Wednesday, January 9
Study group: Wednesday's Top 25 NCAAB betting notes
Iowa State Cyclones at Kansas Jayhawks (-13.5, 149)
Winners of 11 in a row, No. 6 Kansas will attempt to extend the nation’s second-longest home winning streak on Wednesday when it hosts Iowa State in the Big 12 opener for both teams. The Jayhawks collected their 30th straight win at Allen Fieldhouse in Sunday’s 69-62 victory over Temple to improve to 12-1 or better for the third time in four seasons. Kansas outshot its opponent for the 11th time and has outrebounded all but one of its foes this season – the latter of which may get tested against the Cyclones, who are surprisingly one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. Iowa State has won four straight but is 0-2 against ranked teams this season and will need to play better than it did last Tuesday when it trailed Yale at home for most of the game before securing an 80-70 win.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Wolverines (-24, 127)
It’s been more than a month since second-ranked Michigan has been in a real close battle, winning by an average of almost 25 points in its last eight games. The Wolverines look to continue their focused, efficient play and match the best start in the program’s history (1985-86) with a victory over visiting Nebraska on Wednesday. Michigan is coming off scoring at least 90 points in back-to-back league games for the first time since 2000 and has four players averaging in double figures, led by reigning Big Ten player of the week Trey Burke. Nebraska must find a way to limit the Wolverines from beyond the 3-point arc where they are among the best in the nation at 42.3 percent. The Cornhuskers have lost three of their last four and could be without two regulars.
Louisville Cardinals at Seton Hall Pirates (+9, 138)
Fourth-ranked Louisville seeks its ninth consecutive victory when it visits Seton Hall in Big East play on Wednesday. The Cardinals are off to their third-best start in coach Rick Pitino’s 12-season tenure and are excelling on the offensive side, scoring 80 points on eight occasions. But the defense has frustrated Pitino despite the fact the Cardinals are allowing just 57.5 points per outing. “We’re continuing to win with offense, protecting the ball and not turning it over and scoring the ball well,” Pitino said. “Our defense is nowhere near where we want it to be. Once our defense catches up with our offense, we have a chance to be a special team.” Seton Hall lost 93-75 to Notre Dame on Saturday to end a seven-game win streak. The Pirates are 8-0 at home against a slate of light foes.
Syracuse Orange at Providence Friars (+10, 134)
While No. 7 Syracuse possesses one of the top offenses in the nation, its defense might ultimately be responsible if it challenges for its second national championship. The Orange visit Providence on Wednesday and should have little trouble with the Friars, who have lost four straight. Syracuse, which has won four in a row since its 83-79 loss to Temple on Dec. 22, began the week 14th in the country in scoring at 79.9 points and tied for 18th in defense at 57.1 while yielding 48.8 points in its last four games. Those numbers also produce the No. 2 scoring margin in the nation and have many believing the Orange will be one of four teams still playing in April.
Butler Bulldogs at St. Joseph's Hawks (-3, 125)
Butler makes its Atlantic 10 debut when it travels to face preseason conference favorite St. Joseph's on Wednesday. The Bulldogs have been very successful in the non-conference portion of their schedule, upsetting then-No. 1 Indiana among their victories and sitting No. 17 in this week's Top 25 poll. The Hawks have struggled at times heading into the conference campaign, but playing at home against a nationally-ranked foe will certainly bring out the best in Phil Martelli's squad, which comes into the game with a three-game winning streak. Butler has a nine-game winning streak, dating back to November when it fell to Illinois in the final of the Maui Invitational.
Georgia Bulldogs at Florida Gators (-22, 117)
Since losing two close contests to Arizona and Kansas State in an eight-day stretch, Florida has returned to its winning ways with two consecutive victories. The ninth-ranked Gators host a hot Georgia team on Wednesday in the SEC opener for both teams. Senior guard Kenny Boynton ranks 15th in the SEC in scoring and leads the conference in free-throw percentage, fronting a balanced scoring attack. Florida leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense (52.7), which figures to cause problems for the Bulldogs. Georgia ranks 13th in the conference and 306th nationally in scoring (60.6). The Bulldogs come in riding a season-best four-game winning streak.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at North Carolina State Wolfpack (-10, 133)
N.C. State continued its winning ways into ACC play on Saturday, and the 21st-ranked Wolfpack look to extend their win streak to nine when they host Georgia Tech on Wednesday. N.C. State, the nation’s best shooting team from the field at 53.1 percent, was held under 80 points for the first time in seven games but outlasted Boston College 78-73 to open its conference schedule. The Yellow Jackets’ ACC opener was far less pleasant, Miami pulling away to hand Georgia Tech a 62-49 home loss on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets bring the ACC’s second-best defense into the matchup, allowing just 54.2 points.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini (+3, 137)
For the first month of the season, No. 13 Illinois was one of the biggest surprises in college basketball. However, No. 10 Minnesota can put the Fighting Illini into an early hole in the Big Ten conference race on Wednesday when the Golden Gophers attempt to match their best start in conference play in nearly 40 years. Illinois began its campaign with 12 straight wins – including victories over Butler and Gonzaga – but dropped two of its next three before recapturing its early-season form by pounding No. 14 Ohio State 74-55 on Saturday to remain undefeated at home this season. The Illini will face their third ranked opponent in five games when they meet the Gophers, who have won 10 in a row for the first time in four years. Minnesota overcame a slow start to defeat Northwestern 69-51 on Sunday.
UNLV Runnin' Rebels at New Mexico Lobos (-3, 140)
It’s just the conference opener but there’s plenty at stake when New Mexico hosts No. 19 UNLV in a Mountain West game at The Pit. The Running Rebels have won 11 of their last 12 games while the Lobos posted a head-turning one-point win at No. 8 Cincinnati a week ago to crack the Top 25. New Mexico suffered an ugly loss at Saint Louis last time out where they fell behind by 20 points in the first half. Coach Steve Alford was ejected in the contest, the first time in his 22 year coaching career he has been tossed. The loss also knocked the Lobos out of the Top 25. Both teams expect to challenge preseason favorite San Diego State for the MWC title. Surprising Wyoming is one of four undefeated teams in the country as play begins in a conference that is gaining plenty of respect around the country. In fact, the Mountain West is ranked third in the RPI behind only the Big Ten and the Big East.
Boise State Broncos at Wyoming Cowboys (-4.5, 125)
An early-season showdown in the Mountain West Conference finds Boise State traveling to undefeated Wyoming on Wednesday night. The two teams are a combined 25-2 on the season and considered top contenders for the MWC crown. The Broncos come in winners of six straight, all by at least 10 points. The Cowboys are off to the best start in school history and are ranked nationally (No. 25) for the first time since the 1987-88 campaign. This game should be an interesting contrast, with Boise State averaging a league-best 79.1 points per contest while Wyoming holds opponents to just 54.6 points per game, ranking eighth in the country.
San Diego State Aztecs at Fresno State Bulldogs (+8.5, 120)
San Diego State looks to secure its place as the favorite in the Mountain West when it visits Fresno State in the conference opener for both teams. The Aztecs, ranked 15th in the nation, are off to a fine start with its only losses coming against top 10 teams Syracuse and Arizona and look to win a Mountain West-record sixth consecutive league-opening game. Fresno State will be looking to break the Aztecs' 31-game winning streak against California teams in its Mountain West Conference debut. The Bulldogs, formerly of the WAC, snapped a four-game slide with a win over Division II Sonoma State last game. Prior to that Fresno State, which is averaging just 62 points a game, lost to a trio of Pac-12 teams and Cal-Irvine. The Bulldogs are just 3-3 at home with only one victory coming against a Division I team.