Tuesday's Top College Basketball Value Plays

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:24 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 1:24 PM UTC

A pair of blue bloods feature in our top college basketball picks for Tuesday as No. 4 Kansas lays points to slow-starting No. 7 Kentucky at United Center. Check out our predictions for this matchup, as well as UNC Wilmington at Davidsion here. 

No. 4 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 7 Kentucky

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Free NCAAB Pick: Kansas -4.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Kentucky slipped past American East reigning champion Vermont 73-69 at Rupp Arena on Sunday. The Wildcats tipped off 12.5-point favorites. Utah Valley outplayed them badly in the first half of the season opener before succumbing 73-63 as 20-point underdogs. Let’s do the math: Kentucky failed to cover the spread by 10 and 8.5 points. Something is terribly wrong.

Head coach John Calipari identified the primary issue: the team’s on-ball defense is atrocious. Here’s coach giving a full-presser before the Kansas game in which he points out the issue:

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Calipari benched five-star recruit Quade Green against the Catamounts as point guard Trae Bell-Haynes, preseason America East Conference Player of the Year, took the freshman to the rim repeatedly. But it’s not just Green, the entire team is being beaten off the dribble, against mid-major talent no less. A quick fix had better be in order, or an elite Jayhawks squad will jet past the Cats at United Center in this neutral-court meeting.

The blue bloods have squared off six times since Calipari made Lexington his home. Kentucky is 4-2 SU and ATS overall, covering a -4.5 average line by 3.2 points per game. This is just the second time Kentucky will tip off underdogs in the series, wining an overtime thriller 90-84 as 5.5-point pups at Allen Fieldhouse in January 2016. That was the only game that went ‘over’ the total. The ‘under’ is 5-1 in this span, staying 8.8 points below projections.

One can handicap this matchup up and down, but until the Wildcats show better teamwork, they are on auto-fade in our book. It’s a square NCAA Basketball pick, but lay the 4.5 points with Kansas.


UNC-Wilmington vs Davidson (-10.5)

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Free NCAAB Picks: Under155Best Line Offered: at Heritage

UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts has won a share of CAA regular-season titles in his two years in charge. The Seahawks owned a .264 winning percentage in six years prior to his arrival. Keatts returns four starters, including All-CAA and tournament MVP from last season, Chris Flemmings. Coaches picked Wilmington to win the conference a third year in a row.

Keatts relies on tenacious defense, athleticism, and transition basketball to put away opponents. He models his attack after the aggressive VCU teams that once dominated the CAA, leading the conference last season with a 45.3 percent 2-point field goal percentage allowed. 

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Gonna be a fun year! Great win #CatsAreWild 🐾

— Kellan Grady (@KellanGrady_30) November 11, 2017

Davidson lost its top scorer Jack Gibbs (22.1) to graduation, but returns the A-10’s third-leading scorer from last year senior forward Peyton Aldridge (20.5). Head coach Bob McKillop recruited point guard Kellan Grady to replace Gibbs, and so far so good. The true freshman sank seven of the team’s 26 3-pointers in a 110-62 rout over Charleston Southern in the opener. The 3-point barrage proved a school and A-10 single-game record.

Keatts and McKillop are each X’s-and-O’s coaches, looking to snuff out the other’s team strengths first. The Seahawks scored 82.8 points per game last season, 14th nationally. Look for both leaders to emphasis defense tonight.

In the last calendar year, the ‘under’ is 5-0 when the Wildcats square off against a foe attempting greater than 62 field goals per game. Wilmington put up 63.1 per contest in its transition-heavy offense last season. Stingy defense keeps the combined score (146.2) 17.6 points below a 157.0 average total. McKillop has good ball handlers and will have his defense back to slow the break. Strong backcourts define each squad; they’ll cancel each other out. Pick ‘under’ as your best bet

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