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Previewing the Mid Day Slate of College Hoops Games

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As I mentioned in the early game blog, there’s just too much today to put it in one. So, we’re calling this one the mid day slate, which is really looking at the 4:00-7:30 starts. We’ll have another blog with the late night games. I will say the games slow down a little in the 4pm window, but get back at 7. Again, if you want to talk hoops and the games going on get at me on Twitter @barstoolreags. Let’s get right into it.

Kansas State at Texas Tech (-9.5) – 4:00 pm

I wanted to mention this game for the sole reason of how Texas Tech comes back after the Kansas win earlier in the week. I said this team is a top-10 team in the country and that’s mostly due to the fact that they have incredible depth, athleticism and  are one of the best defensive teams in the country. They like to run the pack line, but will get in your shorts and make you uncomfortable. If you can watch this game, you’ll want to see if Zhaire Smith gets in the open floor, because he may be the best dunker in the country. The key is going to be if Kansas State can hit threes. They shoot a bunch of them, 93rd in the country, while Texas Tech does a great job of contesting them. I think you see Tech roll here. I’m not sold on KState, especially on the road.

Arkansas at Auburn (-5) – 6:00pm, ESPNU

You want to talk about arguably the biggest surprise in the country? Take a look here at Auburn. They were named in the FBI investigation. They lost what’s probably their two best players due to that. Rumors have been swirling about whether or not Bruce Pearl is going to be the coach or not. All they have done is gone 13-1, with the lone less coming in the 3rd game of the season to Temple on a neutral court. Both of these teams are pretty similar though, ranking in the top-20 in AdjO and 18th and 19th in AdjD. They both play fast and want to get up and down the court. My concern here is Arkansas is dreadful on the road under Mike Anderson. However, five seems like a lot here. I think Auburn wins this game but Arkansas stays inside that number.

Oklahoma at West Virginia (-5) – 7:15pm, ESPN 

This feels a little bit like when Baylor was the No. 1 team in the country, went into Morgantown as a dog and got blown the fuck out. Oklahoma has all the momentum in the world. They have the best player in the country and are a legit national title contender. West Virginia meanwhile continues to do West Virginia things. They don’t necessarily play pretty, but beat the hell out of you, have a star in Jevon Carter and great roleplayers. What’s been most impressive though has been the growth of Teddy Allen over the last four games. The 6’5″ freshman  has scored 20+ in 2 of the last 4 and 15+ in 3 of the last 4. If he can continue to be a scoring threat, the floor opens up for Carter and Miles. The other key player to watch for West Virginia is Bolden and how he shoots today. He’s the most important player to me for West Virginia offensively because of how he stretches the floor. He’s the best 3-point shooter for this West Virginia team and if he’s able to stretch the floor and open up the lane for Huggins’ 5-out motion offense and Carter to drive it’s a huge win. Now, defensively what to remember here with WVU isn’t necessarily the press and the turnovers, but rather how they just wear you down. They make you tired, which then forces the turnovers. Can Trae Young keep his legs? That’s the question in this game. Not necessarily who is making shots or anything like that, but can Young stay rested enough to attack off the press? I sort of like the under here at 173.5, but I do like West Virginia here. I think you see Young get tired during this game and while he’ll put up big numbers, West Virginia wins at home.