2-Unit Play. Take #527 Oakland (-2) over Eastern Michigan (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
The Golden Grizzlies are finally healthy and they are finally starting to build some momentum. They had to play a pretty tough schedule to start the season, and they had to do so without their best post player, Jalen Hayes. But since he’s been back they’ve been a different, more balanced team. Eastern Michigan has beaten up on a bunch of cupcakes. And other than James Thompson there’s not a ton to get excited about with this group. EMU is still working to replace its three best guards from last year and they are just not there yet. Oakland is a road favorite for a reason and I think they can gut out a five-point win.
7-Unit Play. Take #532 Western Michigan (-12.5) over Cleveland State (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
We have a lot of things lining up for a blowout here. First, Western Michigan is a really good road team. Kalamazoo is a really tough place to get to and a tougher place to win. But WMU actually lost their last home game to a very good Oakland team. I simply do not see the Broncos losing two in a row at home. Especially not to a weak Cleveland State team. Cleveland State is awful. They are going through a complete program overhaul and they are just a bad basketball team. These guys lost 70-38 to Rutgers, they lost to East Carolina and Central Connecticut, two of the worst teams in the country, and they have generally been noncompetitive. On top of that, Western Michigan has revenge in this game. They got hammered by 23 points on the road last year. That was one of just nine Cleveland State wins last season. But now the venue has changed. And so has the motivation. Western Michigan has pounded all the weak teams that they’ve faced this season and lost to the teams that were better than they were, including two losses to South Carolina. This is a very solid, veteran WMU team and they should want to stretch their legs with a blowout win in this one.
1-Unit Play. Take #534 George Mason (-5.5) over William & Mary (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
I will go with the home team here. William & Mary is playing really well. And I may have to wait a while before I really starting fading them hard. But they are playing over their heads. George Mason plays four guards. So the fact that WM is not a big team is actually a benefit for the Patriots, whereas the Tribe are normally the ones trying to work around opponents’ size. I think Mason’s speed will make the difference here and I expect the Patriots to shoot the ball better in their own gym.
1-Unit Play. Take #539 Buffalo (-3.5) over Delaware (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
The Bulls are stepping outside of their comfort zone a bit after playing several regional rivalry games. But this looks like one of the better teams in the MAC this season and they should be able to have their way with a rebuilding Delaware squad.
1-Unit Play. Take #542 Detroit (+5) over Toledo (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
1-Unit Play. Take #548 BYU (-10) over Illinois State (9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
BYU is flaky as hell. But one thing they generally always do is they generally always play well in Provo. And this is actually is their first home games in over a couple weeks so they should be ready to play well here. Illinois State is not a team that I am high on this season, although they’ve already proven themselves better than I thought they would be. They got lit up by Boise State, lost by 11 in their first road game of the season (at Florida Gulf Coast) and they got demolished by 30 in their most recent road game at Nevada. Now, BYU isn’t as good as Nevada. But these guys can usually shoot the lights out in their home gym.
2-Unit Play. Take #554 Alabama (-3) over Rhode Island (8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
This game reminds me a bit of the Marquette-Vermont game yesterday. The line is short. I don’t really like Alabama this year. They are flaky as hell and play like trash for long spurts. But they still have a lot of size and athleticism and Collin Sexton is the real deal. And it is really, really tough for smaller conference teams to go on the road and get wins over teams from power conferences. Rhode Island has already beaten Seton Hall and Providence. But they are without E.C. Matthews and they are in a letdown spot after beat Providence in a big rivalry game over the weekend. Again, I don’t trust Alabama, who is coming off a home loss. But I still think this line is short.
1-Unit Play. Take #562 Colorado (-7.5) over New Mexico (9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
Colorado is coming off what has to be a really, really disappointing loss on the road against an inferior Colorado State team. They should be pretty irked heading into this one. New Mexico will have Colorado’s attention because they still have some name recognition as a program, especially in Mountain West country. But New Mexico is not the same program. They have a new coach, a new system, and a whole new way of doing things. They have gotten rolled in road games at New Mexico State and at UTEP. And they’ve lost five of their last six games outright. The Lobos have a home rematch against NMSU this Saturday so it is possible that they are looking past this one. Add in a motivated Colorado team and this one looks one-sided.
