Friday’s Five Best CBB Spots: Will Yale Get Revenge vs. Penn?
Nov 22, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Yale Bulldogs guard Anthony Dallier (1) yells out a play as he brings the ball up court against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
With conference tournaments now in full swing, we will see a number of games featuring a team looking for a season sweep after winning both regular-season meetings. When looking at these spots, I always ask myself two questions:
- Is there an inherent matchup advantage that caused the 2-0 sweep?
- If not, do I think the other team will have a motivational edge due to the revenge angle?
It is worth noting that these are teams going for a 3-0 season sweep Friday in games that don’t have lines out yet:
- Southern Illinois 2-0 vs. Missouri State (lost by a combined 5 points)
- Rider 2-0 vs. St. Peters (lost by a combined 7 points)
- Loyola Chicago 2-0 vs. Northern Iowa (lost by margins of 6 and 23)
- Canisius 2-0 vs. Quinnipiac (lost by margins of 7 and 8)
- Penn State 2-0 vs. Ohio State (lost by margins of 3 and 23)
- Santa Clara 2-0 vs. Pepperdine (lost by margins of 7 and 14)
Let’s look at my five favorite spots on Friday’s card from a situational handicapping perspective (revenge specifically) that made the final cut. The five listed games tip at noon, 3:30, 5, 5:30 and 7 p.m. ET. YTD: 28-22
Detroit +4 (vs. Green Bay)
5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Detroit has revenge from two regular-season losses at the hands of Green Bay, including a home loss as a 2.5-point favorite in the season finale. Now, Detroit is catching 4 points on a “neutral” court (the tourney is in Detroit). Seems like an overreaction due to recency bias. Definite line value with the Titans.
The Citadel -4 (vs. VMI)
5 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Despite being swept by VMI, The Citadel comes in as the favorite for the third meeting. Looking back at the two previous meetings, it’s pretty easy to see why Citadel’s “Loot and Shoot” lost both. In those two games, Citadel shot a combined 14-64 (21.9%) from deep. While nobody will confuse Citadel with the “Splash Brothers,” it does shoot 33.4% from outside and ranks third in the nation in percentage of offense from 3-pointers. This looks like a game where “water finds its level” and more long balls drop for Duggie Ball.
Bradley -1 (vs. Drake)
3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Another game in which the team that got swept in the regular season, in this case Bradley, is listed as the favorite for the third meeting on a neutral court. Both clubs come into St. Louis off close senior day losses. With leading scorer guard Darrell Brown now probable, I’ll side with the Braves to knock out Drake at Arch Madness for the second straight year. The deciding factor here was the amount of success teams have had in repeat meetings with Drake this season.
Wisconsin +10.5 (vs. Michigan State)
12 p.m. ET on BTN
I also like the first half here. We saw a similar spot Thursday with Iowa, which played on back-to-back days against a hot team (Michigan). The Hawkeyes not only covered in the first half, but almost won outright, holding on to cover +9 in overtime. Moreover, Wisconsin just lost to this same Spartans club by five points at home Sunday, so the Badgers have recent revenge on their mind. Wisconsin is clearly outmanned talentwise against the best team in the B1G, but it will benefit from playing with no pressure. Like Iowa on Thursday, the Badgers are playing with house money and have that feel-good factor of knowing, “We’re still here.” Bucky is also playing its best basketball of the season, having won four of five. I think the Badgers give Sparty another test.
Yale +1 (vs. Penn)
7 p.m. ET
Star guard Makai Mason tried to return from injury for Yale on Feb. 19 at Harvard, but only played eight minutes. Yale lost that game in blowout fashion and has since shut down Mason for the year. After the elimination of that distraction, Yale has won two straight on the road. Penn can clinch a share of the regular-season Ivy title, but more importantly, Yale can clinch its spot in the four-team Ivy League tournament at the Palestra next weekend. Give me the Bulldogs tonight with revenge from an earlier nine-point loss at Penn.
Editor’s note: The opinion on these games is from the individual writer, and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.
Pictured in top photo: Yale Bulldogs guard Anthony Dallier; credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports