Welcome back after a couple days off. Really wish we had a better Monday slate besides Florida getting its ass kicked by Texas Southern and Illinois/Iowa. We have a pretty loaded slate tonight as we're back into a mix of conference and nonconference games going on. I don't hate the December Big 10/Pac-12/ACC games that we've gotten. Let's get into today.
Just a reminder. Sharp Cheese is the way you'll know you're going to read a picks blog for college basketball every single day. We're also going to incorporate it into social media perhaps posting on Instagram and going live on IG/Twitter Spaces. Twitter Spaces will absolutely happen 1-2 times a week, most likely on weekdays after big games. Just come on and talk whatever the hell you want about college basketball. The blog will mostly read the same. Breaking down games and making picks. I'm thinking maybe adding a Q&A part into the blog. Now most of the time I feel the same way about games, that said if there's a game I really love and attacking a few different ways you may see a Sharp Cheddar alert next to it. Sprinkle on the ML? Well, get out the shredded mozz. You get it. That said, always willing to listen to any adjustments you might have.
As always - all the lines come from the Barstool Sportsbook. Download the app here.
2021-22 Season Record: 60-61-2
Alright it's Nova shooting vs Syracuse's zone with one little twist. Boeheim is running more 1-3-1 this year because Cuse doesn't have the big/athletic wings to put up top. That's always what made that 2-3 zone such a pain in the ass. They'd have these big wings you'd have to shoot over. The best thing Nova has going for them is the size they have on the wing. You have Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater to step out and shoot. Even the guards are 6'3" and 6'4". They won't be able to run PnR against the zone which hurts their offense but the one thing Nova does extremely well is get to the paint on the bounce and kick twice for a three. The other thing I like for Nova here is that 1-2-2 press Wright uses and more importantly the transition of Brandon Slater up top. That can totally disrupt Syracuse's shooters - most notably all the Boeheim's and Girard.
Pick: Villanova -8.5
No Jared Bynum again for Providence and this is a game where that matters. Providence is still struggling on the perimeter and really relying on putbacks/post play. That's where Vermont is really good defensively. Vermont is 15th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage and 87th in 2pt defense. They really limit post action and let Ben Shunugu hound on the perimeter. With no Bynum and Durham playing out of position, that could be something to really take advantage of if you're Vermont. Neither team shoots well from outside, which is a huge fear for Vermont against the zone. But I'm such a sucker for John Becker and a potential let down spot for Providence.
Pick: Vermont +6.5
Another game where we're seeing a major team going on the road to a smaller school here. JMU is going to be rocking with the big team in the state coming to town. We've taken Virginia overs the last two games and easily won one and pushed the other. They are coming off that somewhat embarrassing buzzer beater over Pitt, mostly because Pitt sucks. Now JMU is going to want to fly around. They live in transition offensively. Virginia obviously takes that away and gets into the Packline defense. I actually tend to like what Tony Bennett did with the offense, going a bit smaller and using some space. Let's go 3 for 3 (with a tie).
Pick: Over 124
Michigan's offense is still a bit of a mess but they are coming off a quality win against San Diego State. They'll also be able to slow down Nebraska's offense. The defense wasn't the issue for Michigan. The biggest key though has been Michigan using Frankie Collins as the lead guard. It provided a different look and a bit of a spark. That can matter here. With Nebraska it comes down to slowing down Alonzo Verge and Bryce McGowens. Michigan shouldn't struggle too much there. I'm going to start buying back with Michigan.
Pick: Michigan -7
This is not an ideal matchup for Tennessee strictly due to Texas Tech's no-middle defense. Tennessee isn't going to beat you with shooting. You live with it if they do. Tech is also a pretty damn good defensive rebounding team which limits a huge strength of Tennessee. Ultimately if Texas Tech can get some spacing on offense and draw some of Tennessee's bigs out, it'll open up the floor for them offensively than it will for Tennessee. Both teams are going to struggle offensively here. The defenses just take away each other's strengths. Tech basically runs 5 guys between 6'6" and 6'8" meaning they can throw different looks on Kennedy Chandler to try and frustrate him as well.
Pick: Texas Tech +4
Alright, how can I say this? I think Butler is bad. That's about the only way I can put it. Not to mention they can't take care of the ball. They turn it over 25% of the time (350th in the country) and the majority of their turnovers are steals. That makes for some easy points for Oklahoma in this game. Oklahoma is 58th in the country in turnover percentage and 35th in the country in steal percentage. Tanner Groves is a mismatch for Butler as well. Golden is going to have to step out to defend him leaving for more open lanes.
Pick: Oklahoma -10
I know we all fell in love with George Mason after they beat Maryland but since then they have lost 5 in a row. Navy has road wins on the year and is AWESOME defensively. Not great for a GMU team struggling offensively now. Navy is top-75 defensively, 44th in effective field goal percentage and 36th in 3pt defensive percentage. I love seeing all of that in this matchup.
Pick: Navy +5.5