1-Unit Play. Take #565 Pacific (+5.5) over UC-Davis (10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
2-Unit Play. Take #567 Fort Wayne (-1) over Akron (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
Akron is another team that is rebuilding. They aren’t very good. They aren’t very experienced. They have a new coach. And they’re still working some stuff out. Seven of their top nine guys are freshmen or sophomores and they have a lot of work to do. But they’ve only played five games, compared to nine for Fort Wayne, so they are going to be behind the curve. Fort Wayne isn’t a bad team. They play fast and they have some guys that can put the ball in the hole. I also think the fact that they are favored here on the road is kind of a red flag.
1-Unit Play. Take #572 Louisville (-23) over Siena (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
This Louisville team isn’t very good. But they are good enough. And these guys have to be pissed. This team is doing damage control after back-to-back losses last week to Purdue and Seton Hall. Those are two really good teams, though, and there’s no real shame in those losses. Louisville gets to take its frustration out on a really bad Siena team. This Saints team lost by 23 at Bucknell and they lost by 20 at home to St. Bonaventure. I don’t know that there is anything stopping the Cardinals from laying a 35-point beat down on the visitors in this one. If David Padgett knows anything he will know to give his guys the whip so they can build some momentum going into this weekend’s game with Indiana.
2-Unit Play. Take #575 Tennessee Tech (+9) over Dayton (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
Dayton is coming off back-to-back losses to SEC teams, including a disappointing last-minute loss at Mississippi State over the weekend. I’m not sure if they are going to have the juice for a blowout here. In fact, I’m still not sure Anthony Grant’s team has it in them. This team is still relatively inexperienced and still adjusting to Grant’s system. They are also playing without Xayerius Williams, one of their best post players. Tennessee Tech already has a true road win at Omaha and another Top 125 win over Lipscomb. They have one of the most experienced teams in the country, with five seniors and a junior comprising their top six players. I think they can hold it together and keep this one competitive.
2-Unit Play. Take #577 Northern Kentucky (-1.5) over East Tennessee State (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
Northern Kentucky demolished East Tennessee State 81-63 in the season opener for both teams. I know that gives ETSU revenge in the return game but I don’t know that they are good enough to get it here. I am not sold on this year’s ETSU and I still think they simply lost too many key pieces from last year. Northern Kentucky is 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games and they are 8-2 ATS on the road. NKU’s only losses were by a combined four points against Memphis and Vermont. ETSU lost at home to Troy. If they can do that, they can lose to Northern Kentucky for a second time.
1-Unit Play. Take #581 St. Bonaventure (-8) over Canisius (7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
This Bonnies team is playing outstanding basketball and they are red hot right now. And they could be getting even better if they get Jaylen Adams back in the fold and at full strength. Adams came back for the Buffalo game over the weekend and he was healthy enough to play 28 minutes. His return is going to give this team a jolt and I expect them to raise their level of play even further. Canisius doesn’t have the guard play to hold up against the Bonnies pressure defense. And right now this team is clicking on all cylinders.
1-Unit Play. Take #590 South Dakota (-10) over Drake (8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
2-Unit Play. Take #606 DePaul (-11.5) over Central Connecticut State (9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6)
I expect to see some progress from this DePaul team this year. I think they have some pieces. You wouldn’t know it looking at their results. But the fact is that they have played a pretty rough schedule to this point. They have losses to Notre Dame and Michigan State, two top tier teams, and then road losses to Illinois and Oregon (in OT). There’s no shame there. Now the Blue Demons get to take on a Central Connecticut team that is one of the worst in college hoops. Now, this team has been laying way above itself. They have won five straight games. And for a team that has won just 15 games in the last three years combined that’s a big deal. Last year the Blue Devils played Rutgers in a game like this and lost by 42. They also lost by 24 at Seton Hall. This year they already lost by 25 at St. John’s. I simply don’t think that these guys aren’t going to be able to hold it together enough to beat this line.
2-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #548 BYU (-5) over Illinois State (9 p.m.) AND Take #562 Colorado (-2.5) over New Mexico (9 p.m.)
2-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #581 St. Bonaventure (-3) over Canisius (7 p.m.) AND Take #590 South Dakota (-5) over Drake (8 p.m., Wednesday
2-Unit Play. TEASER: Take #532 Western Michigan (-7.5) over Cleveland State (7 p.m.) AND Take #606 DePaul (-6.5) over Central Connecticut State (9 p.m.)