Syracuse vs Virginia
The Syracuse Orange have impressed in their previous two showings, thrashing off Miami 83-57 as 5-point home favorites and #16 Virginia Tech 78-60 as 1-point home favorites. They hope to stay on the winning track Monday at John Paul Jones Arena, but outlasting the #13 Virginia Cavaliers will be a tall task.
The Cavaliers have won four of their last five encounters with the Orange and are 3-1 ATS in the previous four. Virginia is coming off a 64-62 home win to Georgia Tech as an 8.5-point fave, extending its winning streak to six games.
The Cavs barely survived the Yellow Jackets’ tremendous shooting performance. Georgia Tech made nine triples out of 15 attempts, but the Cavaliers rallied from an 11-point deficit, keeping the Jackets scoreless for six straight minutes late in the second half.
— Virginia Men’s Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) January 24, 2021
Virginia still plays at the slowest pace in the country, averaging only 59.7 possessions per 40 minutes. The Cavaliers are 12th in points scored per 100 possessions (115.3), 15th in field goal percentage (50.5%), and 24th in 3-point percentage (38.9%). They play good defense, too, allowing 90.8 points per 100 possessions (17th).
The Cavaliers lean heavily on senior forwards Sam Hauser (14.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG) and 7-foot-1 tall Jay Huff (13.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG), and this duo will dominate the Orange’s defense that surrenders 95.2 points per 100 possessions (56th).
Syracuse can score, for sure, averaging 112.8 points per 100 possessions (25th). However, they’ve struggled defensively on the road, allowing 96 points at Pittsburgh and 81 at North Carolina in their last two games away from home.
College basketball pick – Virginia by 6.
Texas Tech vs West Virginia
The #12 Texas Tech Red Raiders had to postpone a couple of games last week, so they didn’t play since a 68-60 home loss to Baylor on January 16. On the other side, the #14 West Virginia Mountaineers are coming off a 69-47 win at Kansas State this past Saturday. They took the floor for the first time in two weeks due to COVID-19.
— WVU Men’s Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 23, 2021
Both teams will need to shake off some rust. The Mountaineers had an easy job against the Wildcats, but beating the Red Raiders will be a much more difficult assignment. Texas Tech has the fourth-best defensive rating in the country, yielding just 88.6 points per 100 possessions.
The Red Raiders are 11-4 on the season and 4-3 in the conference play. Three of their four losses came against the ranked teams including that eight-point defeat to the #2 Baylor Bears. Texas Tech is undefeated in three road contests this season, outlasting Oklahoma 69-67, Iowa State 91-64, and #4 Texas 79-77 in the process.
The Mountaineers, on the other side, are 10-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12 play. Three of their four defeats came against the top-5 teams in the nation (Gonzaga, Kansas, and Texas).
West Virginia opened as a slight 2-point fave for Monday’s clash against the Red Raiders, and the Mountaineers are 4-4 straight up and ATS in their last eight showings as favorites of two or fewer points.
There’s no easy money here, and this Big 12 showdown could easily go either way. Maybe the best move is to stick with the totals and bet on the under, as this should be a proper defensive battle. The Mountaineers are 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS in their last six meetings with the Red Raiders, and the under is 4-2 in that span.
College basketball pick – Texas Tech by 5.
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