How to Bet Three Sunday Top-25 Matchups, Including Wichita State-Cincinnati

How to Bet Three Sunday Top-25 Matchups, Including Wichita State-Cincinnati article feature image
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Feb 10, 2018; Wichita, KS, USA; Wichita State Shockers guard Austin Reaves (12) and Wichita State Shockers forward Rashard Kelly (0) react after a basket during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at Charles Koch Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports Images

In an atypically loaded CBB Sunday, I’ll be analyzing and predicting these three matchups:

  • Duke at Clemson +2 (1 p.m. ET)
  • Wichita State at Cincinnati -6 (4 p.m. ET)
  • Penn State at Purdue -8.5 (6 p.m. ET)

Follow me on twitter @jorcubsdan for in game analysis, injury updates, and second half predictions.

Duke @ Clemson (+2)

1 p.m. ET

Duke will of course be without Marvin Bagley III for a third straight game, while Clemson will be without Shelton Mitchell, who took a scary blow to the head against Florida State. We know the impact of Bagley — huge loss offensively and on the glass, more than replaceable defensively — but what about Mitchell? Well, it’s a bit complicated.

Per hooplens.com, Clemson is actually more efficient on both ends of the floor when Mitchell is off the court. Offensively, the efficiency splits are negligible, but defensively, Clemson allows just .92 points per possession in ACC play when Mitchell is off the court, and 1.02 points per possession when he’s on. It’s a little difficult to glean much from those numbers, however, as Mitchell rarely leaves the floor, and his replacement is relatively unknown freshman Clyde Trapp. Trapp has been phenomenal defensively, as Clemson has held opponents to a paltry .79 points per possession when he’s been on the floor, but that’s derived from just 159 ACC possessions, with most coming in low-impact situations. Ultimately, Clemson is probably going to be OK defensively without Mitchell today, but the offense is a great unknown.

Schematically, Clemson coach Brad Brownell has finally joined the spread pick-and-roll revolution, and 6-foot-3 guard Marcquise Reed has mostly been stellar running the offense. Duke guards Trevon Duval and Gary Trent have both had their issues defending in PnR, so Coach K will undoubtedly swarm Reed on ball screens and force the ball to Trapp. For Duke, Grayson Allen (pictured above) has finally looked like Grayson Allen in Bagley’s absence, which isn’t surprising. Prior to Bagley missing time, Allen didn’t seem to know his role on this team. With the exception of the Notre Dame game, Allen has had his two best ACC games of the year without Bagley, and he’s likely going to carry the Duke offense again today, as Clemson’s post defense with Elijah Thomas has been among the best in the country. The best way to beat Clemson is to bomb them from the perimeter, and without Bagley, Duke’s 3-point attempt rate has predictably risen. PICK: Duke -2

Wichita State @ Cincinnati (-6)

4 p.m. ET

We’ll see elite offense vs. elite defense when the Shockers head to Cincy this afternoon. Wichita State is loaded offensively. Gregg Marshall has several sharp shooters, an NBA point guard, and elite size/depth in the frontcourt that translates to glass dominance. Those are precisely the boxes you have to check to beat Cincinnati, which currently owns the fifth-best defense in the history of KenPom’s database.

To end the nation’s longest home winning streak, the Shockers are going to have to prove they can defend. WSU’s pick-and-roll defense at the point of attack has been extremely un-Gregg-Marshall-like all year, and frankly, it’s because guards Landry Shamet, Conner Frankamp and Austin Reaves lack lateral speed on the perimeter. While Cincy’s offense has its issues, Jacob Evans — and Cane Broome if Mick Cronin wants to play him — are extremely quick with their first step. Cronin doesn’t run a pick-and-roll offense, but he’s going to have to rely on his guards to win this game, as Gary Clark and Kyle Washington will be neutralized by a deep and long WSU frontcourt.

Cincy supplements an often inefficient offense with a full-court-pressure defense that generates transition buckets. While WSU has the lowest turnover rate in the AAC, keeping WSU from running its offense unfettered is probably a good idea, even if it doesn’t result in turnovers. WSU grades out in the 95th percentile nationally in half-court offense, per Synergy.

Ultimately, the Shockers, one of the best rebounding teams in the country, are strong in all the right areas against the Bearcats, who usually thrive by physically overpowering teams with full-court pressure and relentless rebounding. PICK: Wichita State +6.5

Penn State @ Purdue (-8.5)

6 p.m. ET

The Boilermakers have been in a shooting slump, as defenses have essentially decided to single cover 7-foot-2 Purdue center Isaac Haas (14.9 ppg) and try to take away their four lethal perimeter threats. It’s no coincidence that Purdue’s three-game losing streak has coincided with 18-of-56 shooting from 3, which is 10% lower than its season long 3-point mark. Penn State’s length and athleticism across the board is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. With Tony Carr checking in at 6-foot-5, Nazeer Bostick at 6-foot-4, and Josh Reaves at 6-foot-4, the Nittany Lions are built to contain Purdue’s myriad shooting options. Mike Watkins is undersized in the post in terms of length, but he’s athletic and physical, and won’t be pushed around by Haas. In short, PSU has the personnel defensively to keep the Boilers in a shooting slump.

Offensively, PSU has some issues. The Nittany Lions tend to go as Carr goes, and he can range from “shoot his team out of the game” to “oh my God Tony Carr is incredible.” Carr is third in both shot and usage rate in Big Ten play, so Painter is surely sticking quick handed Dakota Mathias on him. For PSU to pull off the upset, Carr is going to have be a facilitator instead of an alpha. PICK: Penn State +8.5

YTD: 464-427-9

2H: 55-41-1

Photo via Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports Images