Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 25-19-2 (+5.00 units)
Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Free NCAAB Pick: South Dakota ATS
Best Line Offered: Heritage
You’ll have to excuse North Dakota State fans if they’re not all that gung-ho about Friday’s Summit League opener against South Dakota. After all, their focus is on a potential seventh FCS title in eight seasons a week from now on the gridiron instead of the 176th clash with the Coyotes on the hardwood.
Then again, considering how routine football titles have come for NDSU, a game inside cozy Scheels Center against an old rival might be more exciting to the fans. It’s certainly expected to be among the more exciting games on Friday’s card with the Bison favored by 2½ in Fargo at Heritage, and 136 for the total.
Both Sides Void Of Big 3-Point Threats
Todd Lee’s first season running things at his alma mater has gotten off to a bumpy start, especially in light of last year’s squad falling a game short of the school’s first Division-I NCAA Tournament appearance. The Coyotes have dropped their last two, and four of the last six, as they prepare to hit the floor for the first time in a week, and a mild upset at Colorado State a couple of weeks back is so far the highlight of the campaign. Trey Burch-Manning stars with a team-best 12.2 PPG and 6.8 RPG, but he isn’t getting much support from his teammates who are 60-227 (26.4%) from beyond the arc.
The Bison enter the contest having won three of their last four, one of the victories coming over Eastern Washington – who they face in the FCS Championship – nearly three weeks ago. David Richland’s crew tuned up for the conference opener with a rout of D-III Northland College nine days ago, the game failing to make the NCAA basketball odds board, and their four previous clashes fell short of the totals. Juniors Vinnie Shahid and Deng Geu lead the team with 12.5 and 11.5 scoring averages, respectively.
‘Over’ On 4-Game Run In Rivalry
This is the 15th meeting since both programs moved to the D-I level, North Dakota State up 10-14 in the previous 14 and holding a 95-80 advantage in the rivalry all-time. The two most glaring trends recently are the visitors winning the last four matchups, and ‘over’ bettors returning to the pay window 4-straight times. South Dakota built a 20-point halftime lead last February in Fargo as a 1-point underdog, then held off the Bison for the 76-72 triumph that just skipped above a 145½-point total.
The trend supporting a play on the ‘over’ is mighty tempting, but the run for visitors in the rivalry recently is stronger; give me the Coyotes plus the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.