Welcome back to the single best slate of college basketball games we've had so far this year. It's glorious, just glorious. But at the same time I want to take a moment and shout out the event we're running for Army/Navy. It's something that should be supported and hits home for a lot of people here at the company. Fire sweatshirt too.
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: 64-67-2
Sure let's start today off with a little top-25 Big 10 matchup. Perfect lead in for what we have today. Alright, Wisconsin fans have been yelling at me (shocking) since I said their team stunk during the Maui Invitational. Johnny Davis is a game-changer. They haven't had a Johnny Davis type player in years. Rarely does Wisconsin have the athletic wing that can go get his own bucket and really is a threat offensively. Now, Ohio State's defense is pretty elite at limiting shots inside the arc. At the same time Ohio State's offense is what we need to talk about. According to Haslametrics they are 1st in the country at mid-range jumpers and third in near-proximity shots. So if you want to take away that, they can kill you from outside, shooting 39% from three as a team (18th in the country). While Wisconsin is improved, Ohio State is figuring some shit out lately with the win over Duke. Also think the ability for Ohio State's bigs to step out takes away a huge advantage for Wisconsin.
Pick: Ohio State -4
Both these teams want to fly around and can shoot. Obviously Syracuse has the entire Boeheim family + Joe Girard and Georgetown just can't defend. That's my biggest fear in taking Georgetown here. That said, Georgetown can beat the 1-3-1 that Syracuse has been playing that sort of morphs with the 2-3. Computer projections have this at 157 which feels about right. But I'm a sucker for a home dog, especially in a rivalry game like this. 155 feels like a ton of points despite the projections especially looking at some scores.
Pick: Georgetown +4
I love this Colorado State team. David Roddy should be getting All-American talk. They shoot the shit out of the ball. Niko Medved can coach his ass off. Remember that name, he's going to get a power 6 job at some point. To put it simply this game matters more for Colorado State. The MWC can get multiple bids and they'll have quality opponents, but racking up a nonconference with wins over Mississippi State, Saint Mary's and Creighton (before Tulsa/Alabama) would go a long way. Now as for this game, both teams defend the rim and make you shoot jumpers. Even better, Colorado State is literally the best shooting team in the country. They are number 1 in 3pt percentage and effective field goal percentage.
Pick: Colorado State -1
Come on, we need to put this in.
I was such a sucker for both those teams man. As for this game it comes down to Christian Koloko staying out of foul trouble. He can defend Kofi 1on1 in the post and that means all of Arizona's wings don't need to double and leave shooters. We saw them throw doubles at Hunter Dickinson and really disrupted Michigan, but Illinois is a much better shooting team. The improvement of Alfonso Plummer is the real story for Illinois. He's provided that guard/wing scoring and keeping it nearly impossible to throw doubles at Kofi. I love this Arizona team. I think they are without a doubt a top-5 team in the country right now. A win here and they might jump to number 2 or 3 in the polls. But this feels like an Illinois type game.
Pick: Illinois +1
LSU has looked awesome so far this year. They are defending their asses off, ranking 6th in the country in adjusted defense. Howevah, they haven't played a ton of talented teams yet. Their best win is … Wake Forest on a neutral court? Georgia Tech does have Michael DeVoe who can beat the pressing/trap pressure defense that LSU runs. If he can get his buckets early and that 1-3-1 zone George Tech runs can slow the pace down, we're in good shape.
Pick: Georgia Tech +7.5
My favorite game of the day because of the rivalry factor here. City is buzzing like all other Crosstown Shootout days. I still think Xavier is flying a bit under the radar, especially with Zach Freemantle nearly back to 100%. That's a dude who is probably their second best player behind Paul Scruggs. Wes Miller is going to be an awesome coach and UC has some things to like, but this matchup isn't great for them. Xavier's offense is clicking and their defense is just solid. You can beat them getting downhill on the bounce, but there's really only one or two guys on this UC roster that can do that.
Pick: Xavier -6.5
Another great nightcap game. Alabama is fucking good. We saw what they did against Gonzaga and now we'll see a completely different game against Houston. Houston is elite defensively with their ability to clog the lane and force you into a shooting contest. Now, Alabama does have an intriguing defense to watch with the versatility and that's where this game is won. I think they can switch and disrupt Houston enough offensively.
Pick: Alabama -2.5
Other picks: San Jose State +2.5