is a team that they should’ve beaten, but the Pirated have moved on to defeat Monmouth as Patrick Auda scored a career high 27 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes of play. The Pirates are led by sophomore guard, Sterling Gibbs who can do it all. This transfer is averaging 17 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and is shooting an impressive 54.2% from the field. This should be a competitive game.
Don’t look for “home court advantage” to play a role in this game. Oklahoma is the better team to add to your NCAA basketball picks.
Pick- Oklahoma -3 at Bet 365