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Previewing the Late Night Slate of College Hoops Games

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Villanova

So it’s been a fairly entertaining game so far, eh? No. 5 already losing, Florida winning on a walk off and Virginia asserting itself as possibly the favorite to win the ACC. What’s even better though? A solid slate of late night games to end the day. Again, won’t waste any time and get right into it.

Duke (-12.5) at North Carolina State – 8:00pm, ESPN

This is the game that ESPN decided to throw on for the night prime time, because, well Duke, but it’s an interesting one. They have to go on the road to face a team that views Duke as a ‘rival.’ Omer Yurtseven can give Duke some troubles due to his ability to pop on the pick and roll as well as obviously get to the rim. We’ve seen Duke struggle mightily in those sets and you know Kevin Keatts will have that set up. Keatts is also familiar with Duke during his time as an assistant at Louisville. Now the thing here is NC State can’t stop anyone. They are a below average defensive team and with this game being up and down can they slow down a) Grayson on the wing and b) Bagley in the post? I’m going to say no here. Duke already had its road loss to a bad team so that should be out of the way and taken care of. More importantly NC State is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the country. Carter and Bagley may get 20 offensive rebounds between the two of them.

Marquette at Villanova (-16) – 8:00pm, FS1

Villanova returns home after giving up 15 3’s in a loss at Butler last week. That’s not necessarily a great sign due to Marquette being arguably the best shooting team in the country. We saw what Markus Howard can do when he’s cooking, dropping 52 at Providence. The thing is Nova can switch just about everything against Marquette meaning a guy like Howard is going to have to score over Mikal Bridges at times. This should be a good matchup for Marquette though – if they can keep Spellman away from the hoop. Nova has been inverting its offense by putting Brunson in the post and Spellman on the wing, but don’t be surprised to see them try and get the ball in the post early with Spellman. I like Marquette to stay inside the number here as 16 is quite a bit, especially against a team that can shoot as well as Marquette can.

Kentucky at Tennessee (-4) – 9:00pm, SEC Network

Tennessee has had Kentucky’s number in Knoxville and this year looks to be a decent Tennessee team. I do think they were getting overvalued earlier in the year, especially after the UNC game, but this is still a team that will challenge you every game simply because they do all the intangibles. Thing is here, can they handle the athleticism of Kentucky? That’s how Tennessee beat Purdue. They used its athleticism, but Kentucky is arguably the most athletic team in the country. The question for Kentucky is can it continue to get production from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and what PJ Washington shows up. Washington is going to be important in this game with his ability to score around the rim and grab offensive rebounds. He’s going to have to deal with Grant Williams, who can get him in foul trouble early. If Kentucky can neutralize Williams, they’ll win this game. I’ll take them getting 4 as that’s a couple more than it should be.

Kansas (-2) at TCU – 9:15pm, ESPN2

This has all the makings of Kansas  coming out and trying to prove something. Losing at home to Texas Tech, everyone saying they aren’t really that good this year and the Big 12 in streak. This just smells like DeVonte’ Graham coming out and dropping 25 while Svi hits like six threes. Where Kansas can take advantage here is TCU isn’t a great 3-point defensive team. They give up a bunch of attempts and are average when it comes to percentage. For TCU they need to play through Kenrich Williams and get Jaylen Fisher in some high ball screens. Offensively, TCU can get second chance points. They are an excellent offensive rebounding team, especially Williams and JD Miller. If Udoka Azubuike gets in foul trouble, TCU can really eat in the paint. However, I like Kansas in a bounce back game here.