This is the final installment of the NCAA basketball injury report before conference tournament play begins, and I’ve already cashed tickets fading teams that are missing key players. Below we take a look at injuries to star players for teams that start after the letter “O.”
Oregon State, Pac 12: 4-22 SU
Oregon State is missing multiple players whom the Beavers were counting on starting the season with, and you just don’t hit the free-agent market or trade deadline when that happens in college basketball. The worst insult to injury was the Beavers losing their leading scorer in January, when forward Tres Tinkle broke his wrist. The sophomore was averaging 20.2 points and 8.3 rebounds before getting hurt. The NCAA basketball lines may be getting a little out of hand fading Oregon State, but there really isn’t anyone left on the bench to replace him.
Portland Pilots, West Coast: 9-17 SU
Portland lost its leading scorer in guard Alec Wintering in late January. Wintering was responsible for 19.5 and 5.6 rebounds per game, and his absence has been felt heavily. The Pilots have not won a game SU since he left, but they haven’t won a game since the calendar turned to 2017 anyway. The significant trend for the Pilots is that their offense has suffered, and they have cashed 6 straight 'unders' coming into the week of Feb. 13.
Rider Broncos, MAAC: 14-13 SU
Rider lost its starting point guard in Stevie Jordan in the first week of January due to suspension and now needs to replace 11.5 points and 5.3 assists per game on the floor. Rider has lost 3 of 4 SU since Johnson went out with the injury, but those games were against some of the top teams in the MAAC. Look for Rider’s offense to struggle on offense down the stretch with its leading assist man is out.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks, A-10: 10-14 SU
Saint Joe's had already lost three players for the season due to injury before last week, then they lost their second-leading scorer and assists leader in guard LaMarr Kimble. The Hawks had previously lost their leading scorer in Shavar Newkirk, so a combined 35.7 points per game need to be made up on offense. It won’t be. Fade St. Joseph’s in NCAA basketball picks and consider the 'unders' for the rest of the season with this team.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, Big West: 3-20 SU
Up to this point, the Gauchos had lost three players due to ineligibility, including second-leading scorer Jalen Canty. Adding to the misery of their season is the recent loss of their leading scorer due to knee injury in guard Gabe Vincent. He was the only bright spot in UCSB’s season this year, scoring 14.8 points per game. The lines have adjusted with Vincent out of the lineup, but the 'unders' are cashing with regularity now that he has been sidelined.
Virginia Tech Hokies, ACC: 17-7 SU
The Hokies have a deep team, so when guard Chris Clarke was lost with a torn ACL over the weekend, we have to keep that into consideration. His 11.4 points per game is 5th on the team after all. However, Clarke was great on the boards, leading the team in rebounds with 7.3 per game. His average of nearly 30 minutes per game will be hard to make up for that reason. I’d wait and see how Virginia Tech adjusts and be ready to fade the Hokies down the stretch.