Friday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Purdue vs. Ohio State, Texas Southern vs. Jackson State & North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Eric Hunter Jr. (left) and Sasha Stefanovic (right).
- It's officially time to start the weekend a little early.
- Our college basketball staff broke down three games from Friday's afternoon slate, including Ohio State vs. Purdue and North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech.
- Check out each pick complete with a betting breakdown below.
Time to start the weekend a little early.
As has been the case all week, college basketball will be played all day Friday, starting before lunch and ending with a late-evening nightcap.
Our college hoops staff has you covered throughout the day.
After you get settled in, get ready for more throughout the night.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Purdue vs. Ohio State
On Feb. 18, Ohio State won its seventh straight game. The Buckeyes were in second place in the Big Ten and projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
After that stretch, Ohio State lost four straight games and just barely held on against hapless Minnesota in its first conference tournament game. The Buckeyes are now 0-5 against the spread in their last five games.
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers are streaking. Purdue is 5-0 straight up and ATS in its last five games, and Matt Painter has his team playing great at just the right time.
Disregarding the two’s recent results, I lean Purdue in this game because of its defensive capabilities.
Per KenPom, Ohio State is second in the conference in offensive efficiency but just 10th in defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, Purdue ranks fifth in the conference in offensive efficiency but has catapulted to third in the conference in defensive efficiency.
Purdue has played much better defensively than Ohio State and isn’t too far behind on the offensive end. And while Purdue’s guards might struggle to keep pace with Duane Washington, I believe Trevion Williams and Zach Edey will dominate EJ Liddell and Kyle Young in the frontcourt.
The Boilermakers are playing better all-around basketball than the Buckeyes are at the moment. Purdue is also 7-3 SU in its last 10 games against Ohio State, and I see Matt Painter taking down Chris Holtmann again on Friday.
I like the Boilermakers as a short dog today, and I would play them up to a pick’em.
Texas Southern vs. Jackson State
By Matt Cox
Tigers versus Tigers. Immovable object versus immovable object.
That’s what this SWAC semifinal showdown between Texas Southern and Jackson State will look like tonight on the hardwood. Neither offense is hardwired to score against top-end size, which is precisely what both defensive frontlines have in spades.
Texas Southern’s roster features a band of acrobatic leapers: John Walker, Joirdon Karl Nicholas, Yahuza Rasas, and — after a surprise return to action last night against Alcorn State — Chris Baldwin.
That’s a lot of mouths to feed, but there will also be plenty of offensive misses to go around with all the bricks that Texas Southern will hoist from the perimeter. However, whenever Texas Southern invades the restricted area, Jackson State forward Jayveous McKinnis will be waiting.
The two-time SWAC Defensive Player of the Year is the ultimate neutralizer to Texas Southern’s army of high-flying forwards.
Granted, McKinnis was overwhelmed in the second regular-season matchup between these two teams last season — a game in which Texas Southern snatched a whopping 22 offensive rebounds.
Nonetheless, now a year older, stronger and wiser, McKinnis will be up to the task on Friday afternoon. Wayne Brent will aid his big man with myriad junk defenses, which should befuddle Texas Southern’s one-dimensional offense.
Regardless of form or structure, McKinnis is a sturdy linchpin in the middle.
If Jackson State can win the tempo war, then a possession count in the low 70s seems likely. Jackson State is also starving for long range shooting, which sets up for an ugly “chuck-and-chase” affair. Plus, with heavy legs weighing down a Texas Southern team on a back-to-back, points will be at a premium.
North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech
The third game in three days for North Texas is a bit of a concern (Javion Hamlet played 88 of 90 possible minutes for example), but I like the very experienced Mean Green here.
After a late-season slide, they seemed to have figured things back out in the conference tournament.
Plus, I don’t think the market has adjusted for the loss of starting point guard Cobe Williams for Louisiana Tech. He’s its best creator on offense and excellent on defense (C-USA All-Defensive Team). Without him and big man Andrew Gordon, Louisiana Tech still advanced last night against an inferior FAU squad, but that mainly came down to FAU running out of gas late.
This isn’t the same team we saw most of the year. In a battle of two outstanding defensive teams, the difference also may come down to the free-throw line, where NT is much more reliable.
So, while legs are an issue (it helps North Texas plays super slow), I’ll take the point here